Archive for July, 2008

Saint Irenaeus

The authentic and complete text of Saint Irenaeus:

“The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation already brings life to all living beings on the earth, how much more will the manifestation of the Father by the Word bring life to those who see God”

(AH IV, 20, 7)

AH = Adversus Haereses (Against the Heresies) – Saint Irenaeus.

Irenaeus was born in Asia Minor about the year 125. He was still a young man when he met Polycarp of Smyrna, who represented a generation which had known the Apostles chosen by Christ, especially Saint John.

After the persecution of 177, it was necessary to rebuild the Church of God which was at Lyon. Irenaeus succeeded Pothinus and thus became the second bishop of Lyon-Vienne. Not only did he assure the presence of Christ the preacher and shepherd at the crossroads of the Three Gauls, but at the same time he carried out the composition of his masterpiece which is cited today under the title of Adversus Haereses (Against the Heresies). The actual title expresses more clearly the double movement of Irenaeus’ theology and *polemic. It is called Detection and Refutation of the False Gnosis.



(a good read if you can get through it)

* Polemics, is the practice of disputing or controverting religious, philosophical, or political matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach.

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I feel this blog is timely seeing that this guy is in town…

Pope Benedict

It was last Monday, and we had just been to the 4.30pm Hillsong Conference Rally. It was now around 7.30pm, and I was watching

The Flying Nun

(ie: the TV series with Sally Field) with my son and his friend. Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, something profound and enlightening came from the Flying Nun. I know, I know, I was just at the Hillsong Conference and God should have been saying something profound to me over there. But, as Sally Field was speaking, she quoted from a Saint and, well, it resonated in my heart. She quoted from

‘Saint Irenaeus’…



Yes! Yes! What a great quote. I’ll have to remember that, and ruminate on it, and keep it in my heart. Jesus makes us fully alive! And when we are fully alive (walking in His Spirit – doing what He calls us to do – and bearing much fruit) we glorify God through our lives.

A number of verses came rushing to mind…

Jesus says in John 10:10b (GNT)
I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 (GNT)
Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (GNT)
All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.

John 17:22-23 (GNT)
I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.

Being Fully Alive! (Part 2)

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He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to
walk humbly with your God.
( Micah 6:8 )


The scriptures say that Noah ‘walked with God‘ (Gen 6:9).

What does it mean that Noah ‘walked with God’?


Let’s look at a few excerpts of some verses in Genesis chapters 6, 7 and 8.

6v13a God said to Noah… – 6v22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. NIV
7v1a The LORD then said to Noah… – 7v5 Noah did all that the LORD commanded him. NIV
8v15a Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out… – 8v18a So Noah came outNIV

Are you getting my point? That is…

So walking with God is…



Genesis 3:8 says about Adam and Eve
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. NIV

I believe Adam and Eve would have probably caught up with God as He walked in the garden (if they hadn’t eaten the fruit). So what had happened with their walk with the Lord? Sin and disobedience against God and His Word came into their lives. This brought with it guilt and shame and Adam and Eve hid from God (their friend). Their relationship and walk with God was broken. This is a very sad and tragic moment, Adam and Eve no longer wanted to walk with God (walking as a friend would do) in the garden.

Exodus 33:12b-14 says about Mose’ relationship with God
12b You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” 14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. NIV

So walking with God is…




Exodus 33:11a says about Mose’
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.

Genesis 17:1b God says to Abraham
I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. NIV

James 2:23b says about Abraham
He was called God’s friend. NIV

In Job 1:8 the Lord boasts about Job
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” NIV

So walking with God…



Acts 13:22b says about David
‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart ; he will do everything I want him to do. NIV

Ezekiel 36:26 says concerning our hearts and spirits
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. NIV

Walking with God is…



Heavenly Father, my deepest desire is to walk with you. I am so sorry that I haven’t been pursuing you with all of my heart. More than anything else in this world I want to know you, I want to know your ways and I want to know your heart. Please help me to not just be a hearer of your Word (and deceive myself about my relationship with you) but a doer of your Word. Lord give me a new heart and put your Spirit within me. Help me to love and minister to others out of the overflow of your extravagant love and presence in my life. Teach me your ways Lord so that YOU MAY KNOW ME and I may be called ‘friend of God’. I pray that you will boast to your angels about me, In Jesus Name, Amen

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This is a follow on from the “Does God Really Know Us?” series of blogs…

Well, there are a lot of things going through my soul and spirit after a week of the Hillsong Conference. In a way, Hillsong Conference was excellent and, as I have said, there are a lot of things that have gone into my and soul and spirit and in another way there is a small distraction as I have taken many notes and it will take time to ruminate all of this input. You know ruminate?… Like the cows do…chew, swallow it, bring it back up again, chew, chew, swallow it etc, etc 🙂

I have been thinking about the following verses for months…ruminating…

OK, we know ‘faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ‘(see Romans 10:17) and we know that ‘faith without deeds is useless and dead‘(see James 2:20-26). We also know ‘we are saved by grace and not by works‘(Ephesians 2:8-10).

My First point: Merely hearing the ‘Word of Christ’ is not true faith!

Looking at Romans 10:17… ‘faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ‘, do we actually have faith when we hear the Word of the Lord in the true sense of what faith is or is this verse merely suggesting the vehicle in which faith comes? Let me explain a bit better, so we hear the Word of Christ do we have faith at that point? No we don’t! The best it could be called would be incomplete faith or unactioned faith or dormant faith or not-really faith 🙂 . Let’s cut over to James 2:20-24

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. NIV

My Second Point: ‘Actioned Faith’ brings God’s Friendship

I guess it’s like this, do we see the faith that we have in the Lord as a noun or a verb, faith as a ‘descriptive word’ or a ‘doing word’. I remember at the Hillsong Conference (Yes! It’s all coming back) Robert Ferguson spoke about ‘Bridging the Gap’ between who we are and who we are meant to be in Christ. He reminded us that the early Christians were called believers not Christians. ‘Christian’ came later (still in Acts though) to describe a group of people, that is, it was a ‘descriptive word’, a noun or a label. ‘Believer’, in contrast, is a ‘doing word’, an active word, a verb. Are we a believer and do we have an active faith in our Lord Jesus Christ or do we just sit under a ‘Christian label’, a ‘ticket to Heaven’ type of ‘dormant faith’. Well, if Hebrews 11:6 is true ‘without faith it is impossible to please God” (context – active and believing faith) were does that leave us?

Blessings Steve

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Shown towards the end of a message given by Mike Pilavachi Tue 8th July 2008 at the Hillsong Conference. The message was about the intimately inter-twined relationship between worship, evangelism and justice.

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My wife and son (and his friend) and I are at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney…

You don’t have to go to a conference to experience God – do you?
You don’t have to go to a conference to worship God – do you?
You don’t have to go to a conference to learn about God – do you?

These are some of the thoughts I have had over the years. And they are true but… I have learnt about God and worshipped God (with 30,000 other worshippers) and I have experienced God at this years conference.

I must say “God got me last night”. I’ve been a little stand-off (ish) about not entering into the hype (there’s really not a lot of hype) but right at the end of the 4.30pm session I experienced God in worship in an amazing way (and I think a lot of others did as well). The presence of the Lord filled the Acer Arena (personally and corporately). I wasn’t longing for ‘experience’, I was longing to express my love and gratitude and thanks to my Heavenly Father and well, he took hold of me and I knew His presence. Now I could try and express this in words (all the outward signs etc) but I think I would fall short and diminish what has happened.

God is good!


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Unbelief has been glanced past a number of times in my blogs. I thought it might be good (for me) to explore unbelief a little more. That is, not actually participate in it 🙂 but consider how undermining and even how wicked (yes wicked) it is to the Lord and why. This is a ‘biggy’. That is, unbelief has the potential to kill our relationship with God. Why? Because it is the opposite of faith and without faith it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6]. If we not exercising our faith in God unbelief creeps in. A few unanswered prayers, a few difficult times, a few grumbles of our heart and all of a sudden our faith has gone out the window.

I am starting at Hebrews 3:7-19 from the Amplified Bible (my comments are in red)
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice,

[Faith starts (or comes) by hearing the Word (or the voice) of God – Romans 10:17. So, conversely, unbelief comes when we fail to live by (or reject) the Word (or the voice) of God]

8 Do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and [ embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tried [My patience]
and tested [My forbearance] and found I stood their test, and they saw My works for forty years.
10 And so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err
and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.

[Unbelief is a heart problem. A hardened heart is a heart that continually and deliberately rejects the Word (or the voice) or God. The heart moves from faith to unbelief and this grieves God. I really, really love the end of verse 10. That is, ‘they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.’ This fits in with what I have been saying about ‘God knowing us’. That is, walking in His ways (like Noah). And ‘more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.’ I love this language! I mean, trying out the ways of God and becoming more intimate with them! Yes! Yes! that’s what it’s all about! Not passively sitting in unbelief]

11 Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest.

[The consequence of unbelief: not entering God’s rest. A place of sanctuary, protection, love, peace and joy. A land of milk and honey]

12 [Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you A WICKED, UNBELIEVING HEART [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.

[An unbelieving heart is a wicked heart as it opposes faith and trust in God. In Revelation 21:8 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving , the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” NIV The unbelieving will be placed with the murders and the sexually immoral and those that practice the occult. etc, etc Wow! That’s pretty sobering!]

13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].

[Ah! Unbelief and a hardened heart are sin and rebellion against God. It is a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Him! It’s treating the promises of God and the Word of God with contempt!]

14 For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end.

[Have we lost our ‘first newborn confidence’ and ‘original assured expectation’? Has unbelief crept in somehow? At some point, did we diverge from complete faith and trust in God? Remember your original faith and repent of your unbelief]

15 Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them].

[Again, here is the Word of God, what is our response to it?]

16 For who were they who heard and yet were rebellious and provoked [Him]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
17 And with whom was He irritated
and provoked and grieved for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dismembered bodies were strewn and left in the desert?
18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His word and who refused to be compliant or be persuaded]?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to
and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].

[Well that is all quite self explanatory]

Here is the Opposite

Romans 4:18-25
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. NIV

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief !”

Mark 9:24 NIV


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A small ‘word’ on prayer…

Pray and Don’t Give Up!

Have you ever prayed for something or someone and it appeared that nothing happened? (Haven’t we all) Perhaps it was a desperate cry for help from the Lord and it looked as though God was out to lunch. Are you praying for something right now and God seems quite silent? I want to encourage you… KEEP PRAYING AND DON’T GIVE UP!

In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus says:
18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Notice the last verse, ‘when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’ Prayer and faith are intimately inter-twined! We live in an ‘instant’ culture with instant solutions and instant gratifications. ‘God time’ can be very different to our time and the world’s time.


In James 5:15 the Word says:
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. NIV

Has a (perceived) lack of a response from God had a negative effect on your prayer life and on your faith?

Do you pray less because of the lack of answers to prayer? Have you given up on prayer? I heard a wise saying last year at the Hillsong Conference

“If you want to see more people healed PRAY FOR MORE PEOPLE”

God is calling us to pray!

The results of prayer are up to God and not to us. God is ‘just’ calling us to pray.

Has the results of prayer (somehow) wrapped themselves into our egos?

If someone is healed because of your prayer do you take the accolades? No way! Conversely, do you take the ‘blame’ if someone is not healed through your prayers? No way! God is ‘just’ calling us to pray. Forget about past results! JUST PRAY!

Prayer makes a difference even when we physically can’t see the results. Genuine (God’s heart) prayer’ at the very least, changes our hearts into line with God’s heart but (I believe and I am sure many others believe) it does a whole lot more than that. It ushers in the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Kingdom of God is established here on earth through the prayers of His people.



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This follows on from ‘Does God Really Know Us?’…

I hadn’t planned my morning very well yesterday morning and I had missed breakfast. At around 10am I was feeling quite hungry. I knew my wife had packed me some fruit so I was looking forward to a nice, juicy apple or something. I reached into my lunch box to pick out an apple and… “Oh no! the apple is rotten!” Well, it wasn’t completely rotten. I was able to salvage quite a few bites out of it but I was really looking forward to a nice, juicy, ripe apple.

I remembered about Jesus, when He was hungry, and He walked over to a fig tree to grab some fruit…

Matthew 21:18-19
18 Early in the morning, as he (ie: Jesus) was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. NIV

In Luke Jesus tells a parable about a fig tree…

Luke 13:6-9
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree , planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

Are you seeing where this is heading?  In the physical, how disappointing it is when you are hungry and there is no fruit (or in my case, rotten fruit).  OK, now in a Spiritual sense, how sad it is for God to see His children bearing NO FRUIT or BAD FRUIT!

Consider the grace of God that He would allow us to do the very things that grieve His heart all because He wants us to enjoy the freedom of a free will.  He allows us to break His heart!

What comes to mind is the heart of God just before the flood (in Noah’s day). I think the following verses capture the grieving heart of God when our lives are centred on ourselves and there is no good fruit and lots of bad fruit coming from our lives.

Genesis 6:5-8
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth — men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air — for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. NIV

And, finally, back at Matthew 7… (ie: if you have been following my blog)

Matthew 7:17-20
17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. NIV

When our hearts fall into line with God’s heart we will bear much good fruit and will be well on the journey of becoming good friends with God!

Father, by your Spirit, make your home within us that we can truly be your children of light and bear much good fruit to glorify you.  Help us to take our eyes off ourselves and onto you, our creator and Heavenly Father and King, in Jesus Name, Amen!

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