One Day You Will Understand by Sarah Chaplin

May 20, 2018

In her sermon centered around John 13:7, Sarah uses several examples of people in the Bible, who found themselves in a situation that they couldn't understand at the time, but later realised as they reflected back on their lives that God had a reason for them being in that place, and that in every situation, God's glory shone through in the end. 

For a more detailed write up, please click here.

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Overcoming Your Circumstances by Andrea Parry

May 13, 2018

Speaking from Acts, Andrea spoke of how we can often let our circumstances define us. In this message, she shares three lessons that we can take from the story of Paul and Silas, and apply to our own lives so that we may live a fully free life in Christ Jesus. 

For a more detailed write up, please click here

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Not All Fears Are Bad by Pastor Phylip Morgan

May 6, 2018

Speaking from Psalm 111, Pastor Phyl talks on the theme of fear. He defines types of fear before going on to discuss a 'good' fear, that we should all welcome into our lives. In this, discussion, he illustrates three points that we should observe in dealing with this fear.

 

For a more detailed commentary, please click here.

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Purpose by Ruth Morgan

April 29, 2018

In this week's sermon entitled "Purpose", Ruth draws our attention to six things 

that we need to remember when trying to find and follow our purpose, and then

gives us seven things that we can do to try and discover and follow the purpose

of God for our lives. 

For more information, please click here

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The Day Of Good News by Pastor Phylip Morgan

April 22, 2018

Good and bad news. Our world is full orf it, but don't we all want good news?

Speaking from 2 Kings 7:1-16, Pastor Phyl brings us three things that we are called to do,

if we are to be bringers of good news to others. 

For a more in depth write up, please click here

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The Three Ingredients For A Healthy Church by Wyn Jones

April 15, 2018

At the start of his sermon, Wyn talked of a Pioneer that had believed it was part of God’s plan that communities of Christ’s followers be formed. These communities would have an impact on the wider community and would show what God’s kingdom should look like on earth. Paul often risked his life in forming these communities, which we know today as Churches, and once he had planted these churches, he often had to flee for his life. However, he liked to keep in touch with these churches, usually via letter, or through a trusted friend. Wyn spoke of pondering one of Paul’s letters while planning for a Bible study, when a catchphrase came into his mind:

 

“I love it when a plan comes together”

 

It was this catchphrase that led him to imagine the bizarre image of Paul in more modern times, reclining, halfway through writing one of his letters, saying this, while blowing out smoke from his cigar.

 

He went on to say that there were some letters that were painful for Paul to write; that were occasions when he might have asked himself, “Where did it all go wrong?”, but some, like the one in the image above, were a joy to write. The Church that would give Paul great joy, was the community that he left behind in Thessalonica.  The reports that he was receiving back from this church were of a church that was functioning exactly as it should, following Christ’s teachings, and shining out as a beacon in the darkness.

 

As we think of Paul writing that letter, we are led to ask what it was about that church that gave it such a glowing reputation. The truth is that they turned from idols, and fake, god substitutes, and faced the one true God. They had a reputation for being a community of changed lives, and this is something that makes people sit up and take notice. The other reputation it had, was that of being transformative. Speaking about why this church in particular is so highly commended by Paul, Wyn explained that success leaves footprints and fingerprints. He said that it is possible to spot the similarities and differences of success and failure.

 

Wyn then spoke of three fingerprints: three ingredients that the church in Thessalonica had.

These are Faith, Love, and Hope.

 

Faith: Words can often lose their original meaning during translation. In truth, there are no accurate words to describe faith if we are to translate it from the original pistis, and pisteuo. We are stuck with the words ‘faith’, and believe, which are often inadequate to describe the true concept of faith. When used in the Bible, faith refers to a trust and reliance on God or Christ. We are called to surrender our will to God and to act in a way that shows this surrender. Nowadays, the word faith is often linked to doctrinal beliefs, which can become more important than following Christ, and behaving in a way which is Christ-like. In the days of the Thessalonians, there were no specific ‘doctrines’, and ‘rules’ created by people. Faith was simply acting on the words and promises of Jesus, and following His example. The Thessalonians, by acting like this, were actually publically declaring their beliefs.

 

Love: This is absolute. It is a command. If we do this, even when it is easier not to, then everyone will know that we are his disciples. The word Agape elevates love to a whole other level. It is a love that keeps loving even when the one being loved is un-reachable, and un-lovable. Agape, as we heard from Eirwen last week, desires nothing more than the good of the one being loved. The truth is that the conditions that the early Christians lived in were not loving conditions. The Roman world had little, to no humanity. The Church was birthed into a world that was utterly opposed to Christian beliefs. It was a male dominated society. The people were persecuted, and yet they still expressed Agape love. The Romans couldn’t grasp how the early Christians loved one another. Here, Wyn told us of a man named Arthur Forbes, a truly unlovable man, and yet his church pastor, visited him at home, while he was unwell, and loved him in a way that only a follower of Christ could do.

 

Hope: This is another word that has lost its original power, largely because of how we use it. It’s common use nowadays is in wishful thinking. We ‘hope’ it doesn’t rain tomorrow, or that the bus won’t be late. In order to define this word properly, Wyn looked at the words, opposite to the meaning of hope. These are hopeless, and despair. The situations that the church in Thessalonica found themselves in, were situations of despair, and yet they were positive. Wyn asked us, what it was that gave them hope in these situations. The answer is Christ’s death (the ultimate example of Agape love), or, more accurately, the fact that He rose again. Without Him, there is only a hopeless end. With him, there is an endless hope. This is not wishful thinking. This is the reason for their hope. Jesus Christ, risen and victorious. The ‘hope’ expressed by the Thessalonians had a far firmer foundation than wishful thinking and crossing fingers.

 

These are the necessary ingredients for a healthy church. Wyn asked us whether it was possible for a church to become ‘good for nothing’. The answer is ‘yes’, if faith, hope, and love are missing, then it is more than possible. Matthew 5:13 says:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” and so it is with the church. If we lose the three basic ingredients, what good are we? We are called to be the living ‘body’ of Christ, and so, we must behave in the way that Christ would have. If we don’t do this, then what are we good for?

 

The Thessalonian church was the living embodiment of that scripture. It was ordinary people living it out in a way that made them the most stunningly different people that the Romans had ever seen. They lived a life that caused the Romans to question them.

 

In closing, Wyn encouraged us to live a questionable life; one that shines out the three ingredients for a healthy church, and the three ingredients necessary to live out a Christ-like life.

 

Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Matthew 5:13, Matthew 5:14-16

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Commit To Love by Eirwen Parry

April 8, 2018

In her sermon entitled “Commit To Love” Eirwen spoke on a very specific type of love. This is a love that has nothing to do with our feelings. It is not an emotional love, nor is it a romantic, sexual, friendship, or a brotherly love. This love is called “Agape”, and it is a committed and faithful will to love. It is a love that is found between God and man. Agape is the sort of love that says “I will love God, and I will love man”, even though we may be in the pit of despair, in very great pain, having been hurt by the very people we are called to love.

Referring to Revelations 5:2-5, Eirwen talks of the scroll; a scroll that no one on earth or in heaven could open. It is a legal document that buys back all of creation, and there is only one who is worthy to be able to open it. Only Jesus. Throughout history, there is no one who could redeem man in heaven or earth, except Jesus. Only Him. Jesus succeeds in doing what no other could, because he was willing. He heard what God asked of Him, and He said “I will”. He endured the ultimate torture, and He did it for us, and He did it willingly. This is the true meaning of agape love.

Continuing, Eirwen asked us what this love would look like in real life. She explained that she would be using David to illustrate how agape love can be demonstrated in real life. Beginning in 2Samuel 9:1-13. Here, we meet Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul. Saul was the enemy of David. This made Mephibosheth his enemy, too, and yet, David chose to bless him in abundance in spite of this fact, and to have him eat at his table. Mephibosheth was a cripple. He was wounded; this is similar to how we are with God, rendered unable to clean ourselves, but God sees our weaknesses, and although we could quite easily be enemies to Him, He chose; was willing to bless us by sending Jesus. He leads us to a place at the table, where we can feast on Him; so that we can know Him, and taste, and see that He is good.

The purpose of the Church is to lead us into the presence of Jesus. He lays a table for us, but the question that we need to be asking ourselves is, are we laying a table for those people who have nothing to give. A great many Churches just build towers to show how good they are at worship, preaching, outreach, etc, but we should all be laying a table to show how good He is. In truth, it is all about God, and Jesus, and if a Church isn’t leading people to God, then it’s useless. We should be inviting people to come and feast on Jesus, and see how good He really is, and then those people, in turn, will lead others to the table. David exhibited true grace in the way he behaved towards Mephibosheth. He had no reason to behave kindly towards him, and yet he did, even going so far as to bless him greatly. This is exactly what God does for us.

Referring to 2Samuel 24:24, Eirwen speaks of when David bought the threshing floor. Though he was offered the land and as many animals as he wanted for a sacrifice, he insisted on buying it. He refused to make a sacrifice to God, that hadn’t cost him anything. This is what happened with Jesus. He lost everything at the cross. He gave everything at the cross. After a sacrifice like that, what does it cost us to follow Him.

In Malachi 3 it is written that we are to bring in all the tithes, and to give a proportion of what we have, first to God. We are called to do this regularly and generously. These tithes are money, time, and effort. They can be costly things. Sometimes we lack enthusiasm, we are ‘tired’ or ‘broke’, but we are called to bring a sacrifice of praise. Our excuses often don’t match up. In truth, people will find a way to do things that they want to do, but we are called to give first to God, and to do so regularly and generously. The truth is, that once we spend time with God and get to know Him, it is easier to do what He wants us to.

Agape love cannot be understood unless we can understand how He first loved us. Christ displayed the absolute of agape love, when He stood up and said “I will do it”, and went to the cross, not forced, but voluntarily, for us. In doing this, Jesus feeds us for life, and takes us into heaven with Him.

1Chronicles 29:14 says “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand”. The simple truth is that we cannot give God anything that He hasn’t given us first. David was the King and had an abundance of things, but He was ready and willing to make sacrifices for God. It was David’s dream to build the temple, but God told him not to. David listened, and didn’t become bitter about it. He gives freely, and allows God’s will to take place, setting aside his own wants.

Eirwen asked us how we respond when we see someone else getting what we really want. We might get angry, or bitter. We might feel sorry for ourselves, but it is important that we remember that it’s what God wants that is the most important thing. Eirwen asked us to not withhold. God never withholds from us, and we should not withhold what we can give. God never withdraws from us. He’s constantly speaking to us. We should not withhold friendships, or time, but should give as freely as He has given us.

In closing, Eirwen asked us to be more like David. Church is supposed to be somewhere people can go to find rest in God. It is not a place for one-upmanship, and discord. She called us to stay as one and not fall out with each other, but to put together again the fractured relationships in a way that honours God. 1John 4:19-21 talks about love for God, and for our brothers and sisters. The truth is that our standing in the world is the same as Christ if we act in love. We are called to love and to be loved. First we were loved, by Him, and now, we can truly love if we let love rule in our hearts.

Scriptures: Revelation 5:2-5, Isaiah 59:15-17, 2Samuel 9:1-13, 2Samuel 24:24. Malachi 3, 1Chronicles 29:14, 1John 4:19-21

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Jesus Died For Me by Andrea Parry

April 1, 2018

Speaking on Easter Sunday, Andrea’s message is simply called, “Jesus died for me”. This is the simple and beautiful truth of Easter. There is nothing else.

 

John 1:1-5 tells us that Jesus (the Word) was there in the beginning. In fact, the entire Old Testament of the Bible points us to Jesus. He was never a ‘Plan B’ for humanity. The truth is, God had our salvation and redemption in mind before the start of creation. He was thinking of us at the creation of the earth. Jesus was not simply God’s attempt to fix a mistake. Instead, Jesus shows what a loving, kind and sacrificial God He is. At the time of the fall, He could have chosen to just wipe us out and start again, but this is not who He is. Instead, He knew that we would fall, and He already had a plan set in place to redeem us to Himself. He is a God who would rather die than see us lost for all eternity. This is why Jesus went to the cross. At the time of creation, God created man and woman, and gave them free will. They chose to sin. They were created perfect, but they ended up living with sin. They needed redemption. We needed redemption.

 

Going back to the Old Testament, in the time of Moses, there had to be a law because the people were caught up in sin, doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted; they needed to be guided into righteousness, which is why God gave the ten commandments to Moses, but the Law could not redeem man. There was no self redemption. This is why Jesus came.

 

The New Testament: The Cross. Jesus’ life was a fulfilment of prophecy. Everything He did, until He poured out His life for mankind. He lived perfectly. He is the person who surpasses the law to save us. In the Old Testament, the law, and redemption achieved by blood was required. The blood was provided by a sacrificial lamb. A Passover lamb. At the Crucifixion, Jesus became THE most perfect Passover lamb of all time. He died unbroken so that we may live unbroken, without fear, or death.

 

Jesus is our present and our future. He bought that for us when He was on the cross. The devil thought he’d won. He thought that he’d bested God, but Jesus pays the debt in full, and buys atonement and redemption. He covers our sin, and chooses not to remember it. Atonement means to cover and exchange. Jesus exchanged His life, for our righteousness, and all that He requires in return is humility and gratitude. Because of Him, there is no need to dwell in the past. Jesus is the present and the future.

 

Andrea went on to say that redeemed people are different. We change because of His sacrifice. The truth is that now we can stand before God as if we are Jesus; clean and blameless.

 

The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross is ultimate. For the first time in history, there was no holy trinity. He took on our sin. God turned His back on Him; His only Son. It must have been agony for God to do this, but He did it, because He loves us so much, and when Jesus breathed His last, He cried out “It is finished!” It was done. He died, abandoned by most of His disciples, watched by His mother and some of His followers.

 

Andrea went on to say that they must have felt absolute grief, utter helplessness, and desolation, but they didn’t know that Jesus was battling in the grave; that His death was being swallowed up in victory. Jesus was in hell, telling the enemy that He now had the keys to death and hell. He battled so that we don’t have to, and we will rise with Him. He goes before us so we don’t have to suffer.

 

The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis. It literally means ‘a rising up’. In scripture, we see that they didn’t understand that Jesus was the temple that would be torn down and rebuilt in three days.

 

In John 20:1-9 John and Simon-Peter go to the tomb, and find that the stone has been rolled away. The thing that they don’t realise, is that Jesus didn’t need the stone rolled away for Him to get out; it was so that we could see and know that He was no longer there, and that He had risen. In another account of this, there is an angel inside the tomb, that asks why they are looking for the living among the dead.

 

Often we look for the way, and cling on to our past, and what we were. In doing this, we, too are searching for the living among the dead. Andrea implored us to leave what we are clinging to among the dead, to take off our grave clothes, as Jesus did, and to move forwards to walk among the living.

 

When Mary was at the tomb, Jesus only says her name, and she realises that it’s Him. Today, He is calling our names. He is a good good Father, and we are loved by Him. If we give Him the chance, He will whisper to us the truth of who we are. He sees us as we are, and not how we see ourselves. Andrea challenged us to focus on what Jesus thinks of us, and on what this means for us.

 

The resurrection is an absolute, unifying thing of the Christian faith. It crosses all denominations. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow: Forever. We are called to not focus on what divides us, but only on what unites us. He never forgets us, and even when we can’t find the words, He sends the Spirit to help us. No matter what our situation may be, God has not forgotten us. He just expects us to be patient. He is always listening, and He will answer in His time.

 

God loved us so much, He came to earth as a person; our redeemer. Fully God, and fully man. Jesus completed the work of God, as He is Prophet, Priest and King. God became human and died for us. No other ‘God’ does this. No other ‘God’ forgives so easily.

 

Returning to the title of her message, Andrea repeats the truth of Easter Sunday. Jesus died for me. Jesus died for you. Jesus died for us. What amazing love? And all so that we could be reconciled to Him.

 

Scriptures: John 1:1-5, John 20:1-9

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Keep The Fire Burning by Pastor Phylip Morgan

March 25, 2018

For his Palm Sunday sermon, Pastor Phyl spoke on the topic of Altars. His message is titled “Keep The Fire Burning”. He began his preach by saying that there is something powerful about Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of the greatest sacrifice of all time. Pastor Phyl asked the readers in the congregation if any of them liked to skip to the end of the story. This is something that we are able to do. We already know the end of the story, because we are on this side of history. We are on the side of history that knows that He is no longer in the tomb; that knows that He has risen.

Referring to Leviticus 6:9-13 Pastor Phyl explained that this was all about gaining forgiveness for God’s people. The High Priests would come to the Altar and sacrifice burnt offerings to atone for the people. The fire was to be kept burning, and on no account was it to be allowed to go out. We, too are called to have a fire on an Altar that must be kept burning, but this Altar, and fire, is in our hearts. This is the place where God meets us. Altars are incredible things. Noah felt the urge to build an Altar and sacrifice an animal when he and his family were able to leave the Ark. Abraham also felt the urge to build an Altar. He felt he could do nothing more than build an Altar and start to praise God. All through the Old Testament.

People build Altars after encounters with God, marking a physical place of meeting with Him. Another thing that comes with an Altar, is that it is a place of forgiveness. In the Old Testament, only certain people could go to the Altar. The New Testament, and the New Covenant ushers in a new order where the Altar can be entered into by anyone. Even us. There is no need for a High Priest. We are now afforded direct access to God.

Many modern Churches have no Altar in their buildings. The Altar is now in our hearts. Instead, of an Altar, many Churches have a Table Of Remembrance, where we can remember God’s sacrifice, but it is important that we don’t lose our reverence for this. We must never underestimate the sacrifice God made for us. Because of His sacrifice, God sees the righteousness of Jesus when He looks at us, and not the blackness of our sin. Because of Jesus’ love for us, we can know that we are loved and accepted. He makes unholy things Holy.

Hebrews 13:9-15 encourages us to meet Jesus outside the city. We must take God’s word and run it through our hearts. We must work out our own faith by means of a relationship with God, and by spending time in His word. Good preachers will show us the way to Jesus, but it is us that must then walk the path. The truth is that we no longer need others to make sacrifices for us- we can go straight to God because Jesus came, and made a way for us. He made it possible for us to set aside old traditions, and to go outside the camp, to find Him at the cross. He brings us new promise, and all we need do is confess our sins and ask for forgiveness; then our sins and iniquities will be remembered no more.

We have no need for physical altars in our lives, but instead, are called to build one in our hearts; to continually keep the fire burning, night and day. The fire must NOT go out. The Holy Spirit can help us to keep the fires burning, so that we may bring a sacrifice of praise to Him who came that we might be saved.

In closing, Pastor Phyl reminded us that God is NEVER asleep, and encouraged us to keep our fire burning continuously, night and day, so that it would not go out.

Scriptures: Leviticus 6:9-13, Hebrews 13:9-15

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God Has A Plan by Pastor Phylip Morgan

March 11, 2018

“God Has A Plan”

This is the title of Pastor Phyl’s sermon this week. He began by saying that he wanted to ask us to do one thing; to trust God. It’s a hard thing to do, and there is no greater challenge than to trust God with our children. Pastor Phyl went on to tell the story of a man who loved mountain biking. One day, when he was out on the mountains, he was going a little too fast and ended up so near to the cliff edge that he went over. As he was falling, he reached out and caught hold of a branch. Once he was hanging there, there was no way up or down. He called out for help, and a voice came down from the heavens; God’s voice. The man asked for help, and God told him to trust Him and let go of the branch. The man then called out, asking if there was anyone else there. This is so typical of our society. We find it so difficult to just reach out in blind faith and to trust God.

Psalm 145:4 says: “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts”

This section of scripture shows quite clearly that all of God’s works are for good, and that He has a plan. The truth is that God has a great plan for our lives, but when experiences come our way, we’re the ones that aren’t so sure. We will come up against challenges, but God has a plan. All we need to do is to trust Him.

In Exodus 1, the new Pharaoh didn’t know  Joseph’s good deeds. They were not communicated to him, and so they were lost. This is why Psalm 145:4 is so important. Without this happening, Pharaoh set in place an edict that all of the Hebrew women’s male babies were to be put to death. This is where we enter the story of Moses (Exodus 2:1-10), and we are shown clearly that God always has a plan.

The story of Moses is one that we tend to romanticise, but it is not a “good” story. It must have been so hard for Jochebed. She gave birth to a baby boy, whom she knew would be put to death if he was discovered. She chose to hide him for as long as possible, and when she was not able to hide him any longer, she placed him in a basket and put the basket in the bulrushes. She trusted God. She had no way of knowing, one way or another, whether her son would be ok. She just had to place all of her trust in God, that He would bring Moses through this, and as the story progresses, we see that God had a great plan for Moses’ life all along.

Pastor Phyl spoke of three points that we must remember as we go through life:

  • Trust God

We try to teach our children all of the things that we didn’t do. We try to make sure that the things we did wrong don’t then become the same things that our children do wrong, but in the end, only God knows the plan that He has for them.

Jochebed trusted God when she placed Moses into the basket and set him among the bulrushes. She wouldn’t have known whether he would survive or not. If he had been found by the wrong person, he would have been killed instantly. It was a huge risk for her to let go of him and let God carry out His plan, but she did it. She trusted God for her child.

Can we trust God for our children?

  • Celebrate The Miracles

90% of parenting is a drudge. It is the discipline, and the teaching, and telling them over and over again the same thing. What we must learn to do is to celebrate the little things when they’re young, and we will see God’s goodness.

When Moses was discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh, and Jochebed was called to nurse him, she was able to celebrate the fact that he was still alive, and that she was able to be a part of his life, and not only that, she was getting paid for it. She trusted God and was rewarded for this.

What we must take from this story is that we need to celebrate the little things; the small achievements that happen in the mundane.

  • Learn To See The Big Picture

A man named Professor Heimlich was made famous after inventing the Heimlich manoeuvre. It is interesting that it is he who invented this, when the very same manoeuvre would, many years later, be the thing that saved his life.

God saw the big picture, and so did Jochebed in Exodus. She trusted in God’s plan, even if it wasn’t exactly how she wanted things to go, and as a result, Moses grew up to be well educated and was able to free so many people from slavery.

Pastor Phyl brought his sermon to a close by asking us whether we could trust God with ours and our children’s lives. He encouraged us to pray for them and to trust them to God. This is something that we must do as we progress in our Christian walk and we realise that we must let go of the physical, because there is nothing that we can control.

God’s grace is the only reason we’re here.

Can we trust Him and His plan?

 

Scriptures: Psalm 145, Psalm 145:4, Exodus 2:1-10

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