Mark Bailey from Cheltenham in England was the speaker at Monday evening's celebration. Here is a summary of his message:
The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of an opportunity.
Twenty-two days after you conceive there is a tiny electrode which stimulates your heartbeat. It is so small, it cannot be detected by medical instruments, but it is the very first beat of your heart! We have been created for more. No-one goes into life desiring mediocrity. We are talking about the opportunities God gives us in our lives.
Regret has a unique sting. You don’t only feel the pain but you know you had the power to do something and yet you didn’t. The Bible is full of regrets.
There are only two types of people in this world: people who are moving towards God and people who are moving away from Him.
I want us as a local church to accomplish ridiculously amazing things for God. We want to impact our community, our region and the nation.
Lessons from Joshua
Joshua has unbelievable faith. He is an Israelite who was born into captivity. He got to experience their deliverance from Egypt. When the people came to the promised land, Joshua urged confidence but the people retreated in fear.
Every time we come to a faith-filled moment, when God is requiring us to do more, so often we all retreat to certain hiding places. One of the most common is the hiding place of insecurity - you start thinking, “I don’t have the talent, resources, ability to do this…” It is all about fear. We are afraid of making mistakes.
The cost of missing out can be worse than the cost of messing up.
When you shrink back, you not only impact your own life but also the lives of others around you.
Joshua leds the people to cross the Jordan River. They had to put their feet in the water FIRST and then the water parted. They had to take a step of faith. When they reached Jericho, they had to march around the city for seven days before the walls came down. They had to take steps of faith.
The big moves of God are always preceded by obedience to God in small things.
In Joshua 10:12, the people are in the midst of battle and Joshua prays for the sun to stand still! Most of us can barely rustle up a prayer for a parking space on a Sunday morning! Joshua prays for the sun to stand still!!
What is your sun-stand-still prayer? What do you so desperately and long to happen that you need an act of God?
We held a Pentecost celebration - to mark the birth of the church - and invited all of the body of Christ in our area to attend. I can be a little bit cynical so when I heard about a girl in a wheelchair who had suddenly stood up, I wanted proof.
That morning, her father (a GP) had been pushing the girl around their village and had cried out to God. I’m not sure who was crying the most - the girl, her father or me! What appears to be impossible for us is not remotely difficult for God.
Does that mean that every time we pray a sun-stand-still prayer that God answers? No! And I don’t understand why.
A doctor in our church became ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I asked to pray for him. He said, “Yes, but I would prefer you to pray that all my children come to know Jesus before I die”.
The church prayed for his healing but he died. Our prayers for healing were not answered but his children did come to know the Lord and his son preached at his funeral.
I have never regretted praying those types of bold prayers, even when they are not answered. You may be saying, “I’m not a Joshua.” So how do you get to that point?
In Exodus 33 we read about the Ten of Meeting where Moses met with God. In Exodus 33:11 we read that Joshua stayed behind in the Tent of Meeting and spent time with God after Moses left. He pursued the presence of God.
Contact with the creator is essential if we want to live faith-filled lives.
We need to be disciplined to spend time with him in prayer and worship. We need to meet with God, to be renewed by God, to be filled with His spirit again and again so we can live the faith-filled lives, He calls us to live.