The King is coming

Preaching a series on Jesus as prophet, priest and king has had its challenges: Jesus, the High Priest who identifies with all our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), is very comforting. We love that Jesus shares our humanity. Jesus the Son who is the very embodiment of God’s word, with Power (Hebrews 1:2), is also appealing – we long to see heaven come to earth and the Spirit poured out in glory. But this Sunday Richard ventured into the more dangerous territory of Jesus the King: “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.” (Hebrews 1:8-9). We know there is a challenge to rule, to change the world – but how do we change it the way God wants to change it?

The king comes to put all wrongs things to right and to bring shalom peace. Richard preached last year very powerfully on how we need to see that justice is not punitive, but restorative – it looks like healing, deliverance, freedom and resurrection life. But revival is needed in our society, as well as individuals. The manifestation of social justice is inherently political because Jesus’ kingdom supersedes all other governments. Jesus is king of kings – and he was crucified, after all, not for healing a bunch of sick people, but for claiming to be a king. If we want to bring about God’s justice – we need first of all to know what is wrong with our society? And herein lies the challenge – if our view of “setting things right” extends no further than dealing with crime and corruption – we have a very poor justice indeed. What about economic injustice? The Kingdom coming is not going to look like a capitalist utopia – because capitalism only works for those who already have money. We have to take the nation’s pain seriously. But the Kingdom coming is not socialism either – the socialist state needs victims to justify its political power – and the kingdom of God comes with empowerment – to set people free, not to keep them enslaved to the establishment. In reality, the justice of heaven doesn’t look like any existing paradigm – but it does look like something.

First of all, the Kingdom looks like family – so we need to work for an inclusive justice – it’s never justice for one group at expense of another because the heart of Father is for all of his children. Jesus’ earthly ministry was inclusive of all the marginalized sectors of society. Justice needs to be relational. We belong to one another. Whatever the lines that divide us, we speak of “us”, not “them.”

Second, justice is healing. At the end of Revelation, the river of Life has leaves for the healing of the nations. South Africa is more deeply wounded than we can imagine. We need supernatural anointing to bring access to the tree of life for all our peoples.

Third, justice is the product of discipleship – we don’t need any more religion here. Religion gave us apartheid and hasn’t stopped us having one of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world. Being a “Christian nation” is not the standard we aspire to – it hasn’t solved the problems of the past and it’s hardly the Golden Age to revert to. We need a nation filled with radical followers of Jesus – this is the hope of Kingdom coming.

You can listen to Richard’s sermon in full HERE.

 

Uncovering joy

God is taking us on a journey of discovery – into deeper realms of his Presence and uncovering the treasure he has already placed within us. This Sunday Luke and the encounter team helped us to push into joy. Afterwards, Greg Lee described it like this: it’s like when you are driving through town and you hear the distant beat of a sub-woofer on the taxi ahead. As you draw closer the sound is louder, more invasive. As you draw alongside it’s right there, so close you could touch it. Then the taxi door opens, the people spill out and you are right into the middle of experiencing the music – it’s wild, crazy – it overwhelms you! That’s like God’s joy inside of us – it’s already there – we are just not in touch with it, we are unaware of it. But as God draws us closer, as He peels back the layers of dullness, resistance, distraction – whatever He’s doing with us, it’s exposed, it’s wild, it’s crazy, we experience the joy that he has already put inside of us. Like onions, we are all in different stages of unpeeling but His joy is constant – it’s in us, we just have to discover it.

Follow the sign

Every miracle is not just a solution to a problem,  but it is also a sign.  A sign points to a greater reality – to the numinous – to heaven breaking in and letting us know “God is in our midst.” 

This Sunday Richard was preaching from John 6:26 where the crowd chased after Jesus from one side of the lake to the other. They were astonished how he could have evaded them, but Jesus immediately cut to the condition of their hearts: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. The solution to their hunger was significant, but every solution is temporary, says Jesus – don’t work for the temporary solution. A little chastened by his rebuke, they went on to ask the standard religious question:”What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

They asked out of a legalistic framework, but if we are honest, it’s also a question at the front of our minds – what can we do to keep God happy? Even after we have the grace revelation, God is already happy, He is in a good mood – we search for purpose and meaning in our lives. Am I missing it? What am I doing sitting here? Where is my purpose ? Would I find it if I moved to another church or another continent? How can I connect? What if I were in ministry? God, please tell me what to do!!!

The simple but devastating answer is that our work is to believe!!! To believe that this Jewish peasant is the full revelation of God, that he is Adam mark II – come to bring us a new kind of life, that he is a King coming to reign in peace and glory.

The greatest impact any of us can have comes when we believe all the stuff we already know. Imagine what church would be like if we brought our belief (not our doubts and struggles and questions). Belief is hard work! It is hard work to sustain an invisible future reality in the face of an alternative reality which presses upon us daily. But belief is not to deny the existence of problems – it’s just to deny them power! We have read that Faith comes by hearing! Hearing also comes by faith. We need to have ears to hear! Get rid of our filter of unbelief. We need to weed the garden of our mind! What matters is not what you do but what you believe while you are doing it! Like Michelangelo, we can be chipping away at a slab of marble or releasing angels – do we dare to believe the latter?

You can hear the full version of Richard’s sermon HERE.

Chasing the Son

My husband Richard often says there are two sides to fall off a horse ( that’s because he has only been on a horse about three times in his life and was terrified every time!) What he means is that you can often err in emphasising one truth at the expense of another. In church we so often have to remind ourselves that “it’s all about Jesus” – only to find ourselves disconnected from one another, from love, from service, from fellowship because “I don’t need the body – Jesus and me are fine, thank you.”  This Sunday Roger, in the second part of his series of “Jesus is enough” gave an outstanding exposition of why, when we chase after the Son, we will inevitably become like Him, sharing his compassion which leads us towards caring for one another. Roger and Tanya are known for many for their pastoral hearts – but Roger makes it clear that the work of pastoral care is not just for “professional” caregivers – the heart of Jesus is filled with compassion and as we get close to him, we can’t help but become more like him.  There are many reasons why we need one another and no real excuses for not treating our brothers and sisters the way our big brother has treated us. 

Dare to make a difference? Then you can check out Roger’s message HERE.

Parents, grandparents and cousins

Over the last couple of weeks we have been developing the theme of “supernatural family” with a look at some of the practical outworking of leadership in Hillside as we move towards a wineskin based on the biblical picture of church as the family of God. In a natural family the parents take decisions that will benefit their children, with the goal of raising and empowering them to become parents in their own families. In the same way, Church leadership needs to be empowering, accessible and consultative, whilst still having real authority to make decisions for the benefit of the whole, recognising and releasing gifts along the way. Last week Richard spoke about some of the practical structures in place in Hillside currently and this week he spoke about “cousins” – the extended family that enriches and gives health to the nuclear family, people who share some (but not all!) of our DNA. He shared about three circles of extended relationships and we will be updating you with opportunities to connect with these circles through upcoming events and ministry trips.

You can catch up on these informative messages HERE.

Risk and Reward

After a great Healing Event last Saturday (where a whole bunch of people received physical healing, freedom from pain and supernatural joy and peace), Sunday’s meetings continued along a similar theme. In the morning Richard shared the imperative for becoming a supernatural community – we will burn out, dry out and freak out if we imagine we can be a church family without tapping into the resources of heaven – if you missed it you can check out this message HERE.

In the LifeSchool evening session Gary Steyn shared his heart for becoming a people of risk and reward. The key to stepping out is to locate our identity in being a son or daughter of God, not as the result of either success or failure (as believers,  we are sure to experience plenty of both!) God does not love us more or less for what we do – but we will risk more when we see the opportunity for reward looming larger than the fear of the challenge. You can find out more about LifeSchool HERE.

The Unity of the Trinity

Jill shared a amazing message this Sunday on: The Unity of the trinity
If you want to know what God the Father is really, really like – look at Jesus. This is the first part of a two-part series exploring the nature of God and how God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are very much alike.

To gain perspective on this idea listen to the full message here:

Listen Now

Wild hearts awaken

We had a really amazing time last night at our Charged event. God encouraged us about turning our hearts to Jesus and gaining His heart. Wild hearts awaken was the theme that emerged. We spoke to our hearts about adventure, not being average, reminding ourselves about the journey. Next week we start our life school. Be sure to sign up online and join us.