The Inside Column 13/08

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 14, 2017 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke. If you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s almighty grace for you and loving presence as you join us in worship. Please feel free to chat with us afterwards over a coffee and meet some of our people.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been looking through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In Chapter 3:14 –21 Paul prays:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 I think this is worth meditating on this over the next couple of weeks to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you.

There is a story told of a father and a son walking down the road. The father bends down and picks up his son and gives him a big hug and kisses him, then after a moment puts his boy down again. Is the son more of a son before his father pick him up, or after? Before or after the son is still a son, that fact does not change, but in a different way everything changes. The son has experienced his son-ship in a real way.

The same can be said about us as children of God, we know God loves us, but it is a different thing altogether for us to experience how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for us. Ask yourself, How wide, long, high, and deep is God’s love for me? We don’t have to look far before you see the cross, that’s how much God love us. As we meditate of these truths, we are in a way been swept up into the father’s arms, and we come to know these truths in a whole new way.

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 06/08

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 07, 2017 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke. If you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s almighty grace for you and loving presence as you join us in worship. Please feel free to chat with us afterwards over a coffee and meet some of our people.

This week we are going to be looking at the second half of the letter to the Ephesians. Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians sometime in AD 60–61, around the same time he wrote Colossians and Philemon. It was during this time that Paul sat in Rome undergoing his first Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1), making Ephesians one of the four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles. The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Paul divided his letter to the Ephesians into two clear segments; applying the truths of the first makes possible the actions and lifestyle of the second. Paul spent the first three chapters of the letter discussing God’s creation of a holy community by His gift of grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The members of this community have been chosen by God through the work of Christ, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and brought near to the Father through faith in His Son.

All people with this faith—Jews and Gentiles alike—were dead in their transgressions and sins but have been made alive because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4: 20-24

 As we continue in our faith from day to day, month to month, and year to year, the temptation to get comfortable will always exist. However, Paul presented the gift of God in Christ and the benefits we receive so clearly that we cannot help but ask ourselves if our lives reflect that reality as they should.

Remember the dinner next weekend run by Phil and Liz Kemp. Last year’s dinner was outstanding and it is well worth getting a group of people together and come along for a good night out.

For those that would like to be involved in the IselPark night market we will have a meeting next Sunday 13 August at the end of the second service at about 11.30 in the church. If you can’t make it let me know if you want to be involved and any ideas you might have.

God bless

Phil

 

The Inside Column 30/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 31, 2017 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke. If you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s almighty grace for you and loving presence as you join us in worship. Please feel free to chat with us afterwards over a coffee and meet some of our people.

This week we start a new preaching series out of the book of Ephesians.

Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians sometime in AD 60–61, around the same time he wrote Colossians and Philemon, as he sent all three letters by the hand of Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7-9; Philemon 1:10–12). It was during this time that Paul sat in Rome undergoing his first Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1), making Ephesians one of the four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles. The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

The thing that makes these books important is that both Second Corinthians and Galatians abound with personal touches from Paul, either about his own life or that of the recipients.
Ephesians, on the other hand, stands at the opposite end of the spectrum as one of Paul’s most formal letters. While Galatians offers instructions particularly important for those churches overrun with legalism, Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community.

Paul divided his letter to the Ephesians into two clear segments; applying the truths of the first makes possible the actions and lifestyle of the second. Paul spent the first three chapters of the letter discussing God’s creation of a holy community by His gift of grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The members of this community have been chosen by God through the work of Christ, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and brought near to the Father through faith in His Son. All people with this faith – Jews and Gentiles alike – were dead in their transgressions and sins but have been made alive because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The book of Ephesians hits on a wide range of moral and ethical behaviors, designed to ensure believers are living up to our heavenly calling. As we continue in our faith from day to day, month to month, and year to year, the temptation to get comfortable will always exist. However, Paul presented the gift of God in Christ and the benefits we receive so clearly that we cannot help but ask ourselves – How much do our lives reflect that reality?

God bless

Phil

The Inside Column 23/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 24, 2017 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke. If you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s almighty grace for you and loving presence as you join us in worship. Please feel free to chat with us afterwards over a coffee and meet some of our people.

How were the school holidays? Good times with the family.

Today we are going to be looking at I am the true vine. 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. - John 15:1-4

Again we think back to one of the big themes running through John – Who is Jesus? This question keeps coming up over and over again and how we answer it will shape our lives in one way or another. We need to think about how outrageous these statements Jesus made would have been to the people that first heard them, and for many today they still seam outrageous.

We (the whole church) have an opportunity to be involved in the Isel Park night market. The Isel Park night market is on every Thursday night and is run by a couple of locals as a place where people from Stoke can gather and feel  part of the local community. We have been offered a stall. The question is what we might do with that stall? Firstly we would need a team of people to come along every Thursday, maybe on a fortnightly roster to run the stall, and then we will need to think about what we might do –Good Coffee, Home Preserves, Live Music? The main reason for being involved in this is that we get to go and be a part of the community, meeting them where they are at, and have the opportunity to build relationships with the wider Stoke community. The market has been running throughout the winter but I think we should be involved when Daylight saving starts. This is a great opportunity for us as a church and one I would ask that you would start to pray about. If you have some ideas and would like to be    involved, we will have a meeting after church one Sunday in August, – watch this space.

The Prayer meeting starts again this Tuesday at 7.30am. All welcome. Phil and Liz Kemp are hosting a fundraising Indian Dinner on Saturday 12 August. Put the date in your diaries, get a group of people together and come out for a great meal to support a good cause.

God bless

Phil

 

The Inside Column 16/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 17, 2017 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke. If you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s almighty grace for you and loving presence as you join us in worship. Please feel free to chat with us afterwards over a coffee and meet some of our people.

Today we will be looking at John 14: 6  when Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life” Again we think back to one of the big themes running through John – Who is Jesus? This question keeps coming up over and over again and how we answer it will shape our lives in one way or another.

We need to think about how outrageous these statements Jesus made would have been to the people that first heard them, and for many today they still seam outrageous.

The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?’ But others said, ‘These are not the  sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?  - John 10:19-21

C.S. Lewis put it like this: ‘A man who was merely a man, and said the sort of things Jesus said, wouldn’t be a great moral teacher.  He’d either be, insane; or else he’d be the devil of hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else insane or something worse.  But don’t let’s come up with any patronising nonsense about his being `a great human teacher’.  He hasn’t left that open to us. He didn’t intend to.’

How many times have you heard something like this: As long as you believe in God and try to be a good person, there are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the one peak? Jesus said I am the way and the truth and the life!

The school holidays are here again. This means there is no prayer meeting for the next two weeks. Luke is going to be having some time off over the next two weeks, so if people could   respect the Vicarage as holy ground over this time that would be helpful. If people need to get in to the church could they ring me, or the church office.

I hope everybody has a good break with their family, children and grandchildren over the next couple of weeks

God bless

Phil