In Him: Identity

On Sunday we continued with our current series; IN // HIM.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. [2 Corinthians 1:20]

Over the next few weeks we will be unpacking, declaring, and receiving the promises that we have “in Christ”. We have great expectations in what God is going to do throughout this series - we believe we will see people receive healing, breakthrough, and freedom.

If you weren’t able to join us over the weekend, please feel free to keep reading; I am about to catch you up. 

IDENTITY IN CHRIST

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [2 Corinthians 5:17]

At the heart of what it means to be a Christian, it is to receive a new identity. In Jesus, we do not lose our true selves, but we become our true selves, only in Him.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [Ephesians 2:10]

STADIUM EVENTS

In 1987, Nintendo released a game called “Stadium Events". It was a fitness game and it was released with a family fitness mat. The game was designed to get the average gamer and their family up off the couch and moving. The game was an outright flop - only an initial run of 10,000 units were produced and it was rated 1.5 stars out of 5. The game was not at all popular and due to its lack of popularity, no further units were produced.

But the strangest thing happened - Stadium Events became impossible to find. It’s gaming folklore; but somehow, from the original 10,000 copies only 23 mint copies are known to exist. It's a mystery what happened to the other copies, but Stadium Events became the rarest and most sought after game. This 1.5 star game became the “Holy Grail” of video game collectors.

So here’s four lessons we can learn from Stadium Events...

LESSON 1: POPULARITY DOESN'T SET VALUE - RARITY DOES

The most popular Nintendo game is Super Mario Brothers. Nintendo sold more than 40 million copies of Super Mario Brothers. It was super popular. However, you can buy a copy of Super Mario Bros for $11. If you want to own a copy of Stadium Events you would have to pay upwards of $35,000! Popularity doesn’t set value - rarity does. And you are absolutely unique! Right down to your fingerprint. God only made one of you. You are uniquely wired for a unique mission. The world needs you to be you.

Don't try to fit in, you were born to be unique. Fitting in is not belonging - in fact fitting in, is a huge barrier to belonging. Fitting is like twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get someone to like you, hang out with you, and accept you. If they accept the version of yourself that is a twisted human pretzel, they are accepting a fake version of you. Fitting in is a constant persona you must up keep, it is soul sucking.

Belonging is entirely different.  To belong is to show up and allow others to see you and know you as you are. Belonging starts with self acceptance. Your level of belonging can never be higher than your level of self acceptance. When you believe you are enough, that is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable  and imperfect.

Self acceptance is based on God's acceptance. You accept yourself when you realise and know truly in the deepest core of yourself that you are loved and lovable. Jesus loves you - Jesus adores everything about you. Quit hiding, striving, and making soul sucking efforts to try and fit in - you were always made to belong.

No one more is youer than you. - Dr. Seuss.

LESSON 2: VALUE IS SET BY THOSE IN THE KNOW

Those with the most knowledge, have the greatest sense of value.

There was a newlywed couple who were struggling financially - the day to day struggles of having enough money to survive, was tough. One day, the wife was browsing in an OP shop (thrift store) and saw this game on the shelf called Stadium Events. She remembered reading an article about a game that everyone wanted to get their hands on a copy and how much the game was now worth due to its rarity. Was this the same game for sale for $8??  She could've sworn that this game was the one the article had spoken of so she quickly headed across the road to McDonald's for the free WiFi to double check her suspicions - $8 is $8! This woman looked up the article and low and behold, this WAS the game! Stadium Events! The Holy Grail of Nintendo games for sale for $8!! So the woman hurried back to the store, quickly picked up the game, walked to the counter nervously, and paid eight dollars for an “obsolete, outdated” video game. This couple then went to sell their copy of Stadium Events to a collector for $35,000! This couple were able to put a deposit on a house - they were even able to get some new pots and pans! All because she knew the value of this Nintendo game! (you gotta feel for the store owner who sat on that treasure without realising!)

God knows you, values you, loves you, and chose you. God had put the highest value on you AND He knows everything about you.

Don't allow people who don't know you, set your value. Don't let the opinions of those who don't matter, matter. Always take your value from God.

I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord! You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something. [Psalms 139:14-18]

God is the God of from nothing to something! You're not a nobody you're a somebody!

LESSON 3: TRUE VALUE IS SET BY WHAT SOMEONE IS PREPARED TO PAY

A 1.5 star game sold for $35,000 and the collector was happy to pay that. Value is set by what someone is prepared to pay.

What is someone prepared to pay for you?

God was willing to give His son to die for you. Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself for you. There was no guarantees that you would choose Him if He first chose you. But God set your value as immeasurable by paying the highest price. He gave everything for a shot at relationship with you!

For this is how much God loved the world, he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift, so everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life. [John 3:16]

LESSON 4: GET IN THE GAME

Collectors of games like to buy games in mint condition then seal and tuck away their prized possessions on a shelf somewhere. God doesn’t want you on the shelf gathering dust. God wants you to join the adventure. God doesn't want you to hide away, he wants you to fulfill the purpose you were created for! You have something unique to offer this world - you have purpose and a mission unique to you. We need you to get in the game!

A thief has only one thing in mind - he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect - life in its fullness until you overflow. [John 10:10]

Jesus didn't come to take your life and make it boring. You were never born to have a Ned Flanders life. Jesus came to bring you an abundant, overflowing, ridiculously awesome life!

You, my friend, are not an $11 Super Mario Bros game.

You are a $35,000 Stadium Events game!

It’s time to dust of the cartridge and get in the Game!


 

In Him: Boldness

On Sunday we continued with our current series; IN // HIM.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. [2 Corinthians 1:20]

Over the next few weeks we will be unpacking, declaring, and receiving the promises that we have “in Christ”. We have great expectations in what God is going to do throughout this series - we believe we will see people receive healing, breakthrough, and freedom.

If you weren’t able to join us over the weekend, please feel free to keep reading; I am about to catch you up.

BOLDNESS IN CHRIST

This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. [Ephesians 3:11-12]

The promises in Christ are less of a "you've got it or you don't" and more of a "where do you sit on a continuum". If at one end you find timidity and at the other end is boldness; where would you sit? Our hope is that in reading this, you'll move towards the boldness you can have in Christ!

There are two kinds of boldness. A boldness that draws and a boldness that sends. A boldness that is relational and a boldness that is missional. A boldness that is onward and a boldness that is outward. A boldness that comes and a boldness that goes.

So now we come freely and boldl to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strength us in our time of weakness. [Hebrews 4:16]

It is not in our own ability, goodness, or perfection that we would have this boldness. Our boldness is found in Jesus. We have access to come boldly to Him! The debt is paid. We are free! We are loved! We are marked with purpose! We have boldness in the power and authority of Jesus. He has the final word. Not fear. Not anxiety. Not sin or any failure. In Jesus, our lives are stamped "approved". Sealed by His shed blood. In his own words, "It is finished!" Oh the boldness we have to draw near. The call to everyone is this, Come as you are! Come to Jesus! As the writer of Hebrews says, "we can come freely and boldly". 

But there is another kind of boldness. A boldness that goes. A boldness that's missional. A boldness that shares. A boldness that speaks.

BOLDNESS: TO SPEAK FREELY

Now when they [the Jewish council] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. [Acts 4:13]

The remarkable factor of Peter and John is that they were simple fishermen - they weren't skilled interpreters of scripture nor did they travel the long educational path to get to this moment of sharing the gospel, so boldly. These two men had no prior qualification to put them in this place of boldness but it was clear they had been in the presence of Jesus which was more than enough for them to be so bold.

See, boldness is more than general confidence. Boldness is not red faced passion or the domain of the extrovert. Boldness doesn't mean zeal enough to raise your voice. The boldness of Peter and John was in what they said about Jesus or more so how outspoken they were about the identity of Jesus. There was no room for doubt and they made sure all the leaders knew and understood their boldness. The leaders knew through the boldness of these two men, that there was no other explanation other than they had really been in the presence of Jesus.

Boldness has to do with speaking — which is not so much about how we speak, but in what we say about Jesus, even when we presume our listeners won’t always be happy with it.

The first church was birthed from boldness. When they met together, they received power from the Holy Spirit. There were many demonstrations of signs and wonders which includes salvation - the greatest miracle of all. The disciples and people of the first church were bold in sharing about Jesus - there is power in testimony. Just as in the early days of the first church, there is power in your testimony, your story. Be bold. We need to tell more people about our encounters with Jesus, we need to tell them all about the time spent in His presence.

The Greek word behind “boldness” is “parrhesia”.

F. F. Bruce translates parrhesia as “freedom of speech”. It has five occurrences of in Acts and they’re all connected to speaking.  Parrhesia is translated in Acts 4:13 as boldness. Acts is the book bookended with the call to parresia boldness.. Here is the parting thought in the last verse of Acts which includes Parrhesia boldness...

He [Paul] lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all oldness and without hindrance. [Acts 28:30-:31]

We are called to be outspoken about the identity and significance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Live are transformed and the church advances through the boldness of Christians sharing the good news of the gospel; who Jesus is and what He has done for them.

THE CHALLENGE TO BOLDNESS

When tensions are high and Christians are marginalized, our witness can feel increasingly complex. Articulating the person and work of Jesus doesn’t appear to answer the questions that confront us the most. People don’t want to hear about Jesus, they want to hear what we think about the issues. The issues — that’s the temptation. A position over a person.

We need to be very careful that our focus isn't found in our position of the next hot topic. There are important questions in our world, and our conviction is indispensable, but the most radical, controversial thing that we will ever say is “Jesus is Lord”.

We need to be outspoken about the identity and significance of Christ and what he has done. This is the boldness we are called to - to share the good news of Jesus Christ, the hope of this world. We are called to speak for Jesus. We are called to speak about the person not the position, and the relationship not the belief system.

HOW DO I GET IT? A PRAYER FOR BOLDNESS

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” [Acts 4:29-30]

The whole church was praying for boldness - The courage to continue to speak out - share their faith in the midst of fierce opposition.

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. [Acts 4:31]

The Holy Spirit wants to fill us with this kind of boldness. The best part? We don’t have to manufacturer it ourselves, we don’t have to be born with it, it’s not a personality trait. Instead, it’s the outworking of the Holy Spirit within us. The whole church was praying - the whole church needs to speak.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of powe and love and self-control. [2 Timothy 1:7]

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon yo, and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]

We are called to be powerful witnesses for Jesus.

The call is to know Jesus and speak for Jesus. To come and go! We carry good news; the hope of the world is Jesus! We get to share HIM with the world around us. Our family, friends, work colleagues, school mates all need to hear this good news! This is what it means to be a christian. To come and to go. In this confusing world, now more than ever it is time for us to speak. This is how He has called us to live. He has entrusted the greatest message to us.  Do not fear, be bold.

There is boldness in Him!

Prayer: Holy Spirit fill me with boldness to come to Jesus and fill me with boldness to go. Give me the courage to speak freely to those you have placed in my world. I choose to be your mouthpiece today. Open my eyes and heart to the opportunities around me I pray. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

In Him: Security

On Sunday we kicked off our new series; IN HIM.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. [2 Corinthians 1:20]

Over the next few weeks we will be unpacking, declaring, and receiving the promises that we have “in Christ”. We have great expectations in what God is going to do throughout this series. We believe we will see people receive healing, breakthrough, and freedom.

If you weren’t able to join us over the weekend, please feel free to keep reading; I am about to catch you up!

But now in Christ Jesu you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. [Ephesians 2:13]

The heartbeat and mission of C3 Church Wellington is; “to bring people far from God close to Him”. We, C3 Wellington believe that we are called to not only live with Jesus but in Jesus. We see in [2 Corinthians 5:17] that anyone who is in Christ, is indeed a new creation. We also see in [John 15:5] that Jesus is the vine and we are His branches - if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. Living in Jesus means that you walk the same way in which Jesus walked, Jesus is our example and lead.

WE HAVE SECURITY IN CHRIST

What is insecurity?

The definition of security is “the state of being free from any danger or threat”. When we live in Christ, He provides the above definition. When we aren’t living in Christ, there is opportunity for insecurity to creep into our mind, heart and spirit - insecurity is the opposite of what Jesus freely gives us. The definition of insecurity is “uncertainty or anxiety about one's self, lack of confidence”.

Insecurity, is a form of fear. There are rational reasons for insecurity for certain areas of our lives - If we live or work with someone who’s dishonest or abusive, we should feel insecure. Perhaps, when we first come under conviction of sin and realize we’re under God’s wrath because we’re not reconciled to him through Christ, we should feel insecure. God designed insecurity as a warning that we are vulnerable to some kind of danger. In a situation, insecurity instructs us to take some protective action

We can all relate to a circumstance based insecurity but what we typically mean by “insecure” is not just circumstance induced fear, but a fear so recurrent that we refer to it as a state of being. Insecurity is feeling a significant lack of self-confidence, or a powerful fear of others’ disapproval or rejection, or a chronic sense of inferiority. The problem with insecurity as a state of being, is that our identity is uncertain and threatened.

Insecurity is a war on your identity.

Where do you find your identity?

“Our identity is who we understand ourselves to be at the core. It’s our essential self. it’s what we want to believe (and want others to believe) is our essential self, even if it’s not who we really are.” [Jon Bloom]

What gives us our sense of identity?

We need to answer this question from our heart, because our identity is tied into what we really love, what we really want, what we really believe offers us hope. We often find our identity in things or people - we can’t help but to seek and follow and we believe that whatever it may be holds promises of great happiness. We need to recognize where or what our security is found in.

What does insecurity say?

Insecurity is a God-gauge in our soul. It’s reporting to us that something is wrong with what we hear whether it is God or some other thing/person telling us about who we are. Either a true belief is being challenged and perhaps refined, or a false belief is finally being exposed.

Our security must be found in Jesus. Whatever it may be that right now makes you feel secure, if it isn't Jesus, it is only a pain killer - it is a temporary fix but sooner or later you will feel your identity threatened because the root of your security is not the cure. Jesus is the cure to all problems including insecurity. We want the permanent solution, we don't want just painkillers, we want the cure.

There is invitation in insecurity.

When we feel insecure, God is inviting us to escape the danger of false beliefs about who we are, why we’re here, what we should do, and what we’re worth, and to find peaceful refuge in what he says about all those things. We see in Colossians 1:14 - Have we sinned and sinned greatly? In Chris “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”. We see in 1 Corinthians 1:27–31 & 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 - Do we feel weak and inadequate? In Chris God loves to choose the weak and foolish things because, when we are weak, he promises that his grace will be sufficient for us - so much so that we can learn to boast in our weaknesses because of how they showcase His strength. The more we understand Jesus and the gospel, we understand that in fact the gospel is the end to insecurity.

Removing the weight of insecurity.

But if those promises are not satisfying to us — if we need other people’s approval to feel validated, if we find criticism or rejection debilitating, if we see a pattern of regularly disobeying Christ because we’re trying to escape or demand attention, or if we are caught in habitual or addictive sins through which we seek relief from our fears — then our insecurity is telling us we have an idol problem. We have a false god that needs to be knocked down, a sin-weight that must be laid aside. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us  [Hebrews 12:1]

Jesus wants to remove the weight of insecurity in our lives. We can't just avoid our insecurity and let it eat us up or fall into traps like criticism, rejection, or addiction.

Avoiding it doesn’t free us from it.

God wants us to examine our insecurity, even if we fear doing so. We must not listen to our fears, for they do not tell us the truth. If we come to Jesus with a desire to repent, He says; “I will not condemn you”, “Come to me and I will give you rest”, “I will love you forever and unfailingly”, “I will fill you with peace that surpasses understanding”, “and I will make you more secure than you ever dreamed of”.

It’s time to  flee insecurity and run to the security we have in Christ.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” - Jesus Christ

Let us bring all our insecurities to him and in exchange take his light burden of grace. 

Insecurity finds it’s antidote in Jesus. We have security IN HIM.

Above All: Closer

Above All: Closer

On Sunday we finished our Above All series with one final message ‘Closer’. What a day in the house! Pastor Steve, thank you for being vulnerable, always keeping it real and always doing it with such love. This week’s message was all about the call to prayer is a call to closeness with God and how we as Christians need to kick every ounce of apathy out of our lives at whatever cost. If you missed Sunday, keep reading, I’m about to catch you up real quick!