Estuary Elim News & Blog

Estuary Elim News & Blog

News, wit and wisdom from our church ministers, department leaders and members of our church.
Note: The views expressed by individuals within this blog are their own!

...

 29 May 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Divine Power and Precious Promises

Today, we delve into 2 Peter 1:3-4, a passage rich with encouragement and assurance for every believer. Peter, one of Jesus' closest disciples, writes to remind us of the incredible resources we have in Christ. Through His divine power and precious promises, God equips us to live godly lives and partake in His divine nature. Let's explore how these truths can transform our lives.

Divine Power for Godly Living
2 Peter 1:3 (NLT): "By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life."

Peter begins by highlighting that God's divine power has provided us with everything necessary for godly living. This power is not limited or insufficient; it is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and sustains the universe.

Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT): "I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God's right hand in the heavenly realms."

Paul is praying for the Ephesian believers to grasp the enormity of God's power available to them. This power is not ordinary; it is the same divine force that resurrected Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to the highest place of honour. This resurrection power is at work within every believer, enabling us to live victorious and transformed lives. When we comprehend the greatness of this power, our faith is strengthened, and we are emboldened to live out our calling.

Consider the story of a young apprentice learning from a master craftsman. The master provides all the tools and guidance needed for the apprentice to succeed. Similarly, God equips us with all we need through His power.

John Piper once said, "The power of God means that God is able to do all that He wills to do." We can live confidently, knowing that God's power is at work in us.

Knowledge of Him Who Called Us
2 Peter 1:3 (NLT): "We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvellous glory and excellence."

Peter underscores that our empowerment comes from knowing Jesus. This knowledge is relational and transformative. It's through this intimate relationship that we access the resources for godly living.

Philippians 3:10 (NLT): "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death."

Paul's desire is twofold: to know Christ intimately and to experience His resurrection power. This longing goes beyond intellectual knowledge; it is about a deep, personal relationship with Jesus. Additionally, Paul acknowledges that knowing Christ includes sharing in His sufferings. This shared suffering shapes us into Christ's likeness and deepens our fellowship with Him. Experiencing Christ's power and suffering transforms our lives, enabling us to live with purpose and resilience.

Think of a vine and its branches. As the branches remain connected to the vine, they receive nourishment and bear fruit. Our connection to Christ, the true vine, ensures we receive all we need for spiritual vitality.

A.W. Tozer stated, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Knowing God shapes our identity and purpose.

Precious Promises for Divine Nature
2 Peter 1:4 (NLT): "And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires."

God's promises are rooted in His character - His glory and excellence. These promises enable us to partake in His divine nature, transforming us from within and helping us overcome sinful desires.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT): "For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!' And through Christ, our 'Amen' (which means 'Yes') ascends to God for His glory."

Paul assures the Corinthians that every promise God has made finds its fulfilment in Jesus Christ. In Christ, God's promises are affirmed and guaranteed. Our response to these promises is to say 'Amen,' meaning we agree and trust in God's faithfulness. This affirmation not only glorifies God but also strengthens our faith as we stand on the certainty of His promises. Jesus is the ultimate proof of God's trustworthiness and the embodiment of His promises.

Imagine a person receiving an inheritance that changes their life completely. God's promises are our spiritual inheritance, offering transformation and victory over sin.

Charles Spurgeon said, "God never gives a promise He does not intend to fulfil." We can trust in His promises, knowing they are certain and life-changing.

Each of these scriptures emphasises a different aspect of our relationship with Christ and the transformative power of God at work within us. From understanding the incredible power available to us as believers to desiring a deep, experiential knowledge of Christ, to trusting in the fulfilled promises of God, and finally, to being transformed by the renewal of our minds, we are called to live lives that reflect His glory and purpose. Let us embrace these truths and allow them to shape our faith and actions daily.

Application and Call to Action
Embrace God's Power: Trust that God's power equips you for every challenge. Spend time in prayer and ask God to manifest His power in your life.
Deepen Your Knowledge of Christ: Invest in your relationship with Jesus through daily Bible study and worship. Seek to know Him more intimately.
Claim God's Promises: Memorise and meditate on God's promises. Let them guide and transform your thoughts and actions.
Live a Transformed Life: Reflect Christ in your daily living. Let your life be a testament to the transformative power of God's promises.

By embracing these principles, we can live godly lives that reflect the glory and excellence of our Lord. Let us seek to be transformed by His truth daily, shining His light in a world that desperately needs it.


 22 May 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Rejoice and Be Glad:
Seeking God in All Things

Psalm 70:4 (NLT): But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, 'God is great!'

Today, we delve into Psalm 70:4, a verse that calls us to rejoice and be glad as we seek God and celebrate His salvation. This Psalm, written by David, is a plea for God's help in times of trouble, yet it contains profound truths about joy and worship that are relevant to us today. Let us explore how searching for God can fill us with joy, how loving His salvation leads us to proclaim His greatness, and how these truths transform our lives.

Joy in Seeking God
Psalm 70:4 (NLT): "But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you."

David's prayer is that those who earnestly seek God will experience joy and gladness. This joy is not dependent on circumstances but is a deep, abiding pleasure in God's presence. Seeking God involves pursuing Him through prayer, worship, and studying His Word. When we seek God, we find Him, and in His presence, there is fullness of joy.

Psalm 16:11 (NLT): "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever."

In Psalm 16:11, David expresses a profound confidence in God's guidance and the joy that comes from His presence. The "way of life" refers to the path of righteousness and eternal life that God reveals to His people. This verse highlights two key aspects: the guidance of God and the joy that comes from being in His presence. The joy David speaks of is not a fleeting emotion but a deep, abiding delight found in a relationship with God. This joy is everlasting, continuing into eternity, where believers will fully experience the pleasures of living with God forever.

This verse reinforces the idea that true joy is found in God's presence.

Imagine a child playing hide and seek. The excitement and joy the child feels when finding a hidden friend reflect our joy when we find God in our daily lives. This joy is a divine gift that fills our hearts when we draw near to Him.

John Piper said, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Our joy in God glorifies Him and reflects His goodness to the world.

Proclaiming God's Greatness
Psalm 70:4 (NLT): "May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, 'God is great!'"

Loving God's salvation leads to an outpouring of praise. When we understand and appreciate the magnitude of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, our natural response is to declare His greatness. This proclamation is not a one-time event but a continual expression of gratitude and worship.

1 Peter 2:9 (NLT): "But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."

1 Peter 2:9 speaks to the identity and purpose of believers. Peter contrasts believers with those who reject God, emphasising that Christians are a "chosen people," set apart for a special purpose. The terms "royal priests" and "holy nation" indicate a sacred calling to serve God and represent Him to the world. As God's possession, believers are called to reflect His goodness and proclaim His praises. This calling is rooted in the transformative experience of being brought out of darkness and into God's marvellous light, symbolising salvation and the new life in Christ.

This verse emphasises our identity and mission to declare God's goodness.

Consider the enthusiasm of a sports fan whose team has just won the championship. They can't help but shout and celebrate. Similarly, when we grasp the depth of God's salvation, our hearts overflow with praise, and we can't help but tell others about His greatness.

Charles Spurgeon stated, "A great God should be greatly praised."

Our praise should match the greatness of our God, reflecting our love for His salvation.

Transformation through Worship
Psalm 70:4 (NLT): "May all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, 'God is great!'"

Worship transforms us. When we seek God and proclaim His greatness, it changes our perspective and aligns our hearts with His. This transformation impacts how we live, making us more like Christ and enabling us to shine His light in the world.

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT): "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges believers to respond to God's mercy by offering themselves as living sacrifices. This call to total commitment involves dedicating one's body and life to God's service, which is described as the true and proper worship. Paul contrasts this with conforming to the world's patterns, which are often contrary to God's ways. Instead, believers are to undergo a transformation by renewing their minds, allowing God to change their thinking and understanding. This renewal leads to discernment of God's will, which is characterised as good, pleasing, and perfect.

This passage highlights the transformative power of true worship.

A potter shapes clay on the wheel, moulding it into a beautiful vessel. Similarly, as we worship and seek God, He shapes us, refining our character and purposes to reflect His glory.

A.W. Tozer once said, "Worship is the missing jewel of the church."

True worship transforms us and restores this precious jewel, enhancing our spiritual lives and witness.

Conclusion
These verses encourage us to seek God's presence, embrace our identity and purpose in Christ, and live transformed lives that reflect His glory. May we strive to live out these truths daily, experiencing the fullness of joy and purpose that comes from knowing and serving our great God.

In seeking God, proclaiming His greatness, and allowing worship to transform us, we experience the fullness of joy and the richness of His presence. Let us be a people who continuously seek the Lord, declare His greatness, and are transformed by our worship.

Application and Call to Action
Seek God Daily: Commit to daily prayer and Bible study, intentionally seeking God's presence and wisdom.

Proclaim His Greatness: Make it a habit to share your testimony and the greatness of God with others, both in words and actions.

Transformative Worship: Engage in worship that transforms you, offering your life as a living sacrifice and allowing God to shape you into the person He created you to be.

May we all be filled with joy and gladness as we seek God, love His salvation, and proclaim His greatness.


 9 May 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Awakening Prayer Guide

A renewed emphasis on prayer
For too long, prayer has been relegated to a secondary role, often neglected in the planning of important programmes and activities. This, in turn, has created a vulnerability in the spiritual realm. The underlying assumption was that God's presence would naturally accompany our acts of faith. However, a powerful awakening to the centrality of prayer is sweeping across the Church, both here in Britain and internationally. Every new church planting, outreach initiative, and programme is now being saturated in prayer - before, during, and after its execution.

At the forefront of life-changing prayer
The Elim movement has proudly stood at the forefront of promoting life-transforming prayer. Over the past decade, we've witnessed a surge in both momentum and intensity surrounding prayer. This emphasis resonates not only within Elim, but also in churches across the nation. The people of God are rising to the challenge of witnessing our nation transformed by the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.

Simple steps to deeper prayer
This concise guide offers practical pointers designed to empower individuals, groups, and entire churches to witness God's escalating power manifest through prayer and intercession.

A call to deeper reflection
We invite you to delve deeper into the practice of prayer. Consider how you can personally engage more profoundly and how you might guide your congregation and fellow believers towards a richer prayer life. The guide below provides foundational concepts to assist you in becoming 'Awakened' in your prayers to Jesus Christ.

Download the Awakening Prayer Guide  Download the Awakening Postcard


 16 May 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Transformed by Compassion:
The Power of Empathy

Today, we delve into the profound call to empathy and compassion as followers of Christ, rooted in the timeless wisdom of Romans 12:15.

Romans 12:15 (NLT): "Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep."

In this verse, the apostle Paul encapsulates a core aspect of Christian empathy - to enter into the joys and sorrows of others, sharing in their experiences with genuine compassion and solidarity.

Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice
Paul urges believers to share in the joys of others, going beyond mere celebration to embody genuine empathy and solidarity.

1 Corinthians 12:26 (NLT): "And if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, all the parts are glad."

Here, Paul highlights the interconnectedness of the body of Christ. As members of the same body, we are called to celebrate each other's joys collectively, reflecting God's goodness and grace through community and mutual support.

Philippians 2:2-4 (NLT): "Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose."

Paul encourages believers to cultivate unity through selfless love and genuine concern, putting others' needs ahead of our own - a true reflection of Christ's love and purpose for His body.

Weep with Those Who Weep
Paul's instruction extends to empathising with those in sorrow, embodying Christlike compassion and solidarity in times of grief and hardship.

Job 2:11 (NLT): "When three of Job's friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and travelled from their homes to comfort and console him."

Job's friends exemplify the power of empathy through their presence and comfort. Their actions underscore the ministry of bearing one another's burdens, demonstrating profound support in times of suffering.

John 11:35 (NLT): "Then Jesus wept."

In this poignant verse, Jesus exemplifies divine empathy by weeping for His friend Lazarus. His tears reveal a deep understanding of human suffering and reflect God's compassionate heart towards His creation.

Living Transformed by Compassion
As followers of Christ, we are called to embody empathy and compassion, reflecting the love of our compassionate Saviour.

Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT): "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you."

Paul calls believers to embody Christ-like virtues - showing mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. These qualities foster unity and reconciliation, reflecting God's transformative love in our lives and relationships.

Application and Call to Action:
May we cultivate empathy and compassion in our daily interactions:
Cultivate Empathy: Seek to understand the joys and sorrows of others, rejoicing and weeping with genuine compassion.
Extend Comfort: Reach out to those in need, offering practical support and comfort in times of hardship.
Reflect Christ's Love: Let empathy and compassion be the hallmarks of our interactions, embodying God's transformative love in every relationship.

May this message inspire us to live as agents of empathy and compassion, reflecting the transformative power of God's love in our lives and communities.


 1 May 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Liberating Power of God's Truth

Today, we explore the profound truth of God's liberating power as revealed in John 8:32 "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

In this verse, Jesus unveils the transformative impact of knowing and embracing God's truth, leading us into a life of spiritual liberation.

Knowing the Truth
The journey of transformation commences with the knowledge of God's truth - revealed through His Word and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 119:105 (NLT): "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."

God's Word illuminates our way, offering guidance and revealing His truth, wisdom, and will for our lives.

John 14:6 (NLT): "Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'"

Jesus is the embodiment of truth, the exclusive path to reconciliation with God. Knowing Him intimately leads to genuine liberation.

Timothy Keller - "Truth without transformation is not truth fully embraced."

The Liberating Power of Truth
God's truth dismantles the chains of sin and falsehood, setting us free to live in alignment with His will.

Romans 6:18 (NLT): "Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living."

Through faith in Christ, believers are liberated from the dominion of sin, and empowered to live in obedience to righteousness.

Galatians 5:1 (NLT): "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law."

In Christ, we are liberated from legalistic bondage, called to walk in the freedom of God's grace and Spirit.

Charles Spurgeon - "Truth sets us free by unlocking the shackles of deception and revealing the way to genuine liberty in Christ."

Living in the Light of Truth
As recipients of God's liberating truth, we are called to walk in the light of His Word, embodying His transformative power.

Ephesians 5:8 (NLT): "For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!"

Believers are children of light, called to live authentically, reflecting God's truth and righteousness in a dark world.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT): "You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden."

As bearers of God's light, we are to shine brightly, demonstrating His truth and love through our actions.

John Stott - "Living in the truth means reflecting the character of Christ and radiating His love and grace to a broken world."

Application and Call to Action
May we embrace and embody God's liberating truth:
Commit to Studying God's Word: Daily study and application of Scripture renew our minds and transform our hearts.
Embrace Freedom in Christ: Relinquish areas of bondage and live boldly in the freedom found in Christ.
Share the Gospel: Invite others into the life-transforming power of God's Word and truth.

May this message inspire our hearts and minds to embrace and walk boldly in the liberating power of God's truth, shining brightly in a world in need of His transformative grace.


 25 April 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Revealed in Creation: Knowing God's Power and Nature

Today, we explore the profound truth of God's revelation through creation, as declared in Romans 1:20. This verse illuminates the majesty and glory of God displayed in the natural world, inviting us to recognise His existence and character through His creation.

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." (Romans 1:20, NLT)

Revelation of God's Eternal Power
The apostle Paul affirms that from the beginning of creation, humanity has been exposed to tangible evidence of God's existence and attributes. As we observe the intricacies of the earth and heavens, we encounter a testimony of God's eternal power.

The natural world bears witness to God's creative genius and sustaining power. The complexity of life, the vastness of the cosmos, and the intricate balance of ecological systems all reflect the handiwork of an omnipotent Creator.

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known." (Psalm 19:1-2, NLT)

Revelation of God's Divine Nature
Paul further reveals that God's divine nature is discernible through His creation. In observing the order and beauty of the natural world, we gain insight into the moral and spiritual attributes of God.

The beauty, symmetry, and harmony in creation reflect the goodness and perfection of the Creator. As humanity interacts with nature, there is an inherent recognition of moral truths embedded within the fabric of existence.

"O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures." (Psalm 104:24, NLT)

Confronting Ignorance and Embracing Truth
Paul concludes that humanity is without excuse in acknowledging God's existence and nature through creation. The revelation in nature demands a response - a humble recognition of the Creator and a pursuit of deeper intimacy with Him.

"Only fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!" (Psalm 14:1, NLT)

Application
As we reflect on God's revelation through creation, let us respond with awe and gratitude for His eternal power and divine nature. Embrace the truth of God's existence revealed in every aspect of creation. May we actively seek to know Him more deeply through His works and align our lives with His divine purposes.

Contemplate Creation: Take time to marvel at the natural world and discern God's attributes displayed in His handiwork.
Share the Truth: Communicate the reality of God's existence revealed in creation with others, inviting them to explore the truth.
Seek God's Presence: Pursue intimacy with God through prayer, Scripture, and reflection on His revelation in creation.

May these words inspire a deeper appreciation for God's revelation through creation and a renewed commitment to seek Him in every aspect of life.


 18 April 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Transformed by Truth: The Power of Listening and Self-Control

Today, our journey into Scripture brings us to the profound wisdom found in James 1:19-20. "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. This passage holds within it a treasure trove of principles that can reshape our lives and relationships if we are willing to heed its counsel. Let's unpack these truths together.

Quick to Listen
James begins by urging us to be quick to listen. Listening goes beyond the mere act of hearing; it embodies attentiveness and empathy towards others. Proverbs 18:13 (NLT) warns "Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish." True listening fosters understanding and cultivates meaningful connections with those around us.

As followers of Christ, we are called to exercise discernment and wisdom in our interactions. Seeking advice and instruction, as Proverbs 19:20 (NLT) encourages, "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life" - there is a pathway to acquiring true wisdom and understanding.

Slow to Speak
James also exhorts us to be slow to speak. Our words carry immense power - either to build up or tear down. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) reminds us "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Practising self-control in our speech reflects a heart attuned to God's righteousness.

Wisdom is demonstrated not only in what we say but also in knowing when to remain silent, as Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT) illustrates, "A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent." Our goal should be to speak thoughtfully and purposefully, reflecting the character of Christ in our words.

Slow to Anger
Lastly, James warns against the destructive nature of human anger. Being slow to anger requires inner strength and spiritual maturity. Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) teaches, "People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." As believers, we are called to exercise self-control and seek reconciliation instead of allowing anger to dictate our actions.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT) cautions "And ‘don't sin by letting anger control you.' Don't let the sun godown while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil." Instead, let us cultivate patience and self-control, relying on God's strength in every circumstance.

How do we apply these transformative truths to our lives?
Let us embrace the virtues of listening, self-control, and patience as outlined in James 1:19-20. By doing so, we reflect the love and righteousness of our Heavenly Father to a world in need of His grace.

Let us commit to being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger in our interactions with others. May our words and actions be a testimony to the transformative power of God's truth.

May these insights from Scripture inspire and challenge us to live transformed lives by the power of God's truth. As we apply these principles, may we bring glory to His name and bear witness to His transforming grace.

Thank you for joining me on this journey of exploration and discovery. May God bless you abundantly as you seek to be transformed by His truth.


 10 April 2024
...
Lolu Oluwaniyi
 

The Art of Waiting:
Lessons from Abraham's Journey

Based on the sermon: The Wait, preached by Lolu Oluwaniyi at Estuary Elim Ashingdon on 7 April 2024

The Wait


Recorded Sermon Audio: 7 Apr 2024 - Ashingdon PM Service Lolu Oluwaniyi

In life, waiting is inevitable. Whether it's waiting for customer service, transportation, or significant life outcomes like job offers or medical results, the waiting game can stir up a whirlwind of emotions - impatience, frustration, anxiety. We've all been there.

As Christians, our waiting can take on a unique dimension. We pray and expect swift answers, often on our terms. But what happens when God's timing doesn't align with ours? Are we prepared for the waiting room of faith?

Let's journey through the story of Abraham, a man who exemplifies the art of waiting and the transformation it brings.

Understanding the Call to Wait
Abraham's journey began with a divine call - leave everything familiar and step into the unknown - The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1). Imagine the expectations Abraham might have harboured: fulfilment, guidance, and, most importantly, the promise of descendants despite his age.

The Struggle in the Silence
Abraham's waiting wasn't smooth sailing. As years passed with no child in sight, doubts crept in. He took matters into his own hands, leading to complications and heartache (Genesis 16). The silence of God during these 13 years was deafening, yet pivotal.

Lessons Learned in the Waiting Room
Abraham's waiting period was more than just a timeline; it was a classroom of character development:
Shift in Perspective: Abraham moved from immediate desires to eternal priorities, recognizing God's perfect timing.
Character Development: Patience, perseverance, and humility blossomed in Abraham's heart.
Alignment with God's Will: He sought, discerned, and aligned his desires with God's purpose.
Dependency on God: Trusting God's wisdom and strength over human understanding.
Increased Faith: Learning to deepen his trust in God's character and faithfulness.

The Reward of Endurance
After 25 years of waiting, God revealed Himself anew to Abraham (Genesis 17). The waiting bore fruit - Isaac, the son of promise, arrived at the appointed time. Abraham's journey of faith prepared him to receive and steward God's blessings with a matured heart.

Application and Encouragement
Abraham's story speaks volumes to us today:
Rest in God's Timing: Trust in God's faithfulness and sovereignty.
Grow in Waiting: Embrace the waiting room as a season of spiritual growth.
Align with God's Will: Surrender desires to God's perfect plan.
Strengthen Faith: Believe that God's promises will come to fruition in His time.

Conclusion
In the art of waiting, God shapes our hearts, refines our character, and deepens our faith. Let's take a page from Abraham's journey and embrace the waiting room of faith with hopeful expectation. As we wait, let's draw closer to God, knowing that His timing is always perfect.

May we echo the words of Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Let us wait patiently and trustfully, for in God's time, His promises will unfold beautifully.


 3 April 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Living in the Reality of Jesus: The Resurrection and the Life

Today, let us uncover the profound truth embedded in the words of Jesus Himself.

In John 11:25, Jesus boldly declares, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying." Let's unpack this powerful statement and explore how it shapes our lives today.

Jesus, the Resurrection, and the Life:
In John 11:25, Jesus reveals Himself as the source of resurrection and life. He isn't just a conduit for life; He is Life incarnate. These words were spoken during the resurrection of Lazarus, showcasing Jesus' authority over death and His ability to breathe life into the hopeless.

Charles Spurgeon beautifully captures this truth, saying, "Our Lord's words teach us that there is more in Him than we have yet known, and that we have need to study Him more, that we may enter into His fullness."

Supporting Scriptures:
John 5:24 I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

Believing in the Resurrection and the Life:
Jesus beckons us to place our trust in Him, promising eternal life to all who do so. This belief isn't merely intellectual; it's transformative, leading to spiritual resurrection and eternal life.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer beautifully articulates this, saying, "To believe in Jesus Christ means to participate in his resurrection, to live in the light of his resurrection, to die in the strength of his resurrection, and to hope for the day of his resurrection."

Supporting Scriptures:
John 3:16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:9-10 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Living in the Light of the Resurrection and the Life:
As believers, we're called to embrace the reality of Jesus' resurrection power, living victoriously over sin and death, and sharing the hope of Christ with others.

Oswald Chambers captures this sentiment, saying, "The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings but a life of walking and not fainting."

Supporting Scriptures:
Romans 6:4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

The foundational truths of the Christian faith:
Salvation through Jesus Christ alone, the transformative power of belief, and the hope of resurrection and eternal life for all who trust in Him. Let's embrace this truth, walk in the light of His resurrection, and share His life-giving message with the world.

Application:
Reflect on your belief in Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. Are you truly living in the light of His resurrection power? Commit to walking in faith, embracing the new life He offers, and sharing His hope with those around you.

Call to Action:
Take a moment to pray and ask God to deepen your understanding of Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. Ask Him to reveal areas of your life where you need to experience His resurrection power more fully. Then, go forth, transformed by the truth of Jesus, to live a life that brings glory to His name.

May God bless you abundantly as you walk in the reality of Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. Amen.


 27 March 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Grounded in Truth: The Historical Reality of Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection

In today's world, where scepticism and doubt often overshadow faith, it's essential to anchor our beliefs in the bedrock of historical truth. As Christians, our faith hinges on the foundational events of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Let's delve into the significance of these historical realities and their profound impact on our lives.

The Crucifixion: A Historical Fact
The apostle Paul affirms the centrality of Jesus' sacrifice in securing our salvation in Romans 3:25, "For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood."

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ stands as one of the most well-documented events in ancient history. Not only do the accounts in the New Testament provide detailed descriptions of this event, but numerous non-Christian sources also corroborate its occurrence. From the writings of Roman historians like Tacitus to Jewish sources like Josephus, the crucifixion of Jesus is affirmed as a historical reality.

Billy Graham - "The death of Jesus is the hinge upon which all human history turns."

The Resurrection: A Defining Moment
The angel's proclamation in Luke 24:6 confirms the reality of Jesus' resurrection, "He isn't here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee"

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin of the Christian faith. Without it, our faith would be in vain. The empty tomb and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples provide compelling evidence for this transformative event. The early Christian community staked everything on the reality of the resurrection, boldly proclaiming it despite facing persecution and martyrdom.

Charles Stanley - "The resurrection gives our faith the strength to meet every challenge."

The Impact on Our Faith
Paul's assertion in 1 Corinthians 15:17 underscores the pivotal importance of the resurrection to our faith, "And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins."

The historical truth of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection has profound implications for our faith. It validates the claims of Christianity and assures our salvation. Our faith is not based on myths or legends but on verifiable historical events that have endured time. Believing in the reality of Jesus' death and resurrection transforms our lives, offering hope, redemption, and eternal life.

N.T. Wright - "The resurrection is the guarantee that all the sad things will become untrue."

As believers, let us reaffirm our commitment to the historical truths of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. May we boldly proclaim these realities to a sceptical world, sharing the hope and joy of knowing the risen Saviour. Let us anchor our faith in the solid foundation of historical truth, allowing it to transform our lives and inspire others to embrace the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, our faith is grounded in truth - the historical reality of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Let us hold fast to these foundational truths, allowing them to shape our beliefs, guide our actions, and ignite our passion for sharing the Gospel with the world.


 20 March 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Transformed by the Triumph of Palm Sunday

As Palm Sunday approaches, Christians around the world prepare to commemorate Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Beyond its historical significance, Palm Sunday holds profound lessons for us today, reminding us of the transformative power of Christ in our lives.

The Humble King
Matthew 21:5 (NLT) "Tell the people of Jerusalem, 'Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey - riding on a donkey's colt.'"

In this verse, we see Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, where the Messiah is described as humble and riding on a donkey. This act of humility contrasts sharply with the expectations of a conquering king riding on a warhorse. Jesus' choice of transportation symbolises His gentle and peace-loving nature, setting the tone for His mission of redemption and reconciliation.

"The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a powerful reminder that true leadership is characterised by humility and servanthood." Charles R. Swindoll

Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT) "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being."

The Adoration of the Crowds
Matthew 21:9 (NLT) "Jesus was in the centre of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, 'Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!'"

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted Him with shouts of praise and adoration, recognising Him as the long-awaited Messiah. Their joyful acclamation reflects the widespread expectation of a deliverer who would liberate them from Roman oppression. However, their understanding of Jesus' kingship was incomplete, as they anticipated an earthly ruler rather than a spiritual saviour.

"The praises of Palm Sunday quickly turned to cries of 'Crucify Him!' on Good Friday, reminding us of the fickleness of human devotion." John MacArthur

Luke 19:40 (NLT) - "He replied, 'If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!'"

The Call to Personal Transformation
Romans 12:2 (NLT) "Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

Palm Sunday invites us to reflect on our own response to Jesus' kingship. Are we merely spectators, joining the crowd in momentary praise, or are we willing to undergo a deeper transformation of heart and mind? True discipleship requires us to align our lives with God's will, allowing His transformative power to renew us from the inside out.

"The journey of faith begins with acknowledging Jesus as King and continues with surrendering our lives to His lordship." Rick Warren

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"

Palm Sunday is not merely a historical event but a timeless invitation to encounter the transformative power of Jesus Christ. As we reflect on His humble entry into Jerusalem, may we respond with hearts of humility, adoration, and surrender. Let us allow His kingship to reign in our lives, transforming us into vessels of His love and grace.

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, let us commit to living as citizens of God's kingdom, bearing witness to His transformative power in our lives. May our words and actions reflect the humility and love of Christ, inviting others to experience the life-changing message of the Gospel.

Take time this Palm Sunday to recommit your life to Jesus Christ as King. Surrender your hopes, fears, and dreams to Him, trusting in His transformative power to renew and restore. Let us walk in the footsteps of our humble King, bearing witness to His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.


 14 March 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Embracing God's Promise of Purpose

Romans 8:28 (NLT): "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."

Romans 8:28, is a verse brimming with hope amidst life's trials. Let's dive into its depth and uncover the transformative power of God's promise to weave everything together for good.

God's Sovereign Control
Psalm 103:19 (NLT): "The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything."

This verse reveals God's sovereignty over all creation. He reigns supreme, orchestrating every detail of our lives from His heavenly throne. Knowing this, we find solace in His wisdom and power to guide us through life's journey.

His Promise of Provision
Philippians 4:19 (NLT): "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."

God's provision knows no bounds. He lavishly meets our needs from His abundant riches. Rest assured, He provides for us abundantly through Christ Jesus, ensuring we lack nothing on our journey.

Unveiling His Purpose
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT): "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

In this beloved verse, we glimpse God's heart. His plans for us are filled with hope and promise, tailored to bring us a bright future. Embrace His purpose, for it is one of goodness and blessing.

These verses paint a vivid picture of God's character and care. Trust in His sovereignty, provision, and purpose for your life. His plans are for your welfare, leading to a future brimming with hope. Anchor your faith in God's promises. Surrender your fears, embrace His provision, and walk confidently in His purpose for you.

Let's live with unwavering trust in God's promise of purpose.
He is faithful to fulfil His word in our lives.


 6 March 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Mothering Sunday: Honouring the Heart of Motherhood

On Mothering Sunday, we come together to celebrate the profound influence of motherhood in our lives. It's a time to acknowledge and appreciate the love, strength, and wisdom that mothers embody. But beyond earthly expressions, we also recognise the spiritual depth of nurturing and caring, guided by the timeless truths found in God's Word.

The Divine Source of Motherhood
Isaiah 66:13 (NLT) - "I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child."

In Isaiah's imagery, God reveals Himself as a compassionate mother, comforting and nurturing His children. This portrayal underscores the divine origin of motherhood, rooted in God's character of love and compassion.

Elisabeth Elliot beautifully reflects, "The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman."

The Sacrificial Love of Motherhood
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (NLT) - "We were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too."

Paul's analogy illustrates the sacrificial love inherent in motherhood. Mothers selflessly give of themselves, mirroring Christ's sacrificial love for us.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, "The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation."

The Enduring Legacy of Motherhood
Proverbs 31:28-29 (NLT) - Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!

A godly mother's influence extends beyond her immediate family, shaping generations to come. Her legacy of faith and love leaves an indelible mark on society and the Kingdom of God.

D.L. Moody remarked, "The influence of a godly mother is immeasurable. Her prayers and teachings can shape the destiny of nations."

As we reflect on Mothering Sunday, let us honour the heart of motherhood, recognising its divine source, sacrificial love, and enduring legacy. Let us cherish and appreciate the mothers in our midst, seeking to emulate their Christ-like love and nurturing spirit. Above all, let us remember our ultimate parent, our Heavenly Father, who embodies perfect love and compassion towards His children.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


 29 February 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Leap Year: Embracing Transformative Opportunities

A leap year presents us with a unique opportunity to embrace transformation and growth - as a leap year adds an extra day to our calendar, let's seize this additional time to reflect on God's truth and pursue personal and spiritual development.

Reflecting on God's Faithfulness
On this extra day, take a moment to reflect on God's faithfulness in your life. Consider the ways He has guided you through challenges, provided for your needs, and shown His love and grace. Use this time to deepen your relationship with Him through prayer, reading His Word, and worship.

Psalm 33:4-5 "For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth."

Seizing Opportunities for Growth
Just as a leap year offers an extra day for opportunities, let's use this time to pursue personal and spiritual growth. Identify areas in your life where you can step out in faith, overcome obstacles, and embrace new challenges. Seek God's guidance as you pursue your goals and aspirations, trusting in His provision and strength.

Philippians 3:13-14 "No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

Embracing Transformation
As we journey through this leap year, let's embrace the transformative power of God's truth in our lives. Allow His Word to renew your mind, transform your heart, and shape your character. Seek opportunities to share His love and truth with others, being a beacon of light in a world that desperately needs hope and redemption.

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

As we navigate through this leap year, let's remember that God is faithful, and He has a purpose and plan for each of us. Let's seize the opportunities before us, trusting in His guidance and embracing transformation in our lives. May this leap year be a time of spiritual growth, renewal, and God-inspired leaps of faith.


 22 February 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Embracing God's Call: Transformed by His Purpose

Let's explore the transformative power of God's calling in our lives, as revealed in 2 Timothy 1:9-10. Let us delve into the depths of this passage and discover how God's purpose transforms us and empowers us to live out His truth.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT) "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time - to show us His grace through Christ Jesus. And now He has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Saviour. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News."

In these verses, the Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, highlights the divine initiative behind salvation and calling. He emphasises that our salvation and calling are not based on our merit or deserving but on God's sovereign plan and grace. From before the beginning of time, God ordained that His people would be saved and called to live holy lives.

Paul underscores that the revelation of God's plan was made manifest through the incarnation of Christ Jesus. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus broke the power of death and illuminated the path to eternal life and immortality. The Good News of salvation through Christ is the central message that transforms lives and brings hope to humanity.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "The gospel is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself."

John Piper emphasises, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul articulates a foundational truth about salvation: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast"

Paul emphasises that salvation is entirely a gift from God. It is not something earned through human effort or merit but is solely a result of God's grace. This grace is accessed through faith, which is the channel through which we receive God's gift of salvation. By highlighting that salvation is not based on works, Paul emphasises that no one can boast in their own righteousness but must humbly acknowledge their need for God's grace.

In Titus 3:5, Paul further elaborates on the nature of salvation: "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit."

Paul reiterates the emphasis on God's initiative in salvation. Salvation is not based on any righteous deeds performed by individuals but is solely a result of God's mercy. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, our sins are washed away, and we are granted a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. This passage underscores the transformative nature of salvation, which brings about a spiritual rebirth and empowers believers to live in accordance with God's will.

In both passages, Paul emphasises the central role of God's grace in the salvation of humanity. Salvation is a gift freely given by God, not earned through human effort. It is through faith in Jesus Christ that we access this grace and experience the transformative power of salvation, which brings about forgiveness of sins, spiritual renewal, and new life in Christ. These passages serve as a reminder of the foundational truth of the Christian faith and the unmerited favour of God extended to all who believe.

Application:
Embrace God's Calling: Recognise that God has a unique purpose and plan for each of us. Surrender your life to His will and trust in His divine calling for you.

Live a Holy Life: Respond to God's calling by living a life that reflects His holiness and righteousness. Seek to honour God in all aspects of your life, knowing that you are set apart for His glory.

Share the Good News: As recipients of God's grace and calling, we are called to share the Gospel with others. Let us boldly proclaim the transformative message of salvation through Jesus Christ, inviting others to experience the same life-changing grace.

As we reflect on God's calling and purpose for our lives, let us commit to living in obedience to His Word and sharing the Good News with boldness and compassion. May our lives be transformed by His truth, and may we be instruments of His grace in the world around us.


 14 February 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Transformative Power of Love

Today, we delve into the profound truths of 1 Corinthians 13, where the Apostle Paul expounds on the transformative power of love. In this passage, Paul reveals the essence of genuine love and its indispensable role in our lives as followers of Christ.

Love is Essential
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT) "If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing."

Paul emphasises that without love, even the most impressive spiritual gifts and acts of sacrifice are meaningless. He uses hyperbolic language to emphasise the utter emptiness of these actions without love.

Corrie Ten Boom said, "The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation."

1 John 4:7 (NLT) "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God."

In this verse, the Apostle John highlights the centrality of love in the Christian life. He urges believers to continue loving one another, emphasising that love originates from God Himself. Those who demonstrate love are identified as children of God, indicating a close relationship with Him. This verse underscores the inseparable connection between love and the knowledge of God, suggesting that genuine love is a fruit of intimate fellowship with Him.

Love is Selfless
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

Paul provides a detailed description of love, highlighting its selfless and sacrificial nature. Love is patient, kind, humble, forgiving, and enduring. It seeks the well-being of others above its own desires.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God."

In Ephesians 5:2, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to imitate Christ by living lives characterised by love. He points to Jesus Christ as the ultimate example of selfless love, referencing His sacrificial death on the cross. Christ's love was not merely sentimental but sacrificial, as He willingly offered Himself for the redemption of humanity. Paul emphasises that this sacrificial love is pleasing to God, indicating its significance in the Christian walk.

Love is Eternal
1 Corinthians 13:8 (NLT) "Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!"

Paul contrasts the temporary nature of spiritual gifts with the eternal nature of love. While other gifts may cease, love will endure for all eternity, as it reflects the very character of God.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

Romans 13:10 (NLT) "Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfils the requirements of God's law."

In Romans 13:10, Paul succinctly summarises the essence of God's law - love. He asserts that love is the fulfilling of the law, indicating that all the commandments are encapsulated in the principle of love. When individuals genuinely love others, they naturally refrain from harming them or violating their rights. This verse underscores the transformative power of love, as it not only fulfils the divine requirements but also fosters harmony and righteousness within the community.

In summary, these verses collectively emphasise the importance of love in the Christian life. They highlight love as the defining characteristic of God's children, the exemplar set by Christ, and the fulfilment of God's law. As believers, we are called to embody this transformative love in our relationships and interactions with others, reflecting the love of God to the world around us.

As we reflect on these profound truths, let us allow the transformative power of love to permeate every aspect of our lives. May we seek to love as Christ loved us, selflessly and unconditionally. Let us commit to embodying the qualities of love described by Paul, knowing that love is not only a commandment but also the greatest expression of our faith. As we go forth from this place, may our lives be a testimony to the transformative power of God's love in us.


 8 February 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Serving with Purpose: The Vital Role of Deacons in the Local Church

In the tapestry of a vibrant local church, each thread plays a crucial role in weaving together the fabric of community and service. Among these threads, the role of deacons stands as a cornerstone of support and service. Let's explore why deacons are essential to the life and mission of a local church.

Servant Leadership and Support
At the heart of the diaconate is the call to servant leadership. Modelled after Christ's example of humble service, deacons embody this principle by supporting the practical needs of the church community. From assisting in worship services to caring for the marginalised and vulnerable, deacons serve as a tangible expression of God's love and compassion within the congregation.

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

Spiritual Guidance and Discipleship
Beyond their practical responsibilities, deacons also play a crucial role in providing spiritual guidance and discipleship within the church body. Through prayer, counselling, and pastoral care, deacons offer support and encouragement to individuals and families navigating life's challenges. Their presence provides a source of strength and stability, fostering spiritual growth and maturity among believers.

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Unity and Fellowship
In addition to their individual roles, deacons play a vital role in promoting unity and fellowship within the local church. By fostering a spirit of cooperation and collaboration among members, deacons help create an environment where every individual feels valued and included. Through their commitment to service and community, deacons contribute to the overall health and vitality of the church body.

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)

The importance of deacons in a local church cannot be overstated. Through their servant leadership, spiritual guidance, and commitment to unity, deacons play a multifaceted role in supporting the mission and ministry of the church.

As we recognise and appreciate the invaluable contributions of our deacons, may we all be inspired to serve with humility, compassion, and dedication in the various roles to which God has called us within the body of Christ.


 31 January 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Grace's Teaching: Transformed by Truth

Titus 2:1-2 (NLT) "As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience."

In Titus chapter 2, the apostle Paul speaks of God's transformative truth that leads to godly living. Join me in exploring the profound impact of God's grace and truth in the process of transformation.

The Revelation of God's Grace
Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people."

The term "grace" (charis) signifies God's unmerited favour and kindness towards humanity. God's grace is not just a theoretical concept but a living reality revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. It is this grace that becomes the foundation for our transformation.

Charles Spurgeon beautifully captures the essence of God's grace, saying, "God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and helplessness of believers."

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) - "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God."

The Teaching of Transformational Truth
Scripture: Titus 2:12 (NLT) "And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God"

The transformative truth mentioned here encompasses the teachings of Christ, which bring salvation and instruct us in righteous living. It's not just about knowing the truth but allowing it to permeate our hearts and minds, leading to a profound change in our character and conduct.

Grace is not opposed to effort but to earning. And effort is not just action; it is an action that is imbued with a certain quality.

John 8:31-32 (NLT) "Jesus said to the people who believed in him, 'You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"

A Life Set Apart for God
Titus 2:13-14 (NLT) "while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds."

The goal of God's grace and transformative truth is not just personal salvation but a life set apart for God's service. The transformation wrought by God's grace enables believers to live with purpose, contributing to the work of God in the world.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenges us to live a life of purpose, saying, "Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will."

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) - "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."

As we reflect on Titus chapter 2, let us embrace the grace of God that leads to transformation through the teaching of truth. May this transformation set us apart for God's purposes, allowing His grace to shape every aspect of our lives.

May the grace and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ abide with us, amen.


 24 January 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Unity in Christ: Transformed by Truth

Today, we delve into the transformative truth found in Galatians 3:26-28 (NLT), a passage that emphasises our unity in Christ. As we explore these verses, may our hearts be opened to the transformative power of living in the truth of God's Word.

Sons and Daughters of God
Galatians 3:26 (NLT) "For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, begins by highlighting a foundational truth - through faith in Christ, we become sons and daughters of God. This transformative identity transcends earthly distinctions and unites believers under the common banner of being God's children.

J.I. Packer reflects on the profound nature of being children of God, saying, "Adoption is the highest privilege of the gospel. The traitor is forgiven, brought in for supper, and given the family name."

Romans 8:15 (NLT) - "So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, 'Abba, Father.'"

Unity in Christ
Galatians 3:28 (NLT) "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Paul continues by emphasising the transformative truth of unity in Christ. The distinctions that once defined societal roles - Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female - lose their significance in the context of our identity in Christ. This unity is not a negation of diversity but a celebration of oneness in Christ.

John Stott reflects on the implications of this unity, stating, "The ground of Christian unity is not the similarity of our Christian experience, but the similarity of our Christian faith."

Colossians 3:11 (NLT) "In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us."

Heirs According to the Promise
Galatians 3:29 (NLT) "And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you."

The transformative truth culminates in the assurance that by belonging to Christ, we become true children of Abraham and heirs of God's promise. This inheritance is not based on human distinctions but on our unity in Christ, making us partakers in the covenant promises of God.

Charles H. Spurgeon reflects on our inheritance, stating, "We are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and the promises are made to us as much as to Abraham or to David."

Romans 8:17 (NLT) "And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering."

Galatians 3:26-29 reveals the transformative truth of our identity as children of God, our unity in Christ, and our inheritance as heirs of God's promises. As we live in the light of this truth, may our lives reflect the unity and love that come from being transformed by the truth of God's Word.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen us to live as true heirs of God's promises. Amen.


 17 January 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Walking in the Spirit: Transformed by Truth

Today, let us explore the transformative power of God's truth found in Galatians 5:16-18. This verse invites us to walk in the Spirit, embracing a life led by the transformative truth of God's Word. As we delve into the Bible, may our hearts be open to the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

The Call to Walk in the Spirit
Galatians 5:16 (NLT) "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves."

The Apostle Paul's exhortation urges believers to allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead in their lives. The phrase "let the Holy Spirit guide your lives" emphasises the active participation required from believers. This is an intentional surrender to the Spirit's guidance.

A.W. Tozer speaks to the importance of yielding to the Spirit, saying, "The true Christian does not make the Holy Spirit a servant; He is a servant of the Holy Spirit."

Romans 8:14 (NLT) - "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God."

The Battle Between the Spirit and the Flesh
Galatians 5:17 (NLT) "The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."

Paul paints a vivid picture of the ongoing struggle between the desires of the sinful nature and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This internal conflict highlights the need for a conscious decision to align with the Spirit's desires.

Charles Stanley emphasises the significance of this battle, stating, "The flesh and the Spirit are in conflict. There is no neutrality; we must choose whom we will serve."

Galatians 5:24 (NLT) - "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there."

Freedom in Walking with the Spirit
Galatians 5:18 (NLT) "But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses."

The verse highlights the freedom experienced when believers walk in the Spirit. This freedom is not a license for sin but liberation from the condemnation of the law, as the Spirit empowers believers to live righteous and holy lives.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones underscores the transformative power of the Spirit, saying, "The Holy Spirit not only sets us free from the law, but He enables us to live the Christian life."

Romans 8:2 (NLT) - "And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death."

In conclusion, Galatians 5:16 calls us to walk in the Spirit, engaging in a daily surrender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we navigate the battle between the Spirit and the flesh, we experience freedom in Christ. May our lives be a testament to the transformative truth that walking in the Spirit brings.

Friends, let us commit ourselves afresh to walk in the Spirit. Take intentional steps to nurture a deeper relationship with God through prayer, the study of His Word, and cultivating sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's promptings.

As we walk in the Spirit, let our lives bear witness to the transformative power of God's truth. Share this truth with those around you, inviting them to experience the freedom found in walking with the Spirit.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ empower us to walk in step with the Spirit and live transformed lives. Amen.


 10 January 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Eternal Perspectives: Transformed by Truth

Today, we delve into the timeless words of John 14:1-3, where Jesus unfolds profound truths that have the power to transform our lives. In a world often clouded by uncertainties, these verses offer an eternal perspective that transcends the challenges of our earthly journey.

The Assurance of a Heavenly Home
John 14:1-2 (NLT): "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?"

Jesus begins by addressing the disciples' troubled hearts, urging them to trust. The assurance of a heavenly home is grounded in the faithfulness of God. The term "Father's home" conveys intimacy and security, assuring us that our ultimate destination is in the presence of the Father.

Revelation 21:4 (NLT) - "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."

Charles Spurgeon provides insight, "Hope itself is like a star - not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity."

The Way, the Truth, and the Life
John 14:6 (NLT): "Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'"

Jesus presents a foundational truth: He is the exclusive way to the Father. The triad of "the way, the truth, and the life" encompasses the complete journey of salvation. This declaration challenges us to anchor our lives in the unchanging truth found in Christ alone.

Acts 4:12 (NLT) - "There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved."

Ravi Zacharias emphasizes, "Jesus is the God whom the darkness fears."

The Imminent Return and Our Preparedness
John 14:3 (NLT): "When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."

Jesus assures us of His return, underscoring the importance of preparedness. The phrase "I will come and get you" resonates with the personal nature of our Saviour. Our lives should be marked by anticipation and readiness for the glorious moment when we will be forever with Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NLT) - "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."

A.W. Tozer inspires reflection, "While it looks like things are out of control, behind the scenes there is a God who hasn't surrendered His authority."

As we ponder the transformative truths in John 14:1-3, let us find solace in the assurance of our heavenly home, anchor our lives in the exclusive truth of Christ, and live in constant preparedness for His imminent return.

May these eternal perspectives transform our daily walk, bringing hope, purpose, and unwavering faith in the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. Amen.


 3 January 2024
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Truth that transforms

On the first Sunday of 2024, we will embark on a transformative journey through God's Word in our new preaching series, "Transformed by Truth."

The foundation for this series rests on the profound words of Jesus found in John 17:17-19, "Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth."

Jesus, in His high priestly prayer in John 17, connects holiness with truth. His words are not about external rituals, they speak of the internal transformation that occurs as we embrace and live out God's truth. In a world filled with shifting sands of opinions and ideologies, let us anchor ourselves in the unchanging truth of God.

The world is in desperate need of the truth that transforms. A.W. Tozer's words become a poignant reminder, "A scared world needs a fearless church."

As ambassadors of Christ, we carry a message that can break chains, heal wounds, and bring hope. God's Word has the power to bring about lasting transformation in our lives, homes, churches and communities. Let the truth we've received propel us into action.

Happy New Year, may grace and peace be with you, and may the truth of Jesus Christ continue to transform you, sanctify you, and propel you into a world in need of the life-changing message of The Gospel.


 27 December 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Bless the Lord, O My Soul: A Journey into Psalm 103

Today, let's embark on a soul-enriching journey through the timeless words of Psalm 103:1-2. This passage, penned by David, beckons us to reflect on the boundless blessings of the Lord and invites us into a profound encounter with His grace.

Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT):
"Bless the Lord, O my soul; all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."


The Call to Personal Worship
The psalmist begins with a fervent call to worship - not just with external rituals but with the very core of our being. "Bless the Lord, O my soul," is an intimate plea, an invocation for personal and heartfelt adoration. It transcends routine and enters the sacred space of authentic connection with the Creator.

Imagine standing before a breathtaking sunset, overwhelmed by the Creator's majesty. That awe, that profound reverence, is the essence of the psalmist's call.

Reflecting on God's Boundless Benefits
As the psalmist implores his soul to bless the Lord, he accompanies this call with a reminder not to forget the Lord's benefits. This is an invitation to reflect on the manifold blessings bestowed upon us by a gracious God.

The Hebrew word for "benefits" carries a rich tapestry of meanings, encompassing everything from material provisions to spiritual blessings. It's a comprehensive term that speaks to the completeness of God's goodness in our lives.

Consider a banquet table laden with a variety of dishes. Each dish represents a different facet of God's benefits - forgiveness, healing, redemption, and unending love.

Unpacking the Message of Psalm 103:1-2
Blessing the Lord with Our Whole Being
Charles H. Spurgeon once remarked, "True worship is when our whole life becomes a declaration of the greatness of our God."

Remembering His Benefits with Gratitude
"Forget not all his benefits" is a gentle admonition against spiritual amnesia. It urges us to cultivate a heart of gratitude by recalling the countless ways God has shown His goodness. From the forgiveness of sins to the healing of our infirmities, His benefits are inexhaustible.

Think of a journal filled with moments of answered prayers, unexpected provisions, and instances of divine guidance. Such a journal becomes a tangible expression of gratitude.

Extending the Invitation
The Call to Worship
The beauty of Psalm 103 is that its call to bless the Lord extends beyond individual believers. It's an invitation for all people, regardless of their background, to join in worship.

The phrase "all that is within me" encompasses not just the psalmist's personal devotion but resonates with a call for all humanity to recognise and worship the Creator.

The Gospel in Psalm 103
In the depth of worship, we find the essence of the gospel - the good news of God's love, grace, and redemption. The benefits mentioned in the psalm find their ultimate fulfilment in the person of Jesus Christ. John 3:16 encapsulates this truth, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

As we reflect on Psalm 103:1-2, let our souls resound with worship, and may we extend the invitation to all around us. In the blessings and benefits of the Lord, we find the transformative power of the gospel, inviting us to a life of eternal significance.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and may the echo of our worship reverberate through the corridors of eternity.


 20 December 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Glimpses of Glory in the Fields: A Journey Through Luke 2:8-20

Today we embark on a journey into the sacred pages of Luke 2:8-20, where the heavenly curtains briefly draw back, revealing profound glimpses of divine glory. Join me in exploring this passage as we uncover the treasures it holds for our hearts and spirits.

Divine Announcement to the Humble
In Luke 2:8-10 (NLT), we find ourselves in the fields with the shepherds, humble keepers of sheep, when suddenly, the ordinary night is shattered by extraordinary glory: "That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.'"

The choice of shepherds is significant. Shepherds were often considered lowly in society, yet God chose them to be the first bearers of the good news. This reveals God's heart for the humble and marginalised.

Quotation: Charles Spurgeon "The gospel is sent to the poor, not because they are poor, but because they are poor in spirit."

The Radiance of Divine Inclusion
Picture the night illuminated by the radiance of God's glory, not in the halls of power or among the prestigious, but in the fields with shepherds. This divine illumination symbolizes God's inclusive love, shining on those often overlooked by the world.

The Angelic Choir Proclaims Peace
Continuing in Luke 2:13-14 (NLT), the angelic choir joins the announcement, heralding a message of peace: "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others - the armies of heaven - praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'"

The proclamation of peace is deeply rooted in the Old Testament expectation of the Messiah as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus fulfils this prophecy, bringing not just external peace but peace between God and humanity.

Quotation: J.C. Ryle "The highest happiness consists in the possession and enjoyment of peace with God."

Harmonies of Heavenly Peace
Imagine the celestial harmonies as the heavenly host declares peace. In a world filled with turmoil, the message echoes the profound truth that true peace is found in the acceptance of the Prince of Peace. The symphony of heaven resonates with the soul's longing for reconciliation with God.

The Shepherds' Response and Witness
As we progress to Luke 2:15-20 (NLT), observe the shepherds' response to the angelic proclamation: "When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, 'Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby, lying in the manger."

The shepherds respond with a sense of urgency, demonstrating faith in action. Their journey to Bethlehem reflects a desire to witness the fulfilment of God's promise.

Quotation: C.H. Spurgeon "Do not say, 'I will go to heaven at last.' There is but one way to heaven, and that is to travel on the King's highway."

The Shepherds' Pilgrimage of Faith
Visualize the shepherds making their way to Bethlehem under the night sky, guided by a celestial light. Their pilgrimage is a metaphor for our journey of faith, prompted by the proclamation of good news. Like the shepherds, may our response to God's message be marked by a determined pilgrimage toward Christ.

In conclusion, Luke 2:8-20 unveils a tapestry of divine revelation - choosing the humble, proclaiming peace, and inviting a response of faith. As we reflect on this passage, may our hearts be stirred to embrace the message of the angels, finding ourselves in the fields, hearing the harmonies of heavenly peace, and responding with a pilgrim's faith.

May the glory of this revelation resound in our lives today and always.


 13 December 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Advent Joy: "Embracing a Visionary View of Joy"

This Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent, our hearts are attuned to the symphony of joy - a joy that rises above the cacophony of life's challenges, grounded in the anticipation of the Lord's imminent arrival.

Today we are going to briefly explore Philippians 4:4-5, where the Apostle Paul, amidst the confines of a prison cell, beckons us to embrace a transformative joy that transcends circumstances and finds its wellspring in Christ.

Rejoicing in the Lord Always (Philippians 4:4)
In the opening chords of this passage, Paul resounds with a powerful directive: "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4, NLT). This is no fleeting happiness tied to the ever-shifting scenes of life but a steadfast joy grounded in our unchanging Lord.

Consider a mighty oak tree, weathering the seasons with unwavering resilience. In the same way, envision your joy firmly rooted in the soil of God's love, standing unshaken through life's complexities.

As Charles Spurgeon wisely puts it, "Joy in Christ is a constant, not a variable. It is a fountain, not a cistern." Picture this joy as a ceaseless spring, flowing abundantly from our relationship with Christ.

A Call to Consideration (Philippians 4:5)
Transitioning to the next note, Paul urges us, "Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon" (Philippians 4:5, NLT). Here, joy extends beyond personal realms, manifesting in considerate actions towards others.

Imagine joy as a pebble creating ripples in a pond, its effects spreading far beyond the initial point of impact. Your joy, expressed through considerate deeds, has a profound impact, touching lives and reflecting Christ's love.

A linguistic note reveals that "considerate" translates from "epieikes" in Greek, emphasizing gentleness and graciousness. Paul encourages us to embody these qualities, creating a community marked by Christ-like consideration.

Imminent Coming of the Lord (Philippians 4:5)
In the resonating declaration that "the Lord is coming soon," Paul invites us to envision a joy infused with hope and expectation (Philippians 4:5, NLT). As we navigate life's challenges, fix your gaze on the imminent return of our Saviour.

J.C. Ryle's words echo in our ears: "True Christianity is not only getting peace but getting joy in believing. It is not only getting out of trouble but getting into Christ." Let this truth permeate your joy - finding its essence in Christ's imminent return.

Delving into the Greek term for "coming soon" unveils "engus", conveying nearness and immediacy. With urgency, Paul calls the Philippians to a joy shaped by the anticipation of Christ's return - a joy that influences our perspectives and priorities.

Practicing Joyful Gratitude (Philippians 4:6)
Building on these melodic themes, Paul encourages a life marked by gratitude: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done" (Philippians 4:6, NLT). Envision a joy expressed not only in words and actions but in a heart overflowing with gratitude. Consider a heart grateful for the past, trusting in the present, and hopeful for the future. Such a heart embodies the visionary joy Paul speaks of a joy grounded in faith and expressed through thanksgiving.

Digging deeper into the Greek term for "thank," we find "eucharistia" emphasising a gratitude rooted in recognising God's grace. Paul invites the Philippians to thanksgiving - a transformative practice deepening their joy.

A Symphony of Visionary Joy
In conclusion, dear friends, let this Advent season cultivate in us a symphony of visionary joy. A joy that transcends circumstances manifests in considerate living, and eagerly anticipates the imminent return of our Lord.

As we traverse the remaining days of Advent, envision joy not merely as an emotion but as a profound reality rooted in our relationship with the living God.

May the Joy of the Lord Be Your Strength
May the joy of the Lord be your strength, filling your hearts with peace and gladness. In the busyness of this season, take moments to reflect on the joy found in Christ.

Spreading Joy in Your Sphere
This week, purposefully spread joy through acts of kindness, generosity, and consideration. Envision how your actions can illuminate the joy of Christ in the lives of those around you. As we await the coming of our Lord, may our lives be beacons of joy, radiating God's love to a world in need.

May the visionary joy of the Lord accompany you throughout this Advent week. Go forth as bearers of joy, anticipating the glorious return of our King. Amen.


 6 December 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Advent Peace: "Peace in the Prince of Peace"

As our Advent journey unfolds, our hearts are drawn to the theme of peace. Today, we explore the promise of a coming Messiah, a Prince of Peace, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah. Let's delve into the profound peace that Christ brings into our lives.

The Promise of a Prince of Peace:
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT) - "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah's prophecy unveils one of the titles of the Messiah - Prince of Peace. This peace isn't fleeting; it's perfect and enduring for those who trust in God.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) - "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Imagine a serene lake untouched by ripples - a picture of perfect peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace offers a tranquillity that remains undisturbed by life's storms.

Understanding True Peace:
Philippians 4:7 (NLT) - "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand." True peace transcends the absence of conflict. It's a peace that surpasses human understanding, a gift from God Himself. R.T. Kendall reminds us, "True peace is not merely a distant goal but the very present, living presence of Christ."

Experiencing Peace Amid Chaos:
John 14:27 (NLT) - "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give." Even in life's chaos, the Prince of Peace offers a unique gift - a peace that the world cannot replicate. Consider a sturdy lighthouse standing firm amidst a storm. In Christ, we find a similar anchor, providing peace in the midst of life's tempests.

The Transformative Power of Peace:
Romans 12:2 (NLT) "Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." The peace offered by the Prince of Peace is not just a passive state; it's transformative. It reshapes our thinking, aligning it with God's will, and brings about a renewal of our inner selves. Charles Spurgeon wisely observes, "The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep in the human soul to be reached by any external disturbances."

Navigating the Storms of Life:
Psalm 29:11 (NLT) "The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace." Life's storms are inevitable, but the Prince of Peace provides strength and stability in the midst of them. Our peace is not shaken because it's anchored in the Lord. Picture a tree firmly rooted, swaying but not uprooted in a storm. In Christ, we find our roots anchored deep in the soil of His love.

A Peaceful Response to Adversity:
James 3:17-18 (NLT) "But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." The peace of Christ not only sustains us in trials but also influences our responses to adversity. It transforms us into peacemakers, sowing seeds of peace in a world hungry for harmony. Someone once wisely said, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

Extending the Peace of Christ:
Matthew 5:9 (NLT) "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God." We are called not only to experience the peace of Christ but to actively work for peace. As children of God, our lives should reflect the peaceful nature of our heavenly Father. Think of a pebble creating ripples in a pond. Our acts of peace can have a ripple effect, touching lives far beyond our immediate surroundings. May our lives symbolise not just the individual peace we experience but the collective peace we can bring to the world as ambassadors of the Prince of Peace.

May the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, not only guard our hearts and minds but propel us to be ambassadors of peace in a world desperate for it. As we continue our Advent journey, let our lives be a testimony to the transformative and unshakeable peace found in the Prince of Peace. In Him, we discover not just a momentary respite but a lasting and profound peace that echoes through eternity.

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts and extend to those around us, and may God help us to share the real message of Advent and Christmas with those around us.
Jesus is the light of the World and the Prince of Peace.


 29 November 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Advent Hope: "Hope in the Coming Light"

In this season of Advent, our hearts resonate with the theme of hope. As we embark on this journey, let's delve into the profound hope found in the coming light of Christ.

Acknowledging the Darkness:
The world often appears shrouded in darkness - the darkness of despair, doubt, and uncertainty. Yet, the promise resounds: the light of Christ pierces through the deepest darkness. "The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1, NLT).

The Promise of Light:
In Malachi 4:2, the promise of a great light is foretold. The Sun of Righteousness, bringing healing and dispelling shadows, was a prophecy centuries before Christ's birth. Just as a sunrise brings warmth and hope, so does the light of Christ.

Hope in Christ's Arrival:
Our hope is not in fleeting circumstances but in the unwavering promises of God. Max Lucado beautifully puts it, "Hope is not what you expect; it is what you would never dream." The first Advent candle, embodies the hope we have in Christ - the light that guides us through life's darkest moments.

The Light Within Us:
As believers, we carry the light of Christ within us, a responsibility D.L. Moody challenges us to uphold. "We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine."

Navigating the Shadows:
Life's journey often takes us through valleys of shadows. The hope in Christ's light is not the absence of shadows but the assurance of His constant presence, guiding and comforting us.

A Call to Adventurous Hope:
Our hope in the coming light is not timid or passive; it's adventurous and strong. It's an anchor that holds firm in the storms of life, leading us into the very presence of God. "The greatest adventure is what lies ahead" (J.R.R. Tolkien).

Radiating Hope in Actions:
Our hope is not just a personal experience but a beacon that others should notice. As we celebrate Advent, let our actions radiate the hope within us, prompting others to inquire about the source.

May the hope found in the coming light of Christ not be confined to our hearts but spill over into our actions. As we navigate the complexities of life, let the light within us guide and comfort us. And as others witness the radiance of our hope, may they be drawn to the source of this unwavering light - Jesus Christ.

May the hope found in the coming light of Christ illuminate our lives, dispelling all darkness with the assurance of your wonderful promises. As we journey through Advent, let this hope kindle a flame within us, burning brightly in anticipation of the fulfilment of God's redemptive plan.

May God help us to share the real message of Advent and Christmas with those around us - Jesus is the light of the World. May Jesus illuminate your way, and may you share His light and love with someone today.


 22 November 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Teach Me, O Lord

Let's explore the beautiful and heartfelt plea found in Psalm 143:10 "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing."

In Psalm 143:10, we find a prayer for divine guidance and a recognition of God's role as our teacher and guide. His Spirit leads us on a sure and steady path. As we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and seek His will, He promises to direct our steps.

The Desire for Divine Guidance
"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God." Picture a ship in the midst of a vast and turbulent sea. In our journey through life, we often encounter storms of uncertainty and confusion. Like a ship that needs a skilled captain to navigate safely, our souls long for the guidance of our Heavenly Father.

The Role of God's Gracious Spirit
"May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing." Imagine a path through a dense and dark forest, where the way ahead is uncertain. God's Spirit is like a radiant light, guiding our steps and ensuring we walk on a firm and secure path. His guidance is marked by grace and love.

Embracing Teachable Hearts
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." Think of a young child eager to learn from a wise and loving teacher. In our walk with God, we should approach Him with the same teachable spirit, trusting in His wisdom and guidance. God delights in revealing His will to those who seek Him with open hearts.

Let us approach God with teachable hearts, knowing that His gracious guidance will always lead us forward on firm footing. May God's gracious Spirit lead us in the paths of righteousness and wisdom, and may we trust in His unfailing love and seek His will in all we do.


 15 November 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: Guardians of the Shelter - A Collective Responsibility

Sunday 19 November is designated as Safeguarding Sunday, so let's take an enlightening journey into Psalm 91, not merely as a personal refuge but as a communal prayer beckoning us into shared responsibility for Safeguarding.

Psalm 91
1Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. 3For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.4He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection. 5Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.6Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.7Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.8Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. 9If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,10no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.11For He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.12They will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.13You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.15When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them.16I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation."

"In the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1, NLT) echoes the profound responsibility we collectively bear. Let's peel back the layers of this psalm and uncover its depth.

The Collective Refuge (Psalm 91:1-2)
The opening verses draw us into the sanctuary of God. "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1-2, NLT). Charles Spurgeon, in his expository wisdom, urges us to recognise God as the ultimate refuge. Our collective responsibility is to embody God's refuge as a community. Visualise the body of Christ as a vast, protective tree, offering shade and shelter to all seeking refuge.

Guardianship in Action (Psalm 91:3-7)
Subsequent verses unveil the dynamics of our shared refuge. "He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease" (Psalm 91:3, NLT). God's active guardianship is our best protection. Envision the body of believers as a flock of birds, actively guarding one another, providing a shield against the enemy's snares through collective vigilance.

Embracing Our Present Responsibility (Psalm 91:9-13)
The psalm further unfolds our present responsibility, emphasising God's promise of deliverance. "If you make the Lord your refuge... no evil will conquer you" (Psalm 91:9-10, NLT). We are entrusted with the responsibility of keeping our souls, positioning us as defenders against darkness. Consider the body of Christ as a fortified city with vigilant watchmen, symbolising our commitment to actively guard our community.

Advocacy for the Vulnerable (Proverbs 31:8, NLT)
Proverbs 31:8 instructs us, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves" (NLT). "It is not enough to be compassionate; you must act" (C.H. Spurgeon). As guardians of God's shelter, our responsibility extends to advocacy for the vulnerable. Envision the body of Christ as a lighthouse guiding ships, where our advocacy becomes a guiding light for the vulnerable in the storm.

United in Prayer (Psalm 91:14-16)
Subsequent verses reinforce the power of unified prayer within our collective responsibility. "The Lord says, 'I will rescue those who love me... When they call on me, I will answer'" (Psalm 91:14-15, NLT). Our collective prayers hold the potency to invoke divine intervention. Envision the body of Christ as a choir harmonising in prayer, each voice contributing to a powerful symphony resonating in the heavens.

Community of Healing (James 5:16, NLT)
Expanding on our shared responsibility, James 5:16 emphasises, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed". Our unity extends to healing within the community. Envision the body of Christ as a hospital for souls, where confession and prayer are remedies, and healing permeates through the shared commitment to righteousness.

Concluding our expository exploration of Psalm 91, we understand that being 'the shelter of the Most High... the shade of the Almighty' is not just a privilege but a shared responsibility. Let us actively embrace our roles as protectors and defenders within the body of Christ. May our understanding extend to fervent prayer and communal healing, reinforcing that safeguarding is not an individual endeavour but a present responsibility we willingly and collectively bear.

May our understanding extend to those who cannot speak for themselves, ensuring justice and protection for all. As guardians of God's shelter, today's Word affirms that safeguarding is a present responsibility we must willingly share.


 7 November 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Remembrance Sunday and the Freedom We Have in Christ

Remembrance Sunday is a solemn occasion when we come together to honour and remember the sacrifices made by countless individuals in the line of duty. It's a time to pay our respects to those who fought for our freedom and peace. While we remember the bravery and heroism of these men and women, it's also an opportunity to reflect on the profound freedom we have in Christ. Lets explore the significance of Remembrance Sunday and how it relates to the freedom we find in our faith.

Remembering Sacrifices
Remembrance Sunday, which falls on the second Sunday of November in the United Kingdom, is a day dedicated to commemorating the sacrifices made by military personnel during the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts. The red poppy is a symbol of Remembrance Sunday, and it serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost and the hardships endured in the pursuit of peace and freedom.

The Cost of Freedom
The freedom we enjoy today was not achieved without a cost. It came at the price of blood, sweat, and tears shed by countless individuals who served their nations selflessly. The men and women who fought in wars and conflicts did so to secure our freedom and protect our way of life. They exemplify the principles of sacrifice and selflessness.

Freedom in Christ
In the Christian faith, we also have a profound understanding of sacrifice and freedom. We remember the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus Christ on the cross to free us from sin and grant us eternal life. Galatians 5:1 (NLT) tells us, "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law."

As Christians, we recognise that true freedom is found in Christ. This freedom is not just a release from the bondage of sin but also a liberation from fear, doubt, and uncertainty. In Christ, we find the freedom to live our lives with purpose, hope, and love.

A Life of Gratitude and Service
Remembrance Sunday teaches us the importance of gratitude and service. It's an opportunity to express our thanks to those who sacrificed for our freedom. Likewise, our faith calls us to live lives of gratitude to God for the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf. Our response to this grace is a life of service, where we, in turn, seek to be a blessing to others.

Remembrance Sunday reminds us that true freedom comes at a cost, one that many brave individuals paid with their lives. This day serves as a moment of reflection and gratitude for their sacrifices. In our faith, we also find the concept of freedom, but it's a freedom that was freely given by Christ through His ultimate sacrifice. Let us remember both the sacrifices made by others and the freedom we have in Christ, and may we live lives of gratitude and service in response to these gifts.


 2 November 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: Why is this happening?

In our journey of faith, we often encounter moments of uncertainty and hardship, and we may find ourselves asking the question, "Why is this happening?"

Let's delve into the wisdom of Scripture, particularly Romans 8:28, to find understanding and comfort in times of uncertainty: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

The Mystery of Life's Challenges
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Trials, tribulations, and hardships are part of the human experience. But as followers of Christ, we have a unique perspective. We know that God is sovereign, and even in the midst of our challenges, He is at work.

The Potter's Hands
In Jeremiah 18, the prophet Jeremiah visits the potter's house and observes how the potter moulds and shapes the clay. Just as the potter knows what he's creating, God knows the intricate plans He has for each of us. Even when the clay becomes marred, the potter doesn't discard it; instead, he reshapes it into something beautiful.

God's Purpose in Adversity
Romans 8:28 assures us that God causes everything to work together for good. This doesn't mean that everything that happens to us is good, but rather that God can take the most challenging circumstances and use them for our growth and His glory.

Joseph's Journey
Consider the story of Joseph in Genesis. He faced betrayal, false accusations, and imprisonment. But in the end, he saw that God had used those very trials to position him to save his family and the entire nation of Egypt from famine.

Applying God's Wisdom
So, how can we apply this wisdom to our lives when we face adversity?

Trust God's Sovereignty: Trust that God is in control, even when life seems chaotic. His plans are greater than our understanding.

Prayer and Seeking Guidance: Seek God's guidance in prayer and through His Word. Ask for wisdom to discern His purpose in your situation.

Perseverance and Faith: Continue to persevere in faith, knowing that God is working behind the scenes, even when you can't see it.

Encourage Others: Share your experiences of God's faithfulness in difficult times to encourage others in their own trials.

Thank God for His sovereignty and wisdom in all things. May God help us to trust in His purpose, even when we don't understand why certain events are happening in our lives. May God give us the strength to persevere in faith and to be a source of encouragement to others who are facing trials.

Remember that God is at work in your life, even in the midst of uncertainty and hardship. Seek His guidance, trust His purpose, and share your testimony of His faithfulness with others. In doing so, you will not only find peace in challenging times but also be a beacon of hope to those around you.


 26 October 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: Look at the Hour

"This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11)

Romans 13:11 calls us to examine the hour we live in and consider our response to the urgency of these times.

Recognising the Urgency of the Hour
The apostle Paul's words are a clarion call for us to recognise the urgency of the hour. He states, "This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is." As believers, we must be acutely aware of the times we live in. Paul's message is not one of fear but of a sober realisation that time is a finite and precious gift.

Ephesians 5:15-16: "So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days."

In this fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in the distractions and cares of life. But Paul reminds us to be vigilant and mindful of the times. We must not squander the opportunities to live out our faith and make a difference in a world that desperately needs the message of hope. The urgency should stir our hearts to action, not in panic, but in purpose.

The Call to Wake Up
Paul's words, "Wake up," are a spiritual alarm, calling us to rouse ourselves from complacency. In a world full of distractions and temptations, it's easy to fall asleep spiritually. However, as Christians, we are called to be wide awake, to be watchful and alert.

1 Thessalonians 5:6: "So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded."

"Waking up" means to be fully aware of the spiritual realities around us. It's a call to be vigilant against sin, to be diligent in prayer, and to be alert to the needs of others. We are not to be passive spectators in our faith but active participants. This involves being awake to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and responsive to God's leading.

Our Imminent Salvation
In the latter part of Romans 13:11, Paul emphasises that "our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." This is a reminder of the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ, the culmination of our faith, and the fulfilment of God's promises.

Revelation 22:12: "Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds."

The knowledge of our imminent salvation should be a source of encouragement and motivation. It reminds us that our faith is not in vain, and our hope is not misplaced. It underscores the reality of the eternal promises of God. In light of this, we should be more committed than ever to living out our faith, serving others, and sharing the message of salvation with a world in need.

In conclusion, Romans 13:11 calls us to live with a profound awareness of the urgency of the hour. As we recognise the times we live in, let us be diligent, awake, and responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

May the imminent return of our Lord be a constant motivation for us to live out our faith purposefully and share the hope of salvation with those around us.

Let us embrace the hour we live in, knowing that our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.


 19 October 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: Renewing our minds

"Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

Romans 12:2 is a powerful verse that guides us in renewing our minds. In a world filled with distractions and conflicting messages, this verse offers a timeless wisdom that can transform our lives.

The Call to Transformation
Paul's message is clear: we are called to transformation. This transformation begins with a renewal of our minds. The world often pressures us to conform to its values and trends, but as Christians, we're called to a higher standard.

Ephesians 4:23 (NLT) reminds us, "Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes." To be transformed is to let go of the old ways, to allow God to change the way we think, aligning it with His truth and will.

Discerning God's Perfect Will
Romans 12:2 also highlights the result of this transformation: discerning God's perfect will. The journey of transformation isn't arbitrary; it has a purpose. As our minds are renewed, we can understand what God desires for us.

Colossians 1:9 (NLT) reinforces this, "So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding."

As our minds are transformed, we gain a deeper understanding of God's will and, in turn, we walk in it.

The Renewed Mind in Action
Transformation isn't merely a mental exercise; it's meant to be lived out in our daily lives. It's a practical application of the renewed mind. Our actions, choices, and behaviors should reflect this transformation.

Philippians 2:5 (NLT) guides us, "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

So, as our minds are renewed, we should emulate the attitude of Christ, living a life that is good, pleasing, and perfect in God's eyes.

In conclusion, Romans 12:2 reminds us of the transformative power of renewing our minds. It's a process that liberates us from conformity to the world and leads us to discern God's perfect will. But remember, it's not just a mental exercise; it's about living out this transformation in our everyday actions.

Pray and thank God for the wisdom of Romans 12:2 and that He will help us to continually renew our minds, aligning our thoughts with His truth.

May our lives be a testimony to the transformative power of God's Word.


 11 October 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: What Happens When Your Focus is on God?

The Power of Focus:
Let's begin with a foundational truth from the Scriptures:
Proverbs 4:25 (NLT): "Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you."

Imagine driving a car. When your eyes are fixed on the road ahead, you navigate safely. But if you become distracted, your path becomes uncertain. Similarly, in life, when our focus is on God, our journey becomes clear and purposeful.

The Transformative Focus on God: When we shift our focus to God, amazing things happen:
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT): "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."

Think of a mirror reflecting the image it sees. As we focus on God, we reflect His glory, becoming more like Him. It's a transformation from within, akin to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Freedom from Anxiety: One of the profound effects of focusing on God is freedom from anxiety:
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT): "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand."

Picture a heart burdened with worries. When we shift our focus to God through prayer and gratitude, our anxieties are replaced by a peace that surpasses understanding.

Application in Our Lives: Let us consider how we can apply the principle of focusing on God to our daily lives:
Start Your Day with God: Begin each day in prayer and meditation on His Word.
Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a thankful heart, even in challenging circumstances.
Cast Your Cares on Him: When anxiety arises, turn to God in prayer, trusting in His peace.

Closing Encouragement:
When our focus is on God, our lives are transformed. We become reflections of His glory, experience His peace, and find freedom from anxiety.

Let us commit to fixing our eyes on our Heavenly Father in all we do. May we walk in the transformative power of a focused faith.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

Go forth with your focus on God, and watch how He transforms your life for His glory and your joy.


 27 September 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: A New Chapter Begins

This weekend, we will gather to celebrate an incredible journey of unwavering faith, dedication, and love. For many years, Dave Redbond has been the spiritual lighthouse of our beloved church, guiding us through the storms of life with a steadfast heart and an unshakable commitment to the Gospel.

The Seeds of Ministry: In the early days, as Dave embarked on this remarkable journey with our congregations, little did he know the profound impact that lay ahead. His calling was evident, and his passion for spreading the word of God was infectious. It was clear that God had chosen him to shepherd our church through the seasons of joy and challenge.

A Shepherd's Heart: Dave embodied the qualities of a true shepherd. His door was always open, his phone always ready to receive a call, and his heart ever ready to listen and offer solace. He carried our burdens as his own and rejoiced in our triumphs as if they were his. His compassionate spirit and loving demeanour endeared him to young and old alike.

A Word in Season: One of Dave's remarkable gifts was his ability to bring the Scriptures to life in ways that resonated with our hearts. His sermons were not just words but living messages that penetrated the soul. He challenged us to grow in faith, encouraged us to seek God's wisdom, and reminded us of God's unfailing love, even in our darkest hours.

Building a Strong Foundation: Under Dave's leadership, our church flourished not just spiritually but also as a community of love and support. His commitment to nurturing spiritual growth, fostering unity, and reaching out to those in need has left an indelible mark on our congregation.

Legacy of Love: As we bid farewell to Dave as our Senior Pastor, we do so with hearts full of gratitude. The legacy he leaves behind is not just one of sermons and teachings but one of love, compassion, and unwavering faith. He has taught us to love unconditionally, to serve selflessly, and to walk in the light of Christ.

A New Chapter Begins: While we may be saying goodbye to this chapter of ministry, we know that Dave will continue to serve the Lord in new and profound ways. As he begins this new journey, we send him forth with our love, our blessings, and our deep appreciation for all he has done.

A Heartfelt Thank You: Dave, your years of dedicated service have touched our lives in ways words cannot express. You have been more than a minister; you have been a friend, a mentor, and a spiritual guide. As you step into this new season of your life, know that our prayers and best wishes accompany you.

May God bless you abundantly in all your future endeavours, just as you have been a blessing to us. We will forever cherish the memories, the teachings, and the love you have shared with us.

Thank you, Dave & Maureen, for your faithful service, your loving heart, and your unwavering commitment to the ministry. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

With our deepest gratitude and warmest wishes
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier on behalf of Estuary Elim Church


 21 September 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Visionary View: An Insightful Perspective

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

In these verses, we find the essence of gaining an insightful perspective - trusting in the Lord and seeking His will. Let's delve deeper into this profound message.

The Limited Human Perspective: We often view life through the narrow lens of our own understanding. Our perspective is limited by our experiences, biases, and emotions.

Imagine trying to navigate a vast forest with a tiny flashlight. You can only see a few steps ahead. Similarly, our human perspective offers limited insight into the grand tapestry of God's plan.

Trusting in the Lord: Proverbs 3:5 urges us to "trust in the Lord with all your heart." Trusting in God means surrendering our limited perspective and relying on His infinite wisdom.

Think of a pilot flying through thick clouds. They must trust the air traffic controller's guidance, even when visibility is poor. Likewise, we must trust God's guidance through life's storms.

Seeking God's Will: The next step in gaining an insightful perspective is seeking God's will. Proverbs 3:6 encourages us to "seek His will in all you do."

Imagine you're planning a journey to an unfamiliar destination. You'd use a GPS to guide you. Seeking God's will is like following His divine GPS for our lives. It ensures we're on the right path.

God's Promise: The beautiful promise in Proverbs 3:6 is that when we trust and seek God, "He will show you which path to take." God provides guidance, clarity, and insight beyond our human capacity.

Picture a ship navigating treacherous waters guided by a lighthouse's beam. God's guidance is like that steadfast light, illuminating our path.

How can we apply this insightful perspective to our lives?

Surrender Control: Let go of the need to control every aspect of your life. Trust that God's plan is greater than your understanding.

Seek God in All: Don't reserve prayer and seeking God's will for major decisions. Seek His guidance in all aspects of life, big or small.

Patience and Faith: Understand that God's timing may not align with yours. Have faith that His timing is perfect.

Remember that gaining an insightful perspective is an ongoing journey. Trust in the Lord, seek His will, and He will illuminate your path.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ empower you to see life with an insightful perspective, free from the constraints of human understanding.

May you view the world through the lens of God's wisdom. Your life will be a testament to His guidance and grace.


 13 September 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Share the Gospel

We have the profound responsibility and privilege of sharing the Gospel. Consider the command of Jesus in Mark 16:15: "And then He told them, 'Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.'"

The Great Commission
These are among the final words of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, on Earth. They are a commission, a divine call to action for all believers. But what does it mean to "preach the Good News"?

The Treasure Within
Imagine you possess a treasure of immeasurable worth, hidden within you. This treasure is the Gospel, the message of salvation through Christ. It's not meant to be kept hidden; it's meant to be shared with the world.

The Power of the Gospel
Romans 1:16 reinforces the power of the Gospel: "For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes."

A Lifeboat in Stormy Seas
Think of the Gospel as a lifeboat in the stormy seas of life. Many are drowning in despair, sin, and hopelessness. But the Gospel is their lifeline, their way to salvation. Will we throw it to them?

Our Role as Ambassadors
2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us: "So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'"

Ambassadors of the King
Imagine you're an ambassador in a foreign land, representing a great and generous King. Your mission is to invite the citizens of that land into a relationship with your King, offering them the benefits of His kingdom.

How can we apply this to our lives?
Boldness: Ask God for boldness to share the Gospel with those around you. Don't be afraid; remember, you carry a message of hope.
Opportunities: Be alert to opportunities. Sometimes, the best moments to share the Gospel come unexpectedly.
Prayer: Pray for those you want to reach. Prayer softens hearts and opens doors.
Lifestyle: Let your life reflect the Gospel. Live in such a way that people see Christ in you.
I thank God for entrusting us with the precious Gospel. May God give us the boldness and wisdom to share it with a world in need. My prayer is that He will help us to see every person as a soul worth saving. May we be faithful ambassadors of God's Kingdom, sharing the Good News with love and compassion.

As ambassadors of Christ, we carry the message of salvation to those who desperately need it. In doing so, we fulfil a divine calling and bring glory to our King.


 6 September 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Great Commission: Our Divine Mandate

The Lord Jesus Christ left us with a divine mandate known as the Great Commission. This commission is not just a task; it's a sacred duty, a privilege, and a calling that each of us, as followers of Christ, is entrusted with.

All Authority Belongs to Christ
"Jesus came and told his disciples, 'I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.'" (Matthew 28:18 NLT). In this verse, we see Jesus asserting His divine authority over all creation. All power in heaven and on earth is His.

Imagine a king who possesses absolute authority over his kingdom. His word is law, and his dominion is unquestioned. In a similar way, Jesus, as the King of kings, holds absolute authority over the entire universe.

The Command to Make Disciples
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19 NLT). Here, Jesus issues a clear directive: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Think of a lighthouse guiding ships safely through treacherous waters. As disciples of Christ, we are called to be spiritual lighthouses, guiding lost souls towards the safety of God's love and salvation.

Teaching Them to Observe All I Have Commanded
"Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20 NLT). Jesus emphasises the importance of not only making disciples but also teaching them to obey His commands.

Consider a mentor who imparts wisdom and knowledge to a student, preparing them for a successful career. Likewise, as Christians, we are called to mentor and teach new disciples, nurturing them in their faith journey.

The Great Commission is not a mere suggestion; it's a divine mandate.
Jesus, the King of all, has entrusted us with the responsibility of making disciples, baptising them, and teaching them to obey His commands.

Remember, as we carry out this commission, Jesus assures us of His constant presence. Let us embrace this mission with fervour, knowing that it's through us that the light of Christ shines into a dark world. We are His ambassadors, and our purpose is to lead others to Him.

As we go forth, may we always be mindful of our divine mandate and the authority of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Great Commission entrusted to us by Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us the wisdom, strength, and courage to fulfil this sacred duty. May Your presence be with us always as we make disciples, baptise, and teach others to obey Your commands. In Jesus name. Amen.


 29 August 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Lifting Our Gaze: Finding Strength in the Heavenly Perspective

Are we walking the path God has set for us, or have the distractions of this world led us astray?
In a world brimming with distractions, it's easy to lose focus on God. The daily demands of life, technology's allure, and the captivating pull of entertainment can divert our attention from our Heavenly Father.

Do we allow anything to derail our journey with God?
The enticements of technology, the temptations of social media, and worldly habits can sway us from God's path.

Amid these challenges, Psalm 121:1-2 reminds us, "I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!" These verses encapsulate a truth vital for our spiritual well-being and emphasize placing our trust in God amidst life's trials.

The psalmist initially gazes at the mountains, symbolizing earthly endeavors and fleeting solutions. Yet, they promptly redirect their focus to the true source of help - the Lord, the Creator. This shift in perspective reminds us that our ultimate support comes from a higher realm - from the Almighty God who holds the universe. Our strength and solutions don't originate from the world's chaos, but from the Creator who orchestrates it all.

Just as a lighthouse stands tall against the tumultuous sea, so does our focus on God guide us through life's storms. The lighthouse's resilience lies in its foundation and light, just as our strength comes from the unchanging God who lights our way.

This metaphor mirrors our connection with God. The stormy ocean represents life's trials that leave us vulnerable, while the lighthouse symbolizes the unwavering Creator who leads us through. God's presence offers wisdom, reassurance, and guidance, just like the lighthouse's light. In times of trial, let's raise our eyes to the steadfast lighthouse of faith. By doing so, we remember that our strength, sanctuary, and solutions come from the One who created it all.

Now, let's turn our gaze to Peter's bold steps on the stormy Sea of Galilee. Matthew 14:29-30 recounts, "Yes, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted." This incident teaches us to maintain a heavenly perspective amid trials. When Peter shifted his gaze from Jesus to the storm, his faith wavered. When we divert our focus from Christ to our challenges, our faith weakens.

However, by fixing our eyes on Jesus, even the impossible becomes attainable. Just as the kite catches the wind when released, so can we rise above our burdens when we turn to God. In 2 Corinthians 4:18, Paul reminds us not to fixate on our troubles, but to focus on the unseen and eternal, "So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."

Our struggles are temporary when compared to God's enduring promises. Picture yourself scaling a mountain, gaining a wider view as you ascend. Life's challenges are like valleys; when you rise above them, you discover God's eternal promises. As we journey, our earthly struggles become stepping stones leading to eternal glory. Just as climbers reach higher heights, our focus on eternal realities helps us rise above temporary challenges.

Numbers 6:24-26 imparts a timeless blessing: "May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favour and give you His peace." This blessing speaks of God's care, delight, and peace. When we lift our eyes to heaven, we unlock divine blessings and grace.

This blessing captures God's heart for us - His desire to bless, protect, show favor, and bring peace. When we turn our gaze heavenward, we embrace God's goodness and provision in our lives.

How do we incorporate this heavenly perspective into daily life?
Imagine a kite representing worries and distractions. Release it to God, like letting go of burdens. As you fix your eyes on God, you'll rise above challenges and discover new levels of faith.

Let your internal compass point heavenward, just as a compass guides us. Like a flower turning to the sun, turn to God for strength and guidance.

As you gaze at a starlit sky, consider the vastness above. Gaze heavenward and receive God's blessings and favor.

In conclusion, fix your gaze on God. Align your thoughts with heavenly perspectives. Just as Psalm 123:1-2 states, "I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal." We humbly look to God's supremacy and guidance.

As we navigate life, let's remember that the only way to look is up. Lift your eyes from trials and fix them on our Heavenly Father. Just as a compass points to the North, let your heart and mind point heavenward.

May our gaze be unwavering, empowering us to rise above challenges. In Jesus' name, let's embrace a heavenly perspective that guides us through life's twists and turns.

Based on the sermon Lifting Our Gaze: Finding Strength in the Heavenly Perspective by Dean Courtier - Click here to listen


 23 August 2023
...
Megan Bolden
[email protected]

Seeing Beyond: Finding Strength in Trials

Lessons from Job
In this challenging season of trials and refinement, it's crucial to view our circumstances through God's perspective. The story of Job offers profound insights into suffering, the spiritual realm, and God's purposes. Let's explore Job's experiences to find encouragement and a broader understanding of our challenges.

Job's Character and Blessings:
Job, a blessed and righteous man, enjoyed prosperity, a loving family, and divine favour. God held him in high regard due to his faithfulness and kindness to others. It's essential to note God's approval of Job, which becomes significant later.

Satan as the Accuser:
Job's trials originated from a conversation between God and Satan in the heavenly realm. Satan, the accuser, challenged Job's integrity, asserting that his righteousness resulted from God's blessings. God permitted Satan's testing, showcasing His sovereignty even in trials.

Job's Affliction and Response:
Job faced overwhelming adversity - losing possessions, business, and even his children. Despite these tragedies, Job humbled himself and did not curse God. His steadfastness in the face of immense pain reflects his faith and trust in God's sovereignty.

Bodily Affliction and a Spiritual Perspective:
The suffering escalated, with Job afflicted by painful sores. Even his wife advised him to curse God and die. Job's response, "Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?" underscores his unwavering faith amid affliction.

Lessons from Job's Story:

  • - Trials are not necessarily punishment but can be a test of faith.
  • - Satan's accusations and trials might be used by God for a higher purpose.
  • - Trials provide an opportunity for spiritual growth and refinement.
  • - God's sovereignty and goodness remain unchanged despite circumstances.
  • - Doubts and questions during trials can lead to a deeper understanding of God.
  • - Trials can equip us to minister to others who face similar challenges.
  • - Restoration and blessings often follow trials for those who remain faithful.

Biblical Wisdom:
James 1:2-5 encourages believers to find joy in trials, recognizing that testing produces steadfastness, leading to spiritual maturity.

In the midst of trials, it's vital to view our circumstances through the lens of God's sovereignty, goodness, and eternal purposes. Job's story exemplifies unwavering faith and trust in God, even when faced with the worst adversities.

Let us learn from Job's example and strive to see beyond our trials, knowing that God is working a deeper purpose in us and through us. Just as Job's faith was rewarded with restoration and blessings, our steadfastness in trials can lead to spiritual growth and a stronger testimony of God's faithfulness.

Based on the sermon 'Seeing Beyond' by Megan Bolden - Click here to watch on YouTube


 17 August 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Vision of God Through a Pure Heart

The Importance of a Pure Heart
Our world is often clouded with distractions, and our hearts can become entangled in the worries and desires of this life. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus reminds us, "God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God." To truly perceive God's visions, we must cleanse our hearts from impurities, distractions, and the enticements of the world.

The Lens of Purity in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, we see how a pure heart is the key to understanding God's visions. David, in Psalm 51:10, cries out, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me." It was only after repentance and a longing for purity that David could see God's plans and visions for his life. Likewise, Isaiah's powerful encounter with God's vision in Isaiah 6 was preceded by his acknowledgment of his own sinfulness and purification by God's grace.

The Lens of Purity in the New Testament
Turning to the New Testament, we find the purity of heart emphasized once again. In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul encourages us, "The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith." It is through such purity of heart that we can discern the divine visions God has for our lives.

Application of a Pure Heart
Let's bring this truth closer to our lives. Imagine a camera lens - when it's smudged, the pictures are blurred. Similarly, a heart tainted by sin and worldly desires blurs our spiritual vision. But, through genuine repentance and seeking God's forgiveness, our hearts are cleansed, and we see God's visions clearly.

Seeing God's Visions in Our Lives
The story of Cornelius in Acts 10 beautifully exemplifies this truth. Cornelius, a devout man, was open to God's leading. His pure heart allowed him to receive a vision that led to the conversion of his household and the expansion of the Gospel to the Gentiles. When we keep our hearts pure, we can witness God's visions not only for ourselves but for the transformation of those around us.

The visions of God are seen only through the lens of a pure heart.
The visions of God are not distant, unattainable mysteries. They are accessible to every believer with a pure heart. As we navigate our lives, let us continually seek God's forgiveness, cleanse our hearts, and embrace the purity that enables us to discern His visions. In the words of Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."

So, let our prayer be like that of the psalmist in Psalm 119:18, "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions." As we pursue a pure heart, we are enabled to see God's visions for our lives, our church, and our world. May the lens of purity sharpen our spiritual sight and lead us to witness the glorious visions that God has in store for each one of us.


 10 August 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Embracing the visionary view

In June, I reached the age of 54. Some might argue that I appear older, but let's set that aside. The world, has undergone immense shifts over the last five decades, a truth that reminds us of the transient nature of our existence. But let us not dwell on the years past. Instead, let's delve into the truths of God's Word and ponder the challenges of our times.

The Changing World: With each passing year, the world transforms, altering its landscape and its norms. Indeed, it might seem like the world is speeding forward, leaving us trailing in its wake. Yet, I am reminded that age does not define wisdom. Age does not guarantee discernment. In our church, we have those who have witnessed almost a century of change, a testament to the ever-expanding span of human life. The world, driven by modern ideals, whispers that we are in control, that we shape our destinies, that we create our truths.

Worldly Trends and Spiritual Alarms: However, let us not be naive. In our so-called enlightened era, concerning trends emerge. In our society and even within our churches, lines blur and boundaries shift. Actions once considered immoral or spiritually unsound are now lauded as the new normal. What was once deemed wrong has now been embraced as right, as diversity's voice reigns supreme. Yet, dear friends, should we not heed God's timeless truths? Consider Ephesians 4:17-19 (The Message): "And so I insist - and God backs me up on this - that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion."

The Dilemma of Deception: In this world, the concept of right and wrong becomes increasingly muddled. Minds are numbed, hearts are hardened, and shame fades into oblivion. People chase after pleasure, eagerly indulging in impurity, veering away from the life God intended. The emptiness of chasing after darkness is made evident in the words: "They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch, not only with God but with reality itself." It's a sobering reminder that sin's deception can lead us astray from reality itself.

A Call to Renewed Focus: Remember, the moment when you turned to Christ, embracing salvation and transformation. The old was replaced by the new, and chains of sin were shattered. Yet, with the march of time, distractions arise. We may let worldly pursuits cloud our vision of Christ's supremacy. We're enticed by the empty promises of a changing world, swaying away from our purpose in Christ. But as Philippians 4:8-9 advises, "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable." It's in this focus that our lives align with God's purpose.

The Warning Echoes: Throughout history, the enemy has whispered doubts, denying God's truth. Just like the serpent in the garden tempted Eve with distorted words, today's world tempts us to compromise. The warnings of 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ring true: "Do not associate with anyone who claims to be a believer, yet indulges in sin." It's easy to listen to the world's rationalisations, but we must remember that God's word remains unchanging, revealing His standards of holiness.

Returning to the Visionary View: Let us not be blinded by the fog of worldly norms. Let's not compromise the truth for the sake of conformity. Instead, let us be diligent in renewing our minds through the power of Christ. Let us pursue lives that align with His will, not the transient desires of this world. Let our lives be the testimony of Christ's transformative power. Remember 1 Peter 1:3-5: "Through your faith, God is protecting you by His power." Our salvation is secure, but our journey requires steadfastness and commitment.

My prayer is that we embrace the visionary view. Fix your eyes on Christ, on His unchanging truth, and on the purpose He has for you. The world may shift and redefine, but our anchor remains secure in Him. Let us not waver in the face of compromise, but rather stand firm, uncompromising in our devotion to the Creator. The road may be challenging, but God's word is our compass. Embrace the true, the pure, the lovely, and the admirable, and let your lives reflect the vision of Christ's transforming love.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ guide you, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit empower you. Go forth with the renewed determination to live as a disciple of Christ, unswayed by the world's fleeting ideals.

In the name of Jesus, our unwavering foundation.


 3 Aug 2023
...
Rev. Dave Redbond
[email protected]

A cause for celebration

My series on Nehemiah has been a journey that started back in January, and we have reached the point where the walls of Jerusalem have been completed.

1. Celebration of Overcoming Challenges: Nehemiah's journey was not without challenges. Enemies outside and complaints within tested his resolve. Yet, he overcame them with God's help. Just as Nehemiah faced opposition, we too can celebrate overcoming challenges in our lives and ministry.

2. Celebrating Contributions Made: Nehemiah's vision involved many people coming together with different backgrounds and skills. We celebrate the value of each individual contributing to the work of God. Together, we form a strong and united community advancing God's kingdom.

3. Celebrating Together: Celebrations are more meaningful when shared. The church provides a place where we connect, rejoice, and support one another. As we move forward, others will be raised up to contribute to God's work, passing the baton to new generations.

4. Centrality of God's Word: Ezra's appearance marks a celebration of the centrality of God's Word. The Bible impacts and changes lives, guiding us in fulfilling God's purpose. We must cherish the freedom to study, understand, and apply God's Word.

5. A Continuation of the Story: As Nehemiah's chapter closes, a new chapter unfolds. Completing a task is not the end; it's the beginning of what God has in store for us. We must remain open to God's vision, running with determination and conviction, gathering others to fulfil His plans.

Conclusion: Let us celebrate God's faithfulness and what He has accomplished in our lives thus far. However, we must remember that there is more to be done. As we continue to seek God's vision and purpose, let our celebrations be for His honour and glory.

May God bless you as you celebrate His work in and through your life. Amen.

Based on Rev. Dave Redbond's sermon 'Cause for celebration' which premieres 10:30am Sunday 6 August 2023 on YouTube


 27 July 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Thoughtful Living

Psalm 25:8-15 (New Living Translation)
The Lord is good and does what is right;
He shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them His way.
The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep His covenant and obey His demands.
For the honour of your name, O Lord,
forgive my many, many sins.
Who are those who fear the Lord?
He will show them the path they should choose.
They will live in prosperity,
and their children will inherit the land.
The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him.
He teaches them His covenant.
My eyes are always on the Lord,
for He rescues me from the traps of my enemies.


Are you living thoughtfully or on autopilot?
It's effortless to wake up each morning, go about our work, enjoy some relaxation or entertainment, and then fall into bed at night without considering God's involvement in our daily lives. However, let's ponder the advantages of keeping our spiritual senses open throughout the day - to perceive how God has blessed, guided, protected, and warned us.

Being mindful of the Lord's presence serves as a reminder that He is always in control, diligently working to fulfil His good purposes. When we seek God's footprints in our daily experiences, we come to realise the extent of His involvement in our lives. Perhaps He empowered us for a task or opened a door of opportunity. Maybe He directed our decisions or helped us respond with compassion to a challenging individual. Additionally, if our ears are tuned to the Lord's warnings and instructions, we are less likely to repeat our mistakes.

Each night before you go to sleep, acknowledge that the Lord is continuously with you, safeguarding and offering guidance. He desires you to comprehend life from His perspective, relying on His wisdom and power to face any challenge that comes your way.


 20 July 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Lessons from Ephesus

No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son Himself. Only the Father knows. (Mark 13:32)
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. (Luke 12:40)

As God's church, we are anticipating the return of Jesus Christ. While some search for signs of His imminent return, we are reminded that the exact time is known only to the Father. Yet, His promise to return remains steadfast.

In Revelation 2:1-7, the call to return to our first love is emphasised, as the church at Ephesus was commended for its works, endurance, and discernment, but lacked love.

Christ, the Lord of the church, walks among us, offering guidance and protection. The life of the church is examined, emphasising the importance of love. Thr Ephesian church's commendable qualities and spiritual discernment are highlighted, urging us to endure and resist evil.

Lessons from Ephesus include the danger of losing our opportunity by straying from love. Love defines our identity and interactions. Love can be renewed, as exemplified by the Prodigal Son. We are encouraged to examine ourselves, seek forgiveness, and rekindle our love for Christ. Let love be our driving force, empowering us to shine as a powerful gospel light.

May the Holy Spirit empower us to live as a church renewed in love, shining brightly as a powerful gospel light in this world. May we seize the opportunity to respond to the call of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and demonstrate His love to a world in need. Let love be the driving force behind all that we do as His church.


 12 July 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Call to True Discipleship

Discipleship is the life that Jesus calls those who truly believe in Him to follow.

Accepting the personal call of Christ to discipleship, should shape and define our daily life and practice. We cannot fully love our Lord and develop our knowledge and understanding of Him without embracing discipleship.

Jesus came to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God and also to take action to establish it. In Matthew chapter 4, Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee (4:18). He was not out for a casual stroll, His walk by the water was an intentional step in calling His first disciples to Him. The call to discipleship is a command: "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" Matthew 4:19 (NLT).

Christ's call is direct and personal.
"You, follow Me!" This call cannot be blocked or terminated. It is not transferable due to personal preference or excusable due to other perceived obligations.

"Follow Me" may appear to be a simple task, but, these two words contain the potent seed for exponentially growing and sustaining the kingdom of God.

Following Jesus has a real cost so each of us must examine what Christ is calling us to do, and to be, as His disciples.

"Follow Me" is more than just come after me. It is a call to imitate our Lord in life and word. It demands being like who Jesus was, and doing as Jesus did. It involves a paradigm shift in our thinking and practice.

A true disciple has only two obligations: become like Jesus; and pass on the truth of His teaching and way of life to others.

Think about your life, is there real evidence that you are a disciple of Jesus?
Take the time to pray about your daily walk with Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to help you be the person God has called you to be.

Seek ways in which you can share the truth of the Gospel with your family and friends, so that they may know the joy of their sins forgiven and the gift of eternal life as they choose to follow Jesus as His disciples.


 6 July 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Reluctant to serve?

We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrews 6:9-12)

Have you ever found yourself thinking, "I love you, Jesus, but please don't ask me to do that!" Or perhaps you have served God, but with the wrong attitude, saying, "If no one else will do it, then I guess I have to."

What causes us to be hesitant in our service?
Busyness: Sometimes our schedules are so packed that we don't leave room to follow our Lord. We need to ensure that we have some margin in our lives.

Feeling inadequate: You may feel unqualified, thinking, "Surely there are others more gifted than me." Remember, God promises to equip those He calls. We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of His new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)

Selfishness: Serving sacrificially is not always convenient. It may require changing plans, sacrificing comforts, or making financial commitments.

Lack of love: This is the most difficult to admit - that we simply don' care enough. Our reluctance to serve others reveals a lack of devotion to Jesus. If we love Christ with all our hearts, we will serve Him joyfully by ministering to people in our families, workplaces, communities, and churches.

Are you quick to follow the Lord's guidance, or do you prioritise your own plans and desires?
Any service offered in Jesus' name will not be in vain. You will experience the joy of giving and the assurance that He will not forget your sacrifices.

Volunteering within our church on a regular basis offers an opportunity to serve others selflessly, grow spiritually, and be an active participant in building God's kingdom here on earth.

Think and pray about how you can become more involved and then speak to one of the Ministers or Deacons.


 29 June 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

God hears our prayers

In our world, we encounter brokenness as a result of the presence of sin. Loss, tragedy, sickness, devastation, and death are experiences we endure. However, God assures us that He hears our prayers. Jesus instructs us to seek what we need through prayer because our Father understands how to provide us with good things:

"You parents - if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him." (Matthew 7:9-11)

Although this doesn't guarantee that we will receive everything we desire in this life, it brings comfort that God discerns what is good, and He is willing to bestow good things upon His children. The challenging reality is that we may live our entire lives without obtaining the things we yearn for. Healing for a loved one, deliverance from persecution, or restoration of broken relationships might not come to pass.

As we place our trust in God's perfect timing, let us surrender our desires, fears, and disappointments into His hands. He is the source of life, the orchestrator of miracles, and the One who transforms ashes into beauty. He comprehends the deepest desires of our hearts and will bring forth His plans in due course, "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." (Galatians 6:9).

Remember:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

(Psalm 34:18-19)

Though we may endure suffering in the present, we can anticipate eternity with the Lord, who promises to claim us as His children and grant us a home with Him forever.

Today, let us cling to hope, for even in times of emptiness, fear, uncertainty, and longing, God is actively working.

Let us place our trust in His faithfulness and find solace in the truth that His timing is always perfect.


 22 June 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

It was by faith...

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Have you ever said, "I wish I had more faith"?
Our faith often increases as a result of our obedience to God in the little things. We all marvel at Abraham's willingness to offer up Isaac at the Lord's command. But have you ever stopped to consider all of his smaller steps of submission that prepared the way for this enormous test?

Throughout his lifetime, Abraham obeyed God. At the Lord's command, he left his country (Genesis 12:1-4), was circumcised (17:10, 26), conceived Isaac in his old age (21:1-3), and sent his son Ishmael away (21:9-14).

By the time he was asked to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham already knew that his God would always be faithful to His promises. His previous experiences had taught Him to trust the Lord.

In the same way, every small step of obedience we take helps solidify our confidence in God. Then, when He challenges us with a more difficult assignment, a firm foundation of assurance enables us to trust and obey Him.

Great acts of faith can flow from our past interactions with the Lord. By neglecting His simple commands, we miss priceless opportunities to witness His faithfulness.

Are you having trouble trusting God for something big?
Have you ignored those "small" and "insignificant" promptings of the Holy Spirit?

The Lord considers each of His commands important and promises to reward every act of obedience, regardless of size.

Remember great faith begins with little steps.


 15 June 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Regard with respect

In the Bible, one of the Ten Commandments God gave Moses for the people of Israel was: "Honour your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12).

The dictionary defines "Honour" as 'to regard with great respect'. Sadly, for some, that is a very difficult thing to do. In the modern, mixed-up, sinful world we live in there are many children whose fathers are absent fathers, and there are many people whose experience of their earthly father has been negative.

In my own life, I never really knew my biological father. Between birth and the age of nine, I only remember seeing him 3 or 4 times. I would love to be able to say that those times were good times but I honestly don't remember much about them. I couldn't tell you anything important about him. I couldn't tell you anything nice about him and it is almost impossible for me to honour someone who I have never been in a real relationship with. Yet the Bible commands me, commands us to Honour our fathers.

When I was nine my mum married a man called Richard and he became my step-father. He was not perfect, but he loved me. It was easier for me to honour Him. My step-father brought me up, he corrected me in love, he looked after me, he cared for me. He taught me.

When I was sixteen, I met another father for the first time, Father God. Father God was and is perfect, He loves me, He corrects me, He looks after me, He teaches me, He leads me, He cares for me, He has a perfect plan for me. Father God is someone I can fully honour every day of my life, Father God is someone I can respect every day of my life, Father God is someone I can be in relationship with everyday of my life.

Every day we experience the presence of Father God, His Mercy and His Grace. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He is with us in the good times and the bad. He is Our Gracious Heavenly Father and He loves us and cares for us more than any human parent ever could.

Father God is worthy of all our honour, all our praise, all our worship today and every day.


 8 June 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Waiting For God

"I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1)

Practicing patience is hard work!
This is especially true when we are waiting upon the Lord, who keeps to His own timetable. But believers who trust God to deliver are richly rewarded with the desires of their heart.

A person's willingness to wait reveals the value of what he or she desires.
No one goes wrong waiting for the Lord to send His best in His perfect timing.

Believers don't receive everything they request.
At times God simply says no. In other cases, He adjusts our desire to match His own. In our humanness, we can't possibly know all the details of a situation. So we ask for what we think we need, based on our limited information.

A submissive heart accepts the omnipotent Father's gentle redirection.
When the awaited object of desire comes, it may not look like what the believer originally requested, but it will be exactly what he or she needs. Waiting patiently on the Lord is an awesome witness.

When He responds, others see the reality of God, His faithfulness, and the wisdom of our commitment.
In addition, our own faith is strengthened. Fools rush to seize their prize. But wise believers know that blessing will come in God's good time.


 1 June 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Church, Worship, Service

These words should remind us of three things:

It is the people not the building that are God's church.
There is a distinct difference between "going to church" and "being church".
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). The church exists within each of us because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; not structures made of bricks and concrete.

Worship is an encounter with almighty God.
There is a difference between "going to church" and "worshipping God".
We can be present in the "building" but absent from the "temple", just because we turn up at a certain time on a Sunday and spend time with other people does not necessarily mean we actually worship God. In fact, worship should be an integral part of our everyday lives. Each day we should seek to spend time worshipping God, speaking to Him, listening to His voice, seeking His presence, knowing His touch, experiencing His love, grace and mercy.

Service is the attitude of being a servant.
When we meet together as church, we meet to worship God, we meet to honour Him and praise Him. As we meet together there are many opportunities to serve Him and each other. Each of us needs to examine ourselves and ask:
Do I have a servant heart?
How can I serve God?
What is God calling me to do for His glory?

Each of us can serve God in some way!
There are many activities in the life of "our church" that you could use as opportunities for worship and service.
Greeting people as they arrive with a smile does not take great theological knowledge, nor does being on the rota to provide refreshments after a service.
Could you arrive early to help set up or stay behind to help clear up?
Can you make time to chat with visitors?
Could you assist with Sunday School or Youth work?
Could you bring a friend to the Coffee morning?

Worship and service needs to be part of our daily lives.
When we give God the central place in our lives He takes us to a deeper dimension in our relationship with Him, a deeper dimension that all of us can experience.

"But the time is coming - indeed it's here now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24 NLT)

Daily God grants us His extravagant grace and daily we should offer Him sincere worship and heartfelt service that flows from a heart filled with gratitude for His awesome power and presence in our lives.


 25 May 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Power of Pentecost

Jesus said: "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere - in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

The word translated power is the Greek word dunamis. Dunamis is used 120 times in the New Testament. It is a word that refers to 'strength, power, or ability'. Dunamis is not just any power it is miraculous power or marvellous works. Dunamis can also refer to 'power and excellence of soul'. Dunamis is the root word of the English words dynamite, dynamo and dynamic.

In John 14:15-17 Jesus said: "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you."

Advocate in Greek: Paraclete or parakletos - the one who consoles; comforts; encourages; uplifts; refreshes; or intercedes. On the day of Pentecost, the Advocate arrived in power. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 disciples gathered together in the Upper Room and they were changed, they were transformed. Peter preached the Gospel and 3,000 people were saved that day.

When we look back at God's action in the past our attention lingers there, and we grow nostalgic for days gone by and compare unfavourably those we currently live in. And here is where the danger lies, as there is nothing more resistant to purposeful, hopeful action in the present than nostalgia, the sentimental longing for a bygone era.

But Pentecost does not need to be about the past. In fact, I suspect that Luke, like all historians, wrote about the past in order to make sense of the present and prepare for the future.

Power, boldness, to go out and speak the truth and thousands were saved. Could that happen today? Yes, it can! God has not changed, and His power has not diminished. The Holy Spirit still operates in power in our lives. The truth of the Gospel still changes and transforms lives today and God uses ordinary people like you and me to share the truth of who Jesus is with others.

The disciples were filled with dunamis power and today we, as disciples of Jesus, are filled with the same dunamis power as those first disciples.

Remember, we do not live the Christian life in our own power, but in God's. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit. This year I challenge you to experience Pentecost not as a nostalgic commemoration but as the means by which to anticipate and make sense of God's ongoing activity in the world.


 20 May 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Online Service 21 May 2023

Due to computer equipment failure the 10:30am Online Service on Sunday 21 May will only be available on YouTube https://youtu.be/gfBkCEGv4Yo


 18 May 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Faith is more than a feeling

Jesus said: "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27)

Have you ever thought about how many feelings we can have?
God has created us with the capacity for an incredibly wide range of feelings. We can feel happy, playful, calm, confident, courageous, peaceful, joyful, comfortable, optimistic, delighted, encouraged, satisfied, and jubilant. We can also feel angry, afraid, depressed, hopeless, confused, hurt, or sad.

Feelings are a gift from God.
Feelings are real - we truly experience them. We don't imagine them. They are real, they may be the truth but they are not always the truth. If we believe in Jesus Christ and feel like God loves us and accepts us that is the truth. If we feel condemned or that God has abandoned us that is not the truth.

Feelings are a poor measure of the truth.
As believers, we are to live by faith, not by sight. Our circumstances may appear to indicate that God is not for us or that He is giving us too much to handle. Yet we live by faith in God's word which says despite our circumstances God is for us and is not giving us too much to handle.

We need to live by faith in God's word not what our feelings tell us.
We may feel hopeless, we may feel like we can't go on another day and the challenge for us is what are we going to believe - our feelings or God's word?

We must believe and obey God's word no matter how we feel.
We may feel like we can't go on. We may feel like it is impossible to forgive someone. We probably won't feel like rejoicing in the midst of affliction or giving thanks in everything but we can and we must obey God's word.

To be able to live by faith in God's word we need to know God's word.
If we regularly read the Bible and think about God's promises, our faith will increase and we won't be dependent on our feelings.

I hope that you feel good today. I hope you feel God's love and presence today. I pray you will feel happy and joyful and thankful. But if these feelings elude you, don't be discouraged. Thank God anyway. Praise Him. Ask Him for peace of mind and heart, and believe, trust and obey Him.

Have faith in the God who loves you, whether you feel like it or not.


 11 May 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Our Mission

Jesus told His disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)

God has an amazing purpose for us, we have a two-fold mission, to be His disciples and to make other disciples.

Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, we are meant to grow in our awareness of His presence in our daily lives. We are also called to help other people come into a real and living relationship with God, their eternal destiny depends on them connecting with Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour.

Jesus' atoning death on the cross dealt with our sin and brought salvation to all who trust in Him as Saviour. We fully embrace Jesus as Saviour but to allow Him to be fully Lord of our lives requires discipleship.

Discipleship is a lifelong and heartfelt response to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

True discipleship involves our deep commitment to our Lord and Saviour, allowing His life to infuse our own, so that we become more like Him. Following Christ must be the central purpose of our lives and that is why discipleship is so important for us.

Discipleship is about Christ being formed in you and you being formed in Christ. Jesus is our Redeemer and He is also our Exemplar, God's image of perfect human holiness. To become like Him we must submit ourselves to the truth of God's Word, from beginning to end. Discipleship is a process that will last the whole of our lifetime and touch every part of our lives.

Evangelism is an aspect of discipleship, and discipleship is an aspect of evangelism - and it's all about Jesus. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book The Cost of Discipleship wrote: Discipleship means adherence to Christ and, because Christ is the object of that adherence, it must take the form of discipleship. An abstract theology, a doctrinal system, a general religious knowledge of the subject of grace or the forgiveness of sins, render discipleship superfluous, and in fact exclude any idea of discipleship whatsoever, and are essentially inimical to the whole conception of following Christ... Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

The Gospel and life in Christ are all about discipleship and disciple making. Discipleship is the way we show that we take Jesus - His Incarnation, His works, His words, His person, His exemplary life, His commands and His commissions - seriously. A Christian who takes discipleship seriously is a Christian who takes Jesus and the Gospel seriously.

Our ongoing walk with Jesus must be a priority in our lives. Disciple making lies at the core of our following Jesus; it is not an optional extra. Discipleship is a lifelong encounter and the privilege of those called to follow Jesus and love God.


 3 May 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Jesus is the King of Kings

It's so important for us as Christians to understand who Jesus is and the significance of His role as King. In the book of Revelation, we read that Jesus is not just a king, but He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, let's explore what this means for us:

Jesus' Kingdom is not of this World
First, we need to understand that Jesus' kingdom is not of this world. When Jesus was on earth, He proclaimed in John 18:36, "My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world." This means that His kingdom is not a physical kingdom like those we see on Earth today. Jesus' kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that is based on love, grace, and righteousness.

Jesus is a Humble King
Second, we see that Jesus is a humble king. In Philippians 2:6-8, we read that Jesus, "Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges]; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." Jesus didn't come to earth to be served but to serve others. He showed us what it means to be a true leader who serves with humility and love.

Jesus is the King of Kings
Third, we come to the heart of our message: Jesus is the King of Kings. In Revelation 19:16, we read that "On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords." This is not just a title, but a reality. Jesus is the ultimate authority, the one who reigns over all of creation. He is the one who has the power to save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

We are Citizens of Jesus' Kingdom
Finally, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are citizens of His kingdom. In Philippians 3:20, we read "But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Saviour." This means that we are no longer citizens of this world but of God's kingdom. We have been adopted into His family and given a new identity in Christ.

Jesus is the King of Kings. He is the ultimate authority, the one who reigns over all of creation. But He is also a humble king, one who served others with love and compassion. As citizens of His kingdom, we have been given a new identity in Christ. Let us embrace this truth and live our lives as faithful followers of our King. May we serve others with humility and love, just as Jesus did. And may we always remember that our true home is not on this earth but in the kingdom of our King, Jesus Christ.


 26 April 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

BE STILL. God is in control!

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be praised among the nations, I will be praised in the earth.(Psalm 46:10)

In the Gospel of John, Mary and Martha come to Jesus and ask Him to heal Lazarus, who was critically ill. Since Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus, I'm sure Mary and Martha were expecting Jesus to come immediately to his aid. But the Bible says Jesus stayed two more days in the place where He was. It was in those two days that Lazarus died.

When we are in the midst of a difficult circumstance or situation we can forget that God is in control. It's hard for us to understand God's timing. We want Him to act, we need Him to act, but God's timing is always perfect even if it seems we have to wait for Him to answer our prayer.

With Lazarus, God was about to teach everyone involved a much deeper truth. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He made sure they all understood that He is the resurrection and the life for all who believe.

God has His perfect timing for everything under heaven. You may be waiting for God to intervene in some area of your life. You may have been begging and pleading with God for years about a particular thing. Trust Him, God's timing is perfect, have faith in Him. He knows best what He is doing and He is working all things for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Be still. God is in control! He has greater blessings for you than what you could ask or think!


 20 April 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Great Commission

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him - but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told His disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus instructed His followers to spread His message to all nations before ascending to heaven. However, many of us are not actively pursuing this Great Commission with fervour and purpose.

Fear and lack of confidence may be among the barriers holding us back, particularly when it comes to evangelising. We may also struggle with conditional obedience, limiting our service to God based on our own desires and preferences.

Despite these obstacles, we must strive to tear them down and fully embrace our role in the Great Commission. By doing so, we can witness the incredible power of God working through us.

If you find yourself lacking in passion for sharing the gospel, take time to reflect on what may be standing in your way and ask for God's guidance and forgiveness.


 13 April 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

The Triune God

After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy." (Matthew 3:16-17 NLT)

Why is belief in the Trinity foundational to Christianity?
Why can't we just believe in God and leave it at that?
Why do we need to know that God is Three in One?
The simple answer is that without the Trinity, we lose the truth and power of the Gospel.

Humanity, by our nature, is sinful and we deserve Father God's wrath to be upon us. But, Jesus, the Son, came to Earth to take the punishment for our sins upon Himself. Jesus gives (imputes) His righteousness to all who believe in Him as Lord and Saviour.

Because of what Jesus did at the Cross, reconciliation with Father God is possible.
When Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit came and now empowers the disciples of Jesus to live for God's honour and glory. If we lose any part of this plan, we lose all of it. Each person of the Trinity plays His role in our redemption. No Trinity, no salvation and no possibility of a restored relationship with God.

Without the Trinity, the Bible makes little sense.
God exists as three persons simultaneously. Jesus came to pay the price of our sins and to satisfy the wrath of God. God the Father spoke from Heaven as Jesus was being baptised and the Holy Spirit descend on Him like a dove.

What every disciple needs to understand about the Trinity is that God is real and operates in our lives today. God is our Father, Jesus is our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit is our Helper. They are Three and they are One.


 6 April 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

What does the cross mean to you?

Many people in the world today view the cross as a symbol of Christianity, but stop and think about what it represented in Christ's day. Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship. The cross was a torturous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.

Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith. In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion. The subjects of death, blood, and sacrifice have become unpopular in many churches because they are unpleasant and uncomfortable topics. People prefer to hear about the love of God, not the suffering of Jesus.

So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With His own blood - not the blood of goats and calves - He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified?
Some people think all you have to do to receive God's forgiveness is ask Him for it. But a sinner's request can never be the basis for His forgiveness. He would cease to be holy and just if no penalty was imposed for sin. According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:28)

Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was - an instrument of execution. Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin. Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph.


 30 March 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

In the name of Jesus

In John 14:14 Jesus said, "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it."
Jesus did not say "Ask me anything in my name, and you will get some sort of response" He said, "I will do it!"

When we pray, often we close our prayers with a phrase like, "in Jesus' name. Amen" but praying in the name of Jesus, is not the 'Abracadabra' of Christianity; simply saying the words does not mean what we have asked for will suddenly appear (or disappear). There is more to it than that.

Praying in the name of Jesus is not about saying the right words, it is about having the right relationship and true friendship with Christ is the key to answered prayer.

In John 15:7 Jesus says, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7).

How do we ''abide' in Jesus?
"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love." (John 15:10).

What are His commandments?
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

How did Christ love us?
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Jesus laid down His life for us, and His command is that we follow His example. In prayer, that means we put aside our worldly desires and focus on God's glory instead. That is what it really means to pray in the name of Jesus.

Are we becoming like John the Baptist who joyfully proclaimed that Christ must become more while he became less (John 3:29-30)?
Or, is our friendship with the world getting in the way of our friendship with God?

When you truly pray in the name of Jesus, as His friend, He has promised to do all that you ask of Him.


 23 March 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Seek the face of God in prayer

We live in a difficult world. It seems every day brings issues and problems. Look at the news, a struggling economy, Ukraine, rising fuel, energy and food prices, etc.

A question we are often asked in troubled times is 'Is God good?'
The resounding response of the Bible is yes!
You are good, Lord. (Psalm 25:7)
Good and upright is the Lord. (Psalm 25:8)
You, Lord, are forgiving and good. (Psalm 86:5)
God is good - good in skill and good in heart.

Do you suffer from small thoughts about God?

In an effort to see Him as your friend, have you lost His immensity?

In your desire to understand Him, have you sought to contain Him?

The God of the Bible cannot be contained. He created order out of chaos. With a word He called Adam out of dust and Eve out of a bone. He consulted no committee. He sought no counsel. He has no peer:
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me (Isaiah 46:9).

From the tiniest microbe to the mightiest mountain, He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command (Hebrews 1:3). God has authority over the world and He has authority over YOUR world: Your sleep patterns. Your eating habits. Your salary. Traffic on your commute. The arthritis in your joints. God reigns over everything. He is never surprised and He has never, ever said "How did that happen?"

God's power is unsurpassed and His heart is unblemished. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle (James 1:17 MSG). God is merciful and mighty, God has no hidden agenda or selfish motive. His love is perfect and He forgives with a perfect forgiveness. God's goodness is a major theme in the Bible.

A glimpse of God's goodness changes us.
God's unrivalled goodness undergirds everything we say about prayer. No wonder the psalmist said, Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

We may try and fail in our own strength but our toughest challenges are simple to God. Before you face the world each day, turn your face to Father God. When the alarm clock goes off. Roll over and sit up. It does not matter if your face is pillow creased and your hair is messy. You haven't come to look at you. You have come to look at God. Don't underestimate the power of this moment. At the start of your day, open the door to God in prayer and welcome His strength, His truth, His love into your heart.

Father, You are always good. You love me and care for me, and you will be with me in all I do today. You are good! An arch of Your eyebrow, and a million angels will pivot and salute. Every throne is a footstool to yours. You have no questions, second thoughts, or backward glances. You consult no clock. You keep no calendar. You report to no one. You are good all the time! (Max Lucado)

Is the world different because you prayed?
In one sense, no. Wars still rage, traffic still jams, and problems will still happen around the world. But you are different. You have peace. You've spent time with your Heavenly Father and you know He is good!


 14 March 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Mothering Sunday: What are we celebrating?

In 1913, Constance Penswick Smith (a vicar's daughter from Nottinghamshire) read about the American Mother's Day, celebrated on the second Sunday of May. She decided something similar with a more Christian basis was needed in Britain.

Her plan was to relaunch the Mothering Sunday of the liturgical church calendar, which had fallen out of wider observance and the 'Movement for Mothering Sunday' was born. By the late 1930s, services celebrating motherhood were being held in almost every parish church in the country.

The historical Mothering Sunday had very little to do with mothers. It had probably been observed since pre-Reformation times, on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Its purpose was to draw the congregations of 'daughter churches' of a specific area back to their 'mother church', a large church or cathedral. Constance thought that the celebration of church unity should still be an important part of the day. She felt that if Christians are members of one family, then the 'church' is logically viewed as the mother.

The idea of 'mother church' convey the notion of a spiritual home. Churches are places for nurturing followers of Christ, providing teaching, discipleship, and opportunities for growth. Jesus spoke of his disciples as 'my mother and my brothers' and of them having priority over his biological family.

This view of mothering could make services more significant for those who might otherwise stay away from church: those who have lost their mothers, or who would dearly love to be mothers but can't. For them, Mothering Sunday can be excruciating.

Constance's aim to honour mothers was laudable - but the original meaning of Mothering Sunday can help us to reflect on how our church is a place where we radically care for and minister to one another, whatever our age, gender or role.


 9 March 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

When life happens God is faithful

As we all know too well, life often confronts us with unexpected or painful circumstances. Sometimes these situations leave us feeling fearful, discouraged, and frustrated. Consequently, we may question whether the Lord truly is reliable.

During such troubling moments, we can rest on this essential truth: The Lord is perfect in His love. Consider 1 John 1:5 God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.

In other words, everything our heavenly Father does is righteous. And if He is a God of love, then it is impossible for Him to mistreat any of His children. We can be assured that whatever He places or permits in our lives is good and that His motives are perfectly pure.

Jesus demonstrated this deep care for us when He offered His blood on the cross - there exists no greater display of love than giving one's life for someone else (John 15:13). Our sin debt could be paid only with a flawless sacrifice (Deuteronomy 17:1).

Christ, the perfect lamb, was willing to die in our place so that we could have an eternal relationship with the Father. If God gave us His Son - the most precious and amazing gift possible - to take care of our greatest need, then we can trust Him to provide for all areas of our life.

When difficulty arises, remember how much God loves you. He proved this by willingly giving His Son to take the penalty for your sin.

Even when circumstances are painful, you can be confident that you are held in the capable and caring hands of your heavenly Father, because of His love.


 2 March 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

How do you view the Bible?

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible is the written Word of God. How we view the truth recorded in the Bible is crucial. In the Bible, God has chosen to unfold for us His nature, character, plan and purposes.

The Bible reveals where we have come from, our purpose in life and our ultimate destiny. Billy Graham said, "Millions of people today are searching for a reliable voice of authority. The Word of God is the only real authority we have. His Word sheds light on human nature, world problems and human suffering. But beyond that, it clearly reveals the way to God".

The message of the Bible in 4 points:
- God created you
- God loves you
- God sent Jesus to die for you
- God is going to send Jesus again to bring believers back to Him

The Bible provides the believer with practical instruction, encouragement, warning and wisdom. God has chosen to unveil His power, integrity and love in His inspired Word.

Some of the many descriptions used by the prophets, writers and psalmists recorded in the Bible describe God's Word as:
"honey in my mouth" Ezekiel 3:3
"spiritual food for the hungry" Job 23:12
"perfect and trustworthy" Psalm 19:7
"more precious than gold" Psalm 19:10
"a lamp for my feet" Psalm 119:105
"true and righteous" Psalm 119:160
"a joy and delight to my heart" Jeremiah 15:16
"a fire that burns in my heart" Jeremiah 20:9
"renewing my mind" Romans 12:12
"Sharper than a two-edged sword" Hebrews 4:12

We need to apply God's Word to our lives daily. The Bible is life-changing, and while the truth of God's Word does not change, our understanding of the truth does. Martin Luther said "I use Scripture as a lighter to kindle the fire in my heart". Often a verse or a passage becomes clearer when lit by the light of other verses or passages on the same subject.

When The Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to the Word we experience it as a living Word. Our faith is based on the truth revealed in the Bible and our every thought, word or action needs to be in line with God's Word.


 24 February 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Forgiveness is not foolishness

"God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:12-15 NLT)

Years ago, some missionaries felt that God wanted them to take the message of the Gospel to a group of Eskimos. When speaking to the Eskimos the missionaries struggled to find a word in Inuinnaq (the language of the Eskimo) for forgiveness.

The word that came closest had twenty-four-letters issumagijoujungnainermik and can be literally translated "not being able to think about it anymore."

Only God has the power to fully forgive us. God forgives, and chooses to forget our Sins. In Hebrews 8:12 God says "I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins."

When God forgives us, it's not like He is pretending that nothing happened, to forgive requires an acknowledgement that something wrong has been done that requires forgiveness. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, when we come to Him in repentance our sins are forgiven.

How can we who have been forgiven refuse to forgive?
Dare we ask God for forgiveness if we refuse to forgive?
What is our motivation to forgive?

We are simply demonstrating what God has done, and continues to do for us. Because of Jesus sacrifice for us, God looks beyond our sin and sees someone worth forgiving. And that's what we've been called to do as well.

Because we are forgiven, we are called to forgive. If we want to be obedient disciples of Jesus then we must choose to forgive.


 9 February 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Actions speak louder than words

The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:7,10)

God has handed to each of us a torch to carry for Him. That torch is the light of the Gospel, the knowledge of God and His ways, and the Word of God. It is put into our hands and our hearts by the Holy Spirit and the fire is ignited so that we may burn as lights in a sin darkened world. Each of us are to let our light shine that all men can see Jesus in us and then we are told to run with it and to pass it on to the next generation so that we will not forget God.

How could a nation that had experienced all of the miracles that God had done for Israel, and had seen the presence of God in the pillar of fire and cloud, and had known the power of God in such greatness, not pass along the torch of the knowledge and love of God to their children?

It seems so impossible that the very next generation after Joshua's generation, would completely forget God and not know about anything that God had done in the past. Could it be that Israel failed to talk about God in the home? Were they so worldly minded that they failed to even teach their children that God existed?

I think that Joshua's generation tried to turn around. God honoured them, but the damage to their children was already done. Though the words of their parents praised and honoured God, the children saw their actions. Actions speak louder than words.

We can talk about Jesus, claim to know and love Him, and say that we are serving Him, but are our actions proving it to be true. The next generation will learn from what we do more than from what we say. Are we passing the torch?

We can't allow the light of the gospel to be extinguished. We must do everything we can to be a torchbearer and then to try to pass that light on to the next generation as well.


 2 February 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Godly Living

Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

The Apostle Paul lived at a time when sensuality, the pursuit of pleasure, and rebellion against God were prevalent. In response, Paul wrote letters urging Christians not to follow the ways of the world. Like those early believers, we are to pursue godliness by:

Presenting our bodies to God. Submitting ourselves to God requires a definite decision to give Him control and a daily commitment to remain under His authority. Our mind, will, emotions, personality, and physical body are to be turned over to our heavenly Father (James 4:7). To truly live a holy and godly life we must willing surrender to Him.

Becoming living sacrifices. The Christian life is built around the concept of sacrifice. Jesus left the perfection of heaven to live among sinful people to reconcile us to God. He offered up His life as payment for our sins (1 John 3:16) and brought us into His family. As Christians, we must follow His example. Paul called it a living sacrifice, because it is an ongoing act of daily commitment to God.

Life is full of options. Many decisions involve a choice between following God's way or our own. As Christians we must be willing to sacrifice our own desires and embrace His will. A life of godliness is characterised by a heart and mind focussed on the things of God. Although we will live imperfectly, we should seek to obey His will and please Him.

Today, commit to becoming more like Jesus, the One who willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice for you.


 27 January 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Jesus Heals

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favour has come" Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)

When we grasp the power of Jesus words in Luke 4:18, this truth brings change and transformation. The power of the cross is not found in what we do, but in what has already been done for us.

Jesus came so that we might, through Him, be made whole. Not by following the rules or meeting expectations of man, but by resting and trusting in the power of our Almighty God. It's not our strength or power that transforms us. Yes, we can make some changes in our lives, but real change only occurs when we open our heart to His tender touch, that is when real transformation occurs.

There is nothing we can do to earn God's love. Jesus' statement proclaims His love to us today. We come to Him with baggage and hurting hearts and His love changes us and compels us to trust Jesus to heal and transform us. We can sense when He is active in our lives, teaching us, redirecting us, healing us.

A hurting heart can send us down paths we may regret, searching for something or someone to ease our pain. Jesus invites us to stop running and rest in Him, expectant of His healing touch. When we allow The Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us He can move us in new directions and He can lead us along new paths.

The truth of Luke 4:18 is ours today to hold close, for Jesus came to heal our hurting hearts, Jesus came to set us free, Jesus came to bring Healing and Wholeness. Trust your Saviour, He is willing and able to do the miraculous in your life today.


 20 January 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

Things we get wrong about worship

It's Sunday morning, the service has ended, the tea and coffee has been served and people start heading toward the car park. In every church, in every location where there has been a service, listen closely near the exit doors and you will hear it:
"I didn't get anything out of the sermon."
"I didn't get anything out of that service."
"The worship was all right, but I didn't get anything out of it."


Have you heard that sound? Have you said it a few times yourself?
Let me remind you, we are not supposed to 'Get anything out of the service'.
Worship is not about you and me, not about getting our needs met, not about a good performance from the preacher or the singers or the musicians.
The focus of our worship is the Lord, 'Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name." (Psalm 29:2)

God calls us to be church to worship Him - our focus is to be on what we give Him - not what we get. We are here not there to "get' we are here to "give'.

We are here to give glory to God.
We know that, we should know that, we say we do that. How many times have we said, "...for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory"?

How often have we sung, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow..."?
Glory is His right. He is worthy of worship. This is the theme of the final book of the Bible. "Who is worthy?" (Rev. 5:2) "You are worthy...for you were slain, and have redeemed us" (Rev. 5:9). "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (Rev. 5:12).

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, "Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). That is, with their inner being, the totality of themselves, their spirit, not just their lips or their bodies going through the motions.

And in truth, the revealed truth of how God has prescribed worship to take place. He is not pleased with 'just anything' that we claim as worship.

If my focus is on myself, getting my needs met, my learning something, hearing a sermon that blesses me, my being lifted by the singing - then Christ has no part in it. It's all about me and I am ignoring the biblical concept of worship - giving God His due in all the ways He has commanded.

We must balance our worship between spirit (the subjective part: body, soul, emotions) and truth (the objective aspect: all that God has revealed in His word). Worship is something we do, not something done to us.

Don't leave church blaming your failure to worship on the singing or the sermon, you are in charge of the decision whether you will worship, no one else.

Bow before the Lord, offer Him your praise, and give Him your all.


 13 January 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

What is Discipleship?

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)

Learning about the elements of the Christian faith is an essential part of our daily lives (we can't live out what we don't know and understand), but real discipleship goes much deeper than just learning about God and how a Christian should conduct their life. The core idea of discipleship relates to becoming the disciple of someone.

True disciples seek to actually become like the master they are following. To become a disciple of Christ, we need to learn the things associated with the life and ways of Jesus, and actually work to conform our lives to Him. Discipleship is more about who we become than what we do. Doing emerges from being, not the other way around.

Being a disciple of Jesus is an on-going process, evidenced by a deepening faith and a changed lifestyle. Disciples seek a stronger personal relationship with God and have a deep desire to live in fellowship with Him.

True discipleship is demonstrated by putting aside sin and putting on Christlikeness. To grow in spiritual maturity, we must study the Bible to understand what God says is right and wrong. As disciples, we need to learn the ways of God and live by them.

Do you strive for holiness in your daily life?
Do you live in a way that demonstrates that you are truly a disciple of Christ?
Discipleship takes effort. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires more than learning Christian things, it requires becoming like Jesus.

What does becoming like Jesus mean?
We can't provide salvation for others, but we can, as Christ did, point people to God. We can witness to the lost, help the down and out, and make other disciples.

Being a disciple is more than just going to church services. Of course, we need to worship and we need to learn. These cannot be neglected if we are going to learn the things we need to know to do God's work in this world.

To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, you need to be a participant - not a passive observer. Your priority should be to become active in doing the work of God based on His leading.

Are you faithful in developing your spiritual life?
Are you willing to put more effort into your discipleship?
What do you need to do to take it to the next level?
Are you willing to share the truth of who Jesus is with those who need to know Him as their Lord and Saviour?

What will you do from this point on in your life to become a true disciple of Jesus?


 5 January 2023
...
Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
[email protected]

God has plans for you

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)

When thinking about God's plan for your life, it is very easy to have the attitude: "it's all about me."

Yes, it's true that God cares about every intricate detail in your life - Jesus said that even the hairs on our heads are numbered! We can mistakenly think that God's plan is always going to be a "feel good" plan with the intent to make us happy.

The message in these verses from Jeremiah is actually very different. These words are for a group of people who are being held captive in exile far from their homeland.

These words are to let them know that although they are not where they would have expected, nor where they would have asked God to place them, God has not forgotten them and He still has a plan for their lives. Even in the midst of a difficult situation, God wants them to know and have faith in His plans.

In the preceding verses, we see that a big part of God's plan is for them to "work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile" (Jeremiah 29:7). God wants His people to know that His plans are not just to benefit them personally.

God also tells them that He is not removing them from the situation immediately, but He does promise to restore them in the future. God wants them to know they can move forward in faith, because in the eternal picture, God's plans and purposes will prevail.

Today, in the midst of difficult circumstances and situations, God wants us to know He has a plan. He also wants us to know that when we submit in faith to His plan, He will use us to bless the world around us.

The key still remains during both good and difficult times: If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.