google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2019 February

Archive for February 2019

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Thursday Story

People meeting Jesus

 

The story of Malcolm Muggeridge...

Today we are looking into the 20th Century again, this time at Malcolm Muggeridge. He was, by his own volition and renown, a determined sceptic and vocal non-believer. Until that is, he encountered Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Come and listen to his story of faith...

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WOW Word 47 - Holiness

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Holiness

I wonder what the biggest fence, wall or barrier is that you have either seen or that you know about! Perhaps one of the biggest walls in the world is the Great Wall of China. It is seen from space and is over 4000 miles long, about 25 feet high and up to 30 feet thick! It is huge and enormous!! It was built to keep out invaders – for that is what walls and barriers do: Keep out enemies!

Holy Barrier

However big the Great Wall of China is, there is one barrier that is even bigger! I wonder if you know what it is!! The biggest barrier to exist is the one, which separates God from all His creation. This barrier is holiness, for God is a holy God. Ezekiel 1:27-28 gives us a vivid picture of the holiness of God and is seen in the fire, light, radiance, full of glory and majesty.

What is holiness?

Holiness is what separates God from all His creation. For God alone is holy and full of glory. Exodus 15:2 “Who is like you, O God, glorious in holiness!” Or Isaiah 60:25 “To whom will you liken me, or shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Holiness is also a moral attribute of God, of purity and freedom from the stain of ALL sin. Habakkuk 1:13 “of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon sin. Holiness is still more than that! It is in fact the sum of all His attributes! God is holiness and holiness is God!

Holy People:

Perfect holiness, while to us is inconceivable, has been revealed; revealed in the sinless man, Jesus Christ. As a Christian, you also are declared holy! That is because of what Jesus did on the cross… He has broken down the barrier between God and man. And if you are a Christian, you are declared holy, and therefore you are to live a holy life worthy of Jesus Christ.! As a Christian, the Holy Spirit is transforming you into the very image of the holy one, Jesus Christ. As a Christian, you are no longer an enemy of God but a friend of God and belong to God! So live out your faith and live your Christian Discipleship in holiness.

 

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POD - Psalm 143

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Psalm 143

 

A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.

5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

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Think Spot - 25th February 2019

 
As a Christian, you are to be a little Jesus! In your local communities, wherever you happen to live, work, study or be! You are to live a life of obedience, of and to, Jesus Christ! For you are being transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives inside you! You are to be totally and willingly obedient to Him! Obedience, not out of some kind of slavish duty or ritual, but obedience borne from willingly loving God and loving others.

Imagine
People will know you are a follower of Jesus, if you are obedient to Him, practically showing love to all! Imagine the community where you are transformed for Jesus Christ! Imagine your community filled with people seeking to know about our Jesus, because you and other Christians were sacrificing their time and possessions! Imagine the communities you are involved with wanting to give Jesus the glory and honour in every aspect of life!

Transformation

Transformed communities of people devoted to Jesus and experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing people back to God the Father! Loving God and loving each other as He commanded would help do this in your local community!

Be Obedient! Be bold! Be strong! Be courageous! But you need to be lovingly obedient to Jesus Christ in both small and large things. Jesus said in John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

You will face pressure to disobey Him, even sometimes from those within your church. But if He has commanded you to do something for Him, you are to obey Him. It is far better to obey God and disappoint people than to obey people and disobey God.

Go into this week, lovingly willing to be obedient to God! Trust in Him and ask Him for the strength to be lovingly obedient to Him. He will help as you ask! It can sometimes be very difficult to be obedient to God, particularly as some people, even other Christians, will try to get you to disobey. Be strong in the Lord! Be bold! Be courageous! Need help? Then ask somebody to pray with you! Then be prepared for opportunities to be lovingly obedient to Jesus – in small and big things!

A prayer to help you this week.


Father, help us to live obediently to you. May the Holy Spirit encourage us as we seek to live worthily of Jesus Christ, in loving obedience to Him. Father, it is in His name we pray and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 20
Who did Jesus say that He was?

"The Gate and the Good Shepherd"

 


“Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I AM the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:7-11, 14-15).


Throughout the Old Testament, God is revealed as a shepherd and his people are the sheep of his keeping. The sheep are always God’s, even though he temporarily entrusted them to people such as Moses to care and tend them. Therefore, Moses and others like him, such as the true prophets, were forerunners to Jesus. Here Jesus proclaims that he is the door or gate to salvation. It is through Jesus that salvation is found and through Him alone as the door or gate that people are led safe and sound into spiritual freedom, spiritual light and spiritual sustenance.

Unlike others who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus offers spiritual safety and nourishment. Jesus does not just offer a way out, but also a way in. The security offered by Jesus is because he is always near those who follow Him. Jesus calls all those who follow Him by name (John 10:3) and they know each other.

Jesus is the great shepherd only through the sacrifice he must make for his sheep. Here Jesus is looking ahead to the sacrifice he will make on the Cross. His love for all of humanity compels Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Just as all shepherds will endanger themselves for the safety of their sheep, so too will Jesus endure the pain and suffering of the Cross, so that people can be led into the safety of God’s kingdom. It is in this role of shepherd, that Jesus exhibits true leadership, which is self-less and sacrificial. Ezekiel 34:11 tells of God searching out for his sheep among all nations, and this is fulfilled through Jesus. Through his perfect, obedient and voluntary sacrifice on the Cross, not only will salvation be available to the Jews but also to those of other nations (John 10:16).

 

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 28 - Hebrews 10:32-39 Not everything goes well!

We are holy!

… recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:32-39)

There seems to be a strong tendency, at least in this country, to think that becoming a Christian and setting out to follow Jesus is a cure for all the problems we may otherwise have. That is not the way it works! Life for us is not likely to be as difficult as it was for the people this book is written to. We do not know exactly where they lived or what their background was ,but it is clear from this passage that not everything had been easy for them. They were probably Jews, since the book is called ‘to the Hebrews’ so they may well have had a lot of trouble from other Jews who did not believe in Jesus. Very soon after the foundation of the Christian church there was a lot of conflict between Jews and Christians, Paul being one of the chief culprits. Before long the Christians were thrown out of the synagogues all together. Then the ordinary citizens of the Roman empire will not have liked being shown up for the self centred and unpleasant people many of them were. It sounds as though the early Christians had a ministry to prisoners, which was not well received by other people. They had things stolen from their houses and could get no support from any judicial powers to recover what was stolen. Since this is going out all over the world some things like those may be your experience but that is not all that likely.

Our problems may be much more ordinary and personal. Perhaps they are physical, we simply are not well, or are suffering the products of old age and their tendency to drag us down. They may be social as we struggle with family, friends and enemies. They may be psychological and mental – there is no guarantee we will avoid such things by following Jesus. We should be better off as Christians as we turn away from bad habits of drinking or drugs and seek to follow a generally better life style. But following Jesus is not a general cure for all ills.

Why then should we follow Jesus? If not for our personal improvement, why? The answer is simple and devastating: because he is who he is. He is the Lord. He is the King of the Kingdom. He is the Lord of creation and of this world’s continuing existence. We should set out to follow Jesus because of who he is and not because of who we are. If, indeed, we did start to follow him from purely selfish motives he is a good and loving Saviour who will allow you to learn what your motives should have been and slowly, as you come to understand more, change your motives to those that they should have been in the first place. We can still ‘have faith and preserve our souls’ (10: 39) and receive a ‘better possession and an abiding one’ (10: 34) and receive the ‘great reward’ that ‘is promised’ (10: 35, 36). The necessary ‘endurance’ (10: 36) can be ours even if we did not really start for the best and right motives.

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Friday Prayers

22 February 2019

Order of Service

 Opening prayer

Praise time

Prayers for those grieving and lonely

Prayers for justice and peace

Prayers for those facing challenging situations

Prayers for churches and Christians worldwide

Prayers for healing

Time of silence for your own prayers

Benediction

 

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Thursday Story - CS Lewis

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Thursday Story

People meeting Jesus

 

The story of CS Lewis...

We continue apace into the twentieth century and hear the story of perhaps one of the foremost Christian thinkers of our age – CS Lewis. Let’s look together at how and why he started his own Christian journey and the relevancy of Jesus Christ to his life! It may not be what you have heard it said to be! Come and listen to his story of faith...

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WOW Word 27 - Serving

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 37. Serving

Serving God and serving other people is the mark of a spiritually mature Christian Disciple. Did you know that? For it is through serving, that the Christian Disciple reflects the greatest servant of all - Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came to serve and to give his life for others.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Philippians 2:5-8 - In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!

As followers and partakers of Jesus, Christian Disciples are to be as Jesus Christ and to serve. Yet if we are honest, we sometimes feel incapable. That is because we forget that God the Holy Spirit is within us to empower us to obediently serve God and serve others.

Go Serve!

As a Christian Disciple, a partaker of Jesus Christ, you are called to a life of service: serving God and other people. Your church is to be a body of people, where each person is to have a serving function – serving God and serving others. Why serve others? By serving others as a church, a group of people, it shows unity and solidarity to those outside of the church who frequently accuse the church of infighting and “devouring one another”.

The Christian life is not to be static or inactive, but rather it is to be dynamic and active. The word ‘servant’ is key in Scripture. It is used at least 500 times in its various derivations. Spiritual growth comes from serving, rather than being served. This is because what ever is given in service of God and others, faith grows and Jesus Christ gives back even more. Jesus speaking in Matthew 25:15-30 tells of the rewards for faithful service and the penalties for being faithless. Serving others is a sign that you, as a Christian Disciple, trust God and are having faith in Him.

In serving others, you fulfil the command that Jesus gave to love God and love others. Showing love and serving each other through your Spiritual Gifts and giving, achieves this aim of obedience to Jesus. As the church, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part. That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God.

When you, as a disciple and partaker of Jesus Christ, serve in any capacity, then God’s honour is released. This is done because service shows the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ to those being served and to those watching. That is to be our motive for service. Serving is never about what you can get out of it. When that is the motive, God is patently not glorified. God’s glory and supremacy is the goal of all those who would call themselves a Christian Disciple.

So go … serve. How’s that for a WOW Word?

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POD - Psalm 83

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Psalm 83

A song. A Psalm by Asaph.

83:1 God, don’t keep silent. Don’t keep silent, and don’t be still, God.
83:2 For, behold, your enemies are stirred up. Those who hate you have lifted up their heads.
83:3 They conspire with cunning against your people. They plot against your cherished ones.
83:4 “Come,” they say, “and let’s destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
83:5 For they have conspired together with one mind. They form an alliance against you.
83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagrites;
83:7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
83:8 Assyria also is joined with them. They have helped the children of Lot.

Selah.

83:9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the river Kishon;
83:10 who perished at Endor, who became as dung for the earth.
83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb; yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna;
83:12 who said, “Let us take possession of God’s pasturelands.”
83:13 My God, make them like tumbleweed; like chaff before the wind.
83:14 As the fire that burns the forest, as the flame that sets the mountains on fire,
83:15 so pursue them with your tempest, and terrify them with your storm.
83:16 Fill their faces with confusion, that they may seek your name, Yahweh.
83:17 Let them be disappointed and dismayed forever. Yes, let them be confounded and perish;
83:18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth.

 

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