Week 1: Heaven Is... A Message For All (Speaker: Debbie Galea)
Fancy coming to Women's Church only to be told that you are just plain dirt!
It doesn't seem to be a line that wins friends and enemies but according to the Parable Of The Sower,
it is God who makes us good dirt or good soil.
Good garden soil only becomes good when something is added to it, ie manure, mulch etc, otherwise it's just plain dirt (there's that word again!)
We become good soil when God through His Holy Spirit opens our eyes, our ears and our hearts to understand and respond to the Gospel, the living, dying and rising of Jesus Christ for our sins.
Without God's work we are like the seed that fell on the:
The Path - hard hearted- resistant to God's message,
Rocky Ground - shallow hearted, when difficulties come we give up our faith
Thorny Ground - not grounded in the truth, wanting Jesus and all that the world has to offer
Through God's grace we can become:
The Good Soil - people to come to him as worthy but as common dirt needing Him to make us good
God promises that He can make our lives, special and valuable
Heaven is.... filled with repentant hearts who have humbled themselves before God not trusting in their own goodness but in His alone.
Heaven is.... filled with people, who out of gratitude and love for God are willing to get their own hands dirty by spreading the seed of the Gospel.
We never know where that seed will fall but pray that God will do a good work in whoever receives it.
x doing life with you
Week 2: Heaven Is... Where The Lost Are Found (Speaker: Lyndall)
It's a scary thing to be lost.
I remember as a young child, getting lost with my girlfriend as we'd walked a long way to find a park where we could fish for tadpoles (truly!)
We found the park ok but when we tried to return home we seemed to go round & round in circles.
It was getting dark and we became frightened.
Thankfully some Good Samaritans noticed our distress and returned us home.
We weren't really that far away but we'd lost all sense of direction.
Lyndall taught from 3 parables about the lost, the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.
She challenged us that to be lost is:
- to be out of place
- to be out of service
- to be in darkness
- to be wasteful and destructive
Thankfully Jesus delights in finding lost things. The lost matter to God
Many of the lost like my girlfriend and I, are not that far away from God. They just need Christians to:
- faithfully pray and persevere with them
- engage with the lost (like my Good Samaritans)
- include the lost in our lives
If you have been found by God Lyndall challenges you to move from "the circle of comfort into the zone of the unknown"
You never know who you might help to return home to The Father
Week 3: Heaven Is... Filled With Good Neighbours (Speaker: Mandy)
As a child growing up in the 50s/60/s good neighbours were an essential part of our lives.
We ate together, played together and even watched T.V together as only 1 house in the street owned one
(Alright so I am getting older!)
Today however, on current affairs programmes, we constantly see stories of neighbour hood breakdown
There are disputes concerning kids, dogs, noise, fences, racial and economic differences to name a few.
It's not only contained to the frontyard but rivalries exist between our interstate neighbours and fear and mistrust has broken out towards our overseas neighbours.
"Love Thy Neighbour " is no longer our catch cry, rather "sue him if you can!"
Mandy challenged us from the Parable of The Good Samaritan to have Jesus' view towards those we come in contact with .
A Good Neighbour is one who:
- Has mercy, compassion and grace
- Acts even when it's inconvenient
- Is indiscriminate
How Can You Be A Good Neighbour?
- Seek God and ask the Holy Spirit how you can help
- Pray for your neighbours - "Home And Away"
- Walk The Talk - find ways to demonstrate the love of God in our community and beyond
- Talk The Talk - be prepared to share the hope you have in the Gospel
- As the song goes, "Everybody loves good neighbours!"
Week 4: Heaven Is... Where The Forgiving Live (Speaker: Tony Galea)
Last week, Tony mentioned that one of the most dangerous prayers you can pray is "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."
Would you be happy for God to forgive you with the same measure that you forgive others?
Are you quick to offer forgiveness or do you hold grudges, expecting someone to pay big for offending you?
It was difficult growing up in a home where the catch cry was, "never forgive!"
I still have family members holding onto that cry with great pride but who are angry, bitter, resentful and extremely unwell.
It has taken many years with God's help, to break my family pattern.
Unforgiveness releases a poison into our life that will only be healed when we understand God's grace.
The fact of life is that people hurt us and we hurt people.
Heaven promises to be a place where there are no more tears no more pain
We won't need to forgive because we wont hurt each other
Until then we are expected to practise heaven on earth by offering forgiveness
Week 5: Heaven Is... For The Persistent (Speaker: Linda M)
"They say" women are usually experts in the art of nagging.
When we need something to be done we'll persist with the issue until we wear a man down!
Last week, we were spellbound as our passionate and persistent Linda gave us permission to be good naggers as she unpacked the Parable of The Persistent Widow.
However Linda encouraged us to be righteous naggers, women who would nag God, ie seek HIs patience, kindness, mercy and grace with unashamed persitence.
Why should we nag or persist with God?
- God is not reluctant to give us these needs
- God is not slow
- God trains our souls through persevering
- God makes us through prayer
- God changes our thinking while we wait for His answer
The widow believed the unrighteous judge to have power and authority. He held the key to her needs.
Our God is a righteous judge who has greater power and authority over our lives.
He holds the key to our freedom
Do we have faith in Him? Have you been waiting on God for al long time to answer a prayer?
Persist! Persist! Persist!
Week 6: Heaven Is... Just & Merciful (Speaker: Heather)
As a child I remember being disappointed when I would receive a fake Barbie doll rather than the genuine one. My mum didn't understand my problem as my no frills Barbie looked like a Barbie, wore clothes like a Barbie and even had a fake Ken friend just like Barbie. So what's the difference? I knew it wasn't the real deal. It didn't have the Barbie trade mark stamped on it's little bottom. Heather taught us through the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, that in the Christian world there are fake Christians too. They look like Christians, talk like Christians, act like Christians, even go to church, Bible Study and do good things like Christians but they're not the real deal. How can you spot the fake from the genuine Christian? The answer is we can't but God can. The defining mark of a Christian is they are saved by the death of Jesus. They have Jesus' blood stamped on their hearts.
How can you be sure you are saved?
- Repent, ie turn away from living for yourself and live for God's glory instead
- Believe that Jesus' death on the cross forgives you for all your sins
- Trust in God that He knows his "wheat" and on the day of judgement when Jesus returns you will be kept safe and gathered into Heaven.
Week 7: Heaven Is... Where camels walk through needles (Speaker: Holly)
Willard Wiggan is one of the world's most amazing sculptors.
He is famous for creating micro-sculptures so minute that they are only visible through a microscope. Each piece commonly sits within the eye of a needle, or on a pin head. (worth a Google!)
Willard enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce hand tremors and sculpt between pulse beats.
His work demonstrates that although difficult, it is possible, in the right hands, for camels to walk through needles.(or at least sit inside them)
Our gorgeous Holly explained Jesus' teaching about the Parable of the Rich Young Man.
Although it's difficult for wealthy people to enter heaven it is not impossible.
Wealth may make our hands "shaky" as:
- Riches reduce our need for God
- Riches deceive us from acknowledging God as our provider
- Riches make us feel comfortable and secure and can become more important than following God.
Thankfully Jesus showed that his hands are strong and secure when he outstretched them in love on the cross.
To pay for our sins His heartbeat stopped.
We need to put our faith and trust in Jesus to walk us through the eye of the needle into the gates of heaven.
Week 8: Heaven Is... Worth Preparing For (Speaker: Liz)
One of the best known mottos in life is that of the Boy Scouts', "Be Prepared."
Our loveable Liz gave us a similar message in regards to being prepared for Heaven.
She taught us from the Parable of the Ten Virgins or Bridesmaids, and its significance in regards to Heaven?
This Parable follows Jesus teaching about the signs of His 2nd coming.
Several times Jesus mentions, "Do not be deceived."
There will be scoffers who'll say because it's been hundreds of years since Jesus prediction that "it won't happen, we're wasting our time,"
How can we be sure Jesus is coming again?
- The Holy Spirit - is like the oil in the bridesmaids lamp.We need to keep being filled with the Holy Spirit as He prepares us for Jesus' return.
- The Word Of God - convinces us of His return, helps us identify the seasons
- Technology - is so advancing that it will be possible to see Jesus return, all over the world at the same time - one amazing instagram!!
How Can We Prepare For Jesus?
- Confess Jesus is Lord
- Know Jesus as Saviour and Lord
- Make Him your priority -Seek First His Kingdom and His righteousness
- Thank God for all your blessings
- Be committed to Bible Study and Prayer
- Long for Jesus to come
xuxu to be in Heaven with me!
Week 9: Heaven Is... Earthly Minded (Speaker: Trent Sutcliffe)
St Johns' church is blessed with extremely talented people.
There are talented, musicians, singers, preachers, teachers, chefs, IT people, film makers, carers & the list goes on.
These are easily recognisable talents but the Bible teaches that all believers have been given talents.
Trent taught us, through the Parable of the Talents, that God will provide the opportunity for our talents to grow.
We have the responsibility to develop them.
In order for our talents to grow we need to:
- Know the Master - who is God. He has given us all that we need to grow
- Know the Value of your Talent
- Use the time before Jesus returns to put your talent into practice
- Grow your talent by participating in God's work
- Grow in relationship with others
- Share in "The Master's" happiness by being involved in seeing others grow in the Lord
- Put into practice strategies to grow your talent
I love growing with you. You help me grow. Let's grow together
Week 10: Heaven Is... A Place called Home (Speaker: Debbie Galea)
Still to come!