March 31, 2021

Easter 2021 - Part 03

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Easter 2021

Part 3: Jesus' Plans

1a. He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All testified about him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

(Luke 4:16-22)

1. Introduction

From that time till his last night, during His 3 years of ministry, Jesus has preached the good news of God’s salvation to reconcile people back into relationship with Almighty God. Through the cross, His mission will be fulfilled.

Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles were the three most important feasts on the Jewish calendar (Leviticus 21). All Jewish men were expected to visit Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). The Passover Feast was to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and it was a time for remembering and rejoicing (Exodus 11-12). Of all the events that took place that night, we have only time to look at three of them – Jesus plans, Jesus prepares and Jesus serves.

2. Jesus Plans and is betrayed

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:1-6)

 

We see the plans of Jesus Himself revealed as well as the plans of His enemies. Come! Download and listen to the podcast to find out more regarding Jesus' Final Plans.

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March 30, 2021

Easter 2021 - Part 02

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Easter 2021

Part 2: Jesus' Final Prayers

“Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: Father, it's time. Display the bright splendour of your Son So the Son in turn may show your bright splendour. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendour, the very splendour I had in your presence before there was a world. (John 17:1-5)


Yesterday we learnt about Jesus’ final teaching – teaching his disciples about the Kingdom and his going back to the Father via the cross. Now, Jesus quite rightly now turns to prayer. Let’s look together at what Jesus prays, recorded for us in John 17.

This prayer is probably the pinnacle of revelation in John’s gospel. Here we see Jesus’ very words, revealing an unparalleled intimacy with His Father.
1. Jesus prays for Himself (John 17:1-5)
2. Jesus prays for His disciples (John 17:6-19)
3. Jesus prays for all Disciples to come (John 17:20-26)

This scene, as portrayed by John, shows the importance of prayer and how when doing anything for the glory of God, it must be covered in prayer.

If the world sees Christian Disciples loving others sacrificially, then unity is seen and it is an effective witness to the reality of reconciliation with God, and a vibrant living relationship with Him. It is also imperative that prayer covers all the work of the church and the Christian – prayer is the foundation and the backbone, just as prayer was the strengthener for Jesus as He faced the cross. Without praying so earnestly that he sweated drops of blood, do you think He could have maintained the cross and its supreme significance for humanity?

Come! Download and listen to the podcast to find out more regarding Jesus' Final Prayers.

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March 29, 2021

Easter 2021 - Part 01

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Easter 2021

Part 1: Jesus' Final Teaching

“But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.” (John 16:5-7)


In these last few chapters before He is crucified, Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples and giving them some final teaching before He departs. Several times the Gospel writer records that Jesus has told them He is going away (John 13:33; John 14:3-4, 19, 28). Let’s look together at what Jesus teaches his disciples!

1. Disciples must bear fruit for the kingdom! (John 15:1-16)
2. Disciples will have opposition (John 15:17-27)
3. Disciples will have resources in the Kingdom (John 16)

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March 28, 2021

Sermon - Remember

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Colossians 3v1-4

“Remember Who You Are!”

During last week, I attended the funeral of a friend, mentor and editor. This friend is now more alive than ever before! Why? That is explained here from Colossians 3:1-4. 

 

If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

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March 27, 2021

Saturday Story - Sharon

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The story of Sharon

The story of Sharon, from China, who converted to Christianity from Daoism/Buddhism. Please do listen to the mp3 online or takeway as a download... If you find this story encouraging, please do leave a comment... Thank you...

 

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March 26, 2021

WOW Word 07 - Partaker

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Partaker

Today's WOW Word is Partaker! So come hear what Alphy the WOWChurch Cat has to say about the Christian being a Partaker! To partake, or to be a partaker of something, can mean at least three things:

  1. having the qualities or attributes of something
  2. having, giving or receiving something
  3. to consume

Jesus Christ was a Partaker! Did you know that? He was a Partaker, in so much as that when He became human, He adorned human flesh and blood! WOW!

Come hear more by playing and/or downloading the mp3 audio!

 

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March 25, 2021

Prayer - Psalm 91

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Psalm 91

91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

91:2 I will say of Yahweh, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust."

91:3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
and from the deadly pestilence.

91:4 He will cover you with his feathers.
Under his wings you will take refuge.
His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.

~

91:5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day;

91:6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
nor of the destruction that wastes at noonday.

91:7 A thousand may fall at your side,
and ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.

91:8 You will only look with your eyes,
and see the recompense of the wicked.

~

91:9 Because you have made Yahweh your refuge,
and the Most High your dwelling place,

91:10 no evil shall happen to you,
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.

91:11 For he will put his angels in charge of you,
to guard you in all your ways.

91:12 They will bear you up in their hands,
so that you won't dash your foot against a stone.

~

91:13 You will tread on the lion and cobra.
You will trample the young lion and the serpent underfoot.

91:14 "Because he has set his love on me,
therefore I will deliver him.
I will set him on high,
because he has known my name.

91:15 He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him, and honor him.

91:16 I will satisfy him with long life,
and show him my salvation."

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Once again, we are praying a prayer together concerning the Corona Virus Pandemic. I am sure each of us knows somebody who has contracted this virus, if indeed they succumbed to it, and has died because of it. Come! Let's pray together!

O great God, as you know,
we are in the midst of this wretched COVID-19 global pandemic.

O Great Comforter,
embrace those grieving the loss of loved ones and wipe their tears.

We don’t know the right way to combat this pandemic,
but we know and trust that you do.
Therefore, give wisdom and courage to all those involved
in its treatment, prevention, cure and vaccine,
including our government and leaders.

May the vaccines be distributed diligently, justly, quickly and efficiently.
We thank you O God that they were prepared by wise people.

We thank you for all those caring for others during this time –
carers, nurses, medics and others.
May you O God, give them courage and wisdom.

Amen

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March 23, 2021

Chocolate Christianity

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Chocolate Christianity

Have you ever noticed that chocolate melts under pressure & heat? If you haven't, take a piece of chocolate and hold it between your fingers! It will soon melt! If you are a Christian, you need to be active in your local church so that you don't melt under pressure and you will remain firm in your faith! Otherwise you will be a chocolate Christian who easily gives up under the stress and pressure of every day life! At a church local to where you live, you are needed regardless of who you are! Perhaps this is you?

  • Interested observer but not a committed Christian
  • Not bothered
  • Not good enough
  • Just want to be left alone
  • Don't know how to be involved
  • Don't know why being involved is important
  • Too busy

But why should you be involved? Download the mp3 to find out more!

Why? You have talents to be used!!

Why? We are dependent on each other

Why? Improve your serve!

Why? To follow Jesus

GO!

So if you find you are currently inactive in your local church, then please go and make yourself available to serve there! Ask your pastor or church leader how you can help out! By doing so, and submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit who indwells you, the lives of other people could be changed for God's greater glory because of your acts of service and worship.

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March 22, 2021

Job - Why God? - Part 10

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Study 10: Study 10: Job 40:15 - end

Two surprising chapters

The book of Job ends with two very surprising chapters. The first because of its content, emphasising what has gone before and the second because it appears to stand the whole book on its head!

Here is the first part of the first of these chapters (which is actually in the chapter before). It is about Behemoth whose name means something like the ‘beast of beasts’. He is a terrifying creature, very like a hippopotamus with some supernatural additions.

As if that is not enough we now go on to read about the Leviathan. He is just as dangerous sounding as Behemoth, very like a crocodile, again with some supernatural additions. 

We may well ask “what was that all about?” There is no other Biblical reference to Behemoth and not many to Leviathan, though it is possible to see that this latter is a sea or water monster. Both are possibly linked in the culture and literature of that area in that time with gods, the god of death and the god of evil or the Satan himself. Their dual role is strikingly similar to that of the dragon and the beast from the sea of the book of Revelation, the twin figures of evil. Both have power, strength and savagery far beyond human ability to match. Therefore, since they are the creation of the Lord, part of his world and under his control, they set a marker for power, which the Lord stands far beyond. Also, particularly with Leviathan who rules over the sea, which was the well-known symbol of the chaotic, they stand as markers of the chaotic nature of the Lord’s world. Thus they reinforce the statement made in our last study that this is an essentially chaotic world and it is no good pretending otherwise, however difficult it may be to fit that into a scheme of theology and our understanding of the ways of the Lord.

Now we come to the final words of Job in the first 6 verses of the last chapter. Job has finally come to a realisation of what he has been doing wrong and how he can remedy that. He now realises how high above him the Lord is, that all his attempted arguments against what has happened to him were a waste of breath. The Lord has a plan and a purpose for him, although he is unable to see what that is and how it will work out so that he could only see it as part of a chaotic world and accept that it is in the hand of the Lord. He is deeply sorry and upset by what he has done and said so he repents – not of sins in the ordinary sense but of his failure to acknowledge the place and power of the Lord in his life.

The author of the book of Job has brought it to a point, a single climactic statement in a way strikingly similar to the way John would do with his gospel many centuries later. John brings his book to the climax statement “My Lord and My God” by quoting the words of Thomas, obviously intending and hoping that his readers will make that same statement for themselves. Our author brings us to the statement of Job, “My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you!” also obviously intending that we should echo that statement for ourselves. John continued by quoting the words of Jesus, “because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” and if our author had had access to those words I think he too would have used them. We are not going to see the Lord, not likely to do so any way in this life; we are not going to be able to understand all his ways any more than Job did; we are going to get confused by all we hear about him as Job did; but with the eyes of faith we can see him; with the knowledge we do have we can believe – and then we are blessed – his promise, not my assertion.

Question: when did you start hearing about Jesus? When did you begin to see him – to see him properly in the sense Job means? What was the trigger that changed you from hearing to seeing? Could you make that, which was the trigger event for you, into the trigger event for someone else?

In verse 7 we leave behind the poetic dialogues that have constituted most of this amazing book. We are back into the simple prose of the first 2 chapters and this part chapter – the frame of the poetic stuff. Here it is.

The obvious first reaction is surprise. Job has been right all along and his 3 friends have not (Elihu does not get a mention – a major reason for thinking the speech of Elihu was a late addition to the story). So Job, described as ‘my servant’ and thus equated with people like Moses and David, is to act as a priest for them. We must also note that if what these 3 guys said was all so wrong how can we define the truthfulness of scripture – inerrancy, suggesting nothing was in error, does not seem to be the best word to use in spite of its popularity.

And then we are told what Job’s future was. What has all the argument been about if Job was headed to such a lovely future? But is it really such a wonderful future? He gets exactly the same size family as he had before but the first family died and their deaths will have left a scar that will never completely heal. People are people and cannot be substituted one for one just like that. Not even if his daughters are now so much more beautiful than the ones he had before and have such wonderful names. And all those animals, just twice as many of each variety as he had in the first place, did that make life any easier?

We can have no possible expectation of six thousand camels etc. but we know things Job did not know. When Job said, “I know that my redeemer lives” it was only a hope. For us it is a certainty. Because we live after Jesus, who died, rose again and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us we have a much superior hope to that of poor old Job. We have been told by the writer to the Hebrews that “we have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. We have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. We have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood.”

Yoiks, WOW, Hallelujah and Hooray.

One final comment: this is a great book of the Bible, perhaps unfairly neglected (that really means that I didn’t know it very well at all until I started looking into it for these notes!). Also, more than most of the scripture it will mean different things to different people. I have attempted to chart one particular way through it for my own good and, hopefully, yours as well. Don’t let it stop there. Read it, think about it, meditate on it for yourself and find your own way through this challenging and thrilling writing. May the Lord bless you in so doing.

 

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