August 13, 2022

Glimpses Testimony - Steve

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Glimpses 57- Stephen

This is the story of Stephen. He lives in Bournemouth and he shares how an encounter with Jesus changed is life from hatred, violence, cruelty and drug addiction... Come and hear!

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August 12, 2022

Psalm on Demand - Psalm 123

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Psalm 123

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

To you I do lift up my eyes,
you who sit in the heavens.

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress;
so our eyes look to Yahweh,
our God, until he has mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, Yahweh, have mercy on us,
for we have endured much contempt.

Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease,
with the contempt of the proud.

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August 11, 2022

Psalm On Demand - Psalm 92

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Psalm 92

A Psalm. A song for the Sabbath day.

92:1 It is a good thing to give thanks to Yahweh, to sing praises to your name, Most High;
92:2 to proclaim your loving kindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night,
92:3 with the ten-stringed lute, with the harp, and with the melody of the lyre.

92:4 For you, Yahweh, have made me glad through your work. I will triumph in the works of your hands.
92:5 How great are your works, Yahweh! Your thoughts are very deep.

92:6 A senseless man doesn't know, neither does a fool understand this:
92:7 though the wicked spring up as the grass, and all the evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

92:8 But you, Yahweh, are on high forevermore.
92:9 For, behold, your enemies, Yahweh, for, behold, your enemies shall perish. All the evildoers will be scattered.
92:10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox. I am anointed with fresh oil.

92:11 My eye has also seen my enemies. My ears have heard of the wicked enemies who rise up against me.
92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
92:13 They are planted in Yahweh's house. They will flourish in our God's courts.
92:14 They will still bring forth fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and green,
92:15 to show that Yahweh is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

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August 10, 2022

Church History Part 28

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Part 28

The Church at the start of the Age of Reason

The 18th century is widely regarded as the ‘Age of Reason’ – the age of scientific discovery. Science was discovering the natural laws that governed the earth. With the advent of the theory of evolution, the idea of a supernatural world was dispensed with. Quickly God had become merely at best an impersonal observer and the supernatural, spiritual worlds and the divine inspiration of Scriptures were being denied.

Within general society, the 'need for God' disappeared as science and philosophy felt they could explain everything without the need of a God or gods. For the church, this was a century of stagnation and decay. In the USA, the original evangelical fervour had faded into commerce and prosperity.

However, there were glimpses of the Church being empowered. Not all was lost! There were still glimmers of the church still being alive! In the mid-18th century there was a spiritual revival throughout the USA and Britain.

America – In America, there was the Great Awakening! Revival started in 1730 under the passionate and spiritual preaching of Jonathon Edwards. He was followed by George Whitfield, an Englishman who waited for 6 weeks in 1740 and preached to crowds of thousands. Many thousands turned to the church and became Christians during this time of revival.

Jonathon Edwards (1703 – 1758) – Edwards’ conversion took place when one day he was reading 1 Timothy 1:17 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Later in life he looked back and wrote "As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before… I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven; and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever!" You can see the reference in it's context by clicking here 

As regards to his approach to science, rather than scurrying away from it as many church leaders did, Edwards like some others, embraced it! As he went on in life, while many in the church found that science was pushing them to an impersonal view of God, Edwards went the other way. He embraced the natural world as evidence of God’s craftsmanship and design. He went on to become perhaps America’s finest philosopher and thinking as well as a mighty preacher and church leader.

Wales – In Wales, revival broke out in the Church of England in 1738-1742 under the divinely inspired preaching of Howell Harris and Griffith Jones. It was during this time that George Whitefield was converted before he went to the USA to preach the same gospel there!

England – Perhaps the greatest names in England were the Wesley brothers - John (1703 - 1791) and Charles (1707 - 1788)! Together they revitalised a church quickly stagnating! Open air preaching, vibrant songs and zealous sermons were their hallmarks. At the heart of their preaching and hymnody were these thoughts “Justifying faith implies, not only a divine evidence or conviction that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that He loved me and gave Himself for me.” You can see the reference in it's context by clicking here.

Many came to faith because of them, and these people were discipled methodically. Together they founded the Methodist movement which gave birth to the Methodist denomination.

The church is almost 1800 years old now. The Holy Spirit is still at work, empowering the church despite the Age of Reasoning and the ignorance of the spiritual aspects of life.

That’s it for this time! That is the conclusion of our series HAHA! I hope you have enjoyed this speedy journey in the life of the Church! The story of the Church continues, and will continue until the object and source of the Church’s faith, Jesus Christ returns in glory just as He has promised to do! 

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August 9, 2022

Church History Part 27

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Part 27

The Church in the Stuart Period

Last time we looked at the Protestant Reformation gathering apace in 16th century England. The main issue in the 16th century, as we saw together was “None but Christ saves” - that the Gospel is good news for all of humanity, that nobody can earn their salvation, but rather salvation is a free gift from God for all those who choose to receive it.

The main issue in the 17th century however, was 'None but Christ reigns'. The Stuart monarchy promoted the 'Divine Right of Kings', the God given authority to rule country and church. James VI of Scotland became king in 1567, and tried to re-establish the Episcopalian system, undermining the Presbyterian system. In 1603, he became the King of England as well and became James I of England.
The Scots never accepted his authority over the church and fought to maintain religious freedom. James and his son Charles harassed the Puritans and drove many out of the country to Holland. King James I however did authorise a new translation of the Bible – what we today know as the King James Version or Authorised Version.
National Covenant - The Archbishop of Canterbury tried to impose a new system of Church Government (Episcopalian) on Scotland, but the Scots rejected this and many signed a national covenant to maintain the freedom of the Presbyterian Church.
1638 - The General Assembly of the Church to establish who was head. The people led by Henderson accepted the king as king, but not as the head of the church. War broke out and the Scots, under General Alexander Leslie, defeated Charles in 1640.
1643 - Both the English and Scottish Parliaments signed a Covenant binding themselves to seek the reformation of religion along Reformed lines.
1643-49 - The Westminster Assembly of divines met to establish a basis for a united church in Britain. The Westminster Confession of Faith became the statement of faith for the Presbyterian Church.
The Puritans - Many Christians wanted greater reformation in the Church, following Calvin's model of Church Government and worship. Some separated from the Church of England altogether because they were considered still to be too closely attached with the Roman Catholic Church. . They formed distinctive groups embracing a greater purity of worship, doctrine and personal piety. Some went so far as to totally separate themselves from all other Christians and started autonomous local gatherings of believers. These independent churches were the beginning of the Congregational Church.

The Separatists -  These Separatists were persecuted by both the Roman Catholic & Protestant churches, and many were driven out of England to Holland were there was great religious freedom. They were hounded out of England by King James I and then by King Charles. Many left for Holland. However in 1620, some returned to England and left for America (New England) on the Mayflower. They wanted a new land where they could worship God with total freedom and virtually establish His kingdom on earth. By 1643 some 20,000 had arrived resulting in America's origins being deeply religious.

The Baptists - Some of these Puritans maintained believers baptism by immersion was also essential. This started John Smyth in an independent church in Holland. A remnant of this church returned to England, and established the first Baptist Church, resulting in over 300 churches in England by 1660.

That’s it for this time! Next time in our series HAHA, we will look at the last of this series - the church in the 18th century confronted by the Age of Reason and scientific materialism! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.

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