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Archive for August 2018

Sermon - Joy and Judgement

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Joy and Judgement

Leviticus 9:22-10:3 & 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Introduction

The first seven chapters of Leviticus talk about the different offerings or sacrifices that Israel was to make to God. Then in chapter 8 we see the beginning of the priesthood and the joyful work of Aaron and the priests. Their main role as Priests, was to act as mediators between a holy God and the people of Israel, particularly in the role of making those offerings and sacrifices. In fact, these Priests were the ultimate multi-taskers, as they seemed equally adept as butchers, doctors, teachers, quality assurors and public health inspectors! The passage we have in front of us today shows the culmination of this priestly ordination. Let us witness together a scene of great and exuberant joy!
 
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Highlights in Hebrews

Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 2 - Hebrews 1:1-3
The real history of Jesus


In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

In just these three verses the writer sets out the full story of Jesus. He did not begin in Mary’s womb. He had been around for all the ages since the beginning of this world of ours-and even before that. Jesus was God, part of the Trinity, so he had to have existed before he was born a baby in Bethlehem. In his magnificent opening verses John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Our writer here says in 1:2. “he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Paul, in Colossians 1:16, 17 manages to surpass that when he says:

 
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

It is very difficult to work out how it all worked. Jesus was, at that stage, not human. He was in heaven, working for the creation and establishment of the universe and, in particular, this world. In the Old Testament there are several ways in which aspects of God, parts of his essential identity, are referred to. He is Word, Wisdom and Spirit. John says Jesus was the Word (John 1:1). Matthew strongly hints that he was Wisdom in his 11:19, “ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” He was an integral part of the Spirit as Luke 4:18 says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me”. In Proverbs 8: 30 it is said of Wisdom that at the creation that she was ‘at his side’.

From all these glories Jesus descended that he might provide ‘purification for sins’, a very shorthand way of talking about all he did on this world of ours living as both God and man at the same time. The writer could have spoken of his ministry, his death and his resurrection but he chooses just those three words, ‘purification for sins’, to stand for those the greatest moments, probably just 3 years of them, of all time. Only then did he ascend to heaven and sit down at the right hand of God on high. From then on there was, and is, a man in heaven.

His role there is to ‘hold all things together’ (Colossians 1:17), to look after his people, to direct their prayers, particularly when they run out of ability to pray. There he waits the Father’s signal that it is time for him to return to earth and set up the New Heavens and the New Earth that we are promised. I wonder whether he is impatient for that day to come or whether he rests calmly in the confidence of his Father God.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

2nd October 2015!

Cardinal Desire Joseph Mercier
(1851-1926)

O Holy Spirit,
soul of my soul,
I adore You.

Enlighten, guide,
strengthen and console me.

Tell me what I ought to do
and command me to do it.

I promise to be submissive in everything
that You permit to happen to me,
only show me
what is Your will.

Amen.

 

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Thursday Story - Sharon

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Thursday Story

People meeting Jesus

 

The story of Sharon, from China,

who converted to Christianity from Daoism/Buddhism...

This is in Chinese and English... 

 

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WOW Word 17 - Your Cross

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word - Your Cross

 

Luke 9:23-26 Jesus speaking “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

 

What is our response to this to be? As followers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to count the cost of following Him. That is how we carry our own cross for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to be number one in the life of all those who choose to follow him! Jesus wants supremacy over everything in our lives, including family, friends, and possessions! Alas, that’s a cost too high for some! Here is one man who couldn’t give up something to follow Jesus! Let’s call him Basil. Basil runs up to Jesus and wants eternal life, wants it now and asks Jesus about how to get it. He has fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus. However!

However when Jesus said to Basil that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth and possessions in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, Basil leaves disconsolate and shattered. The life of Basil, this rich young ruler, reflected a life of absorption with his own self-interest and self-importance!. It was a step too far for Basil. He wanted his riches and also everlasting life, but Jesus said he couldn’t have both. He remains the only person that we know of, who left Jesus’ presence sorrowful. That was due to Basil putting his trust in himself, his riches and wealth alone. Now riches, in and of themselves, are not necessarily wrong! But for Basil, well, he was not willing to make the sacrifice required to follow Jesus. He couldn’t count the cost of following Jesus– it was too high a price for him to pay!

What have you given up in and as a result of your decision to follow Jesus? Making sacrifices to follow Jesus is all part of the WOW factor of Jesus. Jesus demands that He is number one and supreme over everything else in your life - yourself, family, others and material goods including money and possessions. How is this done? This is done by consistently ensuring that your works and words match your lifestyle and that no hypocrisy can be found, or indeed will be found. It means standing up for God in the face of adversity. It means loving others even though they hate you.

Just a couple of examples. In the UK, we aren’t systematically persecuted. We are marginalized, ridiculed and ignored but some of our Christian family around the world who daily face death simply because they chose to follow Jesus. They are carrying their cross for Jesus! What about us in the UK? For example: if we as Christians were known by our self-sacrificial love of all others, then Jesus whom we claim to love, follow, worship, and adore would be seen.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote "When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. ... Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Jesus Christ, nor is it hero worship, but intimacy with Christ." (The Cost of Discipleship). Bonnhoeffer knew that as a Christian, a person has to take up their own cross in following Jesus and count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

Finally, let’s look at 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others.” Jesus told us to take up our own cross if we are to follow Him as His Disciple. How is that possible? If we try to do that in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail. If we do that using the power and strength of the Holy Spirit within you, then you will succeed at following Jesus’ command. Are you as a Disciple of Jesus Christ willing to take up your cross? What a difference that would make to the community where you live! 

 

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POD - Psalm 115

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Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness!
Why let the nations say, "Where is their God?"
Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes.

Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound.
And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.
O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.
All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.
The Lord remembers us and will bless us.

He will bless the people of Israel and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord, both great and lowly.
May the Lord richly bless both you and your children.

May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity.
The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord, for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
But we can praise the Lord both now and forever!

Praise the Lord!

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