Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Can Have a Personal Relationship with God

Scriptures: Acts 4:32-37, John 17, Phil 4:4-7, Acts 12, 1 John 1:9

On Sunday morning, we had just finished singing ‘His Eye is On the Sparrow’ when Pastor Lorne took the pulpit and announced, “Well, isn’t that a great thing to know.” He said out at his farm in the wintertime, those sparrows are just a nuisance and to think that God watches over them. And, it’s good to know that He watches over us.

He said it’s one of the things to know about serving God. He said some other religions don’t view God in a personal way but it’s so good to be a Christian and know the God we serve and try to live for is a God who cares about us personally. He doesn’t just look down at the church, or the town, or the group of towns and see a bunch of people but He sees you and He sees me. He knows the things that we’re going through. He’s concerned. He cares about us.

Pastor Lorne said in the scriptures that Nastassja read for us earlier (Acts 4:32-37), it talks about all the believers sharing what they had. He said if you read through that, he doesn’t believe they sold everything they had, put it all together and divided it out equally to everybody. He said he doesn’t believe that’s what the scripture’s talking about. He said to think about it – if they sold their houses and their land, where would they live? How would they eat if they had no land to grow crops on? He said he got to looking at it a little closer and maybe it was extra parcels of land and extra houses that they didn’t really need to make a living on. So, they sold some of that so that the people who were in need would have something to help them and live on. Because they didn’t claim their possessions as their own but realized it was through the mercy of God that they had what they did have.

Acts 4:33 it says, ‘With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.’ And so because of their care for one another, because of their willingness to give up their extras to help people who had problems and needs in their lives, it says they could give witness to the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead with great power. And the grace of God was upon them. He was blessing their gathering of the people together.

Pastor Lorne said this caused them to be a..."well, pardon the expression but ‘one big happy family’". God was blessing the church as they met together. This is part of what Jesus had prayed for. Last week he spoke on John 17 and the prayer of Jesus. A whole chapter in the Bible is given to what Jesus prayed for. He said he wasn’t going to go back and read it but he wanted everyone to turn to John 17:20-21 – ‘20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’ Here, Jesus’ prayer was for those who were going to believe in him – not just for those in His day, not just for His disciples – but also for the ones who heard about Jesus from the disciples and so on down the generations.

Jesus prayed that we might all be one – a real group of believers in the church with a unity.

And do you know that Jesus prayed for you many, many years ago that you might be one with other believers? That you might have Him in your life? That you might be connected to Him just like He was connected to God, His Father? That was the prayer He had for us so long ago.

In John 17:24 Jesus says, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” Here, Jesus prayed that He wants all of us to see Him in His glory. You know, according to what the Bible teaches, I believe that’s going to happen. Some day we are going to see Jesus in all of His glory and in all of His splendor when the day comes where we get to meet Him in heaven.

He said it’s important thing for us to have a personal prayer time. It’s a special time where we talk to God about our needs, about how we’re feeling, about how great He is in our lives, the great things He’s done for us, and all those things.

Pastor Lorne said a ‘body of believers’ is just a term that means a group of people who meet to worship the Lord together.

Prayer is a very important part when a group of believers meet together. In our church organization, they want to start project called, ‘A Church A Day’ where each church will take a day and get together for that 24 hr period to pray whether at the church or in someone’s home. They want it so that 365 days a year, believers are praying for one another or people in need. Here in Canada even with the downturn in the economy, we still have so much to be thankful for compared to other countries. Think about it and we can be a part of it if we wish to do so.

Phil 4:4-7 says, ‘4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Here Paul is writing to the Philippian church and says we aren’t to be anxious as a group of believers or to be worried about things but rather, ‘present your requests to God.’

We have that great avenue that we can take our worries, our sorrows, our loneliness and whatever in our life and lift it up to the Lord in prayer. We don’t have to worry. We won’t be able to understand, but the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds

Pastor Lorne said he wanted to encourage you to pray for your own needs and the needs of others like we do regularly in church and as we will be doing at the end of the service.

The Bible says because of the peace of God we don’t have to worry. Yes, there are things we have to concern ourselves with and Pastor Lorne says we have to have some kind of way to make a living so we can pay our bills. So our minds have to be on that for a time but when all these things come down and weigh down so heavy upon us, we can pray as a body of believers and also individually. We can trust God to know and that He will be there to help us and keep and protect us

Pastor Lorne said Acts 12 about Peter in prison is almost comical when you think about it although he’s sure it wasn’t at the time: v4 ‘After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.’ Peter was kept in prison but the church was earnestly praying for him. So there’s Peter in prison with all those guards around him keeping him safe so he wouldn’t get away so they’d be able to bring him to trial. Pastor Lorne said he wasn’t going to read the whole story but an angel came and Peter’s chains fell off and the angel led Peter past the guards and through the streets and to the house where they were praying for him.

Acts 12:12-17 reads, ‘12.When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, "Peter is at the door!" 15"You're out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel." 16But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.’

So here, the body of believers were praying for Peter to be released from prison and when he was miraculously released from the prison, he could hardly believe it himself – he thought he was dreaming – and he went to the house where the prayer meeting was taking place. And they didn’t believe it was Peter and yet, Peter was there at their door.

A body of believers – a church – praying for somebody in trouble. God heard their prayer and delivered Peter from the chains and guards of imprisonment.

From this, we see that a church bands together and seeks God and asks God to do some special thing or fill some special need. There’s great power in it and it does move the hand of God. So as a church when we pray in unity for someone, it’s not our power but God’s power that makes the difference and makes it work. It’s a wonderful thing to have when there’s no hope - that we can turn to God in prayer and know that He will hear and answer your prayer.

Pastor Lorne said ideally he’s a perfect person, he never makes any mistakes, he always treats people properly, is always considerate and compassionate, and always does what is right. That’s ideally.

But what sometimes happens is that he’s inconsiderate, that he doesn’t treat people properly and that he’s sometimes not as kind as he should be and all that.

He said ideally, he’s a perfect husband but his wife could tell you different. (Laughter) That’s why he’s so happy with the scripture found in 1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Pastor Lorne said he is so happy that when he asked Jesus to enter into his heart and life to be his Lord and Saviour, that Jesus did. That when he makes a mistake, or falls and commits a sin, that God is there to forgive him and that because of the blood shed on the cross of Cavalry, he can go and ask forgiveness and God forgives him and keeps forgiving him. Pastor Lorne said he’s sorry to say God has to keep doing it over and over again because he’s human and he tends to fail and to fall. But, he said, with his confession and Jesus’ blood, God will forgive his sins.

He said he wanted to encourage you with all these things of being a believer and the unity of being a group of believers but the most important thing that we as a church can do or have is to be careful in our walk with the Lord and to have that right relationship with Him.

When Jesus prayed in John 17, He wanted them to have a relationship with the Father. So Pastor Lorne would encourage you - each day of your life – to have and to work on that relationship with Jesus. We get involved in our work and in our relationships with other people but the most important relationship that you can have is the one with Christ.
Treasure it...it’s precious and it’s the best relationship you can ever have.

Pastor Lorne said he’s so thankful he doesn’t have that relationship with Christ because of all the good things he’s done. Or, because of all the money he’s put in the offering plate. Or, for all the scripture he’s read, but because Jesus shed his blood on the cross of Calvary and all Pastor Lorne has to do is to trust Him by faith.

Pastor Lorne said he’s so thankful that every one of you don’t have to look back and think you’re such a terrible person and that you can’t be part of a church or you can’t be part of God’s family because of all of those things that you’ve done in the past. He’s so thankful that when he goes to Christ, He doesn’t look at all the bad things he’s done. When he stands before God, his righteousness will be the righteousness of Christ.

That is the relationship that is so important to each one of us and to know that it is only by faith in Jesus that we can have that personal relationship with God. It’s not by what we do or don’t do but our faith in Him.
If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email .

Who is Jesus? Find answers at: http://www.who-jesus-is.com/


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