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Come to Israel                               8/7/11

Sermon notes for a sermon by Jennifer Phillips, given with the aid of a translator at the Church of the Living Bread in Jerusalem in July 2011.

God has spoken through ancient biblical prophets and He still speaks to us through their words today.
Let us listen to Acts 2:17-39 where Peter stands up and explained to all those who lived in Jerusalem what had just happened. It was the Day of Pentecost when 120 men and women where filled with God's spirit and spoke in new languages they had never learned. He said, "this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel ..."

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to repent? It means to "think differently" to "change your mind" and Peter was saying change your mind and think differently. Begin thinking that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the Lord. He offers you forgiveness for every wrong thing you have thought or done.
If you have never asked him to come into your life or invited Jesus to be your Lord, today is the day. This is your time to begin a new life as one of God's beloved children. Jesus has made this possible. He invites you to come. Come and talk with me. Come and share with me.
Jesus makes it possible for you and me to join God's close knit family.

Prayer: Jesus I accept your offer. Forgive me. I decide today to change my thoughts and say that you are the Lord. You are the Christ. I come. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

In verse 22 of Acts Peter said, "Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know."
My life story too is a story of miracles, signs and wonders, which God has done through the same Jesus that Peter knew and spoke about and that is because Jesus is alive and is still doing miracles among us.
There are still signs of His presence among us today.
I want to share some of those signs he has given me by telling you how I came to be in Israel today.

I was reading the bible "Behold I am doing a new thing. Can't you see it?" and it touched my heart. I knew it was God speaking to me. I told Him I couldn't see the new thing he was doing. I was recovering from my 5th car accident. That wasn't new!
On my next visit to a specialist I was seeing because of the injuries I had sustained in the car accident, I was advised to "learn something new." This seemed right to me...God was doing a new thing and I was to learn a new thing too. I asked God what I should learn. I used to want to learn Hebrew and I thought about that, but I thought it would be too hard. I thought it would be easier to learn it if I went to Israel.

Around that time I had been asking God where He wanted me to go as I was considering retiring and had some long service, paid leave due and while worshipping God at our church camp in May of 2008, I had a vision of Jesus standing in the door with open arms saying "Come." I wasn't sure what Jesus meant. Was he saying come and worship? A few days later I turned the TV on and heard Paster Karen from the Church of the Living Bread, for the first time. She was saying "Come to Israel." It just sounded like God inviting me.

As I pondered about going to Israel, I began to feel enthusiastic about it. I thought I would investigate the idea of going to Israel as a volunteer with the Living Bread Church. I asked my church family to pray about it. I then asked my boss if I could take my long service leave that was due, but he said "No." I didn't have enough money either so I said to God, "Well you know, if you want me to go to Israel, you will need to provide the money" and I left it at that as I still had another lot of surgery to undergo - the third lot of surgery in three years.

I went into hospital and the surgery went well the surgeon said. He had contoured the bone and correctly repositioned the displaced cushioning disc which had been pushed firmly down on some fibrous tissue that was impinging the movement of my jaw, as a result of the car accidents. After the surgery the Nurses came in and keep talking to me wanting to know if I was always this sleepy, but I was asleep again.

When I awoke I was nausea. My balance was not good and I had trouble breathing. I would begin to doze off and suddenly I couldn't breathe. This usually jolted me awake but on one occasion it didn't. About 4 in the morning I was outside my body looking at it. I got such a shock when I realised that it was my own body I was looking at. It looked frighteningly ugly. It was grey and blue around the mouth. My body was dead! Suddenly I heard God proclaim the word "Wellbeing." The word came like Spirit into the right side of my face and I saw the colour beginning to come back into it. Then I was back in my body looking out and filled with great joy. I began praising God.

The word of God is powerful. Life and death are in God's hand. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, had raised me up to. Death could not hold Jesus back and it could not hold me back.

After that each time I went to visit the surgeon he said "Don't you scar?" At first I thought that it was just his good surgery but each time I visited him he kept looking at the area he had cut and saying "Don't you scar?" I realized that God must have done something special to my skin as well.....no scarring!

In 2010 the Holy Spirit told me I would be travelling. I thought this was funny because I was about to travel to New Zealand to visit my mother and mother in law and knew I would be. When I arrived at My Mother's place in New Zealand a car was waiting for me. Just what I needed for travelling. My mother in law had given it to me. When I saw the make I was amazed. Of all the cars to be provided with, this one had my username on it! The make was Wingroad! My website is called Webwings, and the address is citwings.com. So now I had a car called Wingroad for road travel!

God had confirmed His word. I was travelling and He had provided the transport.

The Holy Spirit then said to me "This is the time of fulfilment of my word," and I remembered what the Holy Spirit had said to me in the late 70's. He had pointed out a travelling preacher who was about 60 and said, "You will be like her." Now I wasn't even bold enough to pray out loud in church, let alone preach and pray for people, so this sounded very scarry! That week as I thought about it God told me "You will be travelling and speaking one on one with the people you meet."

While travelling in New Zealand I found myself speaking one on one with some people I met, sharing my testimonies. I discovered I had enough money to go to Israel but I was too scarred to go by myself so I thought I would look around for a tour. When I got back to Australia and went to church, they announced that they were going to tour Israel so that was perfect timing. I decided to go with them.

While in New Zealand I read the verse "So the men went, travelling through the land, and made a record of it by towns in seven parts in a book" - Joshua 18:9. This seemed a good thing to do and so I decided to keep a journal of my travels in New Zealand just like the men Joshua sent out.

While deciding on how long I should stay in Israel after the church tour, I was encouraged to leave the return date open but I was too scarred to do this so I paid for the tickets even though it seemed like God was speaking to me. Well I received an email from the University I am studying at, inviting me on an archaeological dig. It was in Bethsaida near Ginosar and it came right at the end of the church tour. So I wished I had been bold enough to leave the return date open. I ended up having to change the return date twice so it cost me an extra $500. I wished I had listened and been bold!

Well I asked my boss again for leave but it wasn't given to me. I had to visit two more specialists (who I found out later didn't think I was well enough to go to Israel) before my employer would agree that Icould take my long service leave and go to Israel and the archaeological dig. This sent me back inquiring of God if he wanted me to give up my job or give up going to Israel.

A Russian atheist came up to me at an exhibition opening and said "You are one person who would benefit from travelling and I want to give you $1000 to go to the Hermitage in Russia". When I went to collect the money her friend who had just returned from Russia rang. I heard her saying "Do you think it is significant that I have given a Christian this money?" The amazing timing of her friend's phone call had added to her sense that she had done something significant. Although she did not believe in God, God had used her to provide and direct me.

Is there anything too hard for God to do? No! The psalmist said "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills". And I know that what has been said about Jesus in the bible is true. God has given all authority to Jesus. He even has authority to move people who don't believe in Him, to provide for His servants.

So here I am and God has again fulfilled His word and not even death can prevent His purposes for me coming to pass.....And not even death can prevent His purposes for you from coming to pass either, for the same Holy Spirit "who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us up with Jesus and present us with you to himself" (2 Corinthians 4:13).

So expect great things from the Lord. He loves us deeply and tenderly....and His love is not hindered by man made or natural Borders.