“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)”
(Revelation 19:6-8 NIV)
There is nothing quite like a wedding between a man and a woman who are wholly and purely dedicated to each other for life. The joy and happiness that explodes all around the groom and bride is incomparable to anything else that the world can offer. And when children are birthed from these two, the joy is magnified to a new level; never surpassing the original joy that the two have in each other, but another level that is introduced by the fruit of their love for each other.
Consider then the Bible passage above. We who are preparing ourselves to be Christ’s bride for all eternity have so much to look forward to: eternal bliss beyond compare to everything physical – being joined with God Almighty in an rapport of heart and mind.
Does this shock or surprise you? It shouldn’t, yet we are bombarded by so many images and themes that contradict this eternal harmony with God. These are of course perversions of truth as twisted in the prideful and spiteful mind of God’ enemy. Yet in God we have something true, clear, and forever:
“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”
(1 Corinthians 2:6-10 NIV)
These are troubled times for all people across our planet. But we know who hold the future in His hand, and we pray that in 2024, all souls will find the peace of Christ that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and encourage one another with His eternal hope, joy, and love.
May He be ever welcome in your life and closer to you than any other,
Bjorn & Lilian Schmid.
Mountain of Family
(by Elly Webb)
“Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way they should go and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.” (Proverbs 22:6 TPT)
For the past 35 years, I’ve served alongside my husband Martyn, as Senior Pastor of our local church in beautiful Port Stephens. During that time one of our greatest joys has been watching our three children develop in their understanding of God and grow to become leaders and parents themselves. We’ve also had the privilege of seeing similar growth in other children from our kids and youth ministry who today serve in our church as worship and kids church leaders. This generational strength and blessing is the fruit of strong marriages and families which have been dedicated to God.
Our Heavenly Father is all about generational blessing. He holds the dream of having many sons and daughters who walk in their full identity as His children. This was Gods original promise to Abraham, the father of faith and Jesus came to Earth to deliver us from legalistic religion and unveil God as our loving heavenly Father. The Kingdom of Heaven holds at its very essence, the revelation of sonship and family.
Along with the joy of generational blessings we have also endured the heartbreak of seeing people fall away from God and the devastating effect it’s had on their children. These parents don’t intentionally lead their families away from God, but simply choose other things over the Sunday gathering. These things in themselves are often innocent and reasonable like sporting or recreational activities. They just happen to take place at the same time as church. Challenges, like forsaking the gathering, come directly from the enemy and indirectly through our culture. Both adults and children are constantly bombarded with subtle humanistic messages which oppose and erode Kingdom values. This constant bombardment causes them to lose their Kingdom identity and return to worldly thinking.
So over our many years as ministers, we have made it a priority to encourage the parents of our church to raise their children with the Word of God as the bedrock of their faith. Knowing the truth of God’s word helps children to become discerning from a young age.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8 NIV)
The Church is called to rise up like a mother, to consistently lead the hearts of our spiritual sons and daughters back to our ‘Father God’ and the revelation of Jesus. There is a story in the fifth chapter of the book of Judges about the sons of Israel losing their identity and sense of purpose. In response Deborah chose to rise up and was used mightily by God to restore their strength.
Deborah could have risen in her powerful role as a judge, or as a prophetess which was her gift. She could even have arisen as a warrior as she led the army of Israel against their enemies, but instead Deborah arose as a Mother in Israel. It was in her role as a mother that she restored their identity.
The Church is both a bride and a mother and Jesus is Lord over His Bride the Church. In Jesus we have complete victory and through His sacrifice and resurrection, He has prepared a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Every week, the people of our Church are invited to come to the table of communion as a family. At the ‘table’ we are able to repent of the things that no longer represent our new identity as sons and daughters of God.
In 2024 Martyn and I, as lead pastors, will be encouraging our church families to also prepare a table in their home so that no matter what they or their children are going through, there is always a place for connection, communication and an everyday remembrance of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. This is the place where the treasures of Gods spoken word are shared and ‘identity’ as Gods victorious sons and daughters is cultivated and maintained.
“So train your heart to listen when I speak
and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment—
then pass it on to your sons and daughters.” (Proverbs 2:2 TPT)
I hope this testimony encourages you as you stand in the gap and intercede for the Mountain of Family.
Alongside her husband, Martyn, Elly pastors the vibrant community of C3 Spectrum Church in the beautiful blue water paradise of Port Stephens Australia. Elly is passionate about pursuing Jesus, spending time with her cherished family, raising spiritual sons and daughters and loving everyone in her world toward their God-given destiny.
Prayer and Kjell Sjöberg
(by Bengt Sjöberg, brother of Kjell, November 2023)
Kjell Sjöberg was strongly influenced by his parents’ prayer life; he saw what role models his mother and father were when it came to prayer.
During the Second Word War (WWII) our family lived in Finland. Dad was based in the capital Helsinki as the pastor of a Swedish-speaking congregation, but mom and the children were living away on an island. She was then 34 years old and a mother of four, and she arranged to spend time in her prayer place in the forest every morning. There was a small path away from the house and into the forest. This path led to a beautiful place with a nicer view of the sea, and in this place mom prayed fervently to God. Kjell was only 7 years old when he saw how mom went into the forest and up a small mountain every day to pray.
Kjell himself decided to become a Christian in 1951, and he was spiritually born right into a prayer revival. In the large Filadelfia Church in Stockholm where his father was now a pastor, the youth group Kjell joined used to gather regularly for prayer. The first Saturday evening after he was saved they stayed in prayer until 6 o’clock on Sunday morning. This was the beginning of a revival in the church, which was one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the world at that time.
After being saved for only a few weeks, Kjell and four friends decided that they would meet to pray every day for a week. They went straight from their jobs to an apartment in Stockholm and they prayed in the afternoons and evenings. Prayer meant more than food to them. During that week of prayer, God revealed to all of them that they had a calling to serve God and they signed up for a Bible school. That year, about 500 young people attended the Bible school and many of the graduates have gone on to serve as evangelists, pastors and missionaries.
After the Bible school, Kjell and his younger brother Stanley went out as evangelists even though he was not yet 20 years old, to take the Gospel to unbroken ground. The period following that year are some of the most victorious years in the history of the Pentecostal movement in Sweden.
More information on Kjell Sjöberg can be found in this article: The Life of Kjell Sjöberg (an embedded PDF file – you can download this). Also have a look at our training on Spiritual Warfare with Kjell Sjoberg which is based on videos of his teaching to intercessors in Canberra, Australia in 1987.
Secret Mens Business
(by Greg O’Neill, December 2023)
We have just completed our 8 week course early December. We had 5 men attending and they all gained much from the course.
Secret Mens Business is targeted towards men who are struggling with lust and pornography and want to gain freedom. But how can this be achieved? The first thing we focus on is hope. We want the men to realise that there is hope in Jesus Christ and that true freedom is achievable. I know, because God set me free.
We also focus on building a foundation that is needed to reach freedom. Men need to understand they are in a spiritual battle. They will need to struggle to get free. But the strength we need to win is found in the Lord, not ourselves.
We also focus on the cycle of addiction that must be broken and the ways to break that cycle. This includes practical steps that can be taken to avoid the pitfalls of returning to that cycle again and again.
The majority of the course focuses on scripture and scriptural principles in order to bring our thinking in line with God and His word. At the heart of the issue is our heart. If our heart is sold out for God and we find our satisfaction in Him, just like King David did, then why would we want to settle for a poor substitute like porn?
One important part of the group is accountability because it brings our sin out of darkness and into the light where God can deal with it.
Here is what some people said they gained from the course:
- A softer heart for God and less desire for porn.
- A better understanding of how intimacy with the Father is key to breakthrough and understanding the Word of God in an immersive way.
- Gaining wisdom on fighting the spiritual battle. Understanding that Satan has been gaining easy access for far too long and like a city with no walls.
Here are how some people felt the course affected their relationship with God:
- Deeper intimacy with God, renewed love and joy in God.
- More genuine times with God and a greater foundation in Him.
- Knowing His heart for me and my value and identity in Him.
Here are a couple of testimonials:
- ‘This course has given me greater confidence in dealing with sin in my life, while growing in my walk with the Lord. Intimacy with Him is the key to freedom in all areas of life, including my day-to-day. Knowing the Truth through this course has renewed my walk with the Lord, where I look forward to having daily conversations no matter where I am – I can run to the Father.’
- ‘I’ll keep it short: This program is exceptional; join and come ready to be stretched and edified toward true freedom. Freedom is possible and worth it, and this program points you in that direction.’
We have strict confidentiality requirements for those who attend the group to make it a safe place to share. Anything shared in the group cannot be shared outside the group.
The next online courses will commencing early February. There will be a men’s courses and a course for Pastors.
If you or anyone you know is interested in attending this online course, you can contact me below.