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Issue No: 612     Published: 08 Jul 2013

WHOSE CHURCH IS IT ANYWAY?

THE CHURCH ACCORDING TO JESUS Part 2

JESUS' CRITIQUE OF THE EARLY NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH!

In the only recorded words of Jesus after His Ascension, (through the disciple John - look for the red print in your Bible!) Jesus commented on the 7 churches in Asia. I will summarize for the sake of space.....

THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS (Revelation 2:1-7)
The Good: Hard work, perseverance, discernment, accepted hardship. Hate the Nicolaitans.
The Bad: Lost their love of God in their busyness.
The Result Without repentance, rejection from God.

THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA (Revelation 2:8:11)
The Good: Afflictions, poverty slander and imprisonment has made the people rich in God's sight.
The Bad: Nil
The Result Faithfulness unto death brings the crown of life.

THE CHURCH IN PERGAMUM (Revelation 2:12-17)
The Good: Live in evil surroundings, but have rejected persecution, even to death.
The Bad: Practicing false, sinful beliefs. Tolerance of wrong doctrines and teaching.
The Result Repentance required or punishment coming.

THE CHURCH IN THYRATIRA (Revelation 2:18-29)
The Good: Increased good deeds, love, faith, service and perseverance.
The Bad: Accepting false teacher, leading to immorality and idol worship.
The Result Those who haven't gone astray, God's acceptance. Others to be struck dead.

THE CHURCH IN SARDIS (Revelation 3:1-6)
The Good: Of good reputation for works.
The Bad: Spiritually dead.
The Result Repent or suffer punishment, except for the few faithful ones.

THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA (Revelation 3:7-13)
The Good: Suffered hardship but remained faithful in spite of opposition.
The Bad: Nil
The Result To be kept from the trials imposed on others.

THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA (Revelation 3:14-22)
The Good: Nil
The Bad: A lukewarm faith. Materially rich and independent, not realising they are spiritually wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
The Result Counseled to seek God, repent, and look instead to spiritual growth. Those who do will receive the ultimate reward, to dine with Jesus.

SUMMARY
It is amazing that, only round 50 years after Jesus ascended into heaven, He found it necessary to comment, through John in prison on the Island of Patmos, His comments and concerns about 'the church' (assembly - informal gatherings of believers in a geographical area)! The same problems exist today!

The church generally, was riddled with false teachings, salvation through works, idolatry, sexual and other moral failings, materialism, spiritual poverty, self indulgence and lukewarmness.

On the other hand, the faithful churches (Smyrna and Philadelphia), plus the few faithful followers in the other churches, tended to be poor, persecuted, suffering hardships and even martyrdom. Of course, Jesus was martyred too! What a contrast, then and now.

The deceptions the church quickly fell into were warned against by Jesus. For example, the trap of material wealth. In the case of the Rich Young Man.....

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:21-2)

WHOSE CHURCH IS IT ANYWAY?
Even in it's first 50 years, the church was hijacked by those seeking personal power and promoting worldly, man made, religious doctrines. How is this avoided? How do true followers of Jesus follow Him?

Jesus himself gave us the answer.....

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:25-6)

And again.....

26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (John 15:26)

THE TRUE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS ARE ONES WHO ARE OBEDIENT TO THE LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THEIR LIVES.

To inherit the kingdom of God we are not to follow a man (or woman), man's doctrines, nor man made organizational or physical structures and programmes, but to follow Jesus, as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, living within us.

20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

Amen.

(Series to be continued next week.)

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FROM THE WORD

One Like a Son of Man

"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

To the Church in Ephesus

2“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

To the Church in Smyrna

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

To the Church in Pergamum

“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

To the Church in Thyatira

“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Sardis

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Philadelphia

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Laodicea

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”" (Revelation 1:9-3:22)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

HEAVENLY TRUTHS GOD HAS SHOWN ME

739. - 809. God has shown me that...

... life is not meant to be fair.

... we seek spiritual gifts while He desires spiritual fruit.

... submission builds character.

... character outscores performance every time.

... 'to be' is infinitely better than 'to do'.

... we cannot put Him into a box, no matter how big we make it.

... sin caused man and God's thought patterns to become diametrically opposed.

... He reveals himself to us when we least expect it.

... revelation is given in His timing - which generally isn't ours.

... we learn more about Him in the hard times than the good.

... He can turn our failure into His success.

... when we put others first in this world, He does the same for us in His.

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CARTOONS FROM TOON FEVER

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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

THIS WEEK: A REVELATION OF... THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID - Part 11

REJECTED - AS JESUS WAS!

Sad though we get, most of us can understand and accept rejection by non-believers.

But the biggest critics of the ministry of Jesus were not the unbelieving Samaritans but the religious leaders of the day.

David found the same response from the 'King Saul' family of his time.

The same principle still applies today.

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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. ***



661. OF NECESSITY
A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem.

A small child replied: "They couldn't get a baby-sitter."

660. ABBREVIATED
The Bible in 50 words...

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Joseph ruled
Jacob fooled
Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked
Prophets warned
Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

659. HORSERADISH
A minister who was very fond of pure, hot horseradish always kept a bottle of it on his
dining room table. He offered some to a guest, who took a big spoonful.

When the guest finally was able to speak, he gasped, "I've heard many ministers preach hellfire, but you are the first one I've met who passed out a sample of it."

" FREE DOWNLOAD: You can now download the book 'Laughing At Ourselves' in PDF format at LAUGHING AT OURSELVES One of the most comprehensive sources of Christian Humour on the Net with 800 sermon fillers for your entertainment and use at ...

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: Are there really such things as elephant graveyards?

ANSWER: Elephants do not really have 'graveyards,' but field workers and other people occasionally encounter several unexplained elephant skeletons in one location. Once, people believed these places were elephant graveyards. These people speculated that elephants could sense when they were going to die and took themselves to graveyards just before their deaths.

Another, more probable explanation sees the ‘graveyards’ as a result of the elephant's teeth. Elephants wear out their molars from eating coarse vegetation. And, after an elephant has worn out six sets of molars, no more molars grow in to replace the old ones. As the last set of molars wears down to nubs, old elephants frequently retreat to swamps to fend off starvation by eating soft water plants. Eventually, these animals do die, though, often while they are in the water. Their bodies sink below the water and remain there for years. Later, if the swamp dries out, the bones of several old elephants may be found in the newly exposed land. (Death comes to all – turtles, elephants and us!)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What infamous Countess was a mass murderer?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

848. WEARABLE INSURANCE
Back in the good old seafaring days of wooden ships, there was no certainty sailors setting out on long voyages would ever see their homeland again. To prepare for the worst, sailors wore gold earrings so that if there was an accident and their bodies were found washed ashore on some foreign beach, the gold in their earrings would be used to pay for decent burials. (More likely to be used for the enjoyment of the living – those who found them!)

849. OOPS!
In 1836, a paddle steamer carrying a circus cast was shipwrecked off the US coast. Some of the sailors launched a raft, but were sadly drowned when an elephant jumped into it! (Going my way?)

850. ALWAYS ALERT
Dolphins still have one eye open for danger when they are asleep. (Could you call them one eyed?)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

PIECRUST

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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66 BOOKS... 66 QUESTIONS

59: James: According to James which part of the body is full of deadly poison?

a. Mind
b. Heart
c. Hand
d. Tongue

Source: http://biblequizzes.org.uk

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

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

!!!!!!! In a crowd the person with the loudest voice will be standing directly behind you.

!!!!!! Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. - Kurt Vonnegut

!!!!! "Intelligent" is a term used to describe someone who agrees with you.

!!!! Life is like a game of golf: you drive hard to get to the green and then you end up in a hole.

!!! Things aren't like they used to be and they never were.

!! Horse sense is what a horse has that keeps it from betting on people.

! A pessimist mourns the future.

100'S MORE TO BE FOUND AT...

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JUST JOKES!

332. SEVEN WORDS
A woman from the deepest, most southern part of Alabama goes into the local newspaper office to see that the obituary for her recently deceased husband is written. The obit editor informs her that the fee for the obituary is 50 cents a word.

She pauses, reflects and then says, "Well, then, let it read, 'Billy Bob died'."

Amused at the woman's thrift, the editor says, "Sorry ma'am, there is a 7 word minimum on all obituaries."

Only a little flustered, she thinks things over and in a few seconds says, "In that case, let it read, 'Billy Bob died - 1983 Pick-up for sale.'"

331. CHICKENS
The farmer's son was returning from the market with he crate of chicken's his father had entrusted to him, when all of a sudden the box fell and broke open. Chickens scurried off in different directions, but the determined boy walked all over the neighborhood scooping up the wayward birds and returning them to the repaired crate. Hoping he had found them all, the boy reluctantly returned home, expecting the worst.

"Pa, the chickens got loose," the boy confessed sadly, "but I managed to find all twelve of them."

"Well, you did real good, son," the farmer beamed.

"You left with seven."

330. LOOKING
"I hear the First National Bank is looking for a new teller."

"I thought they just hired a new teller last week."

"Right. That's the one they're looking for."

329. HOPEFUL
"Dear IRS: I would like to cancel my subscription.
Please remove my name from your mailing list..."

328. IT'S ALL ABOUT NUMBERS
A factory owner said to a store owner, "Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your patronage. I wish I had twenty customers like you."

"Gosh, it's nice to hear that, but I'm kind of surprised," admitted Smith. "You know that I argue every bill and always pay late."

The factory owner said, "I'd still like twenty customers like you. The problem is, I have two hundred."

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BIBLE TRIVIA (About The Bible)

AT LEAST HALF AS MUCH TIME ELAPSED.....

..... between writing the 1st and last books of the Bible (1000 years) as has elapsed between its last book and now. Therefore, as over the past 1000 years, writing styles have changed, so they do for the different Bible books also.

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

Chris Tomlin Most Sung Songwriter in the World

Singer and songwriter Chris Tomlin has been named as the most sung artist in the world.

The multiple Grammy-winning artist has sold more than 4.2 million albums.

Tomlin's 7th album "Burning Lights" debuted in January at No. 1 the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the fourth album from the contemporary Christian music genre to do so.

Some of his well-known songs include, "How Great Is Our God," "Jesus Messiah," and "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies).

In a report by CNN earlier this year, Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International, said churches around the world used 128 songs that Tomlin wrote or co-wrote last year.

CCLI tracks what music is used in churches. Between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin's songs, Rachinski said.

"Our best guess would be in the United States, on any given Sunday, 20 to 30 million people would be singing Chris Tomlin's songs," he said. "His songs are so sought-after that, even before they're released on CD, they start showing up in CCLI's online database."

In 2012, Tomlin's songs were played 3.12 million times in churches. In comparison, Billboard reported singer Katy Perry's songs were played 1.4 million times on the radio.

According to CNN, more people have heard Tomlin's songs than singers Katy Perry's, Adele's, and Kelly Clarkson's combined.

Source: CBN News

DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

A REVELATION OF... THE CHARACTER OF GOD

Understanding God takes more than a lifetime! Through into eternity. Even then, I suspect he may come up with a surprise or two! But this simple revelation may help you understand Him better, as it has helped me.

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WAXING LYRICAL

A similar theme to the first poem I wrote, eight years earlier, in another time of trouble.
Hopefully though, this one expresses a more mature faith. You be the judge. I know
I am coping with the problems more easily now, knowing for sure that God is on my
side.

YOU’RE STILL THERE

There are times in life, when all seems lost,
A cork in stormy seas, I’m being tossed,
Battered about from head to toe,
Don’t know how or where to go.
Hurting in every sinew!
Impossible to continue!
Head does burn!
Nowhere to turn?
Run away?
Hey! Hey!
Stop!
Drop!

But surely, you’re still there!

Now really, life is unkind,
No, it’s not just in the mind.
What have I done, this fate to deserve?
For it’s you I’ve tried, always to serve.
It’s not on, Lord, such a fate to befall,
I’ve done my best, have given my all!

But surely, you’re still there!

My thoughts, they just churn away,
Never in one place, will they stay,
Drift in here, shoot out where?
Yes! No! - Lord - it’s not fair!

But surely, you’re still there!

My mind’s in turmoil,
My body in recoil.

But you’re still there.

How useless!
All the stress!
Such a mess!
Can’t you guess?

But you’re still there!

Are you really still there Lord?

You’re still there!

But you seem so far away right now,
For I need you Lord, show me how
To get back in contact, to talk with you,
You’ve always been, so faithful and true.

Yes, you’re still there!

"Be at peace David. Stop. Then you will hear,
Gentle words of comfort, to your inner ear.
For now that your life is all at sea,
It’s time to come, on bended knee.
So when on me, you do totally rely,
Together, we can reach for the sky."

Lord, you’re still there!

"I’m always here for you, my son,
Into my arms, you can surely run.
At times in life,
All get in strife.
But I have not been the cause of your pain,
Instead, using circumstances for our gain,
More about me to learn,
You to me, then to turn."

Yes Lord, you’re still there!

Into the fiery furnace I am bound to go,
If the best of my Lord, I’m to get to know.
This is the precious price to be paid,
If more like Him, I wish to be made.

While hating this place, being no masochist,
Of my great need for it, I am a realist!
Yet even while suffering the searing, white heat of the flame,
I will still stand strong in Him, calling upon His precious name.

Yes, my Lord, you’re still there!

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A DAVID MUSING

For my birthday last week, my wife Kathy, shouted me a night out at a local hotel overlooking the Inner Harbour or Iron Pot, here in our city of Napier, in New Zealand, where the pleasure boats moor.

We had a tremendous late afternoon, evening, night and early morning in a superb location. Plus a meal of delicious Thai food. Thank you so much, Doll.

The weather too, was perfect, as the photo of me on the balcony illustrates. It is hard to believe that it is the middle of Winter! A beautiful fine day with a maximum temperature of 18 degrees Celcius! Don't get too envious. The cold weather is due to return this week!

Oh - and my age? A clue! 'Clickety-click!'

Until next week.....

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: PICTURES

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' d. Tongue (James 3:7)

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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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