google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2015 July

Archive for July 2015

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Worship Wednesday

Order of Service

Opening Prayer

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

We praise you and give you glory:

We bless you for calling us to be your holy people.

Amen!

Continuing on, we now have a song.
Today it is

Abigail Miller, singing Lord, I Must Be Yours!



Visit her at: http://www.abigailmiller.com/

(Song originally downloaded at http://www.godlychristianmusic.com)


Bible Talk

The Apostle Paul writing in Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

The Apostle Peter writing in 1 Peter 5:5-6 "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

Those verses probably highlight what those who call themselves the Lord's people are to be and do! Humility! Looking to others first!

Contrast those values to those of the twenty first century society. A society where the prevalent attitude is: "There are no other people. The order is 'me, me and more me! I am far more important and higher than anyone else!'" This is individualism, an individualism where the individual's importance is placed higher than all others! Individualism, which is imbued with self-reliance and personal independence. Even when help and compassion are offered, so often there are strings attached and hoops to be jumped through: "If you do this, we will do this for you." That's the view in 21st century Western countries such as the USA, UK and Australia. Sadly, it is not just within society that this exists, but also within the church and amongst Christians.

How opposite is that view, compared to the view of Peter and Paul in the Bible reading! It is as if we are denying the basic rule of compassion and mercy, which dictates that we, as Christians, are to be serving others, because they are also humans created in the image of God, loved by God and so should be loved unconditionally by those who proclaim to be God's people - the Church. Denying that basic need to others is pure unadulterated selfishness and places others below our own selves.

Individualism within the church, lends itself to hypocritical behaviour and attitudes, which are inconsistent with Scripture and behaviour. Individualism, where you as an individual are placed at the front of the queue, is not loving others and not considering others higher than yourself. It certainly could not be construed as serving other people to always place your own desires above all others. There is an old acronym JOY - Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. So as we live our lives, let us be determined to be counter-cultural, love and serve others, being willing to listen to them and giving them practical support when we can.

Think time

Now a time, where I put before you a couple of questions for you to ponder and think about, before we continue in prayer. Perhaps you could write them down for later.

Q1. In what areas of my life do I usually put myself before other people and sin against them?
Q2. What impact could I make on my church and local community if I was more willing to serve and practically love others, rather than be served and supported by them?

Prayer Time!

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POD - Psalm 108

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Psalm 108


1-2 I'm ready, God, so ready,

ready from head to toe.


Ready to sing,

ready to raise a God-song:


"Wake, soul! Wake, lute!

Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!"


3-6
I'm thanking you, God, out in the streets,


singing your praises in town and country.


The deeper your love, the higher it goes;


every cloud's a flag to your faithfulness.


Soar high in the skies, O God!


Cover the whole earth with your glory!


And for the sake of the one you love so much,
reach down and help me-answer me!



7-9
That's when God spoke in holy splendor:
 "Brimming over with joy,

I make a present of Shechem,
I hand out Succoth Valley as a gift.


Gilead's in my pocket,

to say nothing of Manasseh.
Ephraim's my hard hat,

Judah my hammer.
Moab's a scrub bucket-

I mop the floor with Moab,

Spit on Edom,
rain fireworks all over Philistia."



10-11
Who will take me to the thick of the fight?
Who'll show me the road to Edom?


You aren't giving up on us, are you, God?

refusing to go out with our troops?


12-13
Give us help for the hard task;

human help is worthless.
In God we'll do our very best;

he'll flatten the opposition for good.

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40 Days of Color

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40 Days of Color



The latest Partakers Publication - 40 Days of Color...

A devotional life is important for Christians. A time each day spent learning more about God and developing their relationship with Him. Most of the ways for the doing that are word-based. However an increasing number of people learn and engage more easily with the use of images. This is where this book can help you if that is you. Coloring-in for adults is a fun, relaxing way to engage your innate creativity with your devotional life. Whether just starting a daily devotional life or you want a different way to refresh your daily time with God. Consider it Messy Church for your devotions!

Come inside with Alphy the WOWChurch Cat to see how these daily coloring-in devotionals can stimulate your imagination and develop your relationship with God! It is great for adults but also fabulous for family devotions, spending quality time having fun in this simple way while thinking about God.

Over the 40 Days of Color, we cover Jesus' I AM statements, the Lord's Prayer, the Spiritual Armor and the Fruit of the Spirit.




You can buy on Amazon.co.uk (£5) -  Amazon.com ($10) or at davegroberts.com -

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The normal (Christian) journey of faith


Chapter 11:Journeying through the wilderness




Unless you are very fortunate you will discover that you have to travel through times of spiritual wilderness or desert. These are the times when your spiritual life seems to go dead on you, nothing goes right, you seem to be as far away from the Lord as it is possible to get, you just want to give it all up. It can happen to the best of us! Why should you be any different? But when that happens what can you do to get out of the hole you seem to be in.

On the whole Scripture is not a lot of use here. The reason is not far to seek. The people we read about in Scripture, or who wrote it themselves, tend to be those all action, all vigorous type that are not always quite like us. Paul is not much help. He said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Great – if you have got that far on the Way of faith, but not all of us have; or if you are that sort of strong personality – but not all of us are! To be sure, just occasionally Paul says something that might suggest he did struggle sometimes, things like “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.” Do you agree that he does not sound all together happy when he says things like that?

If all the big guys of Scripture are not much use to us in the desert, then who is?
We might expect it to be the Psalms perhaps. Yet few of the Psalms relate to the wilderness experience that is wholly within us rather than caused by a breakdown between us and other people.
Only Psalm 107:4,5
“Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away”

This could be taken as referring to the sort of problem we would call a desert. And the proffered solution is people in verse 7, “He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.” This, and all the other psalms probably reflects the much more social society of those days. We, in spite of all our communication technology, often feel much more isolated. Loneliness is a very modern disease in many societies. If we are the lonely one we have great difficulty doing anything about it. If we can identify someone else who is lonely we can do a great deal about it by befriending them.

Aside then from the Psalms and a few small comments here and there, the answer seems to come in only 2 places: Jeremiah and the Israelite journey through the desert. Jeremiah struggled a great deal with the tasks the Lord had set before him to do. And we can draw lessons from the experience of the Israelites as they journeyed through a real desert.

First, Jeremiah. He was only a village lad, who lived in a time of great political upheaval for his nation. He never did want to be a prophet. When it became clear to him that the Lord wanted him to be a prophet he said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to him, “Do not say, ‘I am too young. ’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.” Going around the country telling the leaders, including the king, things the Lord wanted them to hear but they did not want to hear was not an easy job, and a distinctly dangerous one. In fact he ended up down a well and was only rescued because one man was brave enough to ask the king to organize his rescue.

So it is not altogether surprising that he says:
Cursed be the day I was born!
May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
Cursed be the man who brought my father the news,
who made him very glad, saying,
“A child is born to you—a son!”
May that man be like the towns
the Lord overthrew without pity.
May he hear wailing in the morning,
a battle cry at noon.
For he did not kill me in the womb,
with my mother as my grave,
her womb enlarged forever.
Why did I ever come out of the womb
to see trouble and sorrow
and to end my days in shame?

This brings one difficult and important message to us. We are not the Lord’s people for our own enjoyment and improvement but because he is the Lord! Our whole culture – at least the one I live in – tells us everything we do should be for our own benefit. And it isn’t the only one to do so. The American Declaration of Independence talks about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Fortunately I know many Americans who have not really taken that pursuit of happiness to heart but have made the service of other people, and the Lord, their primary objectives in life rather than those self-centered ideas.

When we turn to the story of the Israelites travelling through the desert we find less worthy motives for being down. They had no sooner escaped the Egyptian army at the Red Sea than they started complaining when things did not go exactly the way they wanted them to. So we read, “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’” Perhaps that complaint was excusable; it was about water, never more necessary than when you are in a desert.
But then it wasn’t long before “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord ’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” That sounds very like there had been a lack of foresight in preparing enough food for the journey. And so the story goes on with them grumbling, complaining, and blaming poor old Moses for every little problem they encountered. Not clever!

So What?

Wilderness times will come to us at some time, as they came to Jesus. Some of them will not be our fault as they were not for Jeremiah. But some of them will be our fault as they very largely were for the people of Israel. Either way they will be for the same reason: we too need to be tested and hardened by some of our experiences. Of Jesus the writer to the Hebrews said “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” And “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2: 10, 18).

So it is that Peter says, “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”  Which isn’t exactly about a wilderness experience but I am sure you will see why I quote it here.

In the wonderful passage of Isaiah 43, we read:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”

That is not a promise that we shall avoid the rivers, or the fire, but a promise to be with us in those times of supreme difficulty. That promise is for us too. We shall have our difficulties but the Lord will be with us through them.
Thank you, Lord for all the good things you give me, but I do not follow you because of those good things but because you are Lord!


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Partakers Friday Prayers

24 July 2015

Order of Service

1. General Opening prayer

2. Time for your own praise

3. Prayers for the world

4. Prayers for church services worldwide

5. Prayers for others

6. Time for prayers for your own concerns

7. Benediction

General Opening Prayer

Father, as we commence, let our hearts and minds be right before you. We thank for your Son Jesus. It's in His name we offer you these praises, prayers and petitions in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside those who are your children. Amen

Benediction

And now, as we close, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for joining us on Partakers Friday Prayers. If you would like to post a prayer request in the comments below, either named or anonymous, we will pray for you.

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Worship Wednesday


Order of Service

G'day and welcome to Partakers Wednesday Worship on the 22th of July, 2015.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Joy

O Almighty God, great and wonderful are you!
We praise you God the Father that you cares for us!
We praise you God the Son, Jesus Christ, that you are our saviour and mediator!
We praise you God the Holy Spirit,
that you live inside us as a deposit and seal of our salvation!
We praise you Father, Son and Holy Spirit that You are the very givers of life!
We come now to worship you! Amen

Old Testament reading

Psalm 40:16-17

Our LORD, let your worshippers rejoice and be glad.

They love you for saving them, so let them always say,

"The LORD is wonderful!"

I am poor and needy, but, LORD God, you care about me,

and you come to my rescue. Please hurry and help."


New Testament Readings

Luke 6:38 - "Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back-given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

Luke 12:33-34 - "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

Song: Be thou my vision - Julie McMinn

How is your vision of Jesus Christ?

I wonder how your vision of Jesus Christ is? Practically everybody is comfortable with Jesus as a baby. Almost everybody is comfortable with Jesus as a great moral teacher. Just as they are with the Jesus hanging on a cross as the death of a tragic want-to-be hero. Most Christians are comfortable with the Jesus who rose from the dead to new life and then ascended back to the right hand of God the Father. Most Christians are comfortable with the hope that Jesus will come again and that they will be with Him forever.

But if that's your vision of Jesus Christ, the most outstanding man in all of history, then I would suggest that your vision of Jesus is too small, too pre-packaged and preconceived! Let me ask a few questions and see how you respond to them!


  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus that also demands you die to self and live to, and for, Him alone?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who demands that the poor, oppressed and the lonely are taken care of by you?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who is going to call you to account for every word you have spoken or thought and not spoken when you had the opportunity?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who is going to call you to account for every opportunity you have taken in His name or missed taking in His name?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who calls you to serve Him alone and commands that you serve others as part of your service of Him?
  • Are you comfortable with the Jesus who calls you to give, keep giving and trust in Him to supply your needs?

How did you get on? How is your commitment to Jesus Christ? When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and committed to only Him. How is your vision of Jesus Christ now?

Jesus Christ calls people to be totally committed to himself. Perhaps the greatest indicator of your commitment to Jesus Christ is in your giving? How is your giving? Jesus talked about giving quite a lot, as indicated by our readings in Luke 6 and 12. God gave everything so that you may have life and life in abundance. Not for its own sake, but for the sake of Jesus Christ. So by giving generously, you are reflecting that God has given abundantly to you. And a further suggestion is that you don't make a big show of your giving but do it quietly and secretly if you can, so that all the glory goes to God and Him alone.

Giving generously is not just financial. It could be an email, a smile, a touch, a kind word or a phone call. These things too are valuable to the recipient, particularly the lonely and oppressed. Go and give what you can. We are to give generously, but not just to those we like. Just as we are not to love only those we like and get on with. We are commanded to love everybody, particularly our enemies, and give to those in need.

Imagine the impact for the spread of Jesus Christ, if Christians and churches gave like that in their communities! Many people speak that prayer we read from the Old Testament - Psalm 40-v17 - crying out to God for help. It may well be, that you can be God's arms and legs for that person, crying it out to God in prayer. Ask God to expand your imagination to give and then be prepared to follow it and give to others. May your vision of Jesus Christ be enhanced through your imaginative giving!

Lord, in your mercy, expand our imagination to give to all others generously what we can, to be your arms and legs and to be the answer to the cries of somebody else. Amen.

Benediction

May the love of God the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen

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