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Suggested Reading ...

As requested by a number of you, herewith a few books that I strongly recommend.

The Case for the Psalms:Why they are Essential - N.T.Wright

Journey to the Common Good - Walter Brueggemann

Gagging Jesus: Things Jesus said we wish he hadn't - Phil Moore

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God - Bob Kauflin

The Writings of the New Testament : An Interpretation - Luke Timothy Johnson

These titles I have been able to source through Loot.co.za- happy reading!

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Home DAILY DEVOTIONS
Daily Devotions by Grant Nuss
A Life worth Living. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Friday, 18 November 2016 14:22

John 10:10; “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it abundantly”.

“Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present” (Bill Keane). I preached a sermon entitled; “A life worth Living” in 2011 and was reminded of that sermon that someone still had the mp3 of this week. Perhaps what they remembered most was my use of man’s final heartbeat in EKG format on a video clip, and the realisation that, when we reach that place, we might find that we have actually forgotten to live. A number of the folk who heard the sermon preached were challenged to start living life to the fullest in God’s Kingdom. For me, what better company to do this in than with Christians who are living life together with you with the same goal in mind? Why do I say this? Well, because when you truly come to know Jesus, you realise that the Christian life is the greatest life there is. Would you agree? Now there are folk out there who think that Christians live the most boring lives on this planet. Whilst I suspect there are Christians who do live their lives in this way, for me, with the guys I hang around with, nothing can be further from the truth! Why? Because a true walk with Jesus, is life’s greatest adventure by far. Perhaps the best way to explain it is a ‘journey of discovery’ as you daily get to understand God’s will for your life, and, perhaps the most exciting part of all is, that you actually get to walk in His will. Is it scary? Yip – but awesome! Is it risky? Indeed – but right! I preached a sermon entitled ‘Pursuing Holiness’ at a wonderful little church called Horeb in Clairwood, Durban and recall saying that “the truly happy life is a holy one.” So right, isn’t it? It is a life which is lived for God, in His will, and following His purpose for your life. Jesus has not only promised life beyond the grave, but He has promised us a dimension of life on this earth that surpasses all understanding. And here’s the application point for us today: He also promises life during life, not just an existence, but a life that’s worth living. How do we know that? Because He said that; “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Finally, if you were to be real with yourself, do you believe that you are living an abundant life presently? In fact, how are you living your life currently? A wise man was once quoted as saying that; “There are only two ways to live your life, one as though nothing is a miracle, and the other as though everything is a miracle!” My prayer for you is that you determine to live your life to the fullest with Christ at the centre of it.

 
When I pray ... coincidences happen. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Thursday, 17 November 2016 14:23

Psalm 77:1; “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.”

“When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don't. they don't” (William Temple). Perhaps read all fourteen verses of this psalm and circle the verbs in pencil some of which are; “I cried out”, “I groaned”, “I stretched out untiring hands.” I don’t know about you, but, for me, from the outset the psalmist’s prayer begins with pain. This is not a prayer that comes from a place where all is well and groovy. Ever prayed a prayer like this in a circumstance you’ve been facing? Whilst we do not know what his pain was, it seems clear that he was literally ‘drowning’. How do we know? It seems to be the image in one’s mind’s eye when the psalmist writes; “I stretched out untiring hands.” When would you do that? When you’re at the bottom of the pit reaching out for someone to lift you out. Have you ever felt like that before? It happens, right? So what has this do with prayer? Everything. Prayer refers to the two-way communication with God, and, often, this happens at the place where pain and prayer come together. As weird as it may sound, it is evident throughout Scripture that, sometimes, God has to take us to a place where our lives come undone before He can put them back together again. I was speaking to someone who inspired this devotional and I have asked him if I could share the gist of our discussion here as it may help someone. He said; “I am going through a trying time, and I have been praying for months and getting nowhere.” His prayer every day, and even as he lay in bed awake in the early hours of the morning, was along the lines of; “God, I will do whatever You want me to do, but I just need You to let me know what it is!” He went on to say that in his particular situation there were time constraints on the answer to the prayers, but still there was no clear direction from God, just … silence. Has that happened to you before? Tough things happen in our lives where we need to hear from God in some shape and form for direction and we are met with silence or feel as though God is not there, so when you think this way remember the ‘unseen footprints’. God is at work in the circumstances that are seemingly knocking us off our feet, that are too big for us to handle, too close to home, and affecting our loved ones. Scripture is clear that, through the ages, He has never left His people alone but continues to guides us through all the convoluted pathways of life even though His footprints are infrequently unseen. You need to pray to Him. “But He knows what is going on in my life, why do I need to pray?” As John Wesley is quoted as saying; “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” Finally, perhaps this may help you in this context whatever it is that you are facing: God makes extravagant promises about our prayers. He assures us that if we ask anything according to His will, He answers. You were designed not just to know about God, but to know Him experientially. You were created to connect with Him, heart to heart, spirit to Spirit, face to face. So when you pray for His assistance, guidance, and direction, you are praying according to His desires as well as yours. How will He not give you what you ask for? Let us pray!

 

 
The Ministry of Song Is Warfare! PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 14:46

2 Chronicles 20:3-4 (MSG); “Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed. He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast. The country of Judah united in seeking God’s help - they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God.”

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations” (Charles R. Swindoll). Think of what is going on here. Jehoshaphat is the King of Judah and, as happens even to kings, was in a tight spot. He had a number of enemies and they had now got together and were coming to take him out. This was a hopeless situation for the king, the writing was on the wall, and he was going to be destroyed ‘six-love’. So what did he do? Scripture says that “he went to God for help”. Some of you reading this may have never faced dire situations and circumstances like others have before, but, when you go to God for help, He responds. In verses 15 to 17 God says; “Don’t be afraid; don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God’s war, not yours … just stand firm … and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow - God is with you.” Way back in 1985 John Piper preached a sermon entitled “Ambushing Satan with Song” using 2 Chronicles 20:1-25 as his text. This reminds us of Paul and Silas praising God in prison and the doors flying open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Warfare and Worship through Singing. Now, as a worship leader, I just love what happens next. Jehoshaphat and his army go out to meet their enemies and send the worship team out before them and, as they praised the Lord, their enemy started fighting among themselves and, ultimately, destroyed each other. So what seemingly impossible situation are you facing right now? Perhaps it’s so dark and desperate that you are unable to see a way out. If Paul and Silas were able to write a praise song today it would likely be called; "When you hit rock-bottom, sing hymns to God"! They were at the bottom, and they sang hymns to God. Why were they singing? Because they had learned that singing to God is not merely a response to His grace but also a weapon of spiritual warfare. They had learned like Jehoshaphat and like many of us that the enemies of God are thrown into confusion by the songs of God's people. So what about you when you’re in a dark place? What about when you get up to sing this coming Sunday with this message in mind? So whatever you’re going through, let me tell you something for nothing, despite what it looks like for you, God can see a way out, all you have to do is call on Him, praise Him, and then, as Scripture says, all you have to do is “stand still and see what He will do.” Finally, it is no wonder that Satan hates the songs of God's people. He does his best to keep a church from being a singing church, and does his best to keep you from being a singing person. I don’t know about you, but perhaps, like me, you too often feel that it’s just you and the worship team singing from the core of your being. Let’s change that right now. Join the worshiping army of God! “Next after theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honour” (Martin Luther).

 

 
The Parable of the Spilled Coffee. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 12:04

1 Corinthians 13:1; “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

You and I as followers of Christ have been empowered to love. Perhaps one of the most powerful sermons on this topic was preached by a great friend of mine Justin Hall (who pastors The Lord’s House in Hout Bay) entitled; “The Overcoming Power of Love.” In our text today, Paul speaks of the spiritual gifts which, no matter how exciting and wonderful, are useless and even destructive if they are not ministered in love. Clear here too is that Paul put an extremely high value on prophecy, but the Corinthians valued the gift of tongues. Paul put tongues at the end of the list. So what about the gifts? Paul goes on to explain to the church in Corinth that the only way spiritual gifts can be used creatively is when Christians are motivated by love. I love the way Kent Crockett illustrates how the spiritual gifts work in community? Kent's “Parable of the Spilled Coffee” explains this perfectly! “A Bible study group met in a home to study how various ministries should work in the body of Christ. One member commented; “I don’t understand how different gifts can work together.” At that moment a woman accidentally dropped her cup which broke and spilled coffee all over the floor. Each group member responded differently to the mishap, according to their spiritual gifts. The teacher gave some advice. “Next time if you will put your cup on the coffee table, that won’t happen again.” The administrator responded by organising a clean-up committee. “Bill, please go find a mop. Sally, could you help him with a towel?” Bill, who had the gift of service, hurried to get the mop. Sally, who had the gift of helps followed Bill and said; “I’ll help you!” The person with the gift of encouragement said; “We all make mistakes so don’t let it get you down.” The person with the gift of mercy put her arm around the woman, patted her hand and said; “I feel so badly for you.” The person with the gift of giving exclaimed; “I’ll buy a new set of coffee mugs to replace the broken one!” They all used their various gifts together to resolve the situation” (Kent Crockett).

 
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