September 30, 2012

Luke Looks Back 16


Study 16 - Luke 11:14 – 12:12


As they moved towards Jerusalem antagonism to all that Jesus represented grew. There is no clear pattern in this passage. Problem piled on problem; attack followed attack.

Question 1: According to the experts those of us who live in the Western world live in a Christianised, but now post-Christian society and therefore in a situation much less clearly defined than it was in New Testament days. Then they knew who the enemy was. We can be much less sure. Apathy, rather than antagonism is our main enemy. Do you agree? If so, give examples of where this can be seen.

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Our world is clearly Christianized by its historical background. But there is a steady movement to a more secularized society in most of the Western world, showing in slightly different ways in different countries. In the UK this shows in strong arguments in the media that ‘religion’ is to have no role at all in politics or civic life. The adviser to one former Prime Minister announced that ‘we do not do God’. What is called ‘multiculturalism’ is appealed to to prevent any idea that Christianity has a special role in society in spite of it having been dominant for more than 1000 years.

It is important for you, as it is for us, to think through how the culture of the society in which we live interacts with our Christian faith.

Read Luke 11: 14 – 28.

Jesus clearly divides the world he lived in into two warring parts: the Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God (11: 18, 20). (By using a word about war I do not mean that there is any place for physically aggressive fighting in our faith. Defence may be another matter.)

Question 2: Can we divide our world the same way? What are the implications of doing so?

We need to be very careful here. It is all too easy to think where we are is the Kingdom of God and what opposes us is the kingdom of Satan. It may be but it may be just our arrogantly self-centred view of the world. Yet Satan is an all too real force in the world; indeed it is easy to argue that he has been more active than usual in the last 100 years in all the wars, massacres and famines that have plagued the human race.. We ignore him at our peril.

Question 3: When Jesus talks in terms of warfare (Luke 11: 21 – 23) he distinguishes between those who are with him and those who are against him. Where is the front line today between those he describes as ‘with me’ and those ‘against me’?

The answer to this one will vary according to where you live. As a general statement perhaps it is best to say that those, and only those, who are prepared to say “Jesus is Lord” are those who are with us.

Question 4: Luke 11:24–26 suggests that turning over a new leaf is counter- productive. Can you illustrate this from your own experience by citing the case of someone who tried to turn over a new leaf without a spiritual dimension to it and slipped back into their old ways, or worse?

Question 5: In what way does 11: 28 take 10: 39 forward another stage?

Mary was commended for listening. This verse says we must not only hear the word of God – we must do it. And, remember, Jesus means by ‘doing’ action in the world, in loving other people and acting in their support, not just sitting in church and attending worship or praying regularly. There are plenty of other religions in the world which are all about doing the right religious things; none others which are so focussed on our behaviour towards other people.

We read Luke 11:29–36. The emphasis in Luke 11:16 and Luke 11:29–32 is on the absence of any sign except the presence of Jesus. But at least they looked for a sign. If our generation does not do so, the likely judgement on them (or should that be ‘us’) sounds as though it will be grim.

We read Luke 11:37–54. If you belong to an ordinary small Protestant church, as we do, our religiosity may appear to an outsider very vague and unfocussed compared with that of most overtly religious people (high Church of England, RC, Muslim, Mormons, Hindu etc.). We have no liturgy, no splendid ceremonies and ceremonial wear, no prescribed level of contribution, no required standards of behaviour. So we escape the accusations of Jesus in 11: 39 – 52. Yet we are not blameless!

Question 6: For each of the 7 Woes (counting 39 – 41 as the first) think of how they might be reworded to attack our weaknesses (mostly the exact opposite of theirs).

Would the Lord say ‘woe’ to us? I don’t need to tell you what I think the answer to that question would be!

Finally we read Luke 12: 1 – 12. These verses are about is about a demand for a total commitment that is quite frightening. We can (do?) often slide sideways from these statements in a smoke screen of words.

Question 7: Which statement in these verses, Luke 12: 1 – 12,

  • do you find most difficult?
  • do you most encouraging?

Of course the answer to that one is up to you. For me the most difficult is the idea that those who do not follow Jesus will be thrown into hell; and the most encouraging is the fact that God knows all about all the sparrows that squabble in our back garden thinking they are singing when they are making the most awful noise. There is great hope for you and me in that statement.

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September 28, 2012

Friday Prayers


Partakers Friday Prayers!

28th September 2012!

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

  • Opening prayers
  • Confession
  • Praise
  • Petitions
  • Doxology (as sung by Jeff Wooldridge)


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September 26, 2012

Testimony - Adele


Testimony - Adele

Christian testimony

The story of Adele, telling her story of how God rescued her from joining the Jehovah Witnesses cult. Thanks be to God!

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September 24, 2012

Think Spot


Think Spot 24th September 2012

They looked unto Him (The Lord) and they were radiant!” Psalm 34:5

A few years ago I was attending a leaders conference in London and the fellowship was fantastic and so enjoyable. So much so that after the conference was over , some of us returning to the main station near the conference centre said to each other as we parted “Lets covenant to keep in touch with each other” You see we had experienced 'koinonia' fellowship which is much deeper and richer than having a simple chat and a cup of coffee after church. It is a far stronger bond between the two who are in conversation. In just four days coming from many different parts of England we had found an exciting common link between us that we didn’t want to let go . And we kept our word over several years.

On returning to my home that very same day following the Conference, we had expected visitors who had arrived earlier in the day. When I entered the room they were sitting chatting to each other but in an instant when they caught sight of me they said “Where have you been? Your face is radiant.!!” I was slightly embarrassed but said quickly and half jokingly “I have been with the angels.” That wasn’t too far from the truth if you think about it. I had been locked in heavenly company and conversation for four days and enjoyed together long hours of chatting about the Saviour we love and adore. “They looked unto Him and were radiant.” Time passes swiftly when you are enjoying yourself with friends and God that type of koinonia fellowship.

Very recently Joy my wife and I went into our local coffee shop to our daily spot where we share Jesus when one lady whom we had spoken with many times suddenly looked at me and said You are beaming again,I want what you have got.!!” She saw something about me that was different to anything she had experienced in her own life before and she wanted it.

Friends, people outside the church say to us “Show us God and we will believe in Him” Of course God is not going to come down and show Himself in a physical form just to prove His existence is He?. Actually He did once when Jesus Christ His Son lived here for 33 years. He has many ways of manifesting Himself but especially through us. What do I mean? Listen to the apostle Paul who said “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Also he encouraged us with these words, He said “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” In the Sermon on the Mount (which incidentally is for believers) Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.

You and I as born again Christians have Someone to show to the world haven’t we ? How? He is living in us, right?.So we need to become more transparent and Jesus become more apparent in our daily lives. Then they will see God in and through us!! and hopefully say what the lady said in the coffee shop “I want what you've got” Go on, be bold, be strong, show Jesus to whoever you meet today and may they give you the same response. Smile, be generous, listen carefully to them and don’t do all the talking. , be practical and help in whatever way you can, go the extra mile and pray with them there and then if possible, as they may share their worries with you, give encouragement and be like Jesus to them. Lets all Shine for Jesus and help change the world. “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me all his compassion and purity.” Take care , God bless you and have a wonderful day.

Joys Prayer

Yes Lord that's our prayer today. Lord shine through me. Make me a radiant Christian for you. I have so much to tell them of the great things you have done for me. I have peace, joy and such love I want to give all three to all I meet today. Lord make them receptive to You in me. May I be able to say today without fear “I am not ashamed to own my Lord or to defend His cause” Lord may your radiant beauty be upon me for your very names sake. Amen.

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September 23, 2012

Luke Looks Back 15


Study 15 - -Luke 11:1-13

Praying to the Father

A disciple asks a question about prayer and although he gets a model prayer he also gets much more.

First the prayer. We read 11: 1 – 4.

This is a shorter version of the prayer than Matthew’s. Matthew starts off with ‘our Father in heaven’ instead of just ‘Father’. Matthew introduces the prayer after warning his disciples against showing off in praying, long words and many words. I doubt whether he would want us to keep on repeating this particular set of words either. He wants honest heart prayers in our ordinary every day language. One good idea is to pray along the pattern he has given us but rewording it as we go. So we might start off: ‘Dear Lord and Father I am so amazed that you have asked me to address you like this’ or ‘may I call you Father this morning even if you seem rather far away just at the moment’ or ‘ you are in heaven and I am stuck here on earth but please hear what I have to say’.

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Question 1: Think up 2 other ways you might start your prayer. Something like:’ I want to honour your name and who you are this evening as I pray – help me to do it by your spirit, please’ and an infinite number of other possibilities.

‘each day’ (11: 3 NIV) is a rare word in the Greek which may mean ‘today’ ‘tomorrow’ or ‘enough for the day’.

Question 2: To which OT incident is it likely to refer? A cynic might ask whether this prayer is necessary in the day of the supermarket (at least in the world’s better off countries).

The giving of manna and quail in Exodus 16 is being referred to. The owners of the supermarket probably think they filled the shelves but a greater than them, the Lord, organised the natural world for them to plunder! Question 3: Praying for the coming of the Kingdom could be dangerous. Why? What effect should praying like that have on us? What might it look like if it came and was openly apparent, as it is not now?

It might come and where would we be then? If we have placed our trust in Jesus we shall enjoy the fruits of his faithfulness, but if not, not. If we ask for the coming of the kingdom we must live in kingdom style now, or else we are hypocrites. No one knows what it will look like with any certainty; all we do know is that it will surpass our wildest dreams.

Question 4: Is it necessary to forgive every one who sins against us before we receive forgiveness from the Father?

No. To say that would contradict every other place where forgiveness is mentioned in the Bible. What it means is that if we expect to be forgiven we need to live in the world of forgiveness. In the same way if we want to be loved by God we need to live in the world of love, which is what John meant when he said: Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. We read 11: 5 – 13.

There is a problem in 11: 8. The NIV has ‘the man’s boldness’ but that is probably not as good as the TNIV ‘your (the person knocking’s) shameless audacity’ and even that is probably not right. The root meaning of the word being translated is ‘ avoidance of shame’ but In the original it is not ‘the man’s’ or ‘your’ but ‘by him’, which can refer to the person knocking or the one in the house being woken up. So it may mean that the person getting up has to do so in order not to lose honour and be shamed. It is amazing that Jesus used a parable in which the Lord God is shamed but that is the most likely meaning of this passage. Our experience of answers to prayer is probably not the same as is expressed in this passage. For something slightly different I will read out 10 statements we might make, or hear other people make, about prayer. I will pause very briefly after each and you can say ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ after each. Then my comment will follow. Keep in mind what we have just read that Jesus said.

1) If we nag the Lord we will get whatever we want. Paul didn’t think so when he only prayed 3 times for his thorn in the flesh to be taken away. No, then. (2 Cor 12: 8!)

2) If we don’t get what we want it is because of our lack of faith. No it isn’t according to Jesus (Lk 13: 1 – 5).

3) All night prayer meetings are always more effective than one hour ones. Not according to Jesus in Matthew 6, but yes according to him in this passage. So it must depend on circumstances and attitudes.

4) Jesus was only making a point to antagonists in these verses – note that he calls his hearers evil in v 13. There may be some truth in this but it is a series of promises even if we find it difficult to see how they actually work out in our every day lives. Maybe, then.

5) Prayer is about learning to align ourselves with the will of God. If we do so successfully we shall ask and receive. This is the gift of discernment. Yes. Definitely true.

6) Prayer is always answered but God in his wise providence often gives us the opposite of what we ask for. Possibly true but it can be the way some people try to get past the fact that they feel they don’t always get answers to prayer at all. So, maybe.

7) Saying ‘if it is your will’ is a simplistic cop-out. Well, yes, it often is.

8) The struggle of prayer is not a struggle with God (like Jacob at the brook Jabbok, as often asserted) but with ourselves (as even Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemane) bending our wills to obedience. Yes. Very, yes.

9) Some people with wonderful tales of answered prayer may be adept at only seeing what they want to see. Unfortunately that does often seem to be the case.

10) We may expect our prayers to be answered only if we have a deeper sense of the Fatherhood of God than of our own need. No! In his abundant grace and goodness the Lord will often answer prayers from even his frailest servants, like you and me.

I think passages like this are very difficult, particularly for those of us who live in the cynical, Western world. My questions probably reflect the fact that this is where I live. Those of you who live in a more spiritually open society may wonder why I appear to be so negative. If so, just treasure what you have got and pray for those of us who are not so well off spiritually.

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September 21, 2012

In memory…

Come and spend 2 minutes in Memory of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes murdered on Tuesday 18th December while on duty...

May they rest in peace and rise in glory...

May the families and friends receive the peace, counsel, comfort and consolation of God...

You can read about them by clicking on the image below...


(Image copyright to BBC)

September 19, 2012

WISE - Heaven



What is heaven like? People, both believers and non-believers have an opinion about Heaven! To some its where everybody will meet up after death providing they weren't too bad in this earthly life! The caricature of the comedians is that heaven will be floating around on clouds and playing a harp! So what does the Bible, the foundation for all serious Christian thought, have to say about heaven?

Physical Place:

The first thing to say is that Heaven is a physical place! The Bible describes Heaven as a House (John 14:2); a Kingdom (Matthew 25:34); Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4); Holy City (Revelation 21:2)!. These are all descriptions of Heaven's physical properties!


Now, look & listen at all these characteristics the Bible offers about heaven! Joy (Luke 15v7-10); Rest (Revelation 14:13); Peace (Luke 16:19-25); Righteousness (2 Peter 3:12); Service (Revelation 7:15); Reward (Matthew 5:11-12); Inheritance (1 Peter 1:4); Glory (Romans 8:17-18). No sitting around on clouds there - for instance: service implies working!

Who is it for and who can enter?

Who is it prepared for and who can enter Heaven? It is for all those recorded in the Book of Life (Malachi 3:16-18; Philippians 4:3); the Righteous (Matthew 5:20); the obedient (Revelation 22:14) and those who are declared holy (Revelation 19v8). People enter heaven through giant gates of pearl (Revelation 21:21). A pearl is formed as an oyster suffers, covering a grain of irritating sand, until the irritation ceases. Now what do you think the suffering was that created these giant pearls that are the gates? It can only be the cross and the incredible suffering and pain that Jesus endured upon it. It is only through the death of Jesus on the cross that you can be declared holy and righteous! Only those who have been declared holy will be able to stand in the presence of Almighty God!

Christian Attitude

As a Christian Disciple, your current attitude towards heaven should be to desire (2 Corinthians 5:2-8), eagerly keep watch for (2 Peter 3:12) and to put your treasure there (Luke 12:32)!

We also see from the Bible that Heaven is prepared, and a pure place!

Prepared: Jesus promised us "I am going to build a place for you" (John 14:1-4). Jesus has been working on heaven for almost 2000 years!! Jesus has prepared a place for those who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King. He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us.

Pure: Heaven is also a pure place (Revelation 21:1-4). Today we all suffer in some way. When our King returns, no more will man's inhumanity to man be allowed. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin. Perfection attained and it is to the glory of an Almighty and merciful God, that this will occur.

What does this mean now?

All this doesn't mean you are not to be so heavenly minded, that you are of no earthly use. Rather, you are not to be so earth bound, that you are not tied to Jesus in your eternal home - heaven! Won't you tell somebody today, about heaven and how they can get there with you?


Q1. Read Luke 10:20. How can I help others to have their names written in Heaven?

Q2. Read 2 Peter 3:12. How am I looking forward to Heaven?

Q3. Read Revelation 2:7-11. What do I need to in order to be an “overcomer?”

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September 17, 2012

Think Spot


Think Spot 17th September 2012

Who is the attraction in your church

Alice was a sweet little girl and always had a ready answer or queston when we came together for Bible study. One day I was talking of the church services and the need to have more people join us. How shall we get them there I asked the group. I went on to make suggestions. “Shall we have big sessions? Alice looked at me in amazement. “I went on we need entertainment in the house of God to get them there don’t we? Alice looked angry now. “No way,” she said “there should only be one attraction in the House of God” I enquired what that should be” “You have got it wrong Mr Allis not what but Who that should be” I enquired again “And Who is that?” She couldn't now contain herself and “the words poured out with absolute confidence and desire, “Why, God Himself of course!”

By now you would realise I hope that my whole purpose in speaking to her in this way was in fact to draw out that answer from one of my group but it was the way she said it that really pleased me and prepared me for this present day in which we live where all manner of things go on in church buildings in the name of Christianity which are not God honouring and even His very name is sometimes limited in the presentation of what is supposed to be the gospel. Do you think I am exaggerating. I think not. Where is the conscience of God's people today? Where is the God awareness that is vital in church meetings? What are the the thoughts of the worshipper as they make their way to their church building? Pleasing man or pleasing God?

We live in a day described in Paul’s letters to Timothy as to what will be going on in later days when God's become people tired of listening to His precious authoritative word and simply wanting to listen to what their itching ears wanted to hear rather than what God wanted them to hear. What kind of image do people have in their minds when they come to church? Whatever is served up we will accept? Or We come to glorify God and if that is interfered with we shall be disturbed. Perhaps there is a growing complacency, The only thing concerning them is increasing the numbers attending churches? How we need to see that the content of the service and the desire to meet with God is of paramount importance isn’t it. I leave you with those searching questions. Take care and enjoy your new week.

Joys Prayer

Gracious God and loving Heavenly Father we want your name to be honoured in our church. We want the name of Jesus Christ to be lifted high and haven’t you said Lord “If I be lifted up I shall draw all men to myself” Lord may we see afresh today that we need to do things your way and not invent ways and means of getting people to church. You will honour your truth in your Word forgive us for doing things our way and put us right in our thinking. You are holy thrice holy as well as being our Friend. for Jesus Sake. Amen.

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September 16, 2012

Luke Looks Back 14


Study 14 - Luke 10:25-42

Loving God and Neighbour

The parable of the Good Samaritan is usually considered by itself. It should not be! It is part of a pair with the story of Mary and Martha. The two go together because in the original Greek the stories are about 'a certain lawyer' (v 25) and 'a certain woman' (v 38).

The two sayings of Jesus that conclude the stories are: in 37b 'Go and do likewise' and in 42b 'Mary has chosen what is better'.

Question 1.  Which saying is the more important in popular thinking and preaching? Which does the words Jesus used suggest is the more important?

There is a great deal more interest in the story of the good Samaritan because of its simple brilliance as a story and the way it can be taken as an example by anybody, Christian or not. Everybody recognizes that they should help other people; not everybody is prepared to listen to Jesus as Mary did. Yet the words that Jesus used strongly suggest that the latter is the more important.

Before we read the verses let's think about the structure a bit. The famous parable is set within two short dialogues, the first in 25 - 28 and the second in 29, 36 and 37. Both dialogues have the same, quite natural, formats: 1) a question from the lawyer; 2) a challenging question in reply from Jesus; 2') an answer to Jesus from the lawyer; 1') an answer to the lawyer from Jesus. The well-known parable is inserted before the question of Jesus in the second dialogue.

We read the first dialogue: Luke 10:25 - 28.

Did you get the pattern?

And the second dialogue: Luke 10:29, the story, 36, 37.

What a wonderful teacher Jesus was! Wouldn't it be good if all teachers were as good as he was at getting people to answer their own questions!

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Question 2. In the first dialogue the answer of Jesus in v 28 does not exactly answer the lawyer's question in v 25. What significance can you see in the discrepancy? What does this tell us about the nature of eternal life?

The lawyer asked about eternal life. Jesus answered about life, a good life maybe but still only about life. What the Gospel's call 'eternal life' Jesus says starts in the here and now with a good life lived in this present world. That good life is a life of following him.

It is time to read the famous parable. Luke 10:30 - 35 and the conclusions Jesus draws in 36, 37.

Some things usually missed:

a) The lawyer's question in the first dialogue (v 25) is deeply flawed: one can do nothing to inherit.

b) The parable does not answer the lawyer's question in the second dialogue (v 29) but a slightly different one: 'Which of these three became a neighbour'.

c) The priest would have been rich, therefore on horseback contrasting the Samaritan's donkey.

d) The Samaritan would have risked his life taking a wounded Jew into a Jewish town, where the inn would necessarily have been. The men in the street might well have thought he was responsible for wounding the man and started to attack him before finding out what really happened.

Question 3.  Who is the Samaritan portraying? How does this relate to the point about the danger to the Samaritan going into a Jewish town?

Jesus is the Good Samaritan. All others aiming to copy the story are simply following his example. This is another point about the story often missed. In coming into this world Jesus fully accepted all the danger that was to him. He died on the Cross to rescue those who are wounded: physically, spiritually, morally.

Moving on to the second story: to put this story of Mary and Martha in context: the Jewish Rabbis said 'let thy house be a meeting place for the Sages and sit amidst the dust of their feet and drink in their words with thirst ... but talk not much with womankind.'

We read Luke 10:38 - 42.

In that culture a teacher sat to teach and a student, necessarily male, stood to recite and sat to learn.

Question 4.  How does Luke indicate that things were not as they would have expected them to be?

Mary was sitting and listening. We can only imagine what the reaction of the men who wanted to be around Jesus might have been. Horror, shock, disgust, amusement - perhaps just a few of them would praise her for what she did.

We are dominantly either doers or hearers: the Samaritan or Mary. By putting these two stories together Luke, and Jesus, are presumably saying that we ought to be both.

Question 5.  How can the doers learn to listen better? How can the hearers learn to be more practically active?

These things are a matter of intent and will. Doers can always say 'I'm too busy' and hearers can say 'Ill do it tomorrow when I have finished listening'. Only if we are prepared to listen to what the Word of God is saying to us will we be all that we should be.

Question 6.  How does verse 42a provide a complete answer to the lawyer's original question in verse 25?

If we truly follow Jesus all the rest will fall into place. We are never told whether the lawyer did set out to follow Jesus. We know that Jesus told him what he needed to do. Some of us need the same advice: 'go and do likewise'.  Some of us need to copy the example of Mary more closely.

Which category do you fall into: more action or more meditation?

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September 14, 2012

Friday Prayers


Partakers Friday Prayers!

14th September 2012

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 Anselm

Lord, because you have made me,

I owe you the whole of my love;

because you have redeemed me,

I owe you the whole of myself;

because you have promised so much,

I owe you my whole being.


Moreover, I owe you as much more love

than myself as you are greater than I,

for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself.

I pray you, Lord,

make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge;

let me know by love what I know by understanding.


I owe you more than my whole self,

but I have no more,

and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you.

Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love.

I am wholly yours by creation;

make me all yours, too, in love.

(Anselm 1033-1109)

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