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.


Power, Love, and a Sound Mind – Ps Geoff Wiklund

Power, Love, and a Sound Mind

Ps Geoff Wiklund

Hi, Campers! We’ve come to the main message. Power, Love and a sound mind. This is the main scripture ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind’. I want to have a look at firstly, what God has not given us. He hasn’t given us fear. You can actually translate that word cowardice, and we know that cowards don’t enter the Kingdom of God and so you have to understand here God has not given it to us. So it either came from within ourselves or it originates with the enemy.

So Job said something very interesting. He said, ‘that which I have feared, has come upon me’. So you can fear things into being or faith things into being. Which would you rather have? That which you have faith about or that which you have fear about? I know for me its faith. But faith and fear are actually the same thing. The definition is the same; you’ve heard me say this before. It’s the expectation of things not seen. And so, it’s kind of important that we understand that fear doesn’t come from God, it comes from the enemy. So we have to really come to the place of faith rather than fear. And there has got to be a replacement there. God will give you faith we tend to come up with fear ourselves.

It’s interesting that Jesus said this: ‘Not heeding the word spoken, said unto the ruler of the synagogue, fear not, only believe.’ Wow. Jesus’ words ‘fear not, only believe’. I think as I am speaking this today, some of you hearing the sound of my voice, it’s a word for you. God is not asking you to have fear here, He is asking you to just believe what He has said. So it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, traumatic as they might be, all you have to do is believe. Okay? We need to banish the fear; we’ll talk a little bit about that.

Look at what Proverbs says: ‘anxiety actually causes depression, but a good word makes it glad’. Where do I find good words? In the Bible. You know what, I find it as I read the Bible, there’s good words in there for me and they are the things that guide me day by day. My wife and I, every morning get up at seven o’clock. I feed the cat, and then the cat comes and sits with me. We have devotions, Joanne reads, I read, and we talk about what God’s been speaking to us. We pray and we have communion. It’s our daily routine, it’s what we do. When Kirsty found me this morning, I was waiting for her because I had an early start this morning and hadn’t quite finished my Bible reading. What did she find me doing? Just doing the last chapter of that and God speaking to me. So the way we replace fear is to just get into the Bible and just read it, but meditate on it, think about, see what it is saying to us.

Look what Philippians says to us: ‘Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God, and then, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’. Now, some people have a different translation. There it says: be anxious about everything, and moan and winch about it, and then let everybody else know about it. That’s not quite what it says there! It says to let your request be known to God, not your moaning and winching to anybody else. I think we need to get the translation correct!

So what do we do? There are things that will happen that we are anxious about. We got to put them into Gods hands. He says ‘cast all your cares unto me because I care for you’. Hey folks, we got to learn to do that. We got to give those anxieties and fears to God because He says He wants them. Okay? Let’s learn to do that.

Then we talk about Power. It’s this word where we get ‘Dynamite’ from. It means strength, power, ability, inherent power, power residing in anything by virtue of its nature. Its goal is excellence. So three things we can divide it into.

Firstly, there is the power for performing miracles. So right there in you, God has given you the power to do miracles. Isn’t that amazing? He just uses ordinary, everyday people like you and me, in order to work out His power. I just love that. God just says lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. He doesn’t say that you have to be special, or gifted, or anything else, just ordinary people. You know what? God has just actually limited Himself to our prayers so that His power has worked through us. And I can just think of testimony after testimony, where Gods power has been released through ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

The second part of it is there’s a moral power. We talked about the ability to say no before, and the courage to say yes. That’s the moral power. That’s where you and I say: ‘Hey listen, we’ve got some standards here, and we’re not moving from those. Our behaviour is dictated by what the Bible is speaking to us, and we’re not going to steal, not going to cheat, not going to backbite, these are the things that… we won’t gossip, those are the things. So there’s a moral power. I want to say God patrols those things and enables you in order to live a Godly lifestyle.

The third part is influence. Now, it does mean that riches and wealth can have an influence, but also the resources of numbers. The more people who stand up to say no to things, or to say yes to God, we create a positive influence in the place. So it’s incredibly important we realise that there’s a power that comes from us having the courage to live a Christian lifestyle.

Now I want to talk a little bit about love. It says ‘brotherly love, affection, goodwill, love and benevolence’. What does Jesus say? He says: ‘By this, you will know you that they are my disciples if you love one another.’ Wow. People know that you are a Christian if you show love. You know, I’ve been to camp now for over thirty years, and one of the key things that makes camp camp, is that people love one another. I just watch people hugging on one another, crying on one another, praying for one another, caring for one another, it’s just pure unadulterated love, and that’s the difference. That is it.

So, how important is love? Well, Romans says: ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’. When you and I respond to a negative with love, it just destroys the power of that evil. So, hear what I am saying today. This love that we’ve got here in our key verse, it means that when stuff comes our way in a negative atmosphere, Gods saying I want you to overcome it with love. When these guys were trying to destroy the woman caught in adultery, what does Jesus do? He just loved her. He said ‘I’m not going to condemn you’. And so it’s about you and I learning not to condemn, but to love in a Godly manner. God is love, that’s what the Scripture says. If we are going to be like Him, then you and I need to love.

I don’t know, here am I, sitting this age, John and I were just talking about how old we are, and I’m getting older by the day. I’m starting to learn this stuff that love is actually the most important thing in the Bible. You know what, as I was driving down here, and thinking about this message, I didn’t put this into the PowerPoint, but God just gave it to me… you know, 1 Corinthians 13, that very powerful message on love… He actually talks about what it is. Love is not being proud; not puffing itself up, love is giving people the benefit of the doubt, not jumping down their throats. And so we need to look at that whole 1 Corinthians 13 and how do we live that out on a day by day basis? Love is not being impatient, love is not being unkind, it is the actual opposite of those things, and yet, that is what we flip into so easily. And God says hey we’ve got to make a change.

So how do we know? That’s interesting. I spoke on John 5 recently and Jesus said this: ‘you do not have the love of God in you’. And who was He speaking to? Here are some signs that we don’t have the love of God in us. Firstly, they won’t come to Jesus. Well, you got to think about that, don’t you? Jesus was inviting them to come, but they wouldn’t come. What about you? Are you holding back? Interesting….

Secondly, they were looking for the honour that comes from man and not from God. So, if we are looking to be honoured by people, the motivation for that is not love, the motivation for that is pride, glory, all the wrong things.

The third thing, you take a look at John 5 you’ll find these things there; ‘they don’t hear God at any time’. There’s a lot of voices out there at the moment, you know, people send me stuff on Messenger… Goodness me, if I watched all the things that people sent me, I’d be spending hours. Most of them just go in the bin, I’m sorry; I just have no time for them. You know, what I have got time for, is hearing God. I want to say to you today: that’s the key thing. You and I, we’ve got to hear from God.

Here’s the fourth thing, they don’t believe. We’ve talked about the importance of faith, but those people, who don’t have love, they don’t believe.

And here is the last one: His word doesn’t abide in them. It might come and flit for a visit for a while, but it doesn’t abide… it doesn’t make its home there. I want to say to you people, that if we want to have love in our lives, the Word of God has got to live in here… That’s fairly severe, isn’t it? That’s a bit testing, but you know what? That’s Scripture. That’s what it is all about. I think that’s a good test for us to have a look at, maybe be convicted.

Then lastly, he talks about a sound mind. ‘Admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control’. Now, I just want to note: men, it says self-control, not remote control. You know, they’ve found that some men after they’re dead, their thumbs are still moving three days later! Tell ya, serious…

We need to grab this gift daily for victory. In order for us to live in victory, we need what God has given us. There’s three little things here. It is sound. In other words, it lines up with Scripture. A sound mind is one that lines up with Scripture. If it doesn’t line up with Scripture, it’s not sound. It’s going to fall over.

Secondly, it’s moderate, it avoids all the extremes. You know, you’ve got these people way out here, and way out here, whatever. You know, that’s not where God’s at. I don’t think. If we read Ecclesiastes, it says that God is able to grab this side and this side and bring them together. Isn’t that a powerful thought? That’s to me, it’s not that the extremes don’t exist, but we’re able to grab a hold of it.

And the third thing is this: we exercise our God-given authority. How much authority did God say you are given? All authority. All authority, we have to grab a hold of that God-given authority and do it.

So, in conclusion, what are we saying today? I think we got to banish fear. We got to get rid of that you know. Here is a reality folks, if you want to give that fear to God he’ll take it from you. We just need to offer it up to Him as a sacrifice.

Secondly, we need to move in power. When we pray all of heaven is behind what we pray in order to move Earth to make His will happen.

Thirdly, we need to respond with love. When stuff comes at us, we just need to ask the Holy Spirit, Lord, how do I respond in love? Because if I just respond out of myself, it won’t be good, so we have to very careful to respond the way Jesus would have responded.

Lastly, we need to be of sound mind and the way we’re of a sound mind is through the power of the Holy Spirit. That self-control, that discipline, that soundness, the Holy Spirit gives us that.

Let me pray for you. Father, I pray for each one in the sound of my voice, Lord, that you will fill them with your love, according to Romans 5:5. Lord that they would move in your power. Lord, that you will deliver them from fear and Lord we receive that sound mind, that self-control, by your Holy Spirit today, to walk in victory, in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.

The Courage to Say Yes to God – Ps Geoff Wiklund

The Courage to say Yes to God 

Ps Geoff Wiklund 

Welcome Back. Now we are going to look at the courage to say yes to God. Always when we say yes to God it requires faith. It was interesting as I was driving down to do this recording a song came up on my iPad that was talking about saying yes to God and how it always brings trials and how difficult it can be that we seem to have to work through these things but it always leads to a better place. So understand that when you say yes to God it is going to require faith.

Secondly, it can be scary. I have said to God, yes, so many times and then I am so scared as a result of it. People look at you and say Oh Geoff you’re a confident person but you know inside you still think ‘Oh God what have I let myself in for here’. But here’s the real kicker for us, it always results in blessing. Every time I say yes to God I’m blessed, just in so many ways. I’m not just talking financially. I’m talking about that wonderful feeling that comes when God does something and you’re just a small part by saying yes. How good does that feel? And there are so many blessings. Of relationships, ah the blessings go on and on. Here’s the real amazing thing, every time you say yes to God He gives you the grace, that is the empowering, to actually do what He’s asked you to do. So when He says I want you to this and you say yes, He then gives you the ability and the empowering to make sure that you are able do it. We just need to believe.

Our problem is that we find excuses. A rude guy wrote to me from an African nation the other day because he was inviting me to come, I think all he really wants is my money and when I said ‘well I can’t travel at the moment and I’ve got a lot of other thing that I’m doing’ he said ‘Oh you’re too full of excuses I said ‘oh yeah, okay. Well I’m not the first one, Moses had the same problem.’ Moses said to God, ‘who am I that I should go?’ How many of you listening to this today kind of feel like ‘Well, who am I?’ I think we all feel like that don’t we? I mean, I know I do. Who am I? The reality is we are God’s children. And it doesn’t matter who we are, with God on our side and the Holy Spirit working through us it doesn’t really matter. Because God can do stuff through a donkey.

God says; What is his name? What should I say to them? This is Moses excuse; I’m not quite sure what I’m going to say to them. Well I tell you something, God will always give you what to say. And then he says ‘Suppose they will not believe or listen to my voice. Suppose they say the Lord has not appeared to you? You know, its always a bit of a problem when God gives you a word or something and you think what if people don’t believe. Hey it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter what people think or what they believe. All our responsibility is, is to deliver what Gods given us. Then it’s up to them what they do with it, it’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to say yes to God I’m going to do it.

Moses says ‘Lord I’m not eloquent enough’. Ah and you know I’m slow of speech and slow of tongue. I remember a situation when I was in Bible College we were invited to speak in a church. There was a team of five of us and we divided up all the responsibilities. One was going to lead worship, one had a testimony, I was preaching on the Sunday and there was another guy who was going to speak on the Saturday night. And I felt really, really uneasy about it because he stuttered and could hardly finish a sentence, it was so slow.

But he insisted on it and he got up and he gave this slow stuttering message on Saturday night and I thought you know what; I shouldn’t have let him do it. I just felt for him. And then he took an alter call and I thought oh who is possibly going to respond to this? You know what? 75% of those youth went forward on the altar and suddenly I realised it wasn’t his ability to present it was the Holy Spirit speaking through a faltering voice that people heard. And they over looked his stuttered because of what God was saying through him. And that night God gave me a wonderful lesson. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like, it’s the spirit behind there. I guess that was a bit of a beginning for me for working with people with disabilities. To understand as you all know. We’ve seen people in our camps get up and they’ve had to communicate through a communicator or they’ve had to use sign language but we’ve seen God’s spirit on it and we’ve seen something. So the fact that we are not eloquent doesn’t really matter because God is still able to use us.

Then Moses says, look why don’t you send someone else? How many of you have felt like that? I’ll let someone else prophecy, I’ll let somebody else do it but Gods speaking to you. We have to say yes to God and be available to do it. Here’s a great example, Jesus is walking by the sea and he sees these guys working with their nets fishing and he says follow me. The Bible says immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Then he comes to a couple more by their boat and He says follow me again and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed Him.

I think God is looking for instant obedience. He’s looking for you and I to simply say yes and say yes straight away. I don’t think he’s really asking you and I to say ‘I’ll fast and pray about it Lord then I’ll get back to you’. I think God’s really saying; why don’t we just say yes and get on and do it? Saying yes to God normally means putting aside what we are doing and doing what He is doing. I want to say to you that sometimes that is inconvenient, because I’ve got my plans, I want to do this and God wants to have the impertinence to interrupt my day and get me doing something different. Until we come to the conclusion of course that actually Gods more important and what He’s telling us do going to result in something great. I think we need to realise that we have to put aside our own agenda and do what God wants.

And we have to settle some things in ourselves. What do we have to settle? Well firstly is our worth. Many of us don’t feel good enough. Do you know what? I’m absolutely certain that that feeling comes from the devil because God’s not about us being good enough. God is about using us not matter who we are or what we are, He just wants to move through us. And so I want to say to you, you’re worth has already been settled because you have been made worthy because of His blood and His sacrifice. Okay? So let’s settle that right now, you are already worthy and those feelings of unworthiness actually come from the devil.  Because He has actually separated your sins as far as the east is from the west and they never join you need to understand that you are worthy.

One of the other questions we have is, where is the money going to come from? I remember the first time they invited me to Africa and I looked at my costings and it was going to cost me $6000 dollars and I thought well where is the money going to come from? Well I think if I look back today I still couldn’t tell you where the money came from. It came in lots of $20, that’s a lot of $20. People kept giving me $20 notes and before you know it I had enough money to go. Where will the money come from? I don’t have the answer to that question. I just know if its God vision there will be Gods provision.

I mean were going through this whole Covid thing which is why I’m not there speaking. And you know what; all my speaking engagements have been cancelled. How do I earn my living? By speaking, at the moment I can’t speak. Where’s the money coming from? I can’t tell you. I just know every month somehow the money comes. So don’t worry about where that’s coming from just say yes to God and it will happen.

I guess we want to say well how will I do this? You know I get consumed with this one, I’ve go to be honest with you. How am I going to do this? It bothers me. Because I’m one of these people who likes to plan and work things out and God has been speaking to me about going to Poland. I’m going Lord I don’t speak Polish and I don’t know anybody there. How am I going to this? God is saying well it’s not really your concern; your job is to just say yes and go. So guess what. I don’t have a good answer for you on that I just have to say we have to trust God. God will show you when you need to know.

What will it look like? We all want to know that because were inquisitive and we kinda like to have our little finger in there But you know what, God is just asking you to say yes. When those fishermen said yes I’ll follow you, did they have any idea what it was going to look like? That they would be traipsing all over Israel for three years, giving out fish and bread, and casting out demons? They had no idea what they were saying yes to. They just said yes. And do you know what, that’s part of the excitement of the journey when we say yes to God. I just think of some of my missionary journeys when I’ve really not known what’s going to happen and when God did stuff it was just marvellous. Looking back I’m glad I said yes.

The reality is it requires faith. We don’t have all the answers but what we do have is Gods assurance. He says wherever you go I will go with you. That’s the assurance that we have. People I want to say that when you say yes to God have this assurance that God will be with be with you. It might be uncomfortable but He will be with you.

What about a local example? I had a disabled guy turn up at my church. He was intellectually disabled and we were just starting out as a church. I said to him ‘well do you know what, everyone in this church has got to do something’ and I reached into my pocket and I pulled out my keys. And took the key for the church off my keyring, and gave it to him, and said Garry you’re going to be opening up this church, setting out the chairs, when we’ve finished you put the chairs away and lock it up. He did that faithfully until his family moved him to the South Island, never missed a Sunday. Highly intellectually disabled but you know what we gave him a job and he said yes to it. You know what it was amazing because he did a chair ministry when he left our church we gave him a lazyboy chair. Cost us over $1000 bucks, gave him the best chair that we could buy. You know what he said to me? ‘I’ve never had a chair before Pastor.’ Do you know what? In his house he didn’t have a chair of his own. His family don’t understand it but he’s got the best chair of the whole family. There’s a guy who said yes to God and he was a blessing to us and I think it was a blessing to him.

What about this one here? Jesus said what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.

Some say yes but they change their minds. Some say no but they change their minds. Is easier to say yes the more you get to know God. I can tell you now that having walked with the Lord for the number of year, I’ve now been preaching for 37 years. And do you know what? It’s so much easier to say yes. The first time I said yes to God, which is almost 37 years to the day, and I preached my first message and invited my next door neighbour along and he got to hear my preach that very first message. He was a lay preacher in the church for 60 years and I said to him at the end of it ‘Bill how was that?’ He said ‘Geoff I think that’s the worst message I’ve heard in 60 years.’ I was just devastated! I said ‘God you told me you wanted me to preach!’ And I’m a disaster! I said ‘I’m now down to preach next week what am I going to say?’ He said ‘That’s the question you should have asked the first week.’ I asked Bill to come back and hear me the next week because now I had Gods message not my message. I said ‘Bill would you like to come back and hear me again?’ He said ‘no way, once is enough!’ You know. But do you know the reality was? The message was a huge success and I had all these people coming up and asking me for prayer and I had no idea what I was doing. But you know what? The more you know God the easier it is to say yes to Him.

Jesus said this ‘If you love me you’ll keep my commandments.’ So deep down the basis of all this stuff is loving God. Amen? And he puts that love in us. You know it says there, someone taught me this the other day and I’d never thought of it like this. In Revelation it says you’ve forgotten your first love. Every time I hear that preached people preach oh you’ve forgotten what you loved at first but guess what do you know who our first love was? God loved me. How good is that? My first love is how God loved me and we’ve forgotten how God loved us at the beginning. Isn’t that cool? So guess what? Just let that love come out.

So what the application for us today? Lord I surrender. All I think He’s asking us to do is to surrender to Him. And you need to do that today. Say ‘God I’m yours’ and then choose to say yes. Every time you say yes to Him it’s going to result in blessing.

The Courage to Say No – Ps Geoff Wiklund

The Courage to Say No

Ps Geoff Wiklund

Hello, Campers! It’s a joy to be with you. As you can see by the screen behind me, I’m going to do two messages. The first one is ‘The courage to say no’ and the second one is ‘The courage to say yes’.

I’ve got this beautiful Scripture in Proverbs chapter 1 that says:  ‘My son if sinners entice you, do not consent’. Another translation puts it this way: ‘When peer pressure compels you to go with the crowd and sinners invite you to join in, you must simply say no’. What an incredibly good piece of advice. I have to say, in all my years, one of my weakest abilities is to say no. And it’s something I’m having to learn.

So, I want to give you something in your tool belt today. I want to give you the ability to say no. I’ve chosen the hammer there because I do want you to get hammered because you say yes to stuff, but you can see the tool belt is empty. I want to give you the simplest tool in there, and that is the ability to say no.

Look at Joseph’s situation. We find his situation here, that he is working for this guy, and his wife is a hot young thing, and she keeps asking him to go to bed with her, and he is looking at how beautiful she is. But he continues to say no, he said, ‘I will not sin against God’, and that is a key. Guys, when we are saying yes to sin, we’re actually sinning against God. And you know, when David got caught in sin with Bathsheba, God said; ‘why have you despised my commandments?’ So really what we’re doing is despising God. So this ability to say no is incredibly important to us.

So, let’s look at a situation that I have to put up with regularly. I get invited to go and speak somewhere and get there, I am too busy but I lack the courage to say no, and so I put myself under incredible pressure. You and I often say yes because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. They often invite us and say do you want to come to the movies with me, we’re tired, we don’t really want to go, we say yes because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Sometimes we want to be accepted. We want to be a part of the crowd. We fear if we say no, we might not get another invitation. We might get left out next time, and so we feel this pressure to be accepted. Sometimes, we just want to be loved, and so we say yes because we want to be loved. Sometimes we say yes in order to get love, but’s not really what we want.

Another thing I think is that we lack boundaries. We’re not prepared to say no because we don’t have those boundaries set in place. One of the things I love about reading the Bible is that the Bible gives me boundaries, and so I’m getting better at saying no to things.

And here is another one that we often have and that is our values. What are our values? People say, come and watch the movie. There’s a little bit of swearing and a little bit of sex, but it’s a really good movie. Where are your values in that? Are we bold enough to say: ‘No, I’m sorry’? I always remember the EE training and they shared there about an omelette. And they said: come have part of my omelette, five of the eggs are okay, but one is rotten. Do you want that omelette? No, you don’t, because that little bit is rotten. Well, isn’t that the same with the movie? A little bit is rotten? And so, do we have the courage to say: ‘No, I’m sorry. I’m not going to watch that. I don’t think it’s going to be helpful to me. These scenes are going to stay in my mind.’ Because there’s no two ways about it for us, particularly as men, that visual images can get stuck in our minds and cause us problems later on.

Some people say just read the book, you know, it’s mostly okay. Well, I’m coming to the point now, where I’m thinking about is this book going to edify me, is it actually going to cause me to grow. Jim Hern used to say to me, Geoff, you’ll be the same now as you are in ten years except for the people that you associate with and the books you read. What are we reading? I look at some of these junky magazines and things and all the gossip in it. Are we prepared to actually say no to that stuff? That’s not going to help us.

Do I have the courage to say no to part of the conversation? Because I can see that this conversation is gossip, it’s pulling other people down, it’s backstabbing. Do we have the courage to speak up and say: ‘Hey, maybe we should pray for this person’? Instead of pulling them down which is not going to change anything. Maybe we need to have the courage to say, no, I’m not going to be part of that.

Maybe we have to say no to being a part of a deal, because the deal is crocked or it’s not going to be quite legal, you know. There is always the temptation to do things. One of the things people often put is cash jobs, just pay me the cash, because then I’m not going to pay taxes. But if everyone avoids paying taxes, our country’s got a problem, and so we’ve got to be bold enough to say no, I’ve got some values here, and my values are, I would rather pay the taxes. How good that is. I have a friend of mine who after 35 years of avoiding taxes, was done by the IRD. He’s now paying back his estimated taxes of $350,000. Yeah.

Nehemiah’s a great example. Look at this scripture here. ‘Sanballat and Geshem sent to me saying come let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono but they thought to do me harm. So I sent message to them saying ‘I’m doing a great work so I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’ But they sent this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.’ You know what, great example. They continue to pester him. He continues with the same answer.

I want to say that no often leads to blessing. Look at Psalm 1 “Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly (following their advice, their plans, and purposes) nor stands (submissive and inactive) in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down (to relax and rest) where the scornful (and the mockers) gather.”

I tell you what, no leads to blessing. We see with Nehemiah four times he just continues the same message ‘I’m too busy doing God’s work to come down.’ That’s got to be us people doing the things that we know that the Father wants us to do. Let’s just be bold enough to say ‘no I’m too busy’, and let’s see the blessing that comes when we say no.

Our no sends a message. It says here in Ephesians 5:11 ‘Take no part in, have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness but instead let your lives be in contrast as to expose and reprove and convict them.” So when we say no to things other people are convicted by that. They see that hey, maybe I should have the courage to say no as well, and so your no might encourage some other people around you, in actual fact, to have the courage to say no as well.

And be decisive. Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no, for whatever is more than these is from the evil one. So often we say no, but then people begin to put pressure on and encourage us and coerce us and whatever, and all of a sudden then ‘oh okay then’ and we give in. Hey, let our no be no. I think sometimes, what I’m learning is to say ‘What didn’t you understand about no?’ You know? Really, that’s the way it’s got to be.

So what’s the application for us today? Today I’m giving you permission to say no. You don’t have to do those things to be accepted in love, in actual fact, we’ve got to be accepted and loved by God and sometimes no is the right answer. You now have a new tool in your tool belt. It’s called no. Remember that verse? You just simply say no and mean it.

Also, I think we have to set boundaries. It’s one of the things that at my age on still learning. Is that ability to set boundaries, and I will not be lead away from my purpose. I’m not going to give up my purpose in God to do what others want us to do.