Camp Devotion – Courageous Love

Courageous Love

Olivia Shivas

Hey everyone, my name is Olivia and in today’s cabin time devotion I’m going to talk about love. And our camp Bible verse today is 2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” It’s one of my favourite verses at the moment. It’s definitely been one of my battle Bible verses this year.

We have such an incredible and generous God who gives us His love. We don’t need to earn it, He just gives it to us in abundance. And a great definition for love in the Bible comes from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

In the New Testament, Jesus talks about being the true vine and we are the branches and the importance of really attaching ourselves to Him and having our foundation of our lives in Him and we are able to produce good fruits. And as we know in Galatians 5, it talks about love being a fruit of the Spirit. If we really want to produce love as a fruit of the Spirit and love others, how can we actually attach ourselves to God in our day-to-day lives.

I know from the outside, I know how to act and look like a Christian but this year I’ve really learnt the importance of having a daily and personal effort to actually become dependent on God. And I’ve learnt that the closer we become to God and act like Jesus as He was on earth, the easier it is to produce these good fruits.

But I know it’s definitely not easy loving others. Maybe there is someone at school or at university or in your workplace that you just clash with all the time. Maybe there is someone who has hurt you that you find difficult to love. Or maybe there is someone in your family or a relationship you really need to reconcile. Trust me, I find it hard myself to love every single person.

One thing that I do to remind myself to be more loving to others, is I’ll read that same verse in 1 Corinthians and I’ll replace the word ‘love’ with my own name. So instead I’ll say, Olivia is patient, Olivia is kind. Olivia does not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud, I do not dishonour others, I am not self-seeking and so on. And it’s a really good, practical reminder on how I can be more like God and loving others.

So let’s make it a daily reminder of God’s perfect love for us and to express that to others, even people that are difficult to love. Because if God can love us, as imperfect as we are, we should also be able to love others in our world.

Devotion – Courageously Share the Gospel

Courageously share the Gospel

Kim Clark and Manuele Teofilo 

Kim – Good morning campers. I’m Kim

Manu – Good morning everyone. I’m Manu.  And today we will be bringing you the devotion. We’ll start by reading a passage from 2nd Timothy 1:6-11.

Kim – [Read 2 Timothy 1:6-11 NLT] ‘fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 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. And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.’

 

Manu –­­When I read this passage I ask myself, why would I be ashamed of exciting news? Like, think about it. When we receive something, finish school or Uni, or win a prize we’ll be quick to tell everyone. We would not be ashamed to tell people that we’ve achieved something or an exciting thing happened. Would we? No. Like when I think about last year when I got my job at Elevate, I was so e­xcited! I told all my friends and family. I put a post on Facebook. I even wrote an article about it, went everywhere.

But I feel we aren’t always as enthusiastic about the Gospel and our relationship with Christ. We may mentio­n that we’re a Christian or go to church. We don’t always go into detail about the power of God that raised Christ from the dead that gave us salvation, and about the powerful transformations that we experience in our lives by the power of Christ. Sharing our testimonies with others is powerful. We invite people to know Christ and start a relationship with Him. We can read Romans 10:13-15 where Paul said how can they believe if they have not heard. We need to tell people about the Gospel in order for them to believe.

 

Kim – Yeah, what I got from it was that Paul suffered so much and still he’s able to say no don’t be afraid of the Gospel because of what God has done for us. He died for us. So, we shouldn’t be ashamed of the gift that God has given us. And here in New Zealand we don’t suffer for the Gospel as much as someone in another nation. So, we have less excuse to hide away and be fearful because it’s unlikely that we’ll be killed for what we believe here in New Zealand. So at the end of the verse it says God called Paul to be a preacher. And God might not call you to be a preacher, but He calls you to be His hands and His feet. And He will use you no matter your ability.

Manu – Yeah, we shouldn’t be afraid of sharing the Gospel and telling our testimonies. Use our gifts. Take courage we have freedom to share the Gospel.

Lord I just thank you for this passage in second Timothy. You give us the strength. You give us the power to share the Gospel. That’s what you have called us to. And help us to be courageous and enthusiastic about your Word. And tell all our friends and family and everyone we know about you. You are powerful Lord Jesus. Bless everyone that is watching. And to you be all the glory, in Jesus name, amen.

Kim – Amen. Thank you guys, have a great day.

Manu – Bye

Devotion – A Sound Mind is like Strong Roots

A Sound Mind is like Strong Roots

By Aukilani and Teremoana Va’a

People often look at trees for their beauty. However, trees are important in a number of ways. Trees are used to represent life & wisdom. Like us, trees grow and change with every season, grow in resilience and strength. Like there are leaves on a tree, the righteous man shows evidence of being alive. Like the fresh green leaves on a tree that has been nourished. Leaves are like people. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they change colours according to the seasons.

And just like the roots of a tree as well, people cannot see what is going on under the ground, but there are unseen roots that are firmly planted below the soil. Roots serve a very important purpose. They hold water and nutrients and disperse them to all parts of the tree. The righteous man, the righteous person thrives the same way as a tree does because of strong roots.

The tree that you see standing tall above the ground can endure storms and strong winds because of its underground work. In the weather and conditions, trees might bend, but they do not break because of their strong roots. The godly man is strong and stable with roots that grow unseen. When we look at people, we cannot see what is going on underneath. However, that is where the real work takes place.

2nd Timothy 1:7 says that God does not give us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, love, and self-control or a sound mind. I thank God for blessing me with a sound mind. A sound mind is knowing when a storm or problem comes my way I am ready for it. It’s not because of me but my God. The Bible says that if God is before you or before me, who can be against me. So people take that and apply that to your life. Because you know that whatever situation, or problem, or storm that comes your way, you know that God is for you.

So have no fear, don’t fear the world, or fear what’s happening around you, but apply what God has promised you because you know Gods’ promises are ‘Yes and Amen’. So when God says ‘I’ll give you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind’ then, man, glorify and say ‘yes Lord, please I receive that’ because that can be powerful in your life. But to have that you have got to want it. You know it’s like serving God not because you have to but serving God because you want to. So if you really want what God’s applying to your life please just open your heart, open your hand, and say Lord I receive that because that really can play a big part in our life.

God’s promises are ‘Yes and Amen’. So if God says He’s going to give that to you and me, rejoice and praise the Lord. Say amen, thank you God, I receive it. So don’t fear what’s happening around the world, don’t fear because of what’s happening in your situation now but glorify God, praise Him, and say thank you Lord. Thank Father God for the Spirit of power. Thank Father God for the Spirit of love. Thank Father God for a Spirit of a sound mind. Now, I don’t fear anything because I know God is for me and you know God is for you. So have a blessed day and know that God loves you so much. God’s promises are ‘Yes and Amen’. Have a blessed day and remember God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good.

From Fear to Faith – Ps Suz Holmes

From Fear to Faith 

Ps Suz Holmes

So today I have been asked to do a workshop on fear versus faith, or turning fear into faith. And you know, looking around at the world at the moment, this is really – a really good topic. Because it’s easy to see that fear is on the rise, you know we’ve got fear of Covid, of getting sick, a fear of dying. We’ve got a fear of job loss and money issues and just the economy – full on! We’ve got the racial issues that are going off across the world; I mean that brings fear into everybody. We’ve got fear of laws that are coming into our country that make the most vulnerable feel unsafe. We’ve got fear of the future. Fear of being in lockdown again! Whose with me on that? I hate lockdowns. They’re my least favourite thing. And I could go on and on and on.

And whenever there’s fear there comes anxiety and depression, and that is on the rise across our nation and across the world. And the truth is all of this is a reality! Don’t – Don’t you agree? All of this is a reality and life is really unstable at the moment. And with all of this we could have every right to be fearful and in fact, I think the world would tell us “it’s okay to have this emotion. It’s a perfectly legit emotion to have.” BUT! As most of you will know the Bible tells us not to fear.

So, a lot of you would have heard the scriptures Matthew 6:34 “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and then don’t forget to thank Him for all that He has done.” Or 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.” Or Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic before them, for the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will not fail you nor abandon you.” And I could go on and on and on and on!

This is a repeated theme throughout the Bible – Do Not Fear. Because you know what, the Almighty God knew that we would constantly struggle with fear when sin entered the world. And so He repeated from beginning to end of the Bible this theme – Don’t be afraid!

So is there anyone else on this call who agrees with me, that is easier said than done? Yep – wave if you agree – yes. Yep. Easier said “do not be afraid.” So much easier said than done. So, as I was praying about this topic and asking the Lord what did He want to say to us today, what did He want to bring. I was reminded of that story of Jesus calming the water. Now it’s found in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but today I want to read to you from Mark’s version. So Mark – if you’ve got your Bibles – Mark 4 verses 35-41. “As evening came Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s take the boat to the other side of the lake. So they took Jesus in the boat and started out leaving the crowds behind, although other boats followed. But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up shouting ‘Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re gonna drown?’ When Jesus woke up He rebuked the winds and said to the waves ‘Silence. Be still.’ Suddenly the wind stopped and there was great calm. And then He asked them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ The disciples were absolutely terrified. ‘Who is this Man?’ They asked each other, ‘even the wind and waves obey Him.’”

I mean such an incredible story. Can you imagine being there? I can imagine you’re in this boat. Some of them were fishermen. They’d been on the lake of Galilee many times. They knew it well, and yet it says they thought they were gonna die. The waves were so big, they were like crashing down! They’re filling the boat with water. They were terrified. The wind’s howling. Like, I’m sure they thought the boat at any minute was going to capsize. And they’d run over to Jesus, and I don’t know about you but I’m sure they were screaming at Him, they were like “WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” Like, you know, like I’m sure it wasn’t a calm moment. And Jesus wakes up and He goes “Silence. Be still.”

In one minute waves are crashing down on you, you think you’re gonna be topsized, you’re gonna drown and the next minute it’s completely calm. Completely. Just, the awe of that moment. And it says the disciples were absolutely terrified. So it’s not even like they were just in awe, they were terrified at what had happened, and amazed. Who is this Man they asked. Even the winds and waves obey Him. Who is this Man? What a question. And that is what I felt God wanted us to go deeper with today.

Who is this Man? Now we know He’s Jesus. He’s the Son of God. He’s the I-Am-who-I-Am. Who is this man? He’s one true God by many names. One true God who is a million things to us. Everything you could ever want. And not only that, but every single yearning that we can’t even define – He is the fulfilment of that. One God who introduces Himself by a multitude of names.

So that was what I heard on Monday and I just – such confirmation that we were heading, and studying what God wanted us to study today. So I realised at different times in my life, or your life, you are going to need to know a different aspect of Him. And I realised there will always be a new part of Jesus that I will discover. I realised that this is a lifetime journey of getting to know Him and what an amazing journey.

So I guess you’re asking How does this relate to our workshop today? Faith vs. Fear? Well I’m so glad you asked. Because our faith is in Someone! It’s not in the universe, it’s not in logic, it’s not in fate, or destiny, or the stars. When we’re talking about faith, we’re talking about faith in God. Faith in Jesus. And we’re talking about faith in all the different aspects and names that He has. So faith in God when His name is Almighty God. Faith in God when His name is Jesus our Saviour. Faith in God when His name is Provider. Faith in God when His name is Healer. Faith in God when His name is Maker. Faith in God when we need to know Him as Lord of Heavens Armies. So God is all this and of course, He’s so much more. He is complete, not lacking anything. All completely sufficient. And that is what His name I Am means. And it’s from this faith that our fears lose their power over us.

So, how does this work practically? So, I thought, well, the best way to tell you is how I’ve seen it work in my life, because there’s nothing like personal experience. So a lot of you would have heard my story last year about my husband who got sick, and he was terminally ill for ten years with increasing brain damage. And then when I was 39, he died. So grief took over my whole being, it’s like the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. And it was during that time that I got to know God as my Comforter, and my comfort. Jesus told us in John 14 verse 26 that He had to go back to heaven so the Holy Spirit, who was our Advocator, Helper, and Comforter could come. And in 2 Corinthians 1 verse 3 it says that God is the source of all comfort.

So the best way for me to explain this is as I sat in the Word of God, as I sat in these verses of knowing that God was my comforter, it’s kinda like that big comfy bean bag, you know the kind you sorta lean back and it just sorta encapsulates you and you‘re kinda like all nestled in. That was what it was like to just lean into the Word of God and to lean into God as my comforter and as my comfort. Like this became who He is. And as He wrapped His love and His comfort around me, like almost like a big bear hug. Slowly the pain eased away.

Now I wanna say something to you, this was not instant. Okay, this wasn’t a instant hit. Like God didn’t go ‘I will be your comforter “BOOM” you are healed from grief’. Uh uh uh, no no no no. And it’s most of the time that’s what it is. It’s this slow growth into who He is. So if you’re looking for God to be an instant pain healer of fear, majority of the time that will not be the case. For sure that is the case sometimes, He is healer. He’s amazing. But He is absolutely, at the same time, likes to take His time because – in that time, we get to know Him so well.

So I can confidently say to you God is my comforter. And as He became – the fear of grief started to fall away God the comforter became who I knew Him to be. So you see the fear was taken over by the truth of the name of God as Comforter. So that was from my past, but what about something relevant now? So being an assistant pastor during covid has been incredibly challenging. For weeks during our lockdowns, we lost the team element of our work, as a staff. And I started to feel like I had nothing to offer the team, like, everything, every decision or opinion seemed wrong and it was just a really challenging time.

And then God started to speak to my Brave Love team. Brave Love is one of the ministries that I oversee. And about Jesus being the Bread of Life. And then I heard a speaker say Jesus is the Bread and daily we need a fresh filling of Him like the manna from heaven.  And then Jesus reminded me of how Jesus taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread.” And you know those moments, where you just have this dudududududuh. And like everything kinda makes sense all of a sudden. And it was like – that was what happened, like, all of a sudden I was like “Huhh! I get it. This Bread of Life. This daily bread. This manna from heaven.” And so oh my goodness, what a revelation! Jesus is my daily bread. And He’s what I need each day. And I can ask afresh each day for Him. He is the Bread of Life, He is from heaven and that daily I can ask for. He’s the sustenance I need to give me the strength I need. As bread fuels my body, Jesus fuels my spirit and soul.

And so at the moment I’m learning, and dwelling, and growing in my relationship with Jesus, as Jesus who calls Himself the Bread of Life. This has gone from head knowledge to heart knowledge. And again I wanna emphasise this is taking time. I’m learning to sit in this, I’m learning to daily ask Jesus “Jesus be my bread today, bring my bread from heaven. Be afresh to me today.” So I’ll continue to grow but what’s happening is the fear of being inadequate as a pastor is getting driven away as I get to know Jesus the bread of life, my daily bread.

And of course a constant one that is happened since Mark died is getting to know Jesus as Immanuel, God with us. Since Mark died, it’s been lonely and loneliness has been a constant companion. But getting to know Jesus as my Immanuel, as God with us, slowly this has become – you know – it’s just taken away that loneliness more and more. And it’s something I continue to work on. Loneliness creeps in and I will have those moments where I’m like “Okay…” and then I’m like “Jesus you’re with me. Jesus you’re with me. Be with me!” and so the fear of loneliness gets driven away because Jesus is God with me.

So here’s the truth people, we have allowed fears, or a fear, to take away a portion of our time and energy. And we’ve given fear – it’s like we’ve given fear the driver’s seat, when actually fear needs to be thrown out the window. And fear – here’s my box with fear – I better turn that the right way round – Fear. Fear, here, can look bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger as we dwell on it more and more and more. But the reality is – fear is nothing in the place of God! Fear is totally overwhelmed by who God is and His many names. Fear has absolutely nothing. It’s small, it’s insignificant. And then God in all His bigness, He just covers it and heals it because this is who God is. He is God, He is these many things. And each fear is done with when we get to know God personally in the need, and in the area that we need to know.

David needed to know God as his protector and friend, and he came to the place where he could write The Lord is my Shepard. Isaiah, umm, the Lord tells the people through the prophet Isaiah “Get to know Me as Deliverer because I promise to walk through every trial with you.” Abraham, of course, needed to know God as Provider when he was on the mountain about to sacrifice his son, and I can guarantee the fear of God not providing lost its power that day as Abraham knew God as Jehovah Jireh.

The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4 verse 18 “Such love has no fear, for perfect love expels all fear.” If we are afraid it is for fear of punishment and that shows that we have not fully experience His perfect love. The perfect love is discovered by getting to know the full character of God. For God in His fullness is love. Now this won’t happen this side of heaven but we can give it a good try, we can continue to walk in getting to know Jesus and His each name – each name that we need destroys that fear over our life.

Who is this Man? Who is this Man that even the winds and waves obey Him? Who is this Man who calms all fear? Jeremiah 10 verse 10 says “But the Lord is the Only True God, He is the Living God, and the Everlasting King.” He is everything we need whenever we need it and the privilege is a lifetime of getting to know Him.

So we’re gonna go back into your small groups again, and what I would love for you to do is to name a fear that you have at the moment. And these small groups will be completely confidential, and then find the name of God that you need to get to know to destroy that fear. So you might be facing sickness and you need to know God as Healer. You might be facing financial hardship and you need to know God as Provider. You might be facing – umm – you might be fearful of the future and you need to know Jesus as Hope or as the Alpha and Omega. I don’t know what it is for you but believe me, there is a name, and name of God that will destroy that fear. So as you get to know Him, as you get to know that name and that personality and that character and that aspect of Jesus then that fear has absolutely no authority as God covers it.

So we’re gonna do that right now. Break up into those groups and I want you to pray for each other. Bless you guys. Thanks so much for joining us today. And I hope – I hope this has helped to destroy – and will continue to help to destroy fears over your life. I know – it’s helped me. Bless you guys.

40 Days and 40 Nights: A Long Journey – Hamish Muir

40 Days and 40 Nights: A Long Journey 

Hamish Muir 

So what is a sound mind? It’s an interesting sorta thought there, and the word “self-control” or “sound mind” actually only appears once in scripture which is in the scripture that we read. And it’s the Greek word for self-control is – and I’m sorry for this one Chenae – SOPHRONISMOS – and you can tell I’m not into Greek either, which means saving the mind, or moderation.

Since the word “self-control” contains the word “self” I’m quick to interpret this to mean that “I have to do it.”

So a sound mind isn’t just meaning that we’re not crazy, a sound mind means that we’re a- we’re taking control of our actions, of what we have to do, where we can go, join that in with courageous faith.

What does courageous mean? Well the version I got was “not deterred by danger, or pain. Brave! To be brave!” (pause) And (pause) to go through that there’s all sorts of parts in the Bible I’m going through there of courageous to faith.

How does courageous faith relate to what we’re doing now? Why are we going on about courageous faith? A lot of people are afraid with – with the Covid19, with the Corona virus that everything’s gonna change, and we’ve got the new norm and we’re – we’re doing this and we’re going there, and how do we get to where we want to go, and I can’t do what I’d normally do. And the media hype up this fear and this worry, and – and everyone’s like ‘Oh I can’t go! I can’t talk! Oh, I shouldn’t be this close to Chanae ‘cause we’re not meant to be a metre apart and aaarghhh!!” But if we actually had courageous faith, if we know that God is on our side, He is for us not against us. Then any weapon that is formed cannot be against us, that we can stand where we are.

I’m not saying that just because I believe in God I’m never gonna get the corona virus. But what I can say is I can do everything within my power and strength, and even more with the power and might of God to carry on with as normal a life as I can – to not live in fear, to be able to stand next to someone and not think “Please don’t breathe on me! Please don’t breathe on me!” Hehehe ya know. That’s – that’s just holding us back.

So what we need to think about is how can we go forward? And a lot of that can be looking at how (pause) other people (pause) went through life? How did they get through there?

And so some of the first ones to think about when you’re talk – talking about courageous faith is our good ol’ friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Now, if you’re not a hundred percent – umm – sure of the story, these are three dudes and they had another mate with them, Daniel, and they decided – ‘cause the king said “You’ve gotta eat this.” And Daniel said to the boys “Ain’t gonna happen. That’s not what we’re allowed to eat. It’s unclean. We’re not gonna do it.” and then they said “We’ll, you gotta bow down to the king.” And they go, “Well, we only bow down to God. So we ain’t gonna do that either.” And so – they just – when everyone bowed down these four chaps stood there, rather embarrassed I suppose, but knew – that they were doing what was right ‘cause they had courageous faith in their God. Because the king had said that “Anyone that disobeys this will be killed, will be struck down!” So these four lads are standing there going, “We’re about to get knocked down! Yeehheee!!” But they didn’t because God was there protecting them. And this freaked out the king a little bit and so he said, “Right-o! Chuck these guys into the furnace! That way we can deal with it.” So they put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace, and it’s all flames and fire and everything’s going off in there, and they looked inside and there are the three lads not burning, standing clear and there was a fourth (pause) something there. It’s always this guy in the well it’s a fourth something, which seemed to be encompassing them. And that we know is the Holy Spirit, was there with them, encompassing, because of their courageous faith. They did not have fear. They knew that they were in love, with – what because of what had been given to them by God (pause) to go through (pause) – sorry! Technology is not my friend today…Their God had not given them a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. And they had chosen with faith – courageous faith! – to know that they could stand there and their God will protect them. And they did. And they went on to do all sorts of other things.

Then there is…it’s not just a guy thing. Some of the chicks can get in there. And there was another groovy chick – Esther! Queen Esther! Now she had just got married at a young age, part of the big harem with this king and some – something went down, he wasn’t too sure but he decided he didn’t like the Jews anymore. And so he goes “Right we’re gonna kill all the Jews!” Not realising that his favourite wife, Esther, was also a Jew. So her family and friends came to her and said “Hey, look. Can you go to the king because he thinks you’re the greatest thing since slice bread, and ask for his forgiveness of us and let us all live.” And she’s like “Okay. Yep.” Thought about it. She goes “Well, if I go in to see the king and it’s not my turn, I will get struck down by the guards. I will be killed.” And she had courageous faith knowing that her God was with her, that she could walk up – and so she went into the chamber, the king saw her, recognised her, and actually allowed her to pass her petition to ask for the forgiveness of the Jewish people. Which he agreed to and then the whole things went on. But she knew that if she went in there (paused) she could have been killed, but because she had the courageous faith – the love of God on her life – she knew that she did not have to fear because God would protect her always.

Then there’s the…another woman that we go through that we most probably know more of, and that’s the woman with the issue of the blood, who had been so unwell, and that – that things weren’t going well. And Jesus was walking through town and there were crowds all around Him, and she thought “All I’ve got to do is just touch – touch His shadow or the hem of His garment and I would be healed.” It’s all she had to do and so she pushed forward, and Jesus could actually feel – and if you’ve been in a big crowd you’ll know what it’s like to feel people pushing through the crowd. And He could feel someone coming through and she touched the hem of His garment, and He felt the Holy Spirit come out of Him and into her. And He asked the question, “Who has just touched Me?” And all the disciples were like, “Ha ha ha! Yeah, whatever, JC! There’s crowds around us! Everyone’s pushing. Everyone’s pushing You!” He goes, “No. Someone touched Me. Someone pushed out and touched Me.” And that’s when He saw the woman with the issue on the ground and they spoke. She was healed, and she went forward.

She had been ridiculed. She had been picked on for a long period of time by everyone in the village. They were really anti her. She was not clean in their eyes. She wasn’t allowed to do all sorts of things. She had to go to the well by herself. She couldn’t go and talk with the other women. She had to do everything by herself because of this issue that she had. A little bit like the discrimination that disabled people can get as well in society. But she believed with courageous faith that if she reached out and touched on to God then she would be healed.

And as Pastor Geoff said last night, he was talking about the man in the stretcher and how his four buddies climbed up onto the roof and lowered him down so that they could get him in front of Jesus. Now everyone talks about the faith of the four stretcher bearers but no one ever talks about the faith of the dude on the stretcher! Because he had to believe that his mates could get him onto the roof. Can you imagine in your wheelchair, Leon Prenter, and me and four other dudes turned up and said “Right. We’re gonna put you on the roof, Leon, and drop you down in front of Jesus Christ.” You’d think we’re mad! But he had the faith in his friends and in God that he would be healed. Courageous faith to allow people to lift him up, in his stretcher, onto the roof of a house and then lower him down by ropes to be in front of that man. That is courageous faith.

I read this story (pause) in a book of a guy called Varnyah. He was a young Russian boy who in the 1970s was conscripted into the Russian army. Now he was a Christian and Christianity was not a good thing in Russia at the time. People were not into it. But he did not want to forsake his Christian belief to become a shot – ah – a soldier.  In fact he wanted to become the best soldier that he could by also being able to be an example of being a Christian.

So he goes off to his fir – off to the camp and there. First morning gotta go out on parade and he’s late because he had to go and find somewhere to go and pray, because he knew he had to start the day off in prayer, and he went through there and he prayed to God and he come in, and he was late to parade. And he got in trouble and he got disciplined, and this just kept going on and on and on.

He kept on (pause) trying to do…and what was annoying his commanders is that, yes this guy would not rebuke being a Christian but he would…but he was still being the best soldier in the whole platoon! He was the top of everything but he kept on wanting to be a Christian which made him the bottom of everything which was a huge conflict for his commanders. So he got into all sorts of punishment. One of the biggest ones that I remember in this story, is that he had to s – he was in Siberia, and he had to get in to summer uniform and then stand guard at night in winter in Siberia. So it’s getting to minus who knows what! It’s gonna be reaaaally cold! He stood there (pause) a bit like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because he had this glow around him, as though he was under a street light but he wasn’t.

And the sergeant who had to keep on going out to see whether he was alive or dead yet, kept having to come out and in the end at about 3 o’clock in the morning said “Look, just go to bed!” And he goes “but I have stay out all night.” And he goes “nah! Go to bed. And he goes, “Why?” And he says “Because it’s too cold for me to keep coming out to see whether you’re alive or not and I wanna stay in my bed so go to bed!”

His courageous faith in believing in God is what helped keep him through all those things.

So this is just the introduction to what I really want to talk about. I hope you can think about what is courageous faith and think of some examples of what you’ve seen. We’ll take a quick break here now. If you’ve got some questions write them up. We’ll have a look at the chat box and see what’s happening. And we’ll come up with some answers in a couple of minutes and then I’ll carry on more into the 40 day and nights part of what I’m wanting to say.

So have a quick break and we’ll see you again soon. Thank you.

 

 

(12:50) If we get one, my amazing tech person will give me a big wave and we’ll try and work out what it is, umm, and we’ll sort it out from there.

So we’ve heard about all these people about courageous faith. How does that tie into 40 days 40 night – a long journey? So I thought “well, let’s see what this quarantine is. Because when I first started thinking about this workshop when we were discussing it for camp, we were in lockdown and we were zoom meeting to everyone and all that, so we were isolated. So I thought what does the word quarantine actually mean? And so the word quarantine comes from quarantina, meaning 40 days. Used in the 14th and 15th centuries in Venetian language and designated the period that all the ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death Plague – eh – epidemic.

So people coming into NZ at the moment will be a lot happier because they only have to wait for 14 days and not 40 days. Some people would they should actually stay there for 40 days but I don’t if I could cope with that. And you – can you imagine having to arrive where you wanted to go on a boat that did not smell fantastic and then spend another 40 days and nights sitting on that boat doing nothing.

So it also goes through – the Webster’s dictionary gives various meanings to the noun form including a period of 40 days, several relating to ships, state of enforced isolation. They had to do it. And as a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests. The word is also used as a verb. And can be quarantined is a distinct – is distinct from medical isolation which those confirmed to be infected with a communicable disease – oh my goodness! – are isolated from healthy population. So that’s the kind of things we’re going through now, isn’t it? That we have this virus that we don’t at the moment have anyway of eradicating or getting rid of without – the only way we know is to just (pause) ex – remove ourselves. Step away from it. Keep away from it. Isolate ourselves. Go into quarantine. And that’s what we’ve done.

And this isn’t turning into a political thing. Whether it’s right or wrong to have done what we’ve had to – to do. But it is also a way to help understand that we had to do it. It’s happened. We’ve done it. We’re going through there. And we need to now survive. Because unfortunately, there’s been a lot of people that have not survived the isolation and it’s a really sad thing that there have been a lot of suicides, and there have been a lot of family conflict. Businesses have lost out. This has happened. That is reality. You can try and put blame onto here but it has happened. We can’t change it. But we need to know that we have a living powerful God that is standing up for us, that we have – and this is something that everyone forgets, is that we have all got a guardian angel. Somewhere in between Chenae and I are two guardian angels. How they fit with wings like that, I don’t know. But we’ve got a guardian angel each here. You all have a guardian angel that is there looking after us, protecting us at all times. The Holy Spirit is always with us. We got to remember that we do it not by my might nor strength, but by His Spirit says the Lord. if we can believe and have total faith in God He’ll protect us. Have no fear, and we can therefore be strong (pause) have power and love and be of a sound mind. And that’s what we’re all going through there.

This is where we’re talking about the whole – umm – the whole thing of about the 40 days. And that got me to go back in to looking at Noah, the dude that did 40 days and nights of the flood. But what a lot of people forget and sometimes don’t even know, is that they weren’t in the ark for just 40 days and 40 nights. They were actually on the ark for over a year. They were there for about 14 months, 10…(pause) (laughter)…trying to learn sign language while you’re doing a speech is not a good idea (laughter). Okay. So (pause) Noah gets told by God “Build this Ark. Get all the animals onboard. Get your family and kids onboard. Everyone else I’m getting rid of because they’re just being idiots. And they’re not listening to me. the world’s falling apart so I’m gonna reboot it. Delete, alt. control alt delete. Memories gone. Cache memory’s gone. Restart the earth.” And He puts the flood in. Now for 40 days and nights it rains. The floods get so high that they’re actually above the mountain tops so they was floating above Mt Everest! That’s how much water was on the earth. So can’t just disappear. It took a hundred days for that water to start to drop away. He then sent a raven – another bird that gets forgotten about in the Bible – he sent a raven first because they go looking for land and if they can’t find land they come back from where they left. And so when the raven back Noah goes well I guess there’s no land out there yet. And then he sent the raven off again and it back. And he sent the raven off again, and he didn’t come back (laughter). And so he kind of figured well, there must be some land there. So then he sent out the dove. And it came back with nothing. And he sent the dove out again, and it came back with the olive branch. And he sent the dove out a third time and it too didn’t come back. so that’s when he knew that things were drying out. for a hundred – for a year I should say – he went into the ark when he was six hundred and something and they came out of the ark when he was 602 and they were going through there and they spent that time.

How do you think you sit for a year on a boat with just your family with a boat’s stinking of animals and not think you’ve been lost? You’ve been forgotten? It was courageous faith that got him through there. It was courageous faith that Noah actually believed in what God said to him and made him build the ark. It’s the same as what Moses was done. Moses was told by God to go up to the mountain and he fasted for 40 days and night on top of the mountain before God actually came and spoke to him.

Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights before He was tempted by Satan to try and go through there because He was – and He was feeling hungry and He was feeling sore and the devil tried to tempt Him and He went “No!” because he had courageous faith.

Where people didn’t have courageous faith and things fell over was when (pause) and after Moses had led them out of Egypt, and they came across the promise land, and the twelve were sent in to look at the fabled land, the – the, you know – the land of promise and glory, of milk and honey – ten came back and went “no way man! Have you seen the size of those dudes?!” It’s sort of like Leon Prenter coming up to say I’m gonna take on Hamish, take me on, yeah. And he’s like we ain’t doing that. We can’t do it. But then two other guys said year we can. They had the courageous faith. They believed because they had their God standing behind them they had no fear. They had the power and the sound mind to be able to go in and take that land. But because the other ten didn’t, for another forty years, they wandered in the wilderness, that forty years was so that generation of doubters, of people with non-courageous faith, were no more. So that then the people who had the courageous faith, they were the ones that received the blessing, they received the power and the glory of the living God to go forward and do great things.

Now I’m not saying that if you don’t have courageous faith and you’re struggling through covid, that God’s gonna wipe you out and get rid of you. I’m not saying that at all. But what I’m saying is to make this an easier time to cope with everything that’s going on, to be not able to do everything that you used to be able to do, if you have the faith and understanding in your heart that God is for you not against you then you will travel through this even better.

I’m sure for some of you, your treatment plans have been interrupted because of covid, you can’t go and do things. you may not be able to go to swimming pools, and to – to gyms and physiotherapies and things like that, but that will come forward. And I just pray that you have the faith to go forward, to believe and have the power of God in your lives so that you can know that it is always a way forward. There is always a light. We don’t know the path we’re on but if we just keep going along that path we’ll go to there. Our goal is to always – what I tell a lot of guys – I work with guys that have lost their jobs and have come out of prisons, and drug rehabilitation and I say we all go round the mountain, we all come back to where we once were. But what’s the easiest way to go up a mountain? The easiest way to go up a mountain is to go in a circle, in a spiral – work your way slowly up to the top. That’s the easiest way. You can try to go straight up!! But you’re gonna get worn out and it’s gonna be really hard and you’ll just slide back down.

But if you walk round you come across the same problem. So I stubbed my toe on that rock. I walked round the mountain through life and I come back and I come across that rock again, and I go “I recognise that rock!” and so now I take another path higher and above it and I don’t stub my toe. I just spiralled up the mountain a little higher.

I’ve got a problem with trying to get to physio – haven’t been able to get there. So I ring up the physio, “Hey that’s cool. We’ll book you in another appointment. Thanks for letting us know.” Instead of just getting depressed – I can’t get out of the house, I can’t do that. Communication! Stepping forward! Having faith that God will make a way!

I hope this has given you an insight and understanding of where we’re sort of wanting to say with courageous faith which is the foundation of what we’re wanting to put camp on this year. So think about courageous faith, how we can go through conflicting times though difficult moments to try and always go forward and do better and climb higher, believing that God is with us and always will be with us. I hope we’ve been able to get that today.