John 8:12 says ‘Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”’
So Jesus has just be teaching the people from quite early in the morning outside the temple. He has been interrupted by men dragging a women before him and bringing the accusation of adultery and demanding a punishment upon her! (No sign of the man she was with!) Now as the sun is rising in the morning sky and it may be hitting his hearers eyes – he tells them that He (Jesus) is this light that gives life and light to everything!
He goes on to tell them that ‘if’ they follow him – then they (anybody – the average Joe in the street) wont have to walk around through the dark of light anymore – you wont get caught up in the dark world around you. Because you will have light! If you walk with Jesus, if you continue to ask him for guidance, you continue to allow him to illuminate your path – you truly will be walking in the light! The light that leads to abundant life!
This life is then going to be a light to all around us. Our friends family neighbours colleagues are all watching us and they see a lightness or a darkness upon us, they see a lightness or a heaviness upon us! Develop that relationship (that’s all, not a struggle, not a formula or a set of rules but a relationship) with Jesus and they will see a life that is lived joyfully and is desirable.
I want to encourage you that you are already living that life, Christ is in you (if you have been saved) so there are aspects of light already shining out of you. Continue to walk in that, be more aware that we notice the godly in you and then only out of your love for Christ develop a loving relationship that leads to a life filled with more light.
Most people know the story of David and Goliath from the Bible, it is the notorious underdog story. Much more famous that David Haye’s Boxing victory over Nikolai Valuev in 2009. But the image above gives you a slight impression of what the David of the Bible was up against (bear in mind the Bibles David was smaller and the giant Goliath was bigger!)
The truth is that all of us allow some things in our lives to become ‘giants’ to become big scary, ugly things that come to trip us up and scare us. This could be a whole host of things, for some it is the fear of others, or public speaking, or lust that can’t be defeated, or gossip, or your image, or fear of the future? What ever it is fear is the enemies tactic to ruin us.
God wants us strong and secure, these things are not supposed to have any power over us. The reason that David had no fear of Goliath and had such boldness to take the enemy down lies in 1 Samuel 16:13 which says “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” David was ‘full of the Spirit of God’, because he had been annointed by Samuel the Prophet and chosen by God the Father – David knew he was chosen!
I reckon David never forgot that moment when the oil rolled down his head, when ever he was in a tough situation he remembered that moment and who God had made him to be. We all have it even better than David we have the Holy Spirit living ‘inside’ us! Not resting ‘on’ us! So the Spirit can be even more powerful in us! We are not aware enough of the Spirit of God and are not prepared to yield to Him enough.
When we know like David did who we are and who resides in us then we can rip the head off a bear or lion or giant, we can completely take our victory from any fear, any insecurity, any worry that wants to beat us. Know that you are a chosen child of God – know that the Holy Spirit lives in you – come to know his power! No giant has any power comparable to the Spirit of the living God! Daily remind yourself of this! Ask the Holy Spirit to become more real to you each day.
We finish our series on words with the damming reminder from James in chapter 3 that the tongue is deadly! It can effect and infect our entire body and it is set on fire by hell itself! Wow – this is a severe warning. The scripture asks who can tame the tongue?
The only way that we can tame this tongue is by being yielded (give in to) the Holy Spirit working in our lives. We need to be more aware of Him prompting us and working in us. The last fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5 is ‘Self Control’ we need to develop this like our lives depend on it. Because they kinda do!
James 3.10 tells us that Christians should not be saying nice things one minute and then later allowing garbage to come out of our mouth, we have a responsibility to sound different! In our sounding different we will think and act differently too! We are a ‘called out’ ‘set a side’ people, yes we live in the culture but we are not supposed to look and sound like the culture, we are above it – setting a culture that is above the earthly one.
So as you go about the next few days and weeks remember the list of attributes our tongue can be known for like manipulating, betraying, lying, harsh, even silent – we don’t want to be those people! We don’t want to grow that culture! We want the opposite, we want to develop a culture in our church and youth ministry that is always lifting others up and speaking them up!
You can do this, you can be this, you can build and shape this place – but you need the Holy Spirit to do it. And we all need to yield more and more to what He would want us to say. So each day ask him. Keep silent when you sense it’s time to. Don’t allow evil sounding stuff to come out. Ask Him to help you flip your comments around!
There is so much to say about the power of words to direct and effect our lives. The Bible rightly warns and guides us that the power to life and also death – is in the power of the tongue….if you speak positively and encouragingly to yourself and about your future it can only go better for you and you in fact create opportunities, you effect attitudes and you infect mindsets.
One of the most powerful things we can then do as young people is speak out the future we want today – remember this begins today and carries on tomorrow. It is a daily task to renew the mind and one of the best ways to do that is to speak out what you believe God wants for you today and then live as though it really is true.
I told you how for a number of years at school and in to college I spoke out my fears and doubts and I went through experiences that I hated and desperately don’t want you to go through. Remember that fears and doubt will come.
Moving to a new school/college/year group, doing exams or moving on to Uni or a job can be tough transitions, these can be anxious transitions and challenges – but if you have a doubt or fear don’t speak it out. Tell God, a parent or a mentor yes, but don’t dwell on your negative feelings this produces a future you do not want.
Rather build confessions that are positive, flip your confession around – only allow good stuff to come out and believe me you will see a change! Believe and confess and by the time the summer roles around you will be celebrating – great results/a new job/ or at least a way better attitude!
We’re continuing to talk about the power of words. But now we’re going to talk about the written word – this can be letters, emails, texts, Facebook, snapchat etc. Basically any form of social media. What you put out on social media, and what you read on it, is more important than you may think.
The thing with written words is that they’re always in front of us, so we meditate on them. This can be good or bad, depending on what has been said to us. It’s also very easy to misunderstand words when they’re written down. When we speak face to face, we communicate through facial expression, tone of voice, and body language. But with social media you have none of that, you only have words. And this can cause so much conflict, because most conflict comes from misunderstanding.
Unfortunately social media can also be used as a tool to hurt others. Rumours can spread a lot quicker over internet than face to face. Cyber bullying can have a terrible affect on someone’s life. What you say on the internet counts. It’s still real life, and it effects people’s lives. It’s not so simple as just deleting a bad message and the internet can affect the way others treat us in person.
The hurtful things we say to each other grieves the Holy Spirit. God cares about the way we speak to each other, because we’re all his children. God is looking intently to see whether we will build each other up, or tear each other down!
Is what you share and say helpful? It’s not about being super spiritual, but building others up. It’s about saying what is good, encouraging, helpful or even funny. So people just become better for being around you, and hearing what you have to say.
Don’t put out mindless junk, don’t stir up drama. Drama will only hurt others, who will then hurt you back. Break the chain and choose to speak only what is good.
Wow, what a teaching on the power of words Raphael Burke brought us last Friday. Raphael is famous because of his involvement in the Manchester United Youth team and part of the ‘class of 92’. He attributes not going to the next level in Football to the power of his words!
When Raph was a boy and a teen growing up in Bristol he told everyone that he was the best! And he was – no one could touch him. So much that the England Manager Bobby Robson spotted him playing and he went to the Academy for future England stars as a 14 year old! He then signed with Manchester United with Ryan Giggs the Neville’s and even roomed with David Beckham!
What began to happen away from home was a questioning of his ability! It only takes one person to feed doubt or criticise, before we can question ourselves as a teen! God’s desire is for us to remain strong in Him and believe what He thinks of us! But as teenagers we often don’t accept this and so Raph started to tell himself and call his Mum to say I don’t know if I can do this – I’m not playing so good anymore and through this complete reverse of confession and belief he started to play bad – skill he could previously do easily not coming off, missing tap ins!
There is tremendous power in what we confess and believe – our entire life depends on it. It is not God that wrecks our plans but us! Through the words that we confess and believe….we frame our future with the words that we speak, Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the tongue can bring us life and death!
What ever you do – don’t allow yourself to speak negatively, stop yourself and re-frame it, otherwise it will contaminate your heart and your life will go in the direction you do not want.
Last Friday Andrew brought a message on what true worship is.
The Websters definition says that Worship is to honour with ‘extravagant love’ and ‘extreme submission’. And our Worship Pastor Nathan says from Matt Redman that Worship is a response, and it will grow or shrink in direct proportion to our view of Him.
I heard some research on the recovery of patients from Gall Bladder treatment, the outcome was that patients who had a view of landscape recovered much quicker than patients who had a view of a brick wall. The truth here is that we are limited by our vision and what we can see.
What we see, our view, the lense we wear to view and know God is so vitally important! If we have a healthy loving view of the Father our response to him will be strong and positive. It is so essential that we work through the misconceptions we have of God and see Him as one who desires to know us and be known by us to shower us with love and favor.
And so we must learn to worship God for who he is and not what he does for us, may we not be people that only respond well to what we can get, that is what spoilt children do.
I leave you with the question, what are you extremely submitted to? What takes your time, what are you happy to give yourself to? And what do you show extravagant love to? This will give an indicator of any potential idols, these may be computer games, Netflix, social media, money, anything. Let it be God. As Psalm 96:9 says ‘Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.’
Remember this year we are in a brand new venue, we have heard from other Churches that it is a brilliant venue and we are so exited after visiting it, full of anticipation and ideas. It is in Ledbury about an hour from Bristol at a site called the Poplars.
The cost is remaining at £130 this year for the 4 nights Sunday 19th August – Thursday 23rd August this time and is great value for money for beds, food, teaching and all activities. Bring your swimming kit this year as there is a pool!
If you pay before July early bird rate of only £120!!
Our planning meetings will be beginning this month, thank you for praying for the success that we expect and for being a part of this new exciting Camp.