All Posts By

Michael Hands

Launch of Newlife Brisbane

We are so excited that March will mark the launch of Newlife Brisbane. A lot of time and prayer has gone into seeing this community come into fruition but mainly the grace of God. Over the last couple of months we have seen a diverse range of people join our community and we are excited and believing for many more to come to know Jesus. We would love to invite you to be praying for us, in particular for courage to share our faith, live in obedience to the Holy Spirit and to be a blessing to the city of Brisbane. We are extremely grateful for all of the support and love we have received from our Newlife family.
Much love,
Mike and Sarah

Titus 3

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 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

Titus 3:9-11

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Paul is very clear with how to discipline and deal with people who are divisive. Confront them twice, and then protect the community from them if they refuse to listen. Paul is clear in saying this because he wants to underscore how to treat those who do not and will not respond to Godly correction. They are not to be given the same position of authority and influence as others, this will damage the community.

Apply //

I’m reminded of many conversations which remind me of how many people hate confrontation. Yet Paul encourages us to take part in it. If we do not lovingly confront others who are being divisive and hurtful then we, inadvertently, are hurting the community ourselves by our silence. What does it look like for you to confront others in love for the sake of the Gospel?

Pray//

Father, help me to know how to have loving conversations that will point towards you and restoration of the wider community. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titus 2

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11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Titus 2:11-14

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Paul takes grace a step further, it not only saves us but it teaches us to say ‘no’. Grace is not just the power we receive to be forgiven of sin, but the power which teaches us (by the Holy Spirit) how not to walk in the ways of sin any longer!

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This really hit me, grace is a multi-faceted power given to us by God, it pulls us from our wretched estate but it also does more than that, it continues to shape and transform and make us new. What is grace teaching you to say ‘no’ to in this season?

Pray//

Father, thank you for your grace, teach me to be soft and generous with the way i received and respond to it every day. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titus 1

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They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Titus 1:16

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Paul condemns some of the people on Crete with a harsh observation. He accuses them of believing that God to them is nothing but a metaphysical embodiment of belief that we project our wishes upon. This God does not change the way the Cretians live. God is not an existential hope but a living being to be interacted with and known. God is not just someone we proclaim belief in, but rather, by the power of his Holy SPirit, someone who affects every area of how we live.

Apply //

I was challenged by this this morning. Do I profess all the write things with my mouth but then deny the existence of God with my lifestyle? Sometimes it becomes hard to detect the areas of our lives that are not in line with the gospel of Christ. I wrote this question in my journal: if Paul was to write an epistle to me today, what areas of my life would he challenge and address as out of line with the gospel?

Pray//

Holy Spirit, convict me of the patterns and behaviours I have absently engaged in that deny your existence in my life. Help me to strive and to live in a way where you are glorified and made known in my every action. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 13

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11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

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Paul’s final encouragement to the Corinthians reminds them of what it looks like to be a community that places gospel truth at the centre. Despite his letter of correction, he still longs for them to live with rejoicing that they might have the fullness of the peace of God live amongst them in their community!

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How would people describe the evidence of the community you are apart of? Do you see it as a place where people strive for full restoration? Encouraging one another? Living in Peace? Often this is because we don’t take time to reflect, centralise and prioritise the fruit of the gospel. What might be an encouragement you can take away and apply from this teaching of Paul?

 

Pray//

Jesus, may our community at Newlife be marked by rejoicing, restoration, encouragement and peace. I pray people would sense the power of the gospel just by interacting with us as a people. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 12

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Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-11

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Here Paul indicates some form of struggle, commentators don’t know with what but think it was either sin/health/mentally, that he has asked God to take from him. But in his struggle with it, God reminds him of his frailty, his humility and his dependence of God. This should encourage the Christian to not give up the struggle against the things in us that are not of God, but to also in our frustration lean on God and look to his strength which is made perfect in our weakness.

Apply //

What are the things in your life that cause you to struggle and cry out to God for release/freedom? What would it look like for you to use these things as a humble reminder of your need for God’s strength, grace and forgiveness? What does it look like to continue to resist the devil and rely on God?

Pray//

Jesus, you know there are parts of my life which do not accurately reflect you nor who you are. In my struggle God help me to rest on your strength not on my ability or understanding Jesus. I love you. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 11

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Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

2 Corinthians 11:28-29

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Paul talks here about his pastoral heart. He doesn’t just write letters to reprimand and teach, but because when Churches and Christian lose their way, it breaks his heart! This is the heart of the shepherd, that we would not judge but grieve over the trials and missteps of our fellow men and women of the faith.

Apply //

When I see someone struggling or making a mistake, what is my reaction? Do I grieve or jump to accuse? What would it look like for me to inwardly burn when I see my fellow men and women of God lead into sin?

Pray//

Jesus, teach me to see others as you see them. To love as you love, and to care as you care. May I be quick to care and slow to judge in every moment. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 10

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For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

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Paul dilineates a difference between the ways of the world and the ways of God. The weapons we fight with attack the greater spiritual forces that cannot be seen. These weapons dismantle strongholds in thoughts and hearts, teaching us how to make them obedient to God.

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Often it can be hard to control our minds, but when we recognise that this is the main battlefield in which the enemy works sowing deceit and lies we can begin to recognise how God, by the power of his Holy SPirit has graced us with the ability to battle these things. Every thought we think, if it is hurting us, we bring before Jesus and ask ‘Is this thought with you’ if it doesn’t line up with biblical truth then we can choose to feed it or starve it. We starve it by feeding our hearts and minds on the biblical truth of God’s word.

Pray//

Father, teach me how to wage war with the weapons of the Holy Spirit not just resisting the devil with my physical flesh. Open my eyes to see the battle that rages and teach me how to take part!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 9

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Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

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Paul here seems to draw a link between our finanical freedom and generosity. In our day and age we have many heresies that circulate our world around prosperity doctrine, the idea being that I give to God so I can get. Paul however here is saying, that when God sees he can trust us to be generous with what we have given…he will bless us with more (not for ourselves) but so that we can give away more and bless others. This is not about getting from God, but rather giving with God.

Apply //

How does the way I handle my finances resemble the generous nature and heart of God? How do I handle money in a way which shows God I can be trusted in my obedience with all that I have been blessed with.

Pray//

Jesus, sometimes it is hard for me to continually walk in a generous way because the world makes me fear that I won’t have enough. Teach me to trust in your provision and in you blessing on my life no matter how hard or difficult it gets. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 8

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 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

2 Corinthians 8:7

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Paul matches the discipline of financial generosity to that of faith, speech and knowledge. It is vital to the life of the Christian to be financially generous. In this chapter, Paul goes on to speak about how the church is expanding due to the financial generosity of those people who believe in the vision of the kingdom and declared Jesus as their Lord and saviour.

Apply //

Who does my money serve? Is it me or God? This is a really helpful question for understanding my financial motivations and leaning with how I spend and give my money. How can I be even more generous and obedient with the resources God has given me?

Pray//

Jesus, teach me to be radically financially generous with all of my life. Thank you for rescuing me from my sins, teach me what it means for you to be Lord of all, not just the parts I am ok giving up control of. Amen.