Thursday, August 5, 2010

Water Into Wine

Today I want to look at the miracle where Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. I believe that this was one of Jesus most significant miracles in showing he was the messiah, and was also important that it was the first miracle he preformed as it set the tone for the change his ministry would bring about in the way people viewed and served God.

John 2: 1-10
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

This story is absolutely loaded with symbols that point to Jesus being the messiah.

He said to his mother – “My time has not yet come”. An Aramaic commentary on the gospel of John explained that Jesus was saying – “This is not the wedding I came for". He was referring to the wedding between Christ and his bride that is still to come. He was saying to his mother that there was going to be another wedding, another feast, and that wedding is the one he had come for, not this one.

Notice that Jesus made over 100 gallons of wine, possibly 160 gallons of the very best wine possible (The MC noticed it was better than the best, which he thought had already been served, and undoubtedly it had). That is a lot of wine.
In Amos, Joel, and many other books of the Bible the prophets say things about the day of the Lord that involve wine.

Joel 2:18 - the mountains will drip with New Wine…

Amos 9:13 – New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from the hills.

Jesus is associated with abundance and wine, in fact he becomes known as a drunkard and a glutton by the Pharisees later on in his ministry. His is a ministry of joy and abundance, not lack like many like to believe.

The most important factor of this miracle is that it changed the administration of how things were done in relation to God.
The water that Jesus used to turn into wine from from the jars used for Jewish rites of purification.
“In the Jewish Bible and other Jewish texts, immersion in water for ritual purification was established for restoration to a condition of "ritual purity" in specific circumstances. For example, Jews who became ritually defiled by contact with a corpse had to use the mikvah before being allowed to participate in the Holy Temple. Immersion is required for converts to Judaism as part of their conversion. Immersion in the mikvah represents a change in status in regards to purification, restoration, and qualification for full religious participation in the life of the community, ensuring that the cleansed person will not impose uncleanness on property or its owners.”

The law was concerned with the external life of the person. There were many times when the Pharisees confronted Jesus because he or his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.

Mark 7: 1-8
The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"

He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 

" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

Luke 11: 37-41

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.

Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Water is applied to wash externally, wine is always internal.
Interesting that the last of the prophets was John the Baptist who baptized people for the repentance of sins.
Jesus came, and with this miracle symbolized that no longer will our external works or religious functions and traditions make us clean before God. He is saying that we should apply the new wine – the holy spirit that was poured out- to the inside of our lives our hearts, and live changed from the inside out.
21 generations before this miracle occurred the lord said to the prophet Samuel -
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

The turning of the water into wine showed us two important things about the nature of Jesus.

Firstly that he is far more concerned with our heart and our motivations than our acts of service. Proverbs says that as a man thinks in his heart so is He. Much of Matthew 5 6 and 7 is Jesus saying that if you desire sin, you have already sinned in your heart. We must guard our heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
So what is in our heart flows out. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. We must make sure our heart is full of good things. The best things. The best wine was saved till last, the wine of the Holy Spirit poured out to fill us. Lets always be fully filled with the new wine, the best wine.

Secondly it shows us that our God is a good God, who is not stingy. He never holds back. He always gives his best, and in abundance. He gave over 700 liters of wine. He gave his first-born son for us. He never holds back, and through him we can live in abundance all the days of our lives.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From - Sunday, 31 May 2009

So last friday at internship, Ps Rick gave all the interns a scripture, and 30 minutes to write a 5 minute message about what we read. I was lucky enough to get Romans 8.. and here is the result :)... its a lot better spoken.. but what can ya do really lol

Romans 8 5-11

Today I want to talk about life in the spirit. We are called to live in two realities, in our physical realm, and also in the spirit realm. This is meant to be a constant simultaneous state of being, constantly in the world but also constantly in the spirit.

In Romans 8 it discusses this… Romans 8 : 5-11

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you

Romans 6:5-7 + 10-11

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

This concept of death is a big feature of Romans. It likens the act of being saved as to death and rebirth. Even Jesus spoke about this in John 3: 5-6

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

What is Jesus trying to say here?? Not that we should literally kill ourselves so we can be resurrected, but rather that we have a complete paradigm shift. A total change in mindsets and thought patterns. So our mind is no longer set on temporary earthly things but rather on set on Christ.

Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What we think about becomes what we do, and what we do becomes who we are, this is why our thought life is so important. To take every thought captive. This is why in Paul urges the church in Philippi

“whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report’; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

So how do we take every thought captive?? How do we stop little temptations coming in and taking over our mind? How do we be transformed so we can walk in the spirit?

As soon as we are saved the spirit of God comes and lives in us. The act of baptism is literally our old flesh nature being killed and our new spirit man rising in new life. But how do we walk in this new spirit nature?

Romans 8:8 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace

Its all about renewing our minds. Paul gives some clear instructions on how to do this in 1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18

1-Rejoice evermore.

2-Pray without ceasing.

3-In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

So basically, we should always be thanking God for what hes done, rejocing and praying always. To put it in secular terms its basically just thinking positively. Not allowing your circumstances to dictate your attitude.

I know it’s a lot easier said then done.. but when you grab hold of the revalation, that throught the work of the cross we are now sons and heirs with God, and u receive daily the joy of your salvation, it is so easy to be greatful in ALL things.

Romans 8:8 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace

I pray that we would all set our minds on what is eternal, and that we would be transformed dailly through the renewing of our minds more and more into the likeness of Christ.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Its been a year almost since I went to africa. Been thinking about it a lot lately cause I have to write a sermon about Gods love. Thought Id post the note I wrote on Facebook a year ago about my trip so I could remember it more. Also read my dairy that I kept while I was over there. Cant wait to go back one day. Enjoy my memories.

So we flew out to Africa on the 21st of July. My first time overseas so the flying was my biggest fear... didn't want to get sick or crash really, but neither of those happened.. apart from a forgettable moment on the runway at SA.
When we finally arrived in Pemba, my first memory was the heat, and just how big it was.
In NZ we cant comprehend being able to look every direction and just see empty space, its incredible. The Iris base is amazing. Its huge, 1km long by 800 meters long. There's a school and soccer field and everything there. The 1st day, Rick, Neil, Hughwyn and Myself played basketball with some kids, was so much fun.
So much happened there so I'l just share my highlights, otherwise you'll be here reading for a week. Firstly, the food.. basically we had a bread roll for breakfast, rice with beans for lunch, and rice with either fish, chicken, cabbage, spinach or beans for dinner. And the toilets... there was one long drop with a proper toilet bowl, the rest were just holes in the ground.. got really good at aiming haha.

My favorite place on the base was hanging out at the babies dorm. There was a little kid there that looked about 6-8 months old.. he was pretty much completely unresponsive, didn't really move, never smiled... turned out he was 2 years old. He was just so underdeveloped because of malnutrition during pregnancy.
There's so many memories like that, that just impacted my life so much but it's impossible to put into words.

At first you see the "poverty" and you want to give them everything you can and help them, but after awhile you realize that they didn't know they were poor until we told them. They just survive.
They don't worry about having a TV or labeled shoes, they just live life. They are some of the happiest people i have ever met.

How is it that in the west we spend all our time trying to make everything faster and easier so we have more time, and yet we end up with no time and stressed out all the time? Yet over there they walk slowly, they stop and talk and smile, and they live the most fulfilled lives... Just a thought.

We got to go on an outreach to an unreached village as part of our trip.
I had been feeling quite disconnected from God for much of the 1st part of the trip, so the night before we left I went and lay in the prayer hut for a few hours, just soaking in his presence. Then I went to the worship team practice at the church. Gods presence was so thick in there. I just kneeled and cried for ages.
The worship there is amazing. They don't have flash gear or a huge band, they just worship. They have nothing and they don't know much, but they know they have Jesus and thats all that matters. They worship from their heart. Its not about music, its about connecting with our amazing Lord and King and just loving on him and being loved in return.
After they practice finished I got some ministry school students and some people from an english missions team to pray for me before the outreach. One of the students (her name was Promise) went and got the worship teams guitar, and Her, Sarah, and myself got to have a worship time together. It was amazing.
After that we sat and talked for hours. I got to share much of my testimony with them, and then shared what God had been showing me all year, and some of my experiences with that, it was nice to talk to some people who spoke english again haha.
So the next day we left on our trip. 5 1/2 hours later on the back of a truck we arrived at the village. We set up our tents then left to goto another village for the 1st outreach.
After much confusion we got to a village. One of the african Pastors spoke for awhile, then we were released to go and pray for people.
The first man I prayed for had chest pain. I prayed once and there was no change, so I prayed again and he was healed!
A few minutes later I prayed for a young man of about 12 who had limited vision. After a short prayer he tested it out and he was completely healed also!
Prayed for many sore stomachs and some babies after that. We were just about to leave, had just prayed for a man with a headache who was healed, and a man came and asked us to pray for his wife who was deaf. With one of the african pastors translating we prayed for her, and then tested it out, and her hearing was 100% restored!! From completely deaf to full hearing in less then a minute!! God is soo good!!
The next day we hung out at the village with the kids and just loved on the people.
That afternoon we went around the village going hut to hut praying for people.
I joined onto a group that had just cast a demon out a young boy.
The 1st hut we went to, there was a lady with malaria, and her mother who was blind and also crippled in one leg.
We prayed for both of them, and the symptoms of malaria left!! But there was no change in the mother. So we got the lady who had just been healed to pray for her mum, and all pain left her leg!! But she was still blind. At that point I saw in the spirit something that looked like oil pouring down from the sky onto the woman's head. A guy named matthew asked if we wanted to stay or leave, and I remember saying "Jesus had to pray twice.. I'l stay here all day if I have too". So we prayed again and her eyesight was completely restored!! God is so GOOD!!
My favorite memory was the last hut we visited. There was a lady there who had a sore hip.
We prayed for her, and much of our group felt that her husband (his name was Eric) would drink and then beat her. So we asked him about it and he denied it. Then we asked if he wanted to receive Jesus, and he said no again. When he said no to that, I saw in the spirit a picture of a hourglass tipping over and starting to count down. There was 3 or 4 of us in the group that felt that if he didn't accept Jesus that day that his days were numbered. So we asked him again and again he refused. So we left. That afternoon at the prayer meeting I prayed specially for him and for his salvation. We all got gloriously toasted in the Holy Ghost and left for the night service feeling full of Gods presence and Power. I don't remember much of the night, I just remember getting back to the tents and having Matt run up to me and telling me that Eric had come to the service and had received Jesus!!

That one salvation was the best part of the trip.

I saw a lame woman walk with no cane, I saw a deaf woman hear, I saw two blind people see, I saw countless headaches and stomach pains healed, I saw the spirit of alcoholism broken off peoples lives, but nothing brings more joy then seeing one soul come to salvation.

I have so many more memories and experiences but it would take far to long to write them all out. We serve an amazing God, that cares about the smallest things... down to my favorite song being played in the church in africa, and having window seats on basically every flight.
Miracles still happen. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his mission has never changed. For God so LOVED the world.. We are called to love.. wether its starving children in africa, or multi millionaire businessmen in NZ, we are called to love them, and bring Gods love to their life.
We can see signs and wonders in Africa, and on the streets in NZ, but the greatest call is to Re-Present Jesus to the world.

I went to Africa thinking I had the answers to their problems, but I came back having learnt so much more from them. All we need is Jesus. Heaven and Earth may pass away, but his word will not.

I Love you, all of my hope is in you, JESUS CHRIST, take my life, take all of me.

God bless

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Becoming a resting place

"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Matthew 8:28

What did Jesus mean when he said this?? Was he poor?? Was the hotel full?? Had he lost his pillow some
where?? Or is there something more to this often overlooked verse??

What about this verse?

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."
Romans 12:1

Aren't sacrifices meant to be dead?? Do we need to lay on a alter and set fire to ourselves?? What does this even mean?

God wants to find a resting place.
He wants you to become his resting place, and these two verses show you how to become a resting place.

Fox holes and Birds nests don't just appear.. they have to be created.

We create a resting place for God by becoming a Living Sacrifice.

A sacrifice is prepared in this way - The animal would be brought to the priest. After it was killed, the priest would remove the head, the legs, and then clean out the insides. To become a Living Sacrifice means to come to our high priest Jesus, and lay down our life for him. Then allow him to take our legs, and make us to walk with him. Then he can take our head, our authority, and allow his headship to come onto our lives. Then we allow him to clean out our insides. The animal wouldn't clean themselves out before coming to the priest, the priest was responsible for the internal condition of the animal.

A living sacrifice is someone who's heart is open to God, who's walk is surrendered to God, and who is fully lead by God.

So what does the statement about foxes and holes and birds and nests have to do with anything??

Foxes go to their holes to rest, and to reproduce.
Birds go to their nests to rest, and to reproduce.
The head is symbolic of Authority - Like a king is the head of his kingdom.

Jesus was saying this:

Foxes have a place to reproduce, Birds have a place to raise a family, but I don't. There is nowhere that has been prepared for me to rest my Authority on so that the Kingdom of Heaven can be Reproduced on the Earth.

Jesus wants to rest on you!! He wants you to become a living sacrifice, so he can rest his leadership on your life so that the Kingdom of Heaven can be Reproduced on the earth.

Are you willing to let Jesus rest on you?