Firstly I want to start by raving about how amazing our first Elim Church Christchurch City camp was. I was so blessed to see how many made it to the camp and then to see people connecting for the very first time. There were so many stories of God’s blessing and favor over the weekend and in the lead up to it. I can’t list them all but one of the highlights that really encouraged me was hearing that one person from our church felt lead by God to pay for 10 people to attend the camp that would not have been able to do so otherwise. This is a great testimony of the faithfulness and generosity and obedience that people have in God. Thank you to everyone involved in making it happen, we are definitely going to have another camp next year so watch this space.
In my reading this morning I came across this well-known passage in Matthew 12:9-21
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
The challenge of the Church to be able to freely follow the Lord and not be constrained by religious practices and traditions is not a new thing, it’s be the ongoing challenge for centuries but the answer of how to distinguish whether something is religious or not is simply to ask the question. Is God behind what you’re doing? Here in this passage Christ comes face to face with a test. What does he do? He heals the man with the shrivelled hand. Was God behind it? I think we can confidently say God was.
Keep trusting in God, keep close to his leading in your life. Follow his ways at all times and you too will begin to see how good God really is.
This Sunday I want to ask you to come to one of our two services. This weekend we have the privilege of hosting one of Gods most amazing servants. David Pierce or “No longer Music” has dedicated his life to reaching the unreached with the uncompromising message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is one of those people who when you listen to you will be so glad you did. His ministry and mission has taken him all over the world. To some of the hardest to reach places. He loves the Lord with a passion. So come early this Sunday. We will have coffee and tea ready for you. Invite your friends and family to this very special Service.
Also I want to encourage you to attend NZ and Beyond Conference. Hosted by Ps Tak Bhana from Church Unlimited. It starts Monday March 16th at 7pm. The two evening meetings are open and free with offering taken up to cover costs. The theme is “HEAL OUR LAND” and the speakers are Glen Berteau, Russell Evans, Danny Guglielmucci and Tak Bhana.
Check out their website for more information. www.nzandbeyond.com
We are just loving what God is doing in our church. Please keep praying for Taua and I and the girls. We definitely need prayer covering as we move forward in faith.
See you this Sunday, cheering you on. Nu and Taua