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12th July 2015
There should be no intimidation in the lives of Christians, nor in the church. Yet it’s amazing how easily we succumb to intimidation – worrying about how people see us or about situations we face.
We see this in Numbers 13:27-33, where God’s people were exploring whether they could take the land flowing with milk and honey that God had promised to them, but most gave a report based on intimidation. Their account was based on the size of the opposition and how they saw themselves by comparison. Only two of them said, “We can do it!”
There are four things we can learn here about how to overcome intimidation. Firstly, we need to know who we are. Joshua and Caleb knew who they were – they hadn't forgotten their identity. There’s nothing special about us and we won’t overcome obstacles or opposition by our own strength, but we are children of God living in His authority, and that changes everything! It has dramatic repercussions for the rest of our lives.
Secondly, they knew who the opposition was. They knew the reality that these people were not the people of God and that it doesn't matter who is against you if God is for you! We need to know who our enemy is – that he is defeated and no match for Jesus!
They also knew that God was with them. We need to know that God is with us too, and that nothing can stand up against His power. We can do remarkable things, not through our strength, but by knowing God and knowing that He is with us. Jesus promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.
We also need to know the promises of God – He has the power to do everything He has promised and He is completely faithful to keep every promise He has made! Believing His promises sustains us through every intimidation thrown at us.
We all face, all the time, all kinds of things that can intimidate us. We have another example in the story of David and Goliath, where the people of God were intimidated and afraid, but along came David with an utterly different perspective. David knew who he was and who was with him.
The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are. The good news for us is that Jesus overcame every intimidation that was thrown at Him. In Mark’s gospel we read a succession of events that could have intimidated Jesus. He could’ve been intimidated by creation (the storm), the devil (the man full of demons who no one can help), sickness (the woman who had been sick for many years) and death itself (Jairus’ daughter). But He calmed the storm, set the man free, healed the woman and brought the girl back to life! He overcame every intimidation.
It’s interesting to see that Jesus didn’t use a lot of words in any of these situations. He knew the authority and power that His words had.
There is One who has gone before you who has faced every intimidation that you face, and overcame them all, even the intimidation of a brutal death on the cross.
As Christians and churches that are sometimes so intimidated, maybe we’ve forgotten who we are, or who the opposition is, or who God is, or what He has promised us. How do we overcome opposition? In Jesus. How do we have the authority? It’s His authority. What if the problem is too big? The One who lives in you is greater than any other!
We overcome because He is in us and with us. We live in Him and in His power. The potential for fear, this side of heaven will always be with you. Fear is an intimidating barrier that we need to overcome. We sometimes think we will be courageous when the fear has gone, but courage is walking through the fear and being courageous despite it.
In what area are you intimidated? One of the keys of for King’s Church Hastings to make a bigger impact on this area is individuals empowered by God and overcoming intimidation, so that corporately we know who we are, we know the nature of the opposition, we know who our God is and what His promises are.
Posted by David Holden
5th July 2015
In the Bible there are 365 references to ‘faith’ – one for every day of the year! When we read about courageous acts of faith – whether in the Bible or our own ‘acts of courage’ wall – they encourage, inspire and challenge us.
We read in Acts 9:32-43 of Peter’s incredible faith in God’s ability to step in to change a situation, even death!
We can find we have lots of opportunities to use words to proclaim the gospel, but how often do we demonstrate what Jesus has done for people?
Peter was willing to take responsibility and authority. We can often pray, saying, “God, do something!” But the Great Commission in Matthew 28 seems to say that God’s response is: “I’ve given you authority; you’re the answer to the prayer you’re praying!”
Our faith is based on One who is constant, who doesn’t fail, who never changes and is always faithful: Jesus. Faith stems from God’s faithfulness – it’s only because God is faithful that we can exercise courageous faith.
Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) We are not in an equally weighted battle. The Bible says that every name will submit to Jesus. There is no doubt in the spiritual realm as to who will come out victorious – Jesus is already the victorious One! This is why faith in Him is actually just common sense! Here are four things Jesus has already done:
1. Jesus has defeated sin and death – the power of sin and death is broken for all who have put their trust in Jesus. We have been raised up spiritually. Peter can be confident that Tabitha will rise from the dead (see Acts 9) because he’s already seen Jesus rise from the dead, so he knows that Jesus has defeated death.
2. Jesus has fulfilled the Law, which means the devil cannot accuse us; we are squeaky clean before any spiritual enemy who would prosecute us. Every allegation has been nailed to the cross of Christ: because of what Jesus has done, we are completely innocent under the Law. It's incredible.
3. Jesus has purchased freedom, liberty and full access for us. Our position, our identity, the very make up of who we are is different when we are in Christ. The same power that took Jesus from death, raised Him up and seated Him in heaven is at work in us! We now have 'access all areas' with the King of kings! Jesus has done it all. It's not Jesus plus something. There is nothing He forgot to deal with on the cross. The penalty for our sin – death – has been dealt with.
4. Jesus has been given every tribe and every nation. This is why we can say that God has a plan for Hastings & 1066 Country.
God has delegated His authority to us. We are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. We carry the authority of the Kingdom wherever we go. Jesus has chosen to bring us into His plans – we get to co-labour with Him. He is the head of the Church, but we are the body – Jesus has chosen to work through us. Our authority isn’t about what we do, it’s about who we are. Faith isn’t just about believing, but it’s about doing: you cannot have faith without obedience. James wrote that faith without action is dead! (James 2:17)
What Jesus did, we can do. Jesus was dependent on the Father. Focus more on the love of God in your heart than on the power of God in your hands. Courageous faith is easy when you know the One who is faithful and the power He has given you.
Posted by Aled Cousins
8th April 2015
If you've ever had to rummage through the roof space at the Hastings Centre, you may have come across the church archives, hidden in the corner under a dusty light, with some very old hardware. Though King's is now a modern, thriving church with brilliant facilities and new people joining all the time, these archives are a reminder that it hasn't always looked like this.
Many of the faces that we see on Sunday have not been around since the church first emerged 40 years ago. King's started as St Leonards Christian Fellowship in 1974, when five people began to meet in Don and Stephanie Smith's basement flat. Within two years, the group had grown large enough to need to hire a building and finally, in 1991, we purchased Boundaries, an indoor cricket centre, which is now the Hastings Centre and has recently undergone a huge refurbishment project. The people that make up King's have changed over the years and though faces are always changing, King's remains a community that demonstrates the faithfulness of God in Hastings.
The staff currently working at King's come from all kinds of backgrounds. Those who have been working for many years work alongside staff who have only joined within the last few months, and despite the time differences, they all share a love for King's and serving the church. Su Butler, our current church office manager and Paul Mann's PA, worked as a headteacher before joining the church team around nine years ago. She first joined temporarily, in Resources, and also volunteered in the kids' work and several other areas, but became a permanent member of staff in 2007. She says, "When you think about King's in the past, it seems so small! And when I was first asked to become an administrator, I said no. But now I love my job, I really love it. I wouldn't do anything else! I look forward to it every day."
Many members of staff have been working at King's for a few years, and have seen many changes in the course of church life, whether that's in our leadership team (with our current lead elder, Paul, taking his position in 2009 after five years on staff), in the staff team, or in the way the building is run. Though the Hastings Centre has changed hands over the last few years, either run by those who've now left Hastings (such as Alwood Wick, who is now based in the Philippines with his family) or by some of our current members of staff, it's still running with great enthusiasm. The renovation project has opened up many opportunities to showcase King's, especially now that there are plenty more rooms than when the building was purchased, and to extend God's love to our community.
Laura Grove, who manages our on-site coffee shop, Coffee Box, and has been working here for the shorter time of 18 months, is able to think of creative ideas to welcome new people to the Hastings Centre, which is now a thriving conference centre run as a social enterprise. Coffee Box plays an active role in bringing people from the community into King's, as it opens throughout the week as a family-friendly place to meet. It hosts plenty of events, too, with family film nights and a licensed bar. It's a big step forward from the first purchase of the cricket facility around 20 years ago, and with the launch of our Sunday evening meetings after Coffee Box had opened, it's been an integral part of giving the building a new, modern look while King's remains grounded in its foundations as a community hungry for God.
Though King's has undergone significant changes, it keeps the same vision that Don Smith and others had in 1974: to glorify God and show his love to Hastings & 1066 Country. One of the oldest pieces in our archive, written in 1988, defines King's like this: "Who do we think we are? [...] We agree with the apostle Paul's definition of the church: 'All who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ.'" And the same is true of us today, demonstrating that God has continued to be faithful in growing His church in Hastings.
Posted by Sian Francis-Cox
6th July 2014
We read in Acts 8:26-40 about a Holy Spirit set up! This meeting between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch was set up by God. Philip had just come from an atmosphere of revival, where he had been seeing people set free and joy in the city. But the Spirit whispered to him about leaving that revival environment to go out to the desert road.
The Ethiopian had travelled hundreds of miles to visit the temple, but he wouldn’t have actually been allowed into the temple because he was a eunuch. He went thinking he would meet with God, but all he found was religion that kept him out.
What the eunuch needed was not a set of rules, but someone to stand in the gap and invite him in. He would’ve been struck by the verses in Isaiah that talked about God giving eunuchs a legacy – and indeed we are talking about this one 2,000 years later!
He would’ve been struck by the passage he was reading, where it mentions the man who had no descendants. No wonder the Ethiopian wanted to know who the man in Isaiah is! It is Jesus – and just as Jesus knew what the eunuch was going through, so he knows what we are going through.
For the eunuch, it wasn’t about what had gone before. It was about what he would do now. The end of the race is always more important than the beginning of the race. Some of us have done things of which we are deeply ashamed, but the end of our race is more important than the beginning – today, you can draw a line under the past. Jesus died the death that you should’ve died so that you can live the life that he should’ve lived.
The apostle Paul had persecuted Christians, but when he came to the end of his life, he could say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
It’s not how you’ve started your race, it’s what you’re going to do with the rest of it. No matter what’s happened so far, are you going to finish well?
Listen to the 'Finishing well' sermon here.
Image: 'The Finishing Line' by Pete.
Posted by Tom Head