Training your heart to see

Training your heart to see

Sun 9 Oct 2011 AM

Audio Transcript
Training your heart to see_Mike Connell_09-10-2011_am

[Pastor Mike Connell] Well let's take our seats. I want to just introduce a couple who are going to come and share with us now and we're just going to just get an interview with them. But I want to just welcome Graham and Jess Hodder. Graham and Jess have been with us many years. What you wouldn't realise is they've had almost three careers; first career was working in the business area here locally. While he was doing that they were serving first of all Assembly of God church, then they served here in running our kids church for a season. Then they had another season of their lives where they went to China and they ran an orphanage, gathered up Chinese children who were in trouble and cared for them and become spiritual parents for them in a family home. It's amazing. And then they came back and now they're doing something else and I think it's a great inspiration that no matter what you have happening in your life, no matter what stage of your life you're at, there's always something you can put your hand to.

We're going to find out a little bit of what they're doing now, so let's give them a great welcome as they come up now. [Applause] God bless, there we are. We need another microphone. There we go, fantastic. Wonderful. Come on, let's give them a great clap. [Applause] [Laughs] There, we got one, you've got a microphone now.

[Graham Hodder] Thank you.

[Pastor Mike Connell] I've got this one on. That's right, praise the Lord. Just keep it there. Okay, please be seated and this is very difficult for Graham and Jess. They're private people and they don't like to be up the front, so what happened just then probably is the worst nightmare they could have had happen [laughter] but it's very right that we honour people, particularly when there are things to honour in someone's life. Today is not so much about honouring them though, but I think it was appropriate to do that because I don't know any couple that have actually consistently over a such a long course of time, have just committed to the work of the Lord; firstly in a children's church, then the orphanage. Now we're going to hear about what they're doing - would you believe it - on the street evangelism in our city. We're going to find out a little bit about what they've been doing.

They've not been doing it out in front. You don't see this happening and there's a lot of things you don't see happening, but they're going to tell us a little bit today. So Graham and Jess, thank you for coming up. I know you didn't want to do this, but I want to just thank you for coming and just [sit on it, 00.02.12] we'll just chat like we're just here at home. Just shut them all out [laughter] and close the eyes. [Laughter] So the first thing is I'd like you to tell us a little bit about what you've been doing out on the streets of our city.

[Graham Hodder] Well I guess I had to ask myself why are we on the city streets; what are we doing on the city streets? And why have we got a passion now to do this that we didn't have before, because up until a couple of years ago this wasn't our scene at all. But I think what had caused us to do this was our time China where we could see that Christian people were so subdued, it was illegal to become Christians, it was illegal to convert people. There was no such thing as being able to get out into the streets and share with people on the streets. When we came home - we were in China for 12 years, just under 12 years and when we came back we could see that instead of being a closed door as there was in China, there was a door in New Zealand wide open. As we read the word of God which we love the Bible, we love reading the word of God; the great commission that Jesus gave stood out very, very strongly, that for everyone who believes in Him should go out and preach the gospel to every creature.

This doesn't mean to say that we've all got to be full time evangelists, but we could at least give one or two hours a week to reach out to people. So we thought about this and one Saturday night I said to Jess we've got to get out. We've got to get out onto the street, and we had in the [unclear 00.04.05] International School, Bible School of - ISO - School of Missions, that's right. There was one of the sessions there by the way of the master group and they were talking about getting out onto the street, and this inspired us. So this particular night we went out, shivering, it was cold and we started speaking to someone. On that night we spoke about four or five young kids in the parking lot, so what goes on in the street, what happens, what we want to do and what we do do is to share the love of God and the love of Christ. It's the love of God that constrains us, that forces us to go and to share that love with other people.

Sermon Notes