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

 

The Inside Column 9/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 10, 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 the I Am statement of Jesus “I am the good shepherd”

‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing 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 10:11–15

 This is a follow on from Luke’s talk last week where Jesus said “I am  the Gate” Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. - John 10:7 

As we work our way through these statements of Jesus we read over and over again the people that first heard him say these words were divided, some thinking he was mad, others seeing the miracles Jesus was doing became followers and the Pharisees were trying to find ways to kill him.

Throughout the book of John there is this running theme, who is this Jesus? It is this question that still to this day divides people. Who is Jesus? One of the other themes that runs through John is a call to put ones faith in this Jesus, a call to become disciples, to make a response. How will we responded to this call in our lives today, this week, and this year?

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

 

The Inside Column 2/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 03, 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.

I have been thinking – What it means to keep oneself from being polluted by the world? As Jesus says to his disciples: My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17:15-19)

As Christians we are called to be different from the world around us. The Christian is a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Philippi was a Roman colony and the Philippians were Roman citizens. They spoke the Roman language, wore Roman dress and followed Roman customs; their magistrates had Roman titles and they conducted the same ceremonies as in Rome. They were intensely proud of their privileges which were those of Rome itself. Paul uses this analogy… Our true citizenship is now in heaven. We are a Christian colony on earth.

God’s people have always been ‘aliens and strangers’ in this world. Abraham said, ‘I am an alien and a stranger’ (Genesis 23:4). David said, ‘we are aliens and strangers’ (1 Chronicles 29:15). The psalmist said, ‘For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my ancestors were’ (Psalm 39:12b).

The writer of Hebrews says about the great men and women of the Old Testament, ‘they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them’ (Hebrews 11:13b-16).

 The apostle Peter writes, ‘live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. … I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul’ (1 Peter 1:17, 2:11).

 In our day what does it mean for us to be aliens and strangers on earth? Are our lives lived any different to those that don’t believe? These questions are easier to ask than they are to answer. We all need to ask ourselves “Are we any different?”. I have found it’s in the small things, the small decisions I make every day, that change the way I act. They form my world view, and shape who I am. My prayer then is the Lord keep working in me, keep shaping my life, that I might as Jesus says “Be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 25/6

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jun 26, 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.

We welcome Bishop Richard to preach this morning as we enter week two of the I Am statements of Jesus from the book of John. Today we are looking at the statement I Am the light of the world.

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.

Before we get to this statement Jesus’ brothers had said to him he should go to the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. Jesus says he will not, because his time has not yet come, but later he goes in secret. Every biblical holiday given to the Jewish people has three aspects. Israel was to observe the holiday in the present in order to remember something God had done in the past, while looking forward to some future prophetic purpose hidden within each festival. The three big festivals are the annual festivals of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.

During the Feast of Tabernacles, the Jewish people were to gather together in Jerusalem not only to remember God’s provision in the wilderness but also to look forward to that promised Messianic age when all nations will flow to this city to worship the Lord.

The Feast Tabernacles is unique in that the Gentile nations were invited to come up to Jerusalem along with the Jewish people to worship the Lord at this “appointed time”. The Lord told Moses to father all men, women and children, along with the foreigners in their land, so they can learn to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 31:12).

At the end of John chapter 7 we see the people divided over who this Jesus was.

On hearing his words, some of the people said, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Messiah.’ Still others asked, ‘How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?’ Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.         - John 7:40 – 44

 

Who is this Jesus? This is the question the Jewish leaders were asking themselves. Jesus responds with “I Am the light of the world”

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 18/6

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jun 19, 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 start a new series out of the gospel of John, called the I AM statements of Jesus. As you read through the book of John, you will encounter 8 different conversations in which Jesus makes very specific, far reaching, outrageous statements about himself. Jesus does not just claim to know these things, or explain these things. He blatantly claims that he is these things. If true, the implications are tremendous.

The I Am statements of Jesus: 

  • John 6: 35, 48 I am the bread of life
  • John 8: 12, 9:5 I am the light of the world
  • John 8: 58 Before Abraham was, I am
  • John 10:9 I am the door
  • John 10:11 I am the good shepherd
  • John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life
  • John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life
  • John 15:1 I am the true vine

As we go through the series you might like to read the chapter beforehand to better understand the context and main point of each one. Ask yourself:

  •  What does it mean?
  • What is the context of each conversation?
  • Who is the primary audience?
  • Why might Jesus be making that particular comment in that context to those hearers?
  • What does it mean to me?

Last week we watched a clip from the HTB leadership confreres, if you would like to see more talks go to http://alpha.org/lc/talks. There is a great deal of teaching you might like to work though in your home groups.

The Alpha Holy Spirit day away was last weekend, with about 80 people attending from several churches across the city. This was a special day and I’ve already heard a number of stories about the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in the lives of people who attended. Thanks to you we were able to help with the cost for 10 people from Victory Community Church to come along. We have three more weeks of the Alpha course lift to run so keep on praying that God will keep moving in people’s lives.

We are considering running the Marriage Course next term. If you are interested in helping run it or would like to attend let the church office know.

Yours in Christ

Phil