The Two Gardens

Did you know that God revealed His purpose in two different gardens that we read about in Scripture?

Please click on the link below to listen to the 2nd episode of our podcast on http://www.theancientpathways.com to discover more of Christ in these two gardens.

https://theancientpathways.com/the-two-gardens/

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What is the heart of the Gospel?

I just read an article that highlighted five signs of ‘Progressive Christianity’. I’d never heard that term before. The article was interesting and informative and when it exampled sentences or expressions that might come out of this movement, I realised I have actually heard of it before but didn’t know there was a name for it.

However, what I found interesting was that the article stated how ‘Progressive Christianity’ had moved away from “the heart of the gospel being sin and redemption” to now being about social justice. Firstly, let me say that I get what they’re saying. I’ve certainly noticed a strong diversion away from the gospel toward social justice and social issues from within the church. Social media is saturated with it.  But what disturbed me most was that the author of the article said the heart of the gospel is sin and redemption. I sincerely beg to differ.

The heart of the gospel is Christ. From beginning to end it is about Christ. The entire scriptures from beginning to end are about Christ. All of time and creation is about Christ. Before time and creation, was Christ. Outside of time and creation, is Christ. The church exists for Christ and is in Christ, and is the body of Christ. In fact, all things exist in and through, by and for Christ.

Sin and redemption are realities for all humanity, pointing out our need for Christ. Redemption is available to all of us, through faith in Jesus Christ. Sin and redemption are not the heart of the gospel. The gospel is Christ. He is the good news. He is the purpose of redemption. Saving us from sin is not the purpose of redemption. We are redeemed, that we would know Christ, that He would have a body and a bride, through whom He can be expressed. Christ is the All in all. Christ is the One in whom all things will be summed up.

So the heart of the gospel is not even a matter of ‘what’, but ‘who’.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:10

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

How To Use Your GPS

For some of us, our life decisions can lead us down a path we didn’t really want to go and to a destination we didn’t want. A decision to take that job, move to that area, date that person, eat that kind of food, live that kind of lifestyle, hang out with those kind of people – these decisions can take us on a path that can leave us feeling lost or confused, disappointed or frustrated or much worse. We can find ourselves traveling on a really rough road that can take us a long time to ‘get back on track’. Even years sometimes!

Chatting with a dear friend the other day, we were talking about how God seems to always lead us back onto the right path in our lives, in spite of our mistakes. You know how sometimes we make silly decisions? Or maybe that was just me 🙂

I use a GPS a fair bit these days, to find my way around the streets that are all unfamiliar to me here in Perth. However, sometimes I still take a wrong turn or think I know better and find that I’ve gone off the path the GPS was sending me on.  Sometimes I’m just not paying attention or listening properly. Selah.

When this happens with the GPS, it has a momentary brain spasm to work out where I’ve gone and then it adjusts my route to re-direct me back toward the destination.  You see, the destination doesn’t change, and just like the GPS, God too, will always steer me back toward His purpose in my life.  This beautiful verse in Romans 8:28 says it all;

And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 

The thing is, that in God our destination never changes. Our destination is always toward God’s Purpose. Christ being known, revealed and expressed is always our destination. And God has this remarkable way through Christ who is our life, of always leading us towards that purpose, yes, even in spite of our mistakes along the way.

God is like our own spiritual GPS ( ‘God’s Perfect Shepherding’). Christ is our Google Maps! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the way to the Father. So next time you use your GPS, perhaps you can see the Lord as your Perfect Shepherd in a new way. Using your GPS you can reflect on how in His mercy and love toward us, He is always leading us back onto the right path, toward His glorious purpose of seeing Christ formed in us.

 

Christ Our Bridegroom

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks but we’ve had two different families from NSW staying with us over the last two long weekends for Easter and now Anzac Day.  We’ve had an awesome time and have been kept very busy with site-seeing, hanging out, walking the dog and entertaining the kids, and lots of eating!

However, I wanted to post my final contribution to the 3rdrace.org series on the Lord’s Eternal Purpose, which for the month of April has been focusing on The Bride. There are some beautiful realities posted there by the other contributors to the site and as usual, I recommend checking it out.

Anyhoo, please click on this link to read my post there on Christ Our Bridegroom.

Are You Hungry and Desperate for More of Christ?

“TO THE SAINTS” Conference 2017! If you have a real hunger and desire for a more biblical and life-giving expression of the church of Jesus Christ then this event is for you!

“TO THE SAINTS” Conference’ focus is spiritual depth, the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ, the ministry of LIFE rather than information, an emphasis on knowing Christ practically and expressing Him with others in close-knit community, connecting with others of like mind and vision, and equipping God’s people to fulfill His grand mission and eternal purpose in the earth.

Click on the link below which will lead you to the event website!

via Exciting New Event that You Won’t Want to Miss! — Blog of Milt Rodriguez

Why Did God Want A Family?

Please follow the link below to read my contribution to 3rdrace.org for the ongoing  series on God’s Eternal Purpose.  For the month of February, we are focusing on God’s Family.

 Excerpt from

Why Did God Want A Family

I have never had children of my own. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to, the timing was just never quite right. AT times I have really wanted to start a family. As I was preparing to write this post and contemplated the question of why God wanted a family, I asked myself ‘why did I want a family?’

Read on.

 

 

 

What Is God’s House Like?

nature-1984314_1280For the month of January, the awesome dudes on 3rdrace.org blogged about ‘God’s House’.  It was part of a series they’re doing pertaining to God’s Eternal Purpose – (God having an ultimate intention, desire and passion for obtaining a house and a family for the Father, a bride and a body for the Son and a temple for the Holy Spirit). For the month of February they are focussing on God’s desire for a ‘Family’ as the next part in this series and I will be contributing to that. I thoroughly recommend visiting their site to read the current posts.

As most of you would know by following my blog, Derek and I have just relocated to Perth. We arrived five weeks ago and are soooo blessed to be staying with a wonderful brother and sister who have welcomed us (and our dog Rocky) with open arms. We are truly so thankful to these guys. 🙂

Reading through 3rd race’s posts on God wanting a house and with us being in this situation of not having our own house just yet, has really opened my eyes to why having a house of His own is so important to God. So I’d like to share my thoughts.

Derek and I are looking for a rental but God doesn’t want a rental. He doesn’t want a Guest House or a B&B. He wants His own house. He doesn’t want your house or my house. As nice as it is when we cry out “You are welcome here today Lord”, He doesn’t want anyone else’s house where He can be a welcome guest. He wants His own house.

Why do you and I like to have our own house? Well, it’s where we dwell, right? We want a permanent place to dwell where we can rest, be comfortable, relaxed and feel completely free to be ourselves – hence the expression to ‘feel at home’ means all these things.  It’s in our nature to desire a home because it is in God’s nature – it is part of us having been made in His image.

In our own home we furnish it with things we like and furniture that we find comfortable and that works well for our needs. We set up the house to reflect our needs and pleasures. If you’re a handyman you probably like a shed where you can keep all your tools and have a great work bench to make things. If you’re a cook, you’ll probably want a kitchen that functions well for a lot of cooking and you’ll have appliances there that suit your needs. If you’re like us and you love to watch movies, you’ll probably want a comfy couch and a big screen tele so you can get the best cinematic experience you can. And on it goes.

So what about God’s house? Initially I was going to say that I don’t know Him well enough to know how He’d want to furnish His house, other than to say that I know He’d want it to be a place where He can rest, be comfortable, relaxed and completely free to be Himself. However, I think I actually do know how He’d want to furnish His house….(in fact, how He already is furnishing it).

Just take a look at these scriptures;

O LORD, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. (Psalm 26:8)

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23).

So the Word became human and made his home among us...(John 1:4)

We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’ (Mark 14:58)

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:17)

As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)

Your testimonies are very sure: holiness becomes your house, O LORD, for ever. (Psalm 93:5)

In my Father’s house there are many rooms…I go to prepare a place for you…(John 14:2)

Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples (Isaiah 56:7)

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'” (Matthew 21:13)

Reflecting carefully on these scriptures, I would describe God’s house like this;

God’s house is a spiritual house, not yet complete. It is being built together of living stones and not built by human hands but by the Spirit of God. It is an Owner/Builder one-off project. It’s foundations is Christ. It’s cornerstone is Christ. It’s capstone is Christ. It has many rooms in it. The Father and the Son both dwell there in love. Therefore its rooms are filled with  love and the presence of God permeates the walls, floors and ceilings with a heavenly fragrance. The Word of God lives there amongst the living stones. Its walls are decorated with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control – it is altogether beautiful.  Instead of a television, the light of God’s glory fills every room. It is a house that is set apart from all others because it is filled with God’s holiness – there is not another like it and never will be. Every piece of décor is a one-off original, and by design, a ‘Divine’ label.  It is a sacred place that is constantly filled to the rooftop with prayer and spiritual sacrifices where its living stones minister to God as priests day in and day out. It has an altar in the centre of it where the living stones practise the one-another’s of the New Testament (love one another, be kind to one another, carry one another’s burdens, lay down your life for one another, submit to one another in love and so on) reflecting God’s nature. It is a place that pleases God. He really, really likes it. He is completely ‘at home’ there and sees Himself reflected in every aspect of it. It is built and decorated to His own unique taste. It is filled with joy! And it has a huge ‘Welcome’ mat at its front door welcoming all people. 🙂

God’s house completely reflects and embodies His Son’s life.

The thing is, we ARE the living house of God – because His Son lives in us. The Father and the Son have made their home in us and so we ARE being built together* as a spiritual house for God, a place where Jesus Christ can lay His head, be comfortable and express Himself and His Father, freely.

Jesus said;

For whenever two or three of you are gathered together* in My name there I am in the midst.(Matthew 18:20).

As I meditated on this thought, I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of Jesus walking around amongst the two or three that are gathered. I realised that when we are gathered in His name, it is then that Jesus gets to experience being ‘at home’. In that brief picture it was as if the heavenly living reality of God’s house that exists now through the church reflecting Christ’s nature, was made visible and I could see that Jesus is ‘at home’ in that environment. When we meet in His name, there He is! He’s walking about in His own home because He is able to move around and express Himself in each one of us as He wants to – relaxed, comfortable, full of joy and at rest.

Does this change your perspective on the way you have always seen the house of God?

Oh Lord, build Your house, transform us, build us together as Your living stones, that You may dwell richly among us and be ‘at home’, for Your sake.

Amen.

*Note: According to scripture Christ does not appear in the midst of one singular separated member of His body but when two (more than one) or three are gathered together in His nameAccording to scripture one single separated member does not suffice as a spiritual house – we are a spiritual house being built together.

Christ Our All

carWell folks, it’s been a few weeks since I posted a blog. That’s because Derek and I have been packing, packing, selling, cleaning, moving out, moving my mother, visiting family, and more packing! We have moved out of our rental house, we’ve moved mum to my sister’s place into a new little portable granny flat which she is renting, and Derek and I have been sleeping at my sister’s place for a week, with Rocky the shitzu of-course!

Tomorrow we head off in our white chariot (1996 Toyota Corolla) loaded to the hilt with all our earthly possessions, to drive across the country to our destination of Perth, Western Australia where we intend to live until the Lord would say otherwise. We will be staying with beautiful friends until we both find work and can afford our own rental. For those of you that don’t know Australia very well, it’s about 5,000 kilometres or just over 3,000 miles I think.

Derek and I are making this move in response to the Lord’s call on our lives to be part of the body of believers over in Perth at this time in our walk with Him, so we can learn Christ more amongst the body there. As we have set our eyes upon His Kingdom first, He has truly taken care of everything else for us. I have so much to share about the Lord’s faithfulness to us both over these past couple of months. He has undertaken in miraculous ways – so mightily – I would definitely not do Him justice to rush it all into this post -not even in one post. So I intend to write again once we are settled interstate. I am really looking forward to sharing with you all, the Lord’s goodness to us and our family.

Until then, hope you all had a Merry Christmas and wishing you all a safe and purposeful 2017 in the purpose of God. May we all learn Him more, know Him more richly, and the power of His resurrection life.

Signing off from New South Wales Australia……. 🙂

 

What Is My Definition Of ‘Organic’ Church and How Is It Different To ‘Institutional ‘ Church? 

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Someone recently asked this question on Facebook. I thought it was a good question because there’s so many different types of gatherings that are calling themselves ‘organic’ which clearly are not. And so this was my reply with some added thoughts based on my experience and understanding.

To me, true and authentic organic church is simply, Christ. In ‘organic’ church, Christ is the Head and the life of the church. That’s what organic church is – His life.

It is the expression of Christ moving and expressing Himself, revealing the Father, the Father revealing the Son, the Holy Spirit administering the gifts amongst the priesthood of all believers as they are each functioning and being built together by the Lord Himself. It is a community of believers learning to live by Christ’s indwelling life. A community whose love for one another astounds the world and reveals Jesus Christ as God’s Son.

Any kind of structure that exists is there to support the body, not the body supporting the structure.

It is birthed by the Spirit and has God’s DNA in it because it is Christ in His body.

To me, it is The Way, as the believers in the New Testament called it. As believers lay down their soul lives for Him and one another Christ is being expressed in and through His body as He pleases – the most beautiful bride ever to exist!

It is simply, Christ as one with His own body.

😁👍🏼

Is Christ Enough? Power and Wisdom

In case you don’t follow the blog of Milt Rodriguez, I want to share with you this brother’s latest post. This post is part of a series called “Is Christ Enough?”. I pray that we are reminded over and again, how big and all sufficient our Lord is.

The Blog of Milt Rodriguez

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For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

(1 Corinthians 1:22-25)

Here, in this passage, Paul sums up the gospel that he preached in the face of insurmountable odds and extreme opposition.  It is a gospel that is so radical and so extreme that it called down unbelievable persecution upon his head everywhere he went.  This persecution was not only dished out by the heathen but more so by the religious folks, namely the Jewish nation.  It is a gospel that is so different and so outrageous that you can really only tag it…

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