According to your faith…

Over the past week I had to prepare for a Bible quiz in Church focused on the book of Matthew, where I was responsible for studying chapters 7-9. After the 50-minute competition which saw my team answer 35 questions, we came second after a run-off quiz with another group which came third – we missed only two questions!  Anyways the essence of this post is less about our wonderful performance but more about what I learnt while studying Matthew 8-9 in particular.
For context, these chapters cover developments immediately after Jesus’ sermon on the mount and focus on three dimensions of faith:

Your faith,
The faith of your friends, and
When you’re unable to exercise faith

I’ll leave you to study the chapters for yourself but the main thing that stuck with me was how Jesus responded to anyone who was capable of exercising faith. How he responded to them was based on the extent of faith they had. Let me compare and contrast two similar examples:

In Matthew 8:5-13, the centurion came pleading to Jesus that he had a servant lying paralyzed and dreadfully tormented at home. Jesus offered to go with him to go heal him but the centurion’s faith saw him believe that if Jesus only spoke a word, his servant would be healed. And for that, Jesus said he had not found such great faith, not even in Israel! So Jesus told him to go his way that “as you have believed, so let it be done for you”, and his servant was healed that hour.
In Matthew 9:18-26, this time it was the leader of a synagogue who came and worshipped Jesus saying that his daughter had just died and he wanted Jesus to come lay His hands on her and she will live. Jesus arose and followed him to his house. When He got there, He was laughed at and riduculed by the mourners at the house, but despite this, He went in, took her by the hand and she arose.

You see, faith has levels – reflected in Jesus saying He hadn’t seen such great faith as the centurion’s. Now Jesus didn’t wonder why the synagogue leader on the other hand didn’t believe that He could speak and the girl would arise, instead Jesus responded according to the man’s faith and followed him. Maybe in the first scenario the servant was still alive but in this one she was dead, or maybe in the second scenario Jesus wanted to use that experience to spread the word into that region as the text says “the report of this went into all that land” – whichever way, what we know is that Jesus responded to the level of faith that either man had.
Jesus is more than willing to answer our prayers and give us good gifts, even more than we think He wants to. In Matthew 8:2-3, the leper said “if you are willing to make me clean…”, to which Christ responded “I am willing…”. In Matthew 7:7-12, Christ teaches us that if we sinful humans know how to give good gifts to our children when they ask us i.e. we won’t give them stone when they ask for bread, or a serpent when they ask for fish; then how much more will He our father give good things to those who ask him! Just think about that for a second…
So God’s willingness to give us good things is never in doubt. In the following verses He tells us some secrets to unlocking answers to our prayers in this life:

Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Persistence in asking, seeking and knocking is core to unlocking answers to our prayers. Matthew 7:7
Whatever we would like other people to do to us or for us, we should learn to do to/for them also. Matthew 7:12. Basically, God is not mocked, whatever we sow we will reap! (Galatians 6:7-9)

As mentioned earlier, the extent of our faith could affect how God answers us. Just look at how many times Jesus referred …. READ MORE HERE

Wealth/Riches, influence and serving God – Joseph and Nicodemus

Sometime this week, I was reading about Ken Costa, an accomplished and successful South African banker and philantropist who had just become chairman of a private equity fund. He had written a book about Joseph of Arimathea and this piqued my interest to study further about this Joseph. Below are my findings about this rich and godly man who you find mentioned in the four gospels but only in so few a verse that it’s easy to miss all the detail packed into them. I also include notes on Nicodemus, who shared a number of similarities with Joseph including being his contemporary at work, and his partner on that glorious night.
In summary, learning about these men teaches the role that our wealth and influence could have in doing God’s work in these evil last days, as those days were equally evil. It also shows wealthy men who studied the word of God faithfully, truly surrendered their heart to God, generously gave their best to God, faithfully kept the Sabbath day holy, stood by their moral convictions and were willing to be mocked for Christ’s sake.
If you want to study more about Joseph of Arimathea for yourself, read: Matthew 27: 57-61, Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; and John 19:38-42

Respected Jewish leaders: Joseph was a prominent and respected member of the Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin… READ MORE

Two New Souls Baptised in Central London Church

On the 10th February, 2021 two precious new souls were added to the Central London Church family and there was much rejoicing in this otherwise depressing period of living on planet earth. Joanna-May Stewart Lima was baptised live in the Advent Centre church and Shirley Stewart gave her heart to Jesus through Profession of Faith at her home.

Shirley has serious health concerns that made it very dangerous for her to venture out to the Central London Church for the actual baptism but the CLC Church Board considered it was wise not to put her in further danger and so unanimously voted to allow her join the Church on Profession of her Faith in Jesus.
Both ladies are sisters and related to Colin Stewart Senior Pastor at Central London as first cousins, and became serious in wanting to follow Jesus when another cousin Raymond Stewart forwarded a link to Joanna from a series of meetings entitled, Unlocking Bible Prophecy by AWR speaker Cami Oetman. Immediately the ladies were hooked on the topics but more so on the message of the Adventist Church.
After watching the full 15 part video messages they were convinced that Jesus is real and promptly rang Colin and going straight to the point asked for Baptism at the earliest date. Excitedly this request and good news was brought to the Church Board who didn’t hesitate even although they had no real opportunity to meet the ladies in the flesh because of Covid 19, but regardless, gave the green light for the Baptism to go ahead.
While planning the baptism and waiting for a window of opportunity as the Churches were locked during the first lockdown, virtual weekly bible studies were given by family and eventually the date for baptism was sealed.

While Shirley stayed at home and was received into the church by Profession of Faith, Joanne came to church with her husband Ivan and daughter Rachael. A special song was song live by Patricia Stewart and then the baptismal thought was give by another relative, Pastor Stefan Burton-Schull. A special prayer for the sisters was given by another first cousin, Pastor Maslin Holness after which the immersion happened. A benediction was given by CLC Elder Robert.

Husband, Ivan, read Joanna’s favourite text, Ps 27 and Rachael, daughter, read Shirley’s favourite text, Deut 31:6. After the baptism gifts were presented in a socially distanced way by first Elder Claudia Passer on behalf of the Central London Church family. So much was done be Claudia, the tech team, and our Covid 19 safe advisor. Later that night Shirley’s baptismal gifts were delivered to her home!!

We give God all the glory and praise for these two new precious members.
Colin Stewart

How to Communicate in the Family?

 

Be Careful of the 5 “I…s”

“How great is your fall from heaven, O shining one, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the earth, low among the dead bodies! For you said in your heart, I will go up to heaven, I will make my seat higher than the stars of God; I will take my place on the mountain of the meeting-place of the gods, in the inmost parts of the north. I will go higher than the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Isa 14:12-14

The point of the five I’s points to the danger of “Self Exhortation”, “Self Promotion” and “Pride”
Lucifer wanted to be like the Most High and was giving himself up to feelings of self importance and finally communicated this to others Angels…
Thus mankind in communicating to others often give themselves away by the way they communicate.
The Devil may not have been saying these things verbally but God sees the heart and knows exactly what your heart is saying at each moment!

[embed]https://youtu.be/t685WM5R6aM[/embed]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empathy in Communication

The communication process begins in your heart…It’s shaped by your mind before it is revealed
Bad Communication happens in grunts groans, or as you talk to the person while looking at the wall…!
One way communication, when you ask the question then give yourself the answer when talking to someone…
Think before your communicate…

Proverbs 17:28, Even the foolish man, when he keeps quiet, is taken to be wise: when 
his lips are shut he is credited with good sense.

When Listening to Someone:

Smile and look the other person in the eye naturally (it’s not a stare down).

Ask questions to show you are interested and to clarify things you aren’t sure of.

Look for common ground.

Try to block out distractions.

Don’t focus on rehearsing what you will say next.

If the person expresses strong feelings, try to acknowledge them without becoming offended or angry yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content: (words, facts, fiction,)
Tone: (change of the tone, affects the message to the hearer,) example, ‘read your bible’
Nonverbal: (facial expressions, body posture, actions)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cliche: Happy Sabbath, Did you Have a Good Week? (Not really wanting a long discussion with you but short,) This type of talk is VERY SAFE!
Reporting the Facts About Others: We report the facts like the six o’clock news! We are not involved, we share the gossip, the hot news, the incident. In a way we are aloof from the report!
My Ideas and Judgements: Real Communication takes place here. The person steps outside of personal confinement, willing to share some of herself/himself. Still cautious but is in a sense testing the waters of discussion and reception
My Feelings and Emotions: The person shares more of his or herself, feelings and emotions are very personal. (Apostles at Pentecost shared their feeling and emotions, there weaknesses)
Complete Emotional and Personal Communication: A deep relationship must be based on absolute openness, and honesty. At this stage risk of rejection is involved. But only when sharing at this level is growth achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Summary:

“Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.” (Prov 18:17) Living Bible
When the man of pride undergoes punishment, the simple man gets wisdom; and by watching the wise he gets knowledge. (Prov 21:11) NIV
“He who answers a matter before he hears the facts, it is folly and shame to him.” (Prov 18:13) Living Bible

by Pastor Colin Stewart

Understanding and Breaking Generational Curses

Ezekiel 18:19-20 says that a son shall not bear the guilt of the father because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all God’s statutes and observed them. The inverse of this statement is therefore also true that: if the son of a sinful father (or mother indeed) is also living in sin then it is possible for the son to bear the guilt of the father in addition to punishment for the son’s own sins.
And for how many generations can this curse possibly continue for? We know from Exodus 20:5-6 that God can continue placing the punishment for iniquity of the father until the third and fourth generation that hates Him, while willing to show mercy to those who love Him even until the fourth generation (Also see Kings 10:30). So we find the same principle from Ezekiel reflected here in Exodus: when we continue living in sin, we may open ourselves up to generational curses we know nothing about; but what breaks that chain, at least on your head, is righteous living!
Two examples from the Bible:

We know about Ahab, Jezebel’s husband, that “there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord” and for this, God pronounced a curse on Ahab for this wickedness in 1 Kings 21:20-26. But because Ahab humbled himself (v. 29) before God when he heard the punishment for his sins, God postponed the punishment to the days of his son. This was fulfilled by Jehu in 2 Kings 10:11, 17 when God instructed him to kill all seventy sons of Ahab and all the remainder of his family in fulfillment of the original curse on Ahab.
King Josiah’s grand father, King Manasseh, was the king who’s evils finally sealed the fate of the people of Judah (2 Kings 21:9-16) – NB: we studied the terrible consequences of King Manasseh’s sins and how to repent before God here. Follow me now: Josiah’s father (Manasseh’s son), King Amon, was evil and was killed by his servants in his own house. Then comes King Josiah, on who’s head a curse from his grandfather was still floating but he did what was right in the sight of God. In 2 Kings 22:18-20, God said that because Josiah’s heart was tender and he humbled himself before God, he will die in peace and his eyes won’t see the punishment God was to bring on the people of the land. 2 Kings 23:25 tells us that:

READ MORE HERE.

Receive The Latter Rain

 

 
“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.”

Joel 2:23
 

When there is a drought you are glad for rain!!!
In its primary application this verse refers to the restoration of adequate rainfall… (SDA Comm)
Be glad because the early and latter rain is going to be sent to finish the work!!
The Rains represent the work of the Holy Spirit…
Be Saturated with the Latter Rain…!
In its figurative application to the Christian church the early rain represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, whereas the latter rain represents the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which produces “the
This final Outpouring of the Latter Rain (Holy Spirit) is to be the greatest outpouring to date!
ripening of the harvest” (GC 611; cf. AA 54, 55).

 
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.”

James 5:7
 

Autumn Rain is the (Early or Former Rain), Spring Rain (Latter Rain)
The Lord is waiting for the Harvest…Patiently…
The Early or Former Rain represents the Outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost and the Disciples…
The Latter Rain is poured out on the Church at the end of time to prepare the world for the Coming of the Lord
If you don’t receive this outpouring to fall, YOU WILL BE LOST!!
But the good news is Jesus now patiently waits to give us this power!
The key to receiving the Latter Rain is to first realise that we are bound up with a Laodicean mentality and once we first realise this then we can begin to focus on our real needs! Read Rev chapter 3. We can’t see our true state, but God does. Buy from Him His Righteousness!

 

We Cannot Wait for the Whole Church
We Must Enter Upon the Work Individually “Are we hoping to see the whole church revived”? That time will never come. There are persons in the church who are not converted, and who will not unite in earnest, prevailing prayer. We must enter upon the work individually. We must pray more, and talk less.”1SM 122, LDE 195

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE WHO WILL RECEIVE THE LATTER RAIN

Converted, (Acts 3:19)
Overcomes, (Rev 3:12) (Zech 4:6)
Active Labourer With Christ (Entire Wholehearted) Matt 28:20
Some will never unite in the work of receiving the Holy Spirit and the Latter Rain!
Some are just not converted! Pray that we will be!!
Calling on God now to receive the promised Latter Rain Power is our greatest individual need.
Don’t Wait. Call on Him now.

Conclusion:

“If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.(1 John 3:20)

When the people of God come to the place of persistent prayer, the place where Peter, James, John, and the rest of the apostolic company came after the ascension, the “latter rain” will fall and multitudes will be converted. Joel 2:23 promises both the former rain and the latter: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” 

Further Study:

Specific Conditions:

To feel the need of the Spirit and pray for His presence
This need must receive priority in our spiritual life.—AA 50; ChS 253
To experience first the early rain
Forsaking sin, cleansing heart by confession, prayer and consecration; thus preparing for added power.—TM 507
Growth in grace and walking in light already received.—AA 54
To be willingly used and guided by the Spirit
We cannot use Holy Spirit, we must surrender to Him.
To eliminate dissensions and misunderstandings
All differences to be put away.—DA 827
To surrender self
Surrender of self opens way and opens our eyes.—6T 43.
When emptied of self, vacuum will be filled by inflowing of Spirit. —GW 287
Self-idolatry to be crucified.—GW 114
We cannot empty ourselves of self; we must consent for Christ to do it.—COL 159)
No limit to our usefulness if we put self aside.—ChS 254

This is a summary of 30th January 2021 – Sabbath Service, by Pastor Colin Stewart.

Build Community, Make Disciples, Finish Strong

 

The Devil does not want the church to complete the giving of the gospel. He will use every trick to frustrate the finishing of this work, but Nehemiah completed the work God gave him to do.

By God’s grace enough members will step forward to rebuild our wall.

When you begin your small groups you are persevering like Nehemiah and completing the wall. As you build the wall (build your small group) distractions and lies will come to stop the work… But tell them, I’m too busy to come now! Pray that God will strengthen your hand!

Nehemiah 6:5–9 (ASBN): 6:5–9 Nehemiah’s enemies change their strategy. Since distraction and direct threats did not work, they now resort to rumors challenging the character and intent of Nehemiah and subtly suggesting royal ambitions. This is a serious threat, but the implied blackmail (v. 7) does not lead to the desired outcome. Nehemiah is not going to be sidetracked, and he treats the accusations as fiction. Instead of trying to clear his name, he recognized the intention of their action—and prays. While the Hebrew contains no explicit reference to prayer, the statement “strengthen my hands” suggests a quick prayer, which is underlined by the addition of “O God.”

Main Points:

Make Disciples, Build Community is God’s Plan for Today but the enemy wants to stop the work!
(Great Commission: Matt 28:18,19, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Rebuilding the Walls can equate to the work of Making Disciples and Building Community
Nothing must be allowed to stop the effective work of the Gospel and Making Disciples…

How do you build a wall?

Survey the work, how long, high, thick, the type of brick, etc

Dig foundation

Purchase right amount of bricks

Get cement and mix concrete

Begin the work of building,

Some people have done the surveying, got the tools, measured the walls etc but then they do nothing?!!
We have to start the job of building
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Heb 3:13-15

 

(1) Technology is on your side: (Facebook live, Instagram live, google groups, zoom account, whattsapp, (invest in your Internet Service,
(2) Upgrade Your Camera and invest in lightening, (everyone is doing it, your places of work are looking into options and are way ahead of the Church) Don’t be false, be your self online
(3) Select the Best part of your room or your flat, or your house to present yourself… (You need it quiet!, Mute Yourself unless you want to talk!) If You are Host practice using the controls like sharing your screen etc, and Zoom are still ahead as the most people friendly platform. Make good eye contact as you talk…
(4) Time his not to be taken for granted, people still have a life, during Corona and will have planned to be with at the times decided. Of course you can be flexible but always respect and ask before you extend it…
(5) Create a plan together for a simple program that is not too formal but has something exciting to follow and engage together with… Prayer should be central to all we do, if its a study use a clear bible version, remember if you are leading the group, contribute don’t control the group, folks just won’t come back! Preparation and Communication is king and Queen!  Have good resources ready and prepared

 

Remain Totally Focused, What ever the situation, Nehemiah was not Distracted (But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. Acts 9:15
Resolve to Endure Hardship, (Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 2:3) Being imprisoned (2 Timothy 1:8) Being chained like a criminal (2 Timothy 2:9) Being abandoned (2 Timothy 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:16) Facing execution (2 Timothy 4:6)
Surround Yourself With the Right People, 2 Tim 4:11, Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
Make Love be the centre of all you do, leave Bitterness Outside the group, 2 Tim 4:16, 17 ( At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.)
Keep Mentoring Others, 2 Tim 4:7,( I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness)

Do you want to know more? Download the Slides here: Build Community, Make Disciples, Summary.

This is a summary of 23rd January 2021 – Sabbath Service, by Pastor Colin Stewart.

Herbal Help This Festive Season

It’s that time of year again when we are all trying to escape irritating sniffles, colds and flu. Fortunately, as every health coach knows, there is an abundance of wonderful herbs and spices you can use to boost your immunity and stay healthy throughout the festive season, and beyond.
Did you know that many of the everyday herbs that you have in your kitchen cupboard have anti-viral properties? They can be highly effective against a number of influenza strains and respiratory viruses, and should be on the top of your shopping list.

Ginger root is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial herb that can help reduce fevers and relieve colds and inflammation. It’s best used freshly chopped with your hot food or in smoothies, or have it as a tea with half a lemon, and sweetened with a little Manuka honey or a pinch of cinnamon.

Another herb that’s good to have in your kitchen all year round, is garlic. Always use it freshly chopped to boost your immunity and to help to avoid common colds taking hold.

Liquorice root, which can easily be bought as teas and is a broad-spectrum anti-viral herb. It is thought to work through multiple mechanisms that prevent viral replication and growth, and that activate your immune cells.

The Echinacea herb potently enhances your immune system’s first line of defence. Your herbalist can combine it with Siberian Ginseng to build up your strength to fight through immune challenges. Echinacea can also be very useful for deep-seated infections, so should be part of your herbal first aid kit.

Once temperatures drop, spice up your teas and foods with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, black pepper and cayenne. These spices will heat your body from the core, and support circulation and digestion. They also help improve absorption of nutrients at stressful times when your body is in need of a denser nutrient supply. Remember also the Mediterranean spices such as thyme, white sage, rosemary, basil and oregano. They have long been known for their antimicrobial properties and show a specific affinity for the lung tissues.

It’s now a good time to increase your intake of autumn-coloured berries and vegetables. The rich purple, blue, yellow and red colours of the fruit and veg contain anthocyanins and flavonoids which are important health-promoting antioxidants. As a tip, stew organic Bramley apples and add some mixed berries, cloves, (another powerful antimicrobial spice), some almonds for protein and cinnamon quills to sweeten it all up.

Finally, and to prevent the spread of infections throughout your family home, safely burn some essential oils such as lavender, sage and frankincense. Make sure all the oils you use are pure essential oils (preferably organic) and not synthetic or “fragrance” oils. Add some orange blossom or cinnamon essential oil to make this pleasant practice even more effective, and it will surely add to the festive atmosphere of your home!
Diffuser’s and essential oils are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at any Neils Yard store. If you are not familiar with essential oils and you wish to use them please ask to speak to the in store therapist where you purchase your oils who is happy to advise.

Genesis 1:29 -31 Song of Solomon 4:14

Happy and Blessed Christmas from the Health Team at CLC

Our God of Thunder and the Still Small Voice

Similar to Moses and the Israelites’ experience at Mt Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19; Exodus 20:18), did you know God also appeared to Elijah at Mt Sinai (aka Horeb)? But in distinctly different ways. At Sinai for Moses, there was earthquake, fire and a loud trumpet sound (that caused the mountains to quake greatly), in addition to thunderings and lightnings. God was in them and Hebrews 12:19-20 tells us that the people around heard His voice. Psalms 81:7 suggests that God’s voice must have sounded fearsome as thunder. For Elijah, while there was earthquake, fire and wind (…continue reading).

What Does it Mean to ‘Be Still’?

Be still? What does that even mean? Be idle while just praying and keeping the faith?! So I spent time yesterday thinking about this verse…”Be still and know that I am God”. Does it mean when we’ve got anxieties, after surrendering them to God we should idle away and perhaps just pray and keep the faith? I struggled with it because this line of thinking didn’t seem consistent with the rest of the Bible. Then I read this (…continue reading).