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Archive for the 'Partakers' Category

POD - Psalm 98

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Psalm 98

 

1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.

3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.

5 Sing to the LORD with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
6 With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together
9 before the LORD,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.

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Think Spot - 17th September, 2018

 

God's love in the Bible is seen as unfailing, everlasting, intimate, sacrificial, unbreakable, all-conquering, personal, great, immeasurable and all-knowing. This is seen supremely in the Cross of Jesus Christ, when He died for the sins of the world. Supreme love overcoming all that is not love. Even when great acts of evil are committed in the world, such as the slaughter of innocents this past week in parts of the world where terrorism and genocide are rife, love is all around. Love continues despite such acts. How are Christians to respond to this love of God?

The apostle John writes in 1 John 4:15-16

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."

Our motivation as Christians is to love and to be love. This is a love, which is sacrificial and self-less. It is tough love which is of service to other people. Loving and serving others, are the primary ways of showing you love God! It is easiest to love your friends. But Jesus commanded that his followers also love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)! Now that is very radical and can be difficult! We see constantly in the media and elsewhere, that regards our enemies, we are to be confrontational or at best to just ignore them!

How is it possible to love our enemies? It is only with the help of God and His abundant grace towards us! We depend on the Holy Spirit who lives inside all Christians to empower and guide! To only love those who love you is what is expected by people everywhere as normal behaviour. But as a Christian, you are to do more! You are to be seen to love more than other people. You don’t have to like others as friends, but you do have to love them as fellow human beings!

Go into this week, being prepared to show your love of Jesus Christ, remaining close to Him and serving other people generously with abundant grace-filled love! By loving and serving others, you become God’s arms and legs in a physical world. One of the greatest limitations you face in loving and serving other people is a severe lack of imagination!

So as you go into this week, ask God to expand your imagination to love and serve; as well as asking for the opportunities to do them. Loving and serving are hallmarks of an authentic Christian life. Love continues even amidst chaos and turmoil all around. Go and be part of the continuing of love.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 2

Welcome back to this series “Investigating Jesus Christ”. Together we are exploring the life of the most amazing person who ever lived - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. We will investigate together who this man was and why he matters.

Today we continue looking at some of the evidences outside of the Bible for the existence of the man we know as Jesus Christ.

Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD) from “Letter to his son”)

“What benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as judgment for their crime. Or, the people of Samos for burning Pythagoras? In one moment their country was covered with sand. Or the Jews by murdering their wise king? After that their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men…The wise king…Lived on in the teachings he enacted.”

Pliny the Younger (61-113AD) from “Book 10, Letter 96”

“The Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.

Phlegon (80-140AD)

Here the darkness surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is described, in an effort to explain it: “Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth to the ninth hour.” (“Chronography”, 18:1)

“Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events . . . but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions.” (“Origen Against Celsus”, Book 2, Chapter 14)

“And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place …” (“Origen Against Celsus”, Book 2, Chapter 33)

“Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced by nails.” (“Origen Against Celsus”, Book 2, Chapter 59)

Suetonius (69-140AD)

“Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he (Claudius) expelled them from the city (Rome).” “Life of Claudius”, 25:4

“Nero inflicted punishment on the Christians, a sect given to a new and mischievous religious belief.” “Lives of the Caesars”, 26.2

Lucian of Samosata: (115-200 AD) from “The Death of Peregrine”. 11-13)

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…. You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.”

 

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Partakers Friday Prayers

14 September 2018

 

Come and join in praying for the world and yourself, offering praises to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

Order of Service

 

Opening prayer

Confession

Psalm 65

Prayers for Churches and Christians worldwide

Prayers for others

Silent time (Prayer for your own concerns)

Prayers for the world

Prayer of Benedict of Nursia

 

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From Skeptic to Salvation

Hello my name is Richard. I have been asked to record the words of my testimony as I read them out at my Baptism in June 2009. Before I read my testimony at my Baptism, I said a short prayer. I shall start by saying the same prayer now. Heavenly Father, Almighty God, please hear my prayer. Please give me now the strength, ability, and most of all, the humility, through your Holy Spirit, to say what I want to read out to this congregation, as you would want me to read and say it Lord. Please allow me to keep control of myself, and my emotions, whilst doing so. I stand humbly before you Lord God, and before your beloved Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Before I speak out my Testimony to you, I wish to thank "all of you" for coming here this evening. I especially wish to thank the fellowship of Poulner Baptist Chapel ( The Church On The Hill ) for all their prayers, kindness and care shown to me over the past months, of what has been, for me, a difficult time. I praise the Lord for Dave Roberts, for his help and support, and his World Wide connections through Partake Ministries and his wonderful Web-Site. Because of Dave and his Web-Site, I have received, e-mail prayers from Christians all over the world, which have given me great heart and comfort. So much so, that they have made me cry with joy. I think whenever I re-read them they will always do so. It is due and down to Dave Roberts, that I am standing here today being Baptised.

I wish to give a special thanks to Jeremy Andrews " Pastor " Jeremy from my previous chapel who, through kindness and no small sacrifice to himself, and to his own Church and Fellowship, has come here this evening to Baptise me with Adam. Thank you my Christian friend Jeremy.

As I have said, my name is Richard. I am 62 years of age. For 59 years of my life, I lived with faith " only in myself ".I was at best a Skeptic, at worst an Atheist. I would go right out of my way to test and very strongly argue against anyone I met, who professed to have a faith, in any sort of God. I needed nothing, but my own free will. All my faith was "only" in myself.

In 2002 / 2003 my world fell apart. I was left alone to myself. All my lifelong responsibilities disappeared. I became for 2 years a solitary hermit, living in my house, completely alone. It was during this time, alone, that I started to question, :- What my life was about. What was I here for. What was the reason for my being, if there even was one. I wanted, and so needed contact with other people. I needed to talk, to be listened to, and to listen to others. We are not meant to be solitary beings we are social creatures. We so need fellowship with others, like we need food.

After over 2 years of self imposed solitary confinement, I was becoming worried about losing my ability to communicate with others. It was back just before Christmas 2005, I received through my door the usual annual programme of all the Churches in my area, listing all their events, over the Christmas period. I decided to systematically visit all of them. Not to seek faith, Oh No', I'm a Skeptic, an Atheist. I just want to have communication with others. I visited most of the local Churches over the coming months, and always found people to speak and listen to, but none of the Churches somehow felt right for me, until I visited " Verwood Road Evangelical Chapel", just up the road from where I live, in Three Legged Cross. Here I felt good, " well better ". I liked the way they did things. It was not a liberal church. It was more leaning towards, a Brethren sort of fellowship, but not too hard line. There was no pomp or high ceremony, no fancy clothes or precious things to see or worship. These were ordinary people, just like me.

Over the next 10 months I visited V.R.C. " on and off " at first, maybe once or twice a month and found that I liked it more and more, so I went more and more. By October 2006, I found that I was wanting to go not only every Sunday but twice on Sundays. It was at this time that I seriously decided to the best of my ability, to very fully investigate just what this Christianity was really all about. How could so many intelligent, thinking people, believe in it?

For the next 6 months, I lived in the single minded state of total study of the Christian faith. I devoted all of my time to the study of the Bible and many, many books, both for and against the Christian faith. I prayed and prayed so very hard to God to give me a definite sign - a proof that God was out there and not something made-up in my own mind. I was in heartfelt tears, many, many times, asking for some proof, a miracle even, a certain sign, anything, but no sign or proof came. I was God's for the taking, but both He, and my heart, wasn't ready.

In late March 2007, something happened to turn me completely off Christianity. I went from very serious " single minded seeking " with all my heart and soul, TO - " This Christianity is certainly not for me ". It is not " at all " important what " event " occurred to cause this absolute turn around. It is only important to understand that it was very strongly driven by " My Own Self Pride ". God knew that it had to be, for Him to use it, to turn this 60 year old Atheist into a Christian. It was during my very powerful, and emotional efforts, to try and take a wrong, and turn it into a right, No matter what the cost, that my eyes were turned back into myself. To see, or to start to see, that all I hated and despised in others, was also, very present in myself. I was no better, than all those that I felt the very strong need to " bring to rights " in my life. It was at this moment in time, of now seeing, just what " I Am ", that my life changed forever. I was born on Easter Friday, Good Friday, the 4th. April.

In 2007, Three days after my 60th. Birthday, at exactly 12:32 p.m. lunch-time on Easter Saturday, the 7th. April, I at last discovered, that I was nothing, undeserving of my life, A Sinner that so needed the forgiveness of God. This opened my heart to God, and at that very moment, He Came In. It was at this time, that I understood, for the very first time, the Amazing events of Easter, and that Jesus died for me, that I may have life, and live life, to the full.

The next day, Easter Sunday, 2007, I took my first communion with my God. I would now like to say, that I am not a writer, I agree with " Winnie The Pooh Bear ", when he said.:- "Yes' I know all my letters, but my spelling is wobbly. It's good spelling, but it wobbles, and my letters get into the wrong places!" I'm not a poet either. I'm a practical man, an engineer. In the early hours of Easter Monday morning, 2007, at 1:30 a.m. whilst I was sat in my back porch thinking " in a daze " about what had happened to me on Easter Saturday, I picked up a pen and without thinking, wrote out the following poem. It is un-referenced, original and un-edited. It is just as it came down to me, 37 hours after finding my faith.

This poem is called :- The Fellowship - ( Revealed )
I don't know where I'm going,
I don't know where I've been,

I don't know what's in store for me,

But God has hold, to let me see.

For he will surely show my way,
My guide,
to lead,
to change each day.

To give me life, I've never seen,
To serve, to try, to make life clean,

To hold me close, to let me go,

To understand, To love me so.

My God is One, with saviour Christ,
He gave for me, The Total Price.

My heart is found, the Ghost within,

Salvation sealed, Forgiven Sin.

My past remains, but all washed clean,
My future comes, like it's never been.

I cannot say the words I feel,

Of things that are, to me so real.

My sad, sad past, is gone, my futures clean,
For with my eyes, new life I've seen.

This gift of love, that has been given,

Shall remain with me, right through to Heaven.

 I believe that this poem was written with God's help. There is nothing good that can come out of me, from my own self, Self. Any good that may come from me, comes through me, from God. So please just Praise the Lord. ( Thank you.)

 

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WOW Word 25

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word 25

Joy

 The Battle for Joy!

Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As Christians, we are all instruments in the orchestra of God's joy. Does that describe your experience of joy? Let us ask ourselves at the very beginning what is joy? Is joy merely a form of bloated happiness as many people believe, including those in the church? Can joy be seen as going around everywhere with a silly grin etched into your face? That kind of joy is dependent upon circumstances and feelings!

C.S. Lewis once wrote: "Joy is never in our power, and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted true joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world."

True joy is not to be confused with mere pleasure or feeling good! True joy is to be a way of life and it is to permeate every facet of the person and not just the emotions! True joy is to be a deeper, inner joy whereby the source, object and target is to be God and God alone!

What is joy and how can you experience such joy? Play or download the mp3 audio to hear more about joy and its place within the life of the Christian Disciple!!

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POD - Psalm 134

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Psalm 134

A Pilgrim Song

 

 

Come, bless God,

all you servants of God!

You priests of God,

posted to the night watch

in God's shrine,

Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place,

and bless God.

In turn,  may God of Zion bless you-

the God who made heaven and earth!

 

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Think Spot - 10th September 2018

 

Matthew 11:28-30 records these words of Jesus Christ. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Are not those amazing words? Not just anybody could say them. If the person who said them couldn't actually fulfil that promise, that would be one of the biggest hoaxes in all of history. But Jesus Christ is no hoax and he is able to fulfil those words and live up to the promises he makes. He is totally trustworthy.

We don't like to ask for help.  We are trained as children to be independent and not to rely on anybody else for anything ever.  But this is contrary to what Jesus is about.  To rely fully on ourselves for all things is to walk by sight and commit the sin of pride. To rely on Jesus and ask Him for help in all things is to walk by faith and with humility. True independence and freedom comes from being dependent on Jesus Christ and not being held back by anything or anyone else, such as family and our own wealth and possessions.

How are you doing at the start of this new week? Maybe you are feeling desolation and regret caused by decisions made sometime in your past. Give them up willingly to Jesus and don't keep trying to take it back like a security blanket!

Are you feeling abandoned and lonely? Let Jesus encompass you in an embrace of compassion and let the Holy Spirit comfort and counsel you.. Or perhaps are you feeling tired, burnt out and burdened?. Let Jesus give you the strength to endure! Give the burden to Jesus and let Him take the weight for you. Maybe you need to make a major decision and don't know what to do. Seek the wisdom of Jesus in making that decision. He will help if you ask. That's all part of Jesus being Jesus.

It may well be that you are being overwhelmingly tempted to sin against God, another person or even yourself? You cant resist for too long if you do it in your own strength, because you will eventually succumb to it. But if you ask God to help you overcome the temptation, He will do it - if you allow Him control and use your own self-control! After all, self-control is one of the evidences of the Holy Spirit working in you!

We all get those feelings of regret, desolation, abandonment, loneliness, despair, burdened and temptation. Feelings are important, because they are part of the human experience and if we didn't have them, we would be merely mindless androids. But feelings can also be very misleading.  As Christians, we have to take it by faith that Jesus is there for us through those times. Because you are lonely, doesn't mean you are alone.  Because you are tempted, doesn't meant that you have already committed the sin. Take it by faith that Jesus is answering desperate cries for help and is helping you. Take a few seconds now in this short silence to hand over these things to Jesus and ask him to help you.

Or it may just be that you are starting the week and you are feeling great and enjoying your dynamic relationship with God! Then keep going and letting Jesus be your strength, your wisdom and your help.  But don't keep it to yourself - that would be selfish! Go to others you know who are in need, helping them where you can with an encouraging word or helping to supply their need. Be the practical and imaginative answer to their prayers. Go into this new week, confident that Jesus is able to help you in every situation you face. Ask him to come to you, and He will - just as He has done for countless millions.

 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 1

 

G’day! Welcome to this series “Investigating Jesus Christ”. Together we will explore the life of the most amazing person who ever lived - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. We will investigate together who this man was and why he matters.

When the human we know as Jesus Christ was born, his name imbued the very reason he was born. His conception and birth were extraordinary at every level. Jesus very name, means “one who saves” and the entirety of his birth, life and death were centred on this very role. His role was to save all those who would follow Him.

Jesus is the most talked about person in history. Almost everyone has an opinion about Him. Jesus was born to confirm God's promises, to reveal God as a Father, and to be our representative before Him. He gave us an example of how to live a holy life to the full. Jesus was not merely a man who received some special power, nor was he some strange creation that was half man and half God. He was much more than those ideas. That Jesus is both human and divine is what makes Christianity unique amongst the world’s religions. It is why Jesus’ claims to be the only way to God are true and make sense, and it is why millions of people today worship Him and acknowledge Him as their Lord and their God. The studies are divided into four parts. Are you ready to go? Come and join into this adventure of investigating the most talked about person in history – Jesus Christ.

We start by looking at some of the evidences outside of the Bible for the very existence of the man we know as Jesus Christ. There is much evidence for the existence of the man we know as Jesus Christ, dating from the 1st century to the 5th century. Some claim that there is more evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ than there is for Julius Caesar.

3rd Century Julius Africanus quoting Thallus from the 1st century
“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (“Chronography”, 18:1)

Tacitus (56-120AD)
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

("The Annals", 15.44)

 

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