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Issue No: 513     Published: 22 Aug 2011

WILL OR WONT? Part 1 - 'WONT'

So what is this all about?

I will follow Jesus, wont follow satan? Great - but not the subject!

I will be good, and won't sin? Great - if only we could do it!

I will go to church, and wont miss a Sunday? Sorry, missed again!

The question we will look at today and next week is, "Are we an 'I will' or an 'I wont' Christian?"

Put another way, what is the focus in your walk with Jesus?

Do you primarily see God, Christianity and the church as being a schoolmaster, enforcing 'heavenly', or 'not so heavenly', rules, which need to be obeyed in order to get into heaven? If so, you are a 'wont' believer.

Or, do you view Jesus as a role model, a brother, whose walk is to be an example to followed and modeled by you, as a member of His family, the family of God? Then, you are a 'will' believer, for you too will be seeking to build the Lord's kingdom upon the earth.

In theological speak, the two viewpoints are known as 'law' and 'grace'. Unfortunately though, both these words tend to get 'religified' (a David word!) and many people who think they walk in 'grace' actually walk under 'law', whether it be God's Law of the Old Covenant or man's law of the religious establishment.

THE WONT 'BELIEVER'

Why is 'law' so tempting to us, when it has been proved over 6000 years of biblical and church history, not to work? Paul is upfront in his condemnation of those who continued to follow the law after Jesus came to release us from its burden.

10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)

For they - maybe you and me too - miss the whole point of His coming!

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? (Galatians 3:1-5)

Perhaps the reason we don't see so many miracles today is that we live under negative law, not the positive, life saving and giving grace of Jesus?

Why do we so easily slip into a mindset of following law?

Firstly, it is the way we live our everyday life in the world. We are all subject to the laws of our country, so following religious law comes to us naturally.

Secondly, superficially, it is much easier not to do something than to do something else! For the negative, 'do not kill' is easier to understand and implement than the positive, more general 'Love your neighbour as yourself' guidance to living for Jesus, which automatically includes not killing our neighbour, but goes far further than that.

Thirdly, we become immersed in religion, and religious methods. Religion is based on both tradition (a formal way. ie. involving rules) and control to retain its power over people. Religion sets down rules to obey for supposed 'salvation'. The Muslim religion is a classic example of this. But before we criticise others, we need to look at our own lives! Are we bound by the rules of our church, as were the Jews, or do we have freedom in Christ?

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; (Romans 2:17-18)

We are a follower of Jesus only through an inward heart change, not by following laws.

29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:29)

Sadly, too much of the church focuses on rules and the negative, on doing this, on not doing that, to supposedly live the Christian life.

Finally, following rules, following law, masks false salvation. For legalism can give the outward appearance of salvation, while the heart remains unchanged. Ultimately, on Judgment Day, this results in death! While you can fool people you cannot fool God!

12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Are you a 'wont' Christian? When we are, we are under bondage. You are not alone. For we all have legalistic tendencies in some areas of our lives. I pray that the Lord will convict us this week and that we will return next week to look at the glorious freedom and release from law and religion that is available in Jesus.

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FROM THE WORD

Faith or Observance of the Law

"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:1-14)

God’s Righteous Judgment

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares." (Romans 2:1-16)

A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God

"Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:1-13)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

RELIGION, REVELATION AND GOD'S KINGDOM

1012. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the biggest hindrance to God building His kingdom is man building his. It's called religion.

1013. Man organises the god out of God!

1014. Religion builds tradition, the Spirit, change.

1015. Religion builds tradition, the Spirit breaks tradition down.

1016. One person's vision becomes their successor's job.

1017. The kingdom of God is built upon relationship, not organisation.

1018. Mankind cannot build the kingdom of God for He has already done it far better than we ever could.

1019. While religion may desire to build God's kingdom, it finally succeeds in building its own.

1020. The kingdom of God doesn't need to be built, rather, grasped hold of.

1021. Religion is of the proud, the kingdom of God, of the humble.

1022. Religion revolves round organisation, the kingdom of God, relationship.

1023. Religion is planned, God's kingdom, spontaneous.

1024. God's kingdom is visionary, religion, managed.

1025. Religion is birthed in the institutionalisation of a revelation of God's kingdom.

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CRANWELLS CARTOONS

THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)





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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

NEXT WEEK: A REVELATION OF…….
THE SEVEN REVELATIONS OF 'THE LAMB' Part 1
LAMB OF FORGIVENESS
In The Garden of Eden


You never know where God is going to take you!

Our family is about to be 'taken' to a new place in the natural, (written in 2005) shifting to another, nearby city. It will be a new challenge for us, living in a different socio-economic area and assisting in looking after children who have had severe problems in life.

In the spiritual too, I was wondering what to do next, as I came to the end of correcting and editing my final draft of the preceding work in this series, 'A Revelation of … The 3 Kingdom Ages of God'. As I was finalising the last 5 of 155 pages, the Lord just put into my mind this revelation about the Lamb. So now I have my next task!

Here in New Zealand, we have 40 million sheep but only 4 million people! Or 10 sheep per person! Once upon a time we had 60 million sheep and 3 million people. But the prices, particularly for wool have deteriorated over the years. So now, we have increased numbers of cows and fewer sheep.

This aside, sheep, therefore lambs too, play an important part in our economy. As they do in that of God. For the lovely, innocent, fluffy, white, playful lamb, that naturally attracts us humans to it, is used in the Bible as a picture, or type of Jesus. Before He came, while He was here, and after He departed to be again with His father, the lamb is used as a simile or description of Him.

In our country, as there are so many lambs, they tend to become commonplace and undervalued, through familiarity. I pray that this may never be the case with Jesus, the Lamb of God who died to save the world.

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LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused***

*** "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others." ***

382. MORE KIDS LETTERS TO GOD
DEAR GOD:

If you give me a genie lamp like Aladdin, I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set. Ralph

Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year. Peter

I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over. Sam

Of all the people who work for You, I like Noah and David the best. Rob

381. GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE
Matt, Kimo, and Ken are killed in a car accident and end up at St. Peter's gates. Matt is told by St. Peter that a wife has been chosen for him for eternity. St. Peter then introduces Matt to his new mate, who is ugly and not to the Matt's liking. Matt says "What did I do to deserve this?" St. Peter answers, "You killed 10 birds in your lifetime, and this is the eternal result."

Kimo is then introduced to his eternal wife who is even uglier than Matt's wife. Kimo grumbles, "What did I do to deserve this?" St. Peter replies, "While you lived, you killed 20 birds, and this is the eternal result."

Ken nervously approaches St. Peter but is overjoyed to meet his new wife, a beautiful woman any man would be thrilled to have. Kimo asks "What did I do to deserve this?" St. Peter responds, "You? It was her...she killed 30 birds!"

380. JUST CHECKING
When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset. "You're running around with other women," Eve charged.

"Don't be ridiculous, honey," Adam responded. "You're the only woman on earth."

The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by someone poking him in the chest. It was Eve.

"What do you think you're doing?" Adam demanded.

"Counting your ribs," said Eve.

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: When did ‘Superman’ first appear in print?

ANSWER: Superman dates back to June 1938, when he appeared in Action Comics No. 1. Batman arrived on the scene one year later in Detective Comics No. 27, appearing May 1939. (But they haven’t died though!)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Who drew the original Mickey Mouse in his first short cartoon?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

28. GETTING IN FIRST
President John F. Kennedy commissioned Pierre Salinger to buy and stockpile 1,500 Havana cigars on the eve of signing the Cuban trade embargo. (Fortunately, that was all that went up in smoke!)

29. CHOOSE TAILS
If you toss a penny 10,000 times, it will not be heads 5,000 times, but more like 4,950. The heads picture weighs more, so it tends to end up on the bottom more often. (A case of the ‘tail before the head’.)

30. SAD BUT TRUE
Humanities most destructive disease is malaria. More than 1.5 million people die from malaria every year. (Yet it is preventable – at a cost, and with a will.)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

MANLIEST

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - THE KINGDOM OF GOD

2: What is more difficult than a camel going through the eye of a needle?

a. An illiterate man entering the Kingdom of God
b. A drunkard entering the Kingdom of God
c. A rich man entering the Kingdom of God
d. A harlot entering the Kingdom of God

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

"""OTHER'S SAYINGS TO ENLIGHTEN, AMUSE, OR BEMUSE"""

'A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS!'

!!!!!!! Since light travels faster than sound, isn't that why some folks appear bright until you hear them speak.

!!!!!! Why do press harder on the remote control, when we know the battery is dead.

!!!!! Corduroy pillows are still leaving headlines.

!!!! Every take-off is optional; every landing is mandatory.

!!! You cannot get ahead, if you're too busy getting even.

!! Love looks through a telescope; envy through a microscope.

! A wishbone should not be where the backbone belongs.

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JUST JOKES

206. HOLDING?
Little Johnny asked his grandma how old she was.

Grandma answered, "Thirty-nine and holding."

Johnny thought for a moment, then said, "And how old would you be if you let go?"

205. SUPPORT
The prospective father-in-law asked, "Young man, can you support a family?"
The surprised groom-to-be replied, "Well, no. I was just planning to support your daughter. The rest of you will have to fend for yourselves."

204. STEVEN WRIGHT....
Smoking cures weight problems...eventually...

My roommate got a pet elephant. Then it got lost. It's in the apartment somewhere.

Laughing stock: Cattle with a sense of humour.

I poured Spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone.

When I was in boy scouts, I slipped on the ice and hurt my ankle. A little old lady had to help me across the street.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear my liver on my pant leg.

The sun never sets on the British Empire. But it rises every morning. The sky must get awfully crowded.

I plugged my phone in where the blender used to be. I called someone. They went "Aaaaahhhh..."

I got a chain letter by fax. It's very simple. You just fax a dollar bill to everybody on the list.

If you can wave a fan, and you can wave a club, can you wave a fan club?

I bought a million lottery tickets. I won a dollar.

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BIBLE TRIVIA (Famous Words and Phrases)

CAN A LEOPARD CHANGE ITS SPOTS?

This rhetorical question suggesting people cannot change, was coined by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 13:23.

Adapted from: '1001 Surprising Things You Should Know About The Bible' MacGregor & Prys

An Awakening: Youth Revive Japan's Dying Church

TOKYO -- Whether they're in church or standing on a street corner, the members of Grace Tokyo Church loudly sing their songs of praise.

The congregation's young people are part of a new youth movement that many Japanese Christians hope will revive Japan's churches.

Philippines native Glen Nabarrete, who serves as the head pastor at Grace Tokyo, was born and raised in Hawaii. He and his family answered God's call to Japan in 1992.

A Dying Church?

The church in Japan is getting smaller every day. The average Japanese church has 30 people and many have less than 10 members.

Church historian Masakazu Suzuki says traditional churches are dying out.

"After the war, a lot of American GI's who came to Japan are Christians and later came back to Japan as missionaries. So, after the war, the Japanese churches grew a lot," Suzuki told CBN News.

"Now after 50, 60 years, a lot of pastors are getting older, facing retirement," he said. "Also many members are getting older too."

Like most Christians, Suzuki believes God is using the recent disasters to open the hearts of the Japanese people.

"In Christian evacuation centers, some of the aged people, five or six died. Six to seven old people died. But through their love and unity, some family members who visit them become Christian. More than 15 of them got baptized last month," Suzuki said.

Spiritual Awakening

There have been more than 1,200 aftershocks since the March 11 earthquake and there could be more, but Christians here are praying for another kind of aftershock and that is the spiritual awakening of the Japanese people.

Businessman Yuto Matsumoto saw how the power of God restored his marriage after a divorce.

"I worked too hard, not too much attention for my family," Matsumoto said.

His Christian daughter visited him in New York where he moved, and took him to watch the film "Passion of the Christ" on Easter.

Later, back in Japan, she brought him to the church their family has been attending since converting to Christianity.

"During the preaching, I couldn't stop crying. I don't know why," Matsumoto recalled. "Right after the service, I went to Pastor Scott and asked him how I can become a Christian. That was April 2004. I accepted Jesus as Lord. It was the beginning of my new life."

Two years ago, Matsumoto re-married Takako, his ex-wife. Today, they have a harmonious relationship with Christ at the center of their marriage.

He also shares his faith with his colleagues at work.

"It's very tough especially for the businessman because Japanese businessmen were taught to believe in his power, or on himself," he said.

Nevertheless, Matsumoto invites his co-worker to visit grace Tokyo church where he serves as an interpreter.

The Joy of God

Pastor Nabarrete and his family answered God's call to Japan in 1992.

"I believe in this church," Nabarrete said about Grace Tokyo.

"One of the things we have that a lot of Japanese churches don't have is a lot of joy and a lot of laughter," he told CBN News. "I think that's one quality that God wants to bring to this nation. There is the reality of joy in serving God."

"And we also cater to young people," he added. "We let the young people step up, do preaching. Young people love it they want to participate for the growth of the church."

The youth go out of their way to spread God's love, singing gospel songs on the street, even when reprimanded by the police.

"The idea is just praise and worship on the street and let God move and touch people's lives. Someone stands near; we talk to them and invite them to church," Grace Tokyo youth leader Gerwin Echegoyen said.

"When I first moved in 1992, church growth was very small," Nabarrete said. "Our church at Yokohama Grace Bible Church was about 30 people in 10 years. So for us Tokyo Bible, two years with 60 people is phenomenal. God has been gracious to us here."

The young Christians hope that through their involvement, Japan's older churches can be made young again -- and other dying churches can be reborn.

Source: CBNnews.com

via openheaven.com

DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

A REVELATION OF... THE 3 RIVERS OF GOD

The principle of the 'river' in scripture and how it applies to our lives and the church today.

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WAXING LYRICAL

When we visited Christchurch (currently the city of earthquakes) for our close friend Roger's 70th birthday, I wrote this poem for him. He is happy to have it published.

ROGER

Here’s to our Roger,
Now the old codger,
Seventy years gone by, in just a flash,
As round the golf course, he does dash.
There he’s known as the ‘artful dodger’!

The handicap may have dipped,
While the waistline has slipped,
But the putting’s still mean
Once he gets on the green.
But block your ears, if the hole is lipped!

Now there’s more to life than golf you know,
The brain is fast, even if the body’s slow,
The family history has been recorded,
‘Tis just what the doctor ordered.
For our Roger’s always on the go!

Of course, there is the paternal side,
From teaching to grandkids, did he glide,
He’s such a blessing to Tony and Rose,
Even when he gets up their nose!
Helping others grow, feels so good inside.

Of course, Beryl and Roger are a pair,
A combination that is extremely rare!
They do say that opposites attract,
But together, they make a great act!
For each other, they do genuinely care.

So now that Roger has reached three score and ten,
He has proved himself to be a man amongst men.
We all do wish you every best wish today,
An early night’s in order, with Beryl to play,
And in ten year’s time, we’ll do this all again!

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A DAVID MUSING

As mentioned in Facts For Fun above, if you toss a coin 10,000 times, it will come up heads 4,950 times and tails 5,050, as the head is heavier than the tail!

Personally, I have always made a habit of calling 'tails', although I am not sure why! Perhaps, deep down inside I see myself as the tail rather than the head! You can analyse me! But now I can see I am on the winning side!

We are all different. Most would call a different side of the coin depending on how the mood took them, while others take a more consistent approach, expecting to get the right call half the time.

I see parallels in our approach to Jesus. Many race here and there on a whim, spiritual or unspiritual, while others steadily stay on the same track, no matter what.

In the 'toss of life' however, it is vital to ask the Lord what side to call before tossing the coin! For our decisions should be made upon His guidance, and not our own logic or emotion. Seeking Him takes time, and we may get an answer we don't want to hear! But surely, it has to better than the luck of the toss!

The question is, are we prepared to both, listen to, and act upon, His advice?

Until next week.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: AILMENTS

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' ANSWER: 2c. A rich man entering the Kingdom of God ... Matthew 19:24

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ABOUT US

WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES is a non-profit, non-denominational, Bible based ministry located in Hastings, New Zealand. A ministry dedicated to developing discipleship, fostering unity amongst God’s people to achieve the Great Commission, and in doing so, preparing for Christ’s return. It is securely based upon the foundational principles of the Apostles Creed while recognising the wide and rich diversity of beliefs amongst Christians in other areas. In accordance with the Lord’s direction, materials produced by the ministry are available, free of charge, to genuine enquirers upon request. The ministry is solely funded by donations, as the Lord provides. A list of materials available (plus some fun!) is obtainable and freely downloadable from our website
wwj.org.nz or by contacting us as follows.

Walking With Jesus Ministries
7 Bull Street
Ahuriri
Napier
New Zealand

Phone: (06) 835 0567 International (+64) 6 835 0567

Email: enquiries@wwj.org.nz
Web: wwj.org.nz

Our role is to bless and encourage those in ministry while promoting co-operation and unity of direction amongst the body of Christ, as emphasised 3 times by Jesus in His longest prayer, immediately prior to His arrest and crucifixion. "… so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:12, 21, 23-4) Our website is currently being developed to encourage your participation one with another, to share resources, and to enable you to promote events and items of interest to the body as a whole – and have a smile while doing it!

For comments upon and contributions to this service, please contact
david@wwj.org.nz

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