Archive for November, 2009

Leveraging Your Past!

Posted in attitude with tags , on November 30, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

As a preacher I have often told people to ‘let go of the past’ and ‘don’t let the past dictate your future’. These are important statements and need to be heeded but there is also another side of the coin that we need to consider. Our past provides us with both rich and painful experiences that if we leverage can influence our future in a powerful way.

Our past has provided for us significant stories and testimonies of God’s grace and favour in our lives. Too many of us forget too easily what God has done for us and through us in the past. Your past can actually be a great source of encouragement and inspiration both to you and to people around you but you must recall to mind what God has actually done in your life.

Our past has provided us with plenty of lessons learnt. All of us have made mistakes in the past that we can learn from. Don’t make the same mistake twice but grow in wisdom. Don’t let the pain of regret steal your future but let wisdom forged through painful experience become the catalyst for growth and expansion in the future.

Our past gives us memories of victories and achievements. We have all been victorious in something, however small or big. Each of these victories and achievements have left us insights in how to achieve success the next time. It also gives us tips to help other people when they need our advice or have come to a stalemate in their own success journey.

Our past has left scars of painful experiences. Most of us would see this as a negative but in the midst of our brokenness we’re reminded of God’s love to heal the pain in our hearts from the words, actions and intentions of others that have hurt us deeply. These scars remind us to be gracious and loving with others because of what we ourselves have gone through. What the devil has meant for evil in our lives, God can turn around for our good.

Our past has prepared us for our future. Whether you realise it or not, your past is the exact preparation you need to step into your future. God is sovereign and he makes all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. God has predesigned you and your past to prepare you for what he has called you to walk in. If you choose to partner with God you can see the seeds of your past bear fruit in your future.

Don’t despise your past, no matter how challenging or painful but leverage it to influence your future. Your life is made up of your past and your future is your response to your past. Respond Godward and watch what God does with your future.

Lead the Change!

Flesh Under Fire!

Posted in Pop Culture, Spirituality with tags , , , , on November 29, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

1 Corinthians 9:27 “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

We are a society of consumers. Our entire Australian society is built around serving the needs, wants and appetites of the consumer. This mindset has brought with it an over indulgence of the flesh. Per capita we are the most obese nation on earth and our medical bills and booming fitness industry is evidence that our over indulgence is having a negative effect on us.

Some people might think health and fitness is not a spiritual matter but it actually is. The Apostle Paul did comment once that bodily training has some value… Paul understood that his flesh, given free reign, could disqualify him from the race of faith. He saw the need to keep it under fire and in check not just for his physical well being but for his spiritual well being as well.

Many moons ago I used to be a personal trainer and run my own business, as well as working in fitness centers throughout Melbourne. As well as this I trained and competed as a track runner and competitive powerlifter among other sports. I have always valued my physical well being, seeing it as a spiritual issue as much as anything else. I actually feel closer to God when I am physically fit and healthy. 

Simone and I work out together on a Saturday morning in our home gym set up in our garage. We have a treadmill, free weights (barbell, dumbbell), chin up and dip bar, bench press, squat rack, swiss ball, skipping rope, step up box, mats and machine weights set up ready for a workout any time. We can be found in the ‘House of Pain’ most early mornings of the week because we see the value of keeping our flesh under fire and not allowing our physical bodies to become a spiritual weakness.

I understand that Paul’s words in Corinthians goes beyond just physical health and fitness to our thought life, words, motivations and actions of our sinful nature but I also see the need for Australians to keep their flesh under fire and take dominion over their physical well being. I want to be fit and healthy for anything that God brings my way to do and I don’t want my body to become the point of weakness in my faith journey.

What about you? I encourage you to get serious about your health and well being. Spend approximately 20-30mins each day working on your health and fitness – walk, run, go to the gym, swim, bike, lift weights, stretch, play a sport… Do something and start to rule your flesh or it will rule you. People who discipline themselves in their physical well being are also able to discipline themselves in other areas of life. It’s a principle that carries through to the spiritual.

Lead the Change!

What Anointing Follows!

Posted in Spirituality, supernatural with tags on November 26, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Hebrews 1:8-9 “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, Is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

It’s too easy to mistake trends and techniques for the anointing but the presence and power of the Spirit, while sovereign, is attracted to uprightness of heart. Church growth formula’s and the latest conference technique may get your team and congregation intrigued for a while but if it lacks the substance and direction of the Holy Spirit, it will be fruitless.

There is a growing trend within the Body of Christ towards philosophy, psychology and other related fields of popular cultural thinking, while helpful on one level, can often contradict what God’s Word says on critical matters. We must contend for the authority of God’s Word in every area of our lives. The Scriptures are the divine rule for Christian thought and life practice. Yes, the Church will differ at times on different interpretations of the text but we must strive to seek out biblical answers to cultural issues without compromising what the Bible clearly teaches.

The Bible clearly teaches on issues like homosexuality, immorality, divorce and remarriage, adultery, money, absolute truth and the list goes on and yet the biblical passages that speak to these things are under threat both within and outside the Church. We must be committed to being clear what the bible is clear about and holding in tension what the bible isn’t clear about.

God is love (1 Jn 4:8) and love is gracious and compassionate but it is also righteous and just. God and sin are not compatible with each other and God despises wickedness in our hearts and yet he loves us enough to sacrifice his own Son on the cross to save us from our wickedness. 

The anointing of the Spirit is sovereignly bestowed on the believing heart but it is drawn to an upright heart of faith that is set apart and purified for the masters use. We must be careful not to presume upon God’s grace and excuse ourselves out of being holy as God is holy. Our righteousness is not by our works but by faith in Jesus Christ and the work Christ has completed on our behalf.

Anointing without character has a short life span and will be recalled if a person willfully persists in their sin. Guard your heart against false teaching and the spirit of the world which seeks to steal the truth and authority of God’s Word in your life. The anointing of God is precious, purposeful and powerful. Please don’t take it for granted and don’t scoff at what it follows.

Lead the Change!

Spiritual Warfare!

Posted in Spiritual Warfare, supernatural with tags on November 25, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Read Ephesians 6:10-20

Ministry is spiritual warfare! When you become a Christian, let alone a minister of the gospel, you have entered into a heightened zone of spiritual conflict, unlike what many people experience. It seems like it’s actually easier to not be a Christian at all… so the devil would lie to you.

Whenever the Church starts to wake up, the devil and his forces of darkness do too. Every new level in spiritual authority has a new devil that you’ve got to wrestle against. Spiritual warfare can manifest in a variety of ways – some sickness, persecution, some circumstances, lack, opposition, criticism, conflict, marital strife, abuse, injustice, etc… the list goes on.

It’s important to grow in discernment of the spiritual battle that rages against us and the plots, plans and schemes the enemy devises against us. 

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Watching a LION documentary in the past revealed that lions attack isolated, weary and weak animals that are lagging behind or straying from the pack. The devil does the same with isolated believers and weakened areas of our soul. I have seen it a thousand times before and no matter how many times I warn people about isolating themselves from the church community and God, some unfortunately still do it and wonder why in a matter of weeks and months, they have forgotten about God all together and are caught up in one major escapade after the other in their personal and spiritual life.

There is power in numbers and proximity to Christ. The tighter your church relationships are and the closer your walk with God, the less vulnerable you are to the effects of Satan’s attack on you. You will still be attacked but you will be caught in the draft of the believers faith around you as well as your own.

Some have mistakenly taught that spiritual warfare is total nonsense and non-existent. The bible is clear that Satan is a real personality with a real agenda to destroy, deceive and despair people into believing that he doesn’t even exist… Someone once said, ‘this lie has been Satan’s greatest deception’ because it allows him to go under the radar and have a field day with people’s lives, while many people blame their problems on God.

Because spiritual warfare is a wrestle with spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places, our strength to fight is found in God’s presence and in the armour and weapons he gives us to use (Eph 6:10). Unfortunately not every Christian knows how to use their operational equipment even though we all have access to it. When I was in the Police Academy 10 years ago, the instructors went to great lengths to teach us how to use our operational equipment (firearm, OC spray, baton, cuffs and defensive skills) because the worst position to be in was to have access to the right equipment but no know how.

What are our weapons?

  • Truth (v14)
  • Righteousness (v14)
  • Gospel (v15)
  • Faith (v16)
  • God’s Word (v17)
  • Prayer (v18-19)

We can be assured that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh) but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Cor 10:4). Even with all your weaponry and armour, the most important thing to remember in a fight is to stand your ground. Paul uses the word ‘STAND’ 4 times in Eph 6:10-20 to call us to be firm in our faith. You can have the best weapons that the Kingdom of Heaven provides but if you don’t make a strong stand, they are pointless. Stand your ground against the enemy and you will not just survive spiritual warfare but be victorious in it.

Lead the Change!

Suicide Epidemic!

Posted in global issues, Local issues with tags , on November 25, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steak and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I have been saddened by recent news of several people committing suicide or attempting suicide in the last 3 weeks. Suicide is a major issue in our society and after doing some research, I discovered that Australia is currently ranked No.5 in the world for suicide overall, with Sweden ranking No.1. Once upon a time we were No.1 in suicide amongst young males.

It costs Australia over 17 billion dollars each year to carry the accumulated impact of suicide and yet only 91 cents is spent per suicide victim on suicide prevention (Chaplaincy Australia). Something has to change. Under the oversight of Ps Mark Bateman, Chaplaincy Australia, is contributing significantly to combat this epidemic all over Australia. Mark is always sharing stories of briefing football teams, fire-devastated communities and running prevention programs for various areas of industry. This is a much needed ministry and Ps Mark is at the front of the battle lines doing a fantastic job. Organisation’s like Chaplaincy Australia need your support.

Behind the physical act of suicide there is a deeper spiritual battle raging in people’s souls. There are also issues of self-worth, depression, despair and hopelessness brooding in people’s minds and hearts. The bible says that the devil is the author of destruction in our lives. While our own sinfulness, apart from Christ, leaves marks of brokenness and destruction, Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to attack these broken and weakened areas of our humanity. It is in these moments that lies and destructive thoughts can can cause us to question the value of our own existence on earth and it is in this state, we are most vulnerable to suicide.

I personally know what it’s like to hate yourself and feel totally hopeless about continuing on with life as I’ve known it. I’m sure that there would be many others reading this who would admit to sharing some of the same struggles. But the point is God has a better way to approach life.

Jesus way of life is found in repentance from sin, believing in Jesus Christ and living by faith in his love and grace. Jesus Christ gets a raw deal in this day and age and yet, as the Son of God, he only ever set out to bring fulness and abundance of life to us through the cross. 

Left to our own devices, life is hopeless and dark (Read Ecclesiastes) but God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He will be with us even to the end of the age. We do not need to battle sin and the devil on our own, we have Jesus Christ as our saviour, strength and hope. Your perspectives change when Jesus Christ enters your world. How you think about yourself and others becomes better in light of knowing you’ve been made in the image of God with eternal value and worth.

I want to encourage you to look out for your family and friends and people on the fringe. Every person is precious and priceless in God’s eyes. You may not realise the incredible battle that someone is in right now with suicide. Don’t wait till it’s too late. Invest time and energy in building healthy and transparent relationships with people around you. Pray for them. Live life centered on the truth of God’s Word and not on the lies of the enemy. Pray against this epidemic in our nation and become an ambassador of hope to your generation.

Lead the Change!

One More Soul!

Posted in activate church with tags , , , on November 23, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

George Barna says, “For Captive Christians, success is obedience to God, as demonstrated by consistently serving Christ and carrying out his commands and principles. For Casual Christians, success is balancing everything just right so that they are able to maximise their opportunities and joys in life without undermining their perceived relationship with God and others. Stated differently, Casuals are about moderation in all things while Captives are about extreme devotion to their God regardless of the worldly consequences.” (www.barna.org)

Casual Christians have their priorities confused. They have prioritized personal comfort over commitment to the cause of winning souls into the kingdom. Casual Christians have got just enough of God to be good but not enough of God to be contagious to the outside world. There’s no one better to know what a true Christian is then a non-Christian. Casual Christianity isn’t very different to the world around us but the Church is called to be different. The world should see something different about us. Christians are supposed to be SALT and LIGHT, not PEPPER and DARKNESS!

Every true Coke drinker knows a fake when they taste it. AC Cola from KMart is not the real thing and a true Coke drinker would spit out what isn’t the real thing. Jesus’ message to the Church in Laodicea (Revelation 3) was, “Because you’re lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Casual Christianity is lukewarmness and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of God.

God has not called us to be casual but contagious. We become casual when we lose our passion for Jesus and when we lose our passion for Jesus, we lose our passion for souls. The two go hand in hand. You can’t be passionate about Jesus and not be passionate about people’s souls. The devil has an agenda to steal your passion for Jesus and he will use anything and everything this world has to offer to distract you and I from what is most important.

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul says, “Though I’m free, I’ve made myself a servant to all…I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some.” Paul was talking about priorities. Winning one more soul was more important to Paul than his rights. Paul was free in Christ but he used his freedom to win souls into God’s kingdom. Paul was willing to adopt a certain way of life to be more effective at winning souls because his overriding purpose was ONE MORE SOUL!

One more soul is why we exist. We’ve been set free in Christ not for ourselves but to serve and save others. How willing are you to adjust your priorities to see more souls won into God’s kingdom. When your heart is broken by the things that break the heart of God you’ll want to adjust your priorities to win one more soul.

Proverbs 11:30 “Whoever wins souls is wise.” The greatest fruit of wisdom is not one more dollar but one more soul. You may not feel that your contribution is very important in the grand scheme of life but the truth is every little thing you do is not unnoticed by heaven and makes a difference to winning one more soul.  Every single time you hear the devil whisper, “Why attend church today? Why should you make the effort to share your faith with your friend? Why turn up to life group? Why give generously to God?” Just remind him of “One More Soul”. We do all that we do for one more soul!

Lead the Change!

 

Determining a Divine Call!

Posted in purpose with tags , , on November 22, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Isaiah 6:8-9 “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go and say to this people.”

God reveals in his Word that each of us have been created for a specific purpose (Ps 139:13-16). God has given you unique wiring, gifting and passions to compliment the unique calling he has created you for. Unlike what the world teaches, the bible teaches us that our calling is not our decision but our discovery. Abraham didn’t decide to become the Father of many nations, he discovered that it was God’s call and will to do so. The same goes for Moses, David and Isaiah.

On your journey of discovery you must distinguish between your vocation and your calling. The Apostle Paul worked as a tentmaker, church planter and teacher in his vocation but his calling was to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Your vocation may be as a teacher, chaplain, parent or business executive but your calling is far bigger than just a vocation. Convergence is when your vocation, past experiences and calling become aligned as one and the greatest fruit of your life is seen at this point.

I’ve learnt that before a divine call can live, some things must die. Isaiah had to be cleansed and set apart for him to receive his divine commission to be a prophet to Israel. In the same way pride and the works of our flesh must be removed from our lives for the divine call to come alive and breathe.

A divine call will also be accompanied by a conviction that heaven has spoken. Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall we send and who will go for us?” The only call that God will honour is the call from the throne room of heaven. One of the most important abilities we must develop is the ability to hear God’s voice. Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David and Jesus all survived and flourished in their ministry by their capacity to HEAR GOD!

There is no greater key to walking in your call than to hear God clearly and obey boldly whatever the cost!

A conviction that heaven has spoken must be accompanied by a response of availability. Isaiah responded to God by saying, “Here I am! Send me.” The call of God goes out but it often falls on deaf ears because we are too pre-occupied with small ambitions. Give up your small ambitions and come change the world. Be available for the call of God.

A response of availability must include a willingness to leave a place of familiarity. God said to Isaiah, “GO..” Are you available to go wherever, whenever God asks you to, to do whatever God wants you to do? When God called me to plant a church it required me to leave a place of familiarity – familiar people, surroundings, mindsets and experiences. It was difficult but it has been worth it. Leaving familiarity isn’t always geographical. For most of us it is attitudinal and relational. There are certain attitudes and relationships we need to leave behind to fulfill what God has called us to.

Lastly, a divine call will commission you with a voice for this generation. God said to isaiah, “Speak to the people…” Nothing will move until you speak to it. We are not called to merely echo all the voices of the past but to be a prophetic voice, present-tense, in our generation today. We’ve got to open our mouths and speak the gospel out, not just do good works. Walk in your divine call!

Lead the Change!