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WOW Word 33

God of Love

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:16 We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

We live in a world that is in love with love. Love, according to some people, is what makes the world go around. In the Bible, God’s love is revealed. The Apostle John in 1 John 4 does not simply say that God loves, but rather that God is love.

How is God love? How is God's love revealed today? How is that relevant to you?

Play or download the video below to hear Alphy the WOWChurch cat explain more and how this affects you as a Christian in the 21st century!

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POD - Psalm 137

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Psalm 137

 

 

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down.

Yes, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

2 On the willows in the midst of it,

We hung up our harps.

3 For there, those who led us captive asked us for songs.

Those who tormented us demanded songs of joy:

"Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing Yahweh's song in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget its skill.

6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,

If I don't remember you;

If I don't prefer Jerusalem above my chief joy.

7 Remember, Yahweh, against the children of Edom,

The day of Jerusalem; Who said,

"Raze it! Raze it even to its foundation!"

8 Daughter of Babylon,

doomed to destruction,

He will be happy who rewards you,

As you have served us.

9 Happy shall he be,

Who takes and dashes your

little ones against the rock.

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Think Spot - 18th March 2019

Luke 2:42-52 - Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.

Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. ; Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.When his parents saw him, they were astonished.

His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." "Why were you searching for me?" he asked.

"Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Matthew 13:53-55 - When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked.  "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?

 

 

Jesus is the ultimate wise man! As we read the Gospels, we see that when Jesus spoke words, people were amazed! They were astounded that He spoke with wisdom, elegance and yet with authority. They had never heard anyone speak like He did - with both grace and authority.

The same is true today, if we are listening. That is why we read the Bible to find out what He would say to us. That is why we seek to hear Him speak to us and why we speak to Him. That is why preaching is to be seen as an act of worship - by both the preacher and the listener! Jesus' wisdom meaning I can ask Him for advice and seek His imagination to solve problems!

As you go into this week ask Jesus to help you, guide and speak to you through the Bible, regardless of what situation you face! Jesus, Son of God, the ultimate wise man!

Prayer

A prayer to help you into this new week. Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ! We thank you for the Bible! We thank you for godly men and women who preach and teach this wisdom of Jesus to us, explaining and exploring how we can put this wisdom into practise! May the Holy Spirit within each believer, rebuke and counsel, as that believer seeks to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ. Amen!

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 23
Who did Jesus say that He was?
The Vine


"I AM the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. (John 15:1).

In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was to be a vine or vineyard. “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, how is the wood of a vine different from that of a branch from any of the trees in the forest? Is wood ever taken from it to make anything useful? Do they make pegs from it to hang things on? And after it is thrown on the fire as fuel and the fire burns both ends and chars the middle, is it then useful for anything? If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred? ‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: as I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.” (Ezekiel 15:1-6).

Juxtaposed against Israel’s failure to be a vine, as we see here from our example from the book of Ezekiel, Jesus states that he is the true vine. Jesus was the reality, whereas Israel was the symbol. As the purpose of a vine is to produce fruit, the focal point is on what it takes to produce fruit (John 15:2). As Christian Disciples, we are to bear fruit by remaining close to Jesus. Why so? Because Jesus is the vine and we as His followers and Disciples are the branches.

And why is the Christian Disciple to bear fruit? As a means of bringing glory to God the Father (John 15:8) and thereby proving their Discipleship. As part of the ultimate mission of Jesus to glorify God the Father (John 12:28, John 17:4), it is imperative that Jesus’ disciples be fruit-bearers. This means that all Christian Disciple are to be his witnesses and therefore a commitment to mission and evangelisation is necessary. That is why the Christian Disciple prays in the Lord’s Prayer “your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 31 - Hebrews 11:13-16 Faith in the dark


All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. NLT.

Church can be very boring, can’t it! (That’s a statement you wont often see.) Perhaps you have been going to church for many years, decades even. Every pastor has a cycle length, that is, after a certain length of time they have said all they know and are really just repeating themselves even when the scripture being preached from is different. A weak pastor may only last for a few months before the repetition starts. Most pastors can only manage a few years. Only those who spend a lot of time studying can keep going beyond the memory of their congregation.

Then the songs or hymns may have become too well known and the tempo of the singing may be so slow it is boring. If the church follows a liturgy it may become increasingly difficult to focus on the liturgy and not what you have got to do in the garden next, or what would be best for the next meal. Perhaps, if the truth were known, most people are turning up in church not for the service but to meet their friends afterwards.

Oh, dear - you will be thinking this is a very jaundiced view of church. Yes, it is. Fortunately we are all people of habit and once the idea is firmly planted in our brains we tend to turn up every week in the hope that things may have changed.

Life will have been very boring for Abraham and family too. Ur to Haran would have been more than 800 miles. Guessing more than a bit - they would have been able to move only about every third day. They would need to send a scouting party ahead to find water and agree where they could pasture their animals. When they did move they would only cover about 8 miles a day with a mixed family party. The net result is that they would have taken about a year to cover the ground that far and they would have to put up and take down their tents about 100 times. All that would be very difficult and rather boring.

Going from Haran to Egypt - they did not stop where they should have done because of famine - is about the same distance. So that would have been a second year of travelling. It’s no wonder that the writer says they did not receive the things promised but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

That was the sort of stickability they showed. Our writer has described that because he thinks we, helped by the Holy Spirit and our knowledge of what Jesus did for us, should show the same sort of stickability.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

15 March 2019

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

A prayer of Bonaventure

Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you,
may the same Spirit rest upon us, bestowing his gifts.

First, grant us the gift of understanding,
by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel,
by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage,
by which we may ward off the Enemy’s attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge
by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety,
by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear,
by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom,
that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

Amen

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Pulp Theology 02

PulpTheology Book

Easter Essentials

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The world as we know has a problem. The Bible clearly shows this but also shows us the solution to the problem. The man of history that we know as Jesus Christ, is the standout person from all of human history. Almost everybody has an opinion about Him. Jesus Christ is incomparable, and yet in human form, we know that during his earthly ministry he had no physical beauty that would draw people naturally to himself. We like to think of Jesus as a baby at Christmas, but so many people forget him after that, pretty much thinking and treating him as a baby. Yet we know that He grew and became a man. Christmas and Easter are inextricably linked together. The person born so He could save the world from itself.

The great God of creation, stepping into His creation as a human, getting His hands dirty with the purpose of reconciling the world back to Himself. WOW! Jesus’ uniqueness meaning that you and I, indeed anybody, can choose to have an active and dynamic relationship with God. I know Him to be personally reliable in every facet of life. As have countless numbers in the last 2000 years, including around the world today.

Inside this little book, we explore together the events of that first Easter some 2000 years ago. We will explore questions such as "What did Easter have to do with the Old Testament?" "Why is there an Easter?" "What happened at Easter to start changing the then known world?" “Why do the events of that first Easter matter to you and me?” Whether you are learning afresh or simply being reminded, come on in!

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WOW Word - Baptism

Baptism

Jesus came and told His Disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make Disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new Disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Baptism is commanded for all who believe in Jesus (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38) and it naturally followed after conversion (Acts 2:37; Acts 10:47; Acts 16:33). But what does it mean?

What is baptism?

Christian Disciples are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3), and into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is to show a total identification with Jesus Christ, whereby Christian Disciples are baptized into His body (1 Corinthians 12:13) and His death (Romans 6:1-6). Our old inherent sinful natures are seen as buried with Christ and we are raised to live a new life with a new nature! Baptism is also a public testimony that Christian Disciples have entered into God’s blessings.

Who should be baptized?

There are two main schools of thought over who should be baptized.

Firstly there is “Believers baptism”, which is for all who confess faith in Christ and is mentioned frequently in the New Testament (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41). This was by full immersion, usually in a river or other public place.

Secondly, there is what is called in some parts of the church as “Christening” or “Infant baptism”. This practice and teaching was also passed down by the Apostles and was current by the time of the early church Fathers, Origen and Tertullian. The basis for Infant Baptism lies in the Old Testament, where the sign of the covenant between God and His people was circumcision of the male babies. Baptism can be thought of as the equivalent in the New Testament and therefore applicable to infants (Colossians 2:6-12).

Suffice to say, that God has used proponents of both opinions! If you have not been baptized and would call yourself a Christian, then go and ask your church leader about how you can undergo this vital part of Christian life.

 

POD - Psalm 64

 

Psalm 64

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

64:1 Hear my voice, God, in my complaint.
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
64:2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
from the noisy crowd of the ones doing evil;
64:3 who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
and aim their arrows, deadly words,
64:4 to shoot innocent men from ambushes.
They shoot at him suddenly and fearlessly.
64:5 They encourage themselves in evil plans.
They talk about laying snares secretly.
They say, "Who will see them?"

64:6 They plot injustice, saying, "We have made a perfect plan!"
Surely man's mind and heart are cunning.
64:7 But God will shoot at them.
They will be suddenly struck down with an arrow.
64:8 Their own tongues shall ruin them.
All who see them will shake their heads.
64:9 All mankind shall be afraid.
They shall declare the work of God,
and shall wisely ponder what he has done.
64:10 The righteous shall be glad in Yahweh,
and shall take refuge in him.
All the upright in heart shall praise him!

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Think Spot - 15 October 2018

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-  the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures  regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David,  and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake. Romans 1:1-5

 

Welcome to Monday and a new week together, where ever you are in the world! A new week for opportunities. The man of history who we know as Jesus Christ is unique - totally and completely unique! Never before and never to be repeated again - ever! Jesus Christ is the standout person from all of history! He is embedded resolutely in human history. In all of human history, Jesus Christ is incomparable!

Yet in human form, we read that during his earthly ministry he had no physical beauty that would draw people naturally to himself. We read that Jesus' body on the cross was disfigured and tortured beyond that of human likeness. His perfect life, His salvation work on the cross and His subsequent rising from the dead, is what makes Jesus Christ unique - a once and for all lifetime Messiah or Saviour for the entire world! 

This great God of creation, stepping into His creation as a human, with the purpose of reconciling the world back to Himself! WOW!! Jesus' uniqueness meaning I can have an active and dynamic relationship with God. As you go into this week may your relationship with God be active and dynamic! Go and thank Jesus Christ for his uniqueness which allows this to occur.

 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 21
The Way, the Truth, and the Life

 

Jesus said to him, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6).

When Jesus issued this statement, the stress of the sentence automatically falls on the words “the way”. This is because Jesus is answering a question posed by Thomas (John 14:5). Jesus Christ has exposed the barrier of sin and death, which prevents a person from entering God’s presence. He explodes this same barrier when a person entrusts in Him for their eternal salvation. Jesus is, who he claims to be “the road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14).

Not only is he the way, but he is also the truth and the life. All of God’s truth is embodied in Jesus Christ who, as both fully God and fully human, was also the ever-living God. Nobody can claim access to God the Father, except through Jesus Himself. Other religions and other so-called paths to God may contain some element of truth about God, but there is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ and Him alone. He is the means of access to God for all people of all cultures and all backgrounds. Jesus welcomes all people of any race, nationality or language. So that in his singular exclusive claims there is an inclusive embrace of all. As Jesus goes on to say in John 14:7, because we know Him we also know God the Father.  Do you know this Jesus personally yet?

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 30 - Hebrews 11:8-19 The obedience of Abraham

 


The obedience of Abraham It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. Hebrews 11:8-19 (NLT)


A few daft people (like my wife and I used to) love to go trekking and sleep on the ground in a small mountain tent. But that is not most people’s idea of an enjoyable way to spend their holidays. The amazing thing about Abraham is that he not only set out on a long trek, sleeping in tents himself but also persuaded all his family, including his father, to do so. It was, of course, the senior male who was expected to decide what should happen. It seems that Abraham was such a strong and forceful character that he was able to determine what happened. It was a quite remarkable thing to do.

They lived in Ur, one of the greatest and best cities of the ancient world, where they would enjoy all the luxuries that were going. In some way, that is not explained, the Lord spoke to Abraham and instructed him to set out with his whole family on a journey to somewhere - he wasn’t told where. They journeyed north, then west, then south round what is known as the fertile crescent, a great arc of land round the deserts to the south. It proved too much for his father Terah, who gave up halfway and settled in the city of Haran. We can only imagine the big arguments that there must have been between Abraham who had received the direct instructions from the Lord about what they were to do and Terah, who hadn’t. Abraham will have been stuck there until his father died and he had complete control of the family.

It was probably in Haran, when the family was stuck there that he received his great commission from the Lord. He, and his descendants, were given the task of bringing blessing to all the world (Genesis 12: 1 – 3). So much had gone wrong. Adam and Eve had disobeyed the Lord, one of their sons had killed the other, the world had become such an evil place the flood was sent to sort it out and finally the tower of Babel had indicated the arrogance and conceit of mankind. To bring blessing to all that sort of thing was an immense task. In fact Abraham and his descendants, the people of Israel failed. Only when Jesus came as the ideal Israelite was any progress possible. But Abraham was not to know that. His job was simply to obey - as he did. We will probably never get as clear and startling a call as Abraham. Which, you may think, is just as well given how comparatively weak I am! But don’t get too comfortable. My wife and I were into our 50s before we got a call to go to Pakistan. We didn’t hear a voice, but received such an amazing sequence of events that it was quite clear what we were being asked - or was it told - to do. We did not realise that the best years of our lives were in front of us. Abraham can scarcely have enjoyed the call he received as much as we did ours.
If the Lord calls you to some surprising and unexpected venture - do not hesitate, GO

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