Early On Our Knees: Energizer Creative are Turning up the Heat in Prayer

Lately, I have been really challenged to up the ante in what we are asking God for and what we have faith to believe God will do in us and through us. It seems every message I listen to, every Bible verse I read, every time I am in worship and prayer, this is confirmed over and over again.

Ps. Dave has been speaking on entering a new era. We are moving into a time when God will empower us to do things differently to before.
“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it?”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
God is doing a new thing! He is leading us into a new era.

The idea of being early on our knees may not get you excited (especially the non-morning people), but I guarantee that if you jump on board with this, which we hope everyone on the team will, your personal faith journey will go to a new level. This is not for the faint-hearted; this is daily discipline, hard-core, life-changing stuff, so don’t tune out, decide right now that you are going to take up the challenge, walk this journey and see it through!

Earlier this year at our first Team Night we spoke on 2016 being a year of breakthrough for our team and how it would take some stretching. Well, this challenge that we are setting may just be the biggest stretch of the year, but I am certain that it’ll also bring the biggest breakthroughs.

To understand this ‘Early On Our Knees’ challenge, it’s important to understand why we do what we do. So, why do you think we do what we do? To see every person encounter God through worship and the creative arts.

One thing we care about and often focus on in our creative team is the level of excellence in how we lead people to God encounters in worship. We take great joy in bringing our absolute best when we serve God, not for the sake of excellence itself, but because we believe what we’re doing is worth us playing, singing, mixing and creating to the best of our ability. We want to be authentic in everything we do and do it well.

As you know there are certain expectations in joining the creative team. Here are some that spring to mind:

Reliability and punctuality
Communication with team leaders
Accepting dates when the roster comes out or finding replacements where possible
Attending rehearsals
Attending team nights
Dressing neatly
Skill or being willing to learn a skill
Pursuing an ever deepening relationship with Jesus through prayer and reading of the word
Heart to serve the greater vision of the church
Attend heart & soul nights
Represent God and His church in all areas of your life
Be dedicated to improving the gifts God has given you – practice, study, attend lessons, online training courses
Be available for all special events and conferences where possible

They are our ‘not-negotiables’ I suppose, and one of those points in particular is what we want to focus on as we embark on this new era: ‘pursuing an ever deepening relationship with Jesus through prayer and reading of the Word’. It’s something that runs deeper than how well you may sing, play, or mix. What you design, write, and dream is awesome, but we care more about what the rest of us don’t get to see. Yes, excellence and execution as a creative team matter, but to grow and to see breakthrough, we need to give attention to our purpose and devotion; it is an important step in our faith to lift our devotion and expectation by being on our knees in prayer in the unseen hours.

Devotion matters. Prayer matters.
Ultimately, we don’t just want to engage our heads when we serve in church. Focus not just on your execution, but also your devotion. It’s tricky to measure – but is also best indicated by your mindset. How do you feel now about what you bring to the creative team? Is your approach the same as it was 8 months ago? Is there some negative thinking perhaps? Have you stopped working on your gift? Is some complacency creeping in perhaps? The key is to let your devotion to your creativity and giftings be fuelled by a growing private prayer life… hence the ‘EARLY ON OUR KNEES’ challenge.

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” E.M. Bounds – 1907

Prayer strengthens our relationship with God. It’s one of the most important weapons we have to protect ourselves from the attacks of the enemy and to move ahead into what God is calling us to. I know for our team we need breakthrough in many areas if we are going to achieve all that God has in store for us to achieve. So why don’t we, together, accept the challenge to pray daily on our knees? Research suggests that on average, it takes anywhere between 21 and 66 days before a new behavior becomes a habit. So we went for the middle: for the next 40 days, Energizer Creative are on a mission to be early on our knees in prayer.

You may have heard the saying “if you want God to do something new in you, you cannot keep doing the same old thing.” You have to do something different. And if you do, God will create new capacities within you. There will be new gifts and new revelations. But you’ve got to pay the price (or pray the price in this instance). You’ll get out of this what you put into it. So… are you ready to take up the Early On Your Knees challenge?

Here are some pointers to get you started:

1. No More Excuses (ouch)
Let’s MAKE MORE TIME in our day – it’s a choice. Become aware of the enemy’s tricks and don’t let him invade your time with God by using things like busyness and tiredness as an excuse.

2. Teach Me to Pray
Even the disciples had to pray “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11). Don’t be so hard on yourself if you aren’t sure how to spend 15, 20, 30 minutes in prayer. Let that be your first prayer. Teach me how to pray focused prayers. We also encourage you to keep your own journal. It’ll help you not just pray, but pray through until you see the breakthrough.

3. The Posture of Prayer
We are choosing to kneel in fervent prayer because fervent prayer is necessary prayer. It is a total body posturing, focusing, and communing without multitasking. The true purpose of prayer is to get into God’s presence so He can outline His agenda for us.

4. Early Rising Prayer
We encourage everyone to rise 30 minutes before your normal routine each day to pray. We can learn this discipline from Jesus himself – in Mark 1:35 he demonstrates this for us: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

The Early On Our Knees prayer challenge is going to change your life. In fact, we believe the next forty days have the potential to dramatically alter the rest of our lives. We are believing that God is going to begin a good work in us, and He is going to see it through to completion. If you press into God’s presence like never before, you will experience God like never before. You’ll look back on these forty days as the best days of your life. They won’t be the easiest days; in fact, they may be the hardest; don’t be surprised if you experience spiritual opposition along the way. But if you pray through, God will break through in new ways.

The time that Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and praying, marked a critical chapter in His life. Jesus was tested like never before, but this experience set the stage for His greatest victories. When Jesus returned from the wilderness, He wasn’t the same person. You won’t be either. You’ll emerge from this Early On Our Knees prayer challenge, full of the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we dreamed up this challenge, we were drawn to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

Our prayer is that this daily habit won’t stop on day forty but it will be something we all continue to do for the rest of our lives. Our prayer for you is that each day on this journey will yield a new discovery. Those discoveries will change the way you pray, and when you change the way you pray, everything else changes. We as a team are going to GROW FROM THE INSIDE OUT by being EARLY ON OUR KNEES.

Remember, breakthrough won’t happen when we are operating in our comfort zone, breakthrough will happen when we are operating in the faith zone. “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

We don’t want this team to just do what is comfortable or what comes easily; we are called to break new ground, to take back what the enemy has stolen, to pave a way for people to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, to put on the armour of God for us and the people around us, to bind up the broken-hearted and to set the captives free; we are called to operate in the faith zone. It’s a new era.

Let’s be early on our knees!

Who is going to take up the challenge?

– Katie Swift
Creative Director


A Note From Dave

Hi everyone,

Earlier this year we were quite concerned that here in Tasmania, we might run out of power, due to the fact that our dams, which supply the water to generate our clean, green electricity, were at a record low: apparently down to ten per cent of their capacity.
To make matters worse, we became aware that the Tasmanian Government had been selling power to Victoria, hence using up a lot of the water storage, leaving us very exposed and feeling under-resourced when the power cable connecting Tasmania to the national grid was severed somewhere across Bass Strait.
The government started bringing in expensive diesel generators to get us through. Ironically, at the 11th hour it rained and rained and rained. The dams became full, then overflowed; we had floods and after all that, the countryside became green and lush and now we all feel secure again.

In hindsight the problem doesn’t feel so large, because the resource came in the form of rain, rivers flowed and life returned.

“For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun!

Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

Rivers speak of supply, resource, refreshment and sustainability. In a new era, we will experience rivers flowing through what has previously been dry and uninhabitable. Resource in areas where previously nothing has been happening.
Unlike what happened with the Tasmanian power supply, our God does not cut our life line; He is our constant supply.
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
In a new era, He will supply from His unlimited riches, which have already been given to us.
See you in church!

Ps. Dave

To be Created in His Image is to Accept All as Equal

I lead a Connect Group Course which traces the overarching story of the Bible to help make connections and between this fundamental story about God and personal faith. At our first meeting, we started in Genesis, examining what it was telling us about God and our relationships, with Him, each other and creation.

One of the most important understandings was that humanity ‘was created in his image’ (Gen 1:26-27); ‘we were created to be like God’, sharing his character and nature, including the freedom to choose. Of course we know what humanity chose. In choosing to rebel and make God in our own image, God’s image in us became corrupt and humanity entered into what they described as the ‘present (evil) age’, (see Gal 1:4). In this present age, evil was let loose and now dominates this fallen world, prompting humanity to focus on their own desires and will. Because of this rebellion, everyone’s destiny is death, both physical and spiritual. ‘Life’ has been forfeit because of our choice which resulted in humanity being banished from his presence (Gen 3:23).

In our course, we also looked at the other creation stories of the ancient civilisations that surrounded the Hebrews. All follow a similar pattern: evil existed before creation and that our universe was the result of squabbling, deceitful and fearful Gods who fought each other. The victor, in killing a rival god, used their corpse to create the universe. People were an afterthought and were created as slaves to serve these violent and inscrutable gods; appeasement was man’s only way to survive.

When we compare the two stories, we immediately see how different their cosmology was to that of the Hebrews. The God of Jacob was good, His creation was good, where no evil existed and men and women were created to be like him, to be honoured partners with God working to care for his good creation. What in fact fallen humanity has done in their stories is to create gods in their own image. They reassure us that what we are today has always been that way because that is the way we were made. Thus in creation stories of ‘the present age’ the gods will of course act just like us. So it’s not surprising that today when we look at our increasingly troubled world we can see that this cosmology is still the one adhered to by most people, no matter what their faith position may be.

However, Christians know that evil had entered God’s good creation through humanity’s rebellion, but now it has been totally defeated through Jesus’ death on the cross. What seemed like a defeat was actually a triumph where through the cross Jesus dealt with evil, the rebellion and sin, for those who believe who have been deemed right in the sight of God as they were in the beginning. Faith in Jesus has justified us before God, Rom 3:23 and ‘credited to us as righteousness’ Gen 15:6 & Gal 3:29. Paul tells us in Col 2: 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision (rebelliousness) of your fallen human nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. His death and victory exposed how the powers of the fallen world work as they did their worst against him but he humiliated them by exposing them for who they really are, violent, liars and evil.

That is why Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:17, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone’, for we ‘have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all’, Col 3:10-11.

Our new self redeems and restores us to reflect the true image of God. Paul follows this statement by listing some of the most basic community divisions fallen humanity has always used to promote conflict between people. These include conflict between, them and us, race, cultures, status, privilege and power. These no longer apply to those who are renewed ‘in the image of our creator’. Gal 3:28 has a similar list but also includes the conflict between male and female, i.e. issues of gender.

John sums up our new creation character, basing it on our God of love as the image we as new creations are to reflect. 1 John 4:16b God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus, (in his image). 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

Fear (of the other) is what drives this fallen world, being the result of clash of our self-interests, but fear has not part of our new self, but instead our modus operandi is love. Paul reminds us in Col 3: 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. This is what it means to live according to ‘the image of God’.

Written by Sweis Meijers

A Note From Dave

Hi all,

Recently, Alix has been to some pretty amazing and unique places as she’s engaged her passion for bushwalking. The thing with bushwalking is, you see and experience an environment that can’t really be accessed any other way. Even without a great deal of navigation experience, you will still successfully arrive at your destination, provided you follow the track that is.

These tracks are pathways through often rugged and inhospitable wilderness to unique, incredible and beautiful destinations and experiences.

For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun!

Do you not see it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)

In a new era, God will make new paths. Pathways show us a way through: a way through your current challenges; guidance where you are unsure; a way around an old obstacle; pathways to new influence, relationships and people whose lives will be transformed by the love of Jesus.

Let’s not allow our past, or perceived lack of experience, to obstruct or make us feel unqualified to walk the new paths that God has created for us. There is no doubt that there are exciting and fruitful days ahead for us to walk together. We are being led to some amazing and unique places.

Let’s keep the momentum going! As always, pre-service prayer is key to this momentum.

Let’s come this weekend, full of expectation for what God is going to do.

Ps. Dave

A Note From Dave

One verse I’ve always loved is this one in Joel, which is powerfully proclaims again by Peter in Acts, as he speaks prophetically into a new era: the era of the church.

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

Joel 2:28 (NIV)

When His spirit is poured out, we see! The spirit removes the fog; the spirit will enable your vision not to be clouded by your present circumstances, or distorted by past experience.

When we’re a son or a daughter, you see!

Being a son or daughter, in a spiritual sense, is not about our age, where, when or even who you are born; it’s about the fact that you are born of the Spirit, a rebirth that allows you to see beyond physical circumstances and limitations.

It’s a son and daughter spirit that speaks life into the future and lives with a prophetic edge. As we embrace a new era, let’s foster that son and daughter spirit. We know where we come from and where our words of life originate.

Last Sunday’s launch of our new night service was amazing; well done everyone! God is definitely doing a new thing among us and I believe we’ve only seen the beginning .

A son and daughter spirit is free and works, not from a sense of obligation, but from a place of ownership.

Together, let’s own what’s happening at the moment! You are vital!

On that note, let’s make prayer happen in a big way for all our services. I believe the atmosphere in our prayer meeting was a big factor in the success of Sunday night.

See you Sunday!

Ps. Dave

You’re Not the Boss of Me: Mental Health Lessons in the Psalms

Last week was World Suicide Prevention Week, so I’m a little behind the times, but better late than never, right? Anyway, in the wake of RUOK? Day and all the great awareness campaigns that champion good mental health habits, I’ve been thinking about my own mental health and the part that faith plays for me in maintaining it. I have been suffering, on and off, but mostly on, with depression and anxiety for the best part of a decade now and in that time, I have seen the public dialogue around mental health open up significantly, which is awesome, I never would’ve been brave enough to write this five years ago, but thank to the people who were brave back then, I am now!

Ironically, the hardest times for me to draw near to god are the times I am gripped by anxiety or depression: the times I need to most! Nothing sends me into a spiral like uncertainty! I’m learning though, that the more certain I am of God, the more uncertain everything else becomes. I’m learning, very slowly it would seem, to let go without becoming paralysed by anxiety.

Just because I am not in control, doesn’t mean I’m out of control. It’s okay, God is in control.

I just read Psalms 42 and 43 (they are a sort of part 1 & 2 of the same psalm) and was encouraged to see some of my own struggles mirrored in the Word. (FYI this post will make more sense to you if you have a read of these psalms too!)

Check out this refrain, which appears three times in the passage:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
For I will yet praise Him,
my saviour and my God.”
Ps. 42:5, 11, 43:5

This refrain is the psalmist mastering his emotions. He’s basically telling his soul to submit to his spirit; although his emotions are intense and they are very real, he will not allow them to be in control. He will not allow them to become his identity. Although they demand that he gives up, he’s hanging onto hope.

This guys is pretty miserable. He writes that his tears have become his food! He has a downcast and disturbed soul; he is in mourning; he feels oppressed, taunted; he is suffering; he feels rejected and forgotten.These psalms are his outlet to be open and honest about what he feels, both to himself and to God. This is just where he’s at.

I think this level of openness is absolutely crucial to maintaining a strong faith through mental health battles. Our psalmist recalls the days before his exile, when he led worship at the Temple (Ps42:4). He looks back on the good times and contrasts them with his current situation (Ps42:1-3). In the end, he concludes that the love of God is unchanging throughout any circumstance (Ps 42:8). It’s vital to the longevity of our faith that we recognise the temporary nature of circumstances, compared to the endless, boundless love of God.

Understanding God’s nature and heart towards him is one of the tools that this psalmist uses to get through his tough time. He acknowledges that God is a trustworthy person to put his hope in and writes of his certainty of salvation (Ps42:5). He dwells on the love of God, which is with him in the dark times, and the rest of the time too (Ps42:8-9). God is his rock, steadfast and immovable, and his stronghold, a safe place to hide (how important is that on a tough day?!) (Ps43:2). God cares for him faithfully and makes His presence readily;y accessible (Ps 43:3).

For the psalmist, knowing God deeply brings hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. He still feels the rawness of what he is going through, but he understands that his circumstances will change; he sees his temporary predicament with an eternal perspective. Even more importantly, he sees it in the light of a faithful and loving God. His certainty is in God, not the moment.

Some days, it honestly doesn’t take much to trigger a spiral into depression for me: the most minor of conflicts; a messy house; being too busy; not being busy enough; it honestly could be anything. In those moments, I’m learning (again, slowly) to be real with God and with my inner circle (and apparently the internet) about what’s going on in my “downcast and disturbed soul”. I’m learning to see it for what it is: a moment. Granted, sometimes there are a lot of those moments in quick succession, or a moment that lasts a week or so, but they are still just moments, and my perspective is eternal. My hope, my joy, my peace, my strength and my purpose are found in an eternal God. So take that, crappy moment!

Like this psalmist, I’ll continue to let my spirit take charge of my emotions. They are real, but they are NOT the boss of me. I’ll continue to declare the goodness of God and draw near to Him, in both the daylight and the dark.

– Jen

Take Your Place: Fathers’ Day, 2016

We have two very special services planned for Father’s Day this Sunday. If there’s one thing fathers are known for (other than their dad jokes), it’s this: fathers want the best for their children. A father’s heart is to set up the next generation for success, to help them reach their potential, to make a way for them to be all they can be. Fatherhood creates a legacy.

“Set your mind now on sons—
don’t dote on father and grandfather.
You’ll set your sons up as princes
all over the earth.
I’ll make you famous for generations;
you’ll be the talk of the town
for a long, long time.”
Psalm 45:16 MSG

This Fathers’ Day, we want to explore the original Father: our Heavenly Father and how we relate to Him as sons and daughters. God wants to empower a generation and He wants you to take your place as part of that empowered generation: the princes in the land! He wants His sons to carry His heart and His kingdom the way only sons can!

TAKE YOUR PLACE with us this weekend; not only are you made in the image of, carrying the DNA of, the King of Kings, you can also live in relationship with the Good, Good Father. You are empowered with His authority to step up. You are appointed and esteemed in His Kingdom. You have permission to occupy His throne room. You are part of this; take your place.

We are looking forward to welcoming all the blokes in your world to church this Fathers’ Day, with a great atmosphere, gourmet pulled pork rolls, gifts, prizes and a word in season.

10am – Hobart Campus (8 Petchey St, Bellerive)
4pm – Derwent Valley Campus (19 Circle St, New Norfolk)

Get there early and shout your dad a coffee!

Ps Dave

Bring on Breakthrough!

Breakthrough won’t happen when we are operating in our comfort zone; breakthrough will happen when we are operating in the faith zone.

“Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

The Bible is full of examples of acts of obedience. One such example is Noah, who pleased God by respecting His warning and building the ark. He must have been a laughing stock, but he did it anyway.

Let’s ask ourselves, ‘What is the ark we’re supposed to build today?’
What is God asking us to be obedient in, that might even be uncomfortable?

Is it to reach out and share the Gospel with someone? To lead a Connect Group that we feel unqualified to lead? To speak up about something that is happening in our community? To step up in a leadership position? To work on and refine our talents and gifts and allow God to take us to the next level? To relook and refocus our priorities, finances or hobbies? To adjust our attitudes or actions perhaps?

Abraham was called by God to set out for the place in which he was to receive his inheritance, without even knowing where he was going! Can we follow God and remain comfortable, when we don’t know what’s next? We have a light in Jesus that pierces the darkness right in front of us, but it only shines so far; to go to the next level, to see breakthrough in our lives, it takes FAITH and it will take us out of our comfort zones.

With Christ, we only need to take one step at a time and wait for Him to illuminate the next. From a human perspective, sometimes it can feel like jumping off the high dive and then checking on the way down to make sure there’s water in the pool! With Christ, however, we are assured that there’s always water in the pool. He’s got our backs and the Bible is full of promises about who we are in Him – I encourage you to start speaking those things over your life.

I am loved. 1 John 3:3
I am accepted. Ephesians 1:6
I am a child of God. John 1:12
I am Jesus’ friend. John 15:14
I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him. Romans 8:17
I am united with God and one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
I am a temple of God. His Spirit and his life lives in me. 1 Corinthians 6:19
I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
I am a Saint. Ephesians 1:1
I am redeemed and forgiven. Colossians 1:14
I am complete in Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:10
I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1
I am a new creation because I am in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. Colossians 3:12
I am established, anointed, and sealed by God. 2 Corinthians 1:21
I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
I am God’s co-worker. 2 Corinthians 6:1
I am seated in heavenly places with Christ. Eph 2:6
I have direct access to God Ephesians. 2:18
I am chosen to bear fruit John. 15:16
I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. 1 Peter 2:5
I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature. 2 Peter 1:4
I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews. 13:5
God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13
I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need. James 1:5

God calls us all to do some faith stretching now and then. Whether we are called to leave our comfort zones, to obey and act, or to rest and trust God during a difficult season of life, He always rewards great faith with wonderful blessings.

Maybe stepping outside of your comfort zone, to obey God, seems like too much of a stretch right now, but let me encourage you that when we are willing to be stretched, blessings begin to flow.

This year is a year of breakthrough for our church and it’s going to take some stretching. I don’t want to live my whole life in my comfort zone and miss out on the amazing blessings that God has in store for me. We don’t want to just do what is comfortable; we are called to break new ground, to take back what the enemy has stolen, to pave a way for people to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, to put on the armour of God, to bind up the broken-hearted and to set the captives free. We are called to operate in the faith zone. That is our mantle; are we willing to take it up? Are we willing to step into the faith zone this year and see breakthrough happen?

Two verses that encourage us to step out in faith knowing that our God has already given us the breakthrough are:

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

We are believing that 2016 is a year of breakthrough! What are you believing for? What are you asking for? What are you expectant for?

– Katie Swift
Energizer Creative Team Leader

A Crash of Christians: 7 Lessons I Learnt From Pastor James McPherson

Last Sunday, we had the privilege of hearing a sermon from James McPherson, senior Pastor of Calvary Christian Church, in Queensland. Each week, we walk away from the sermons at Energizer Church feeling inspired, as Pastor Dave and the entire preaching team build on powerful messages and the Word that God is speaking.I always walk away feeling refreshed and revitalised, and this week I felt that James’ message cut through to us at all at a time of real breakthrough for Energizer Church. With that said, here are 7 key messages that I took away from James’s sermon today:

God speaks into familiarity.
Can you think of a situation in your life where you’ve become really comfortable? Perhaps it’s a career path, a favourite coffee shop, a relationship, a location you live in, or a style of music; whatever it may be, I’m sure you’ll agree there are periods of life when we settle and it feels great! Why? Let’s face it, we humans love the feeling of certainty.

However, God in his infinite wisdom programmed us to enjoy moments of uncertainty too. Take surprises for instance…do you like surprises? Of course, but only the ones you love! The ones you don’t love are often called ‘problems’ or ‘challenges’, which aren’t as nice as the others…

Listening to James’ sermon helped me to become more aware that when familiarity sets in to my life, I mustn’t be surprised if God begins to move and shake everything up! Sure, change is going to be uncomfortable, but I also know that it’s necessary! Let me explain why…

In Genesis 12:1-5 it reads: “The Lord has said to Abraham, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you.; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth Will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he set out from Harran.”

Can you relate to the story of Abram?

Ps. James by touching on these words in Genesis, and the uncertainty that Abram faced setting out on such a remarkable journey. Keep in mind that Abram was 75 years old when God spoke this message into his life, so no matter what age or period of life you’re going through, rest assured that God will call on you; it’s necessary that you embrace it when he does!

Just because you’ve come to Jesus doesn’t mean life is going to be smooth sailing!

Ps. James recounted that when he first came to Jesus, there was a belief that his life was going to be filled with instant certainty. I definitely resonated with this, because I remember what the concept of ‘salvation’ sounded like when I first heard it. It was exciting…the thought of just letting all of the crap in my life go, so that I could be free of it forever!Perhaps, like me, there was a part of you that fell in love with the idea that once you become a Christian, God will take care of you and all fear and pain will subside? Well, how untrue that is and how grateful we must be as a result!

The truth is that becoming (and remaining) a Christian is a always a tough road, and my own journey has only just begun! However, the deeper truth is that because of the power and love that God has for each one of us, there has come a period over the last few months during which I have begun to view my struggles as situations to be truly grateful for.

When I realised that life as a Christian is happening for me and not to me, I began to feel a sense of freedom. I realised that coming to Jesus was the beginning of a new journey, and despite the inevitable challenges I’ll face along the way, it’s much better than feeling completely lost!

“To be certain of God is to be unsure of everything else”. Ps. James then touched on a series of questions in his sermon, three of which are ‘Spiritual’ and three which are ‘Natural’…

The Identity Question: Who am I?
The Meaning and Purpose Question: What am I here to do?
The Life After Death Question: What’s going to happen to me when I pass?

How many times have you asked yourself these questions? I know I have…a LOT. Sometimes we may even get to a point where these 3 questions become overwhelming, So instead, have you ever shot for the natural or ‘earthly’ questions?

Who am I going to live this life with?
How am I going to afford this?
How am I going to get to where I need to be?

We humans “are not designed to live a life with our feet in mid-air”. Instead, it’s crucial for us to have some foundation of certainty and clarity, otherwise we drive ourselves insane with anxiety and worry about everything either side of the present moment.

So how did Ps. James overcome this challenge of uncertainty? He said that when he truly gave his life to Jesus, the three Spiritual questions were finally answered! Phew! Now life began to make sense, and no longer did he avoid asking these seemingly impossible-to-answer questions. For the first time in his life, James was certain – on arguably the deepest level there is!

To be certain of God is to be unsure of everything else, so let’s do ourselves a favour and hand everything else over to God! You never know where it may lead you…

“God is big on command and light on detail”

Let’s go back to the story of Abram in Genesis 12 for a moment…

God asked Abram, at age 75, to leave everything behind and follow him: his house, his belongings, his livelihood…everything! Naturally, if you were Abram in this situation, you might ask the question, “Ok God, but before we head off do you mind if I ask…where are we going?”

How would you feel if this were the answer back from God? “Don’t worry Abram… I’ll tell you when we get there!”

James mentioned that when he began to feel certain in God and the answers to Spiritual questions became clear as a result, his life began to shift dramatically. As a result, instead of having all the answers to the Natural questions as he once did, James had to now be ok with being completely CLUELESS about how he was going to live, who he was going to share the journey with, and where he was going to end up. Scary stuff…

God is big on command and light on detail. What does this mean? As I said before, to be certain of God is to be unsure of everything else, because God will ask you to take leaps of faith and you have to be okay with knowing where you’ll end up. Yes, it’s painful, because our brains love to be in control, but, in essence, don’t you believe this uncertainty is what makes the Christian life so incredibly dynamic?

The most pivotal moments in life are when we let go of control.
Have you ever been faced with a fear or decision that’s lingered for months, even years, and when you finally took action you, broke through and said, “Wow, I feel great! I can’t believe it took me that long to (*fill in the blank*)!”

I’m going to assume that if you had a tough decision that lingered, there was a part of you that got so tired of trying to control the outcome, you finally just let go and let God! Lo and behold, on the other side was a massive shift that most likely resulted in significant growth for you. This is called a BREAKTHROUGH.

Later in his sermon, I loved the way Ps. James explained the importance of doing our due diligence in life. James communicated that we all need to use our brain and think things through, especially if they’re potentially life-changing decisions we need to make. However, there comes a point when you have to relinquish the control of how you’re going to get to the other side. Why? Because when everything is fixed, there’s no room for FAITH!

Is there something in your life you should take action on, without control over the process or outcome? Does it scare you? Good, it probably means it needs to be done, so take a leap of faith and go for it!

Uncertainty increases with leadership.
Matthew 8: 19-20 – “Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, ’Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

This passage from Matthew is an example of Jesus explaining the journey of Christianity. As you progress through your own journey, and as you expand and grow into positions of leadership, it’s important to understand you will be met with compounding levels of uncertainty. The reason for this is that God will ask you to take leaps of faith, and when you follow Jesus, you’re never going to know what to expect as a result. However, what you can be certain of is the depth of appreciation and wisdom you gain along the way.

There’s something incredibly powerful about releasing your former identity and being reborn as Christian. I’m not sure where you are on your journey, but I believe that as long as you continue to lean into the uncertainty of life, then God will use you in a special way. As Bishop T.D Jakes once said, “God will promote you to the level of your tolerance of pain.” So go forth and embrace the uncertainty!

What good thing do you need for eternal life?

Matthew 19: 16-22 – “Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’
‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’
‘Which ones?’ he enquired.
Jesus replied, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother, and love your neighbour as you love yourself.’
‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’
Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

Wow…the young man seemed to have everything, and all of his Natural questions had been answered! So why did the young man walk away from Jesus feeling sad? Because he couldn’t let go of control…

In his final message, Ps. James shared with us the importance of relinquishing control of what’s in front and behind us. Like a crash of rhinos, which can only see less than 10 metres in front of them, we must all move together with faith. We as a Church will never know what’s ‘out there’ or on its way, but we do know what power is within all of us – and we’re willing to crash through all challenge that lies ahead!

At Energizer Church, I feel there’s more room than ever for God to move. As James mentioned at the end of the sermon, much of what we do looks controlled, but Ps. Dave, Ps. Alix and everyone else are taking leaps of faith in uncertainty, because of the way God is speaking. I may not have been at the church long, but I’m sure it’s the way it’s always been, and always will be!

It’s an oxymoron to have nervous and stressed Christians, and we’re breaking through as a Crash of Christians on a mission to spread the word of God. So Church, let’s continue to Love Local and Love Global!

Thank you again to Pastor James McPherson for your inspiring words of wisdom. It was a truly life-changing morning for me, and I’m sure the rest of the Energizer team feel the same way. All the best and God bless!