Tag Archives: Church

Feeding Sheep, or Amusing Goats?

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Feeding Sheep, or Amusing Goats?

An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are’.

No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Archibald Brown, “The Devil’s Mission of Amusement” 1889

The Holiness Of God & The Love Of God

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“To be really Bible-believing Christians we need to practice, simultaneously, at each step of the way, two biblical principles.

One principle is that of the purity of the visible church. Scripture commands that we must do more than just talk about the purity of the visible church; we must actually practice it, even when it is costly.

The second principle is that of an observable love among all true Christians. In the flesh we can stress purity without love, or we can stess love without purity; we cannot stress both simultaneously. To do so we must look moment by moment to the work of Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Without that, a stress on purity becomes hard, proud, and legalistic; likewise without it a stress on love becomes sheer compromise.

Spiritually begins to have real meaning in our lives as we begin to exhibit simultaneously the holiness of God and the love of God. We never do this perfectly, but we must look to the living Christ to help us do it truly.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster

Christian Community

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“Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

Spiritual Placebos

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“When believers have a low view of God, everything focuses on meeting felt needs within the body of Christ. When the church adopts such a perspective, it often offers people nothing more than spiritual placebos. It centers on psychology, self-esteem, entertainment, and a myriad of other diversions to attempt to meet perceived and felt needs.”

John MacArthur, Alone With God

Under The Word

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The church is always to be under the Word; she must be; we must keep her there. You must not assume that because the church started correctly, she will continue so. She did not do so in the New Testament times; she has not done so since. Without being constantly reformed by the Word the church becomes something very different. We must always keep the church under the Word.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Tuscany Tour: Day 3 – Vinci & Chianti

 As we left the amazing Pisa, Chiara (our tour guide) gave us some more interesting yet gruesome Tuscany history about the Medici family killing everyone again and taking over more villages and cities. She also mentioned a man called Leonardo Da Vinci, “no way” i said to Sarah “I thought he was a ninja turtle, not a real man!” She gave me a swift elbow in the ribs, and Chiara continued.

Welcome to Vinci…

The image below is of the landscape that greeted us from the coach.  

Sarah looking over the Vinci Hills

After taking in the amazing scenery, we headed off on foot to the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci.

A view overlooking the town of Vinci with a bell tower on the left

A beautiful bell tower with purple blue sunrise over vince

A close up black and white of the Vinci Bell Tower

I really like bell towers!! 🙂

Sarah & i found inside the museum much too dark, so we struggled to see any of the fantastic creations on display. Sarah was using her iPhone 6 Plus with it’s wide aperture of f2.2 to view each design as it showed much brighter on her screen, rather than the dark blob in front of her (she’s a genius).

We did find a cool bike though!!

Vinci Bike

Now it was back outside to have a wonder around and see what we can find. It wasn’t long before we found a familiar object! 

Vitruvian Man

Sarah wasn’t happy with the “Vitruvian Man” and thought Leonardo had missed something out. So we added something extra……The Vitruvian Man & Woman! 🙂

Sarah stood in front of the Vitruvian Man  doing the same pose

Now for Chianti…

After another trip on the coach through amazing rolling hills, olive grows and vinyards, the coach parked right up at the top in Chianti where we were to do a little wine & local Tuscan food tasting.

I didn’t have time to take any photos as we were guided straight to our table and greeted with a lovely plate of local baked bread, olive oil, cheese and spicy meat.

The lady first pour a little Chianti Simple (table wine) into the huge glass and as she was going into great detail of how to hold the glass etc, i continued on the food (i couldn’t see anything she was doing, so her over complicated directions were wasted on me, lol). As i don’t really drink alcohol except a very full bodied glass of red wine on special occasions (normally 1 bottle a year and that’s usually Châteauneuf-du-Pape i receive as a Christmas gift). My thought is that if i’m only going to have one glass on rare occasions, then i would like one that i enjoy! 🙂

I really know nothing about wines, only that some are red and some are white, and some are watery and some are thick (like coffee, lol) and i only like the thick ones, which now i know are called full bodied! 🙂

Then she poured a little of the Chianti Classico (full bodied..Yay!) and that was much better! 

But probably my favourite taste of the day was the 30 year old Balsamic Vinegar we got to taste! Wow, now that’s amazing, but expensive so didn’t get any to bring home! 😦

As we finished there was a mad rush to the little shop area. I stayed at the table as Sarah went to have a look and take a few photos for us!

Chianti Bottles on a shelf

Chianti barrells

look inside the Chianti shop

I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip so far?! Next stop Siena!! 🙂

⇍ Previous DayNext Day ⇏

An Evening With Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges! 😄

 Wow!! Just returned home from an evening of Worship at church, where we were blessed by the amazing voice of Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges and his Spiritual songs, it was an honour to meet him too! 🙂

Read about Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges on Wikipedia…. 

Eugene 2

Eugene 1

⇧ Eugene “Hideaway Bridges performing at our church ⇧ 

Eugene  Hideaway Bridges  Me

⇧ Me meeting Eugene during the interval 🙂 ⇧ 

Ephesians 5:19 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

Morality & Ethics Without The Gospel As A basis

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“The Church has been trying to preach morality and ethics without the Gospel as a basis; it has been preaching morality without godliness; and it simply does not work. It never has done, and it never will. And the result is that the Church, having abandoned her real task, has left humanity more or less to its own devices.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers

Unity And Maturity In The Body Of Christ

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Ephesians 4:1-6 New International Version

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Members Of God’s Holy Family

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Ephesians 2:17-22 The Voice

17 The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away. 18 By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. 19 And so you are no longer called outcasts and wanderers but citizens with God’s people, members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household. 20 You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the voices of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone. 21 The building is joined together stone by stone—all of us chosen and sealed in Him, rising up to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In Him you are being built together, creating a sacred dwelling place among you where God can live in the Spirit.

The church is not a building constructed by humans but a divine institution, built on the living Stone, Jesus. He’s the strong, foundational building block of the church, and his followers are living stones who are being built into a spiritual house. 

As one of the many little living stones in the church, remember that each diverse stone has great worth to Jesus and to his body. When you’re tempted to ignore your need for others or to discount those who aren’t like you, remember that each stone is balanced by all those around it, and all rest on the living Stone himself. 

Quote from:NIV Devotions

The Peace Of God & The Blessing Of The Church Family

Sunday was especially blessed for me, as not only did i get to drum with the worship team, but i was asked to play a reflective song on guitar with my lovely wife Sarah on flute & Sara (the voice) singing. I chose the song “In Your Hands” by Unspoken (see video below) and shared a little about worry, and how we need to trustGod and  have more confidence in this promise to let his peace, the peace that’s beyond all understanding to guard our hearts and minds, as we offer everything (not some things) in prayer. 

After the service a group of us went down to the coast at Littlehampton and had a great day walking along the beach after eating chips then doughnuts! It was fantastic spending time with sisters & brothers and i felt truly blessed! 🙂 

A group photo of us in front of the beach and sea

⇧ From left: Ben, Hope, Mary, Sally, Sara & Me at front ⇧ 

Group photo in front of the beach and sea

⇧ From left: Ben, Sarah, Hope, Mary, Sally & Sara ⇧ 

close up of the groups shot

⇧ From left: Ben, Sarah, Hope, Mary, Sally & Sara ⇧

Me  Sarah

⇧ Me & Sarah ⇧ 

Sarah  Sara

⇧ Sarah & Sara ⇧

Hope  Sarah 3

⇧ Hope & Sarah ⇧

Sara  Hope

⇧ Mary & Hope ⇧ 

Sally  Sara

⇧ Sally & Mary ⇧

Ben  Me

⇧ Ben & Me ⇧ 

Little Hampton 1

⇧ From left: Sally, Mary, Hope, Sarah & Ben ⇧ 

 

In Your Hands Lyrics

The dawn is breaking and I can hear Your whisper in the breeze
The world is waking and I am here to meet You on my knees
When I’m with You my soul finds rest
Cause I can leave it in Your hands


The day keeps coming pulling me a different million ways
I’m always running but never seem to catch the things I chase
When I’m with You my soul finds rest
Cause I can leave it in Your hands


(Chorus)
 Every sorrow, I leave it in Your hands
Every sickness, I leave it in Your hands
All my failures, I leave them in Your hands
Amen, I leave it in Your hands



So I am laying the weight of all these burdens at Your feet
No more waiting, cause You’ve already won my victories
In Jesus my soul finds rest
Cause I can leave it in Your hands


(Chorus 2)
 Every promise, I leave it in Your hands
Every healing, I leave it in Your hands
And my future, I leave it in Your hands
Amen, I can leave it in Your hands


(Bridge )
It’s Your hands that form the mountains
Your hands set boundaries for the seas
And in Your hands You hold tomorrow
The same hands that took the nails for me


(Chorus 1)
(Chorus 2)

No Walls Can Confine You!

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Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church.  They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper pews.  The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible.  He reads to them:  “Ducks!  God has given you wings!  With wings you can fly!  With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles.  No walls can confine you!  No fences can hold you!  You have wings.  God has given you wings and you can fly like birds!”  All the ducks shouted, “Amen!”  And they all waddled home.

Soren Kierkegaard

✞ Music “Bury The Workmen” by Unspoken

“Bury The Workmen”

Steven was a deacon in Jerusalem
They dragged him out those city gates to try and quiet him
When Steven preached those Pharisees started throwing stones
Before he died he raised his eyes and saw Jesus on the throne

(Chorus)
He said, You can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
You can bury the workmen but the work will go on

James was sent to Heaven at the edge of Herod’s sword
And Peter he was crucified like his beloved Lord
The Roman Colosseum, the lions and the fires
The gates of hell did not prevail, they fanned those flames higher

(Chorus)
Cause you can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
And you can bury the workmen but the work will go on

And then they lowered Jesus, they laid Him in a grave
They thought that it was over, that His name would fade away
But Jesus wasn’t listening, no, He rose to life again
Cause God is not persuaded by the arrogance of men

(Chorus) x2
So you can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
And you can bury the workmen but the work will go on

A Wedding Sandwich

Well it’s been an emotional (but rewarding) couple of weeks with a wedding sandwiched between 2 funerals. 1st was Sarah’s Grans funeral (see 🌹Beautiful Rosa🌹) then my sisters wedding (see My Sisters Wedding) and today we celebrated Sarah’s Spiritual guide & support Audrey Broderick’s life at a beautiful and moving memorial service. During the service Audrey had requested a poem to be read and i thought i’d share it with you….

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins, © 1981

Love Came Down

My Thoughts 💭

Tami (from Lessons by Heart) once again has asked “When are you going to share your music?” 

I don’t have any songs that i’ve recorded (studio or home studio? properly, but i recorded our version of “Love Came Down” on my iPhone whilst Charis & i were practising ready for a Sunday service. I’ll try and get some proper recordings as i’ve had quite a few people ask me when i will be posting my songs! Sorry for the poor quality & playing, the church was freezing! Lol. 😀

Visiting Family In Derby

If you’re wondering why i’ve been so quiet for the last few days…..…Sarah & i have been visiting family & friends in my hometown of Derby, Derbyshire,

It was amazing to catch up with as many as i could as i don’t get to see them very often, and it was sad not too catch up with my brother Paul. Below are some great memories of my trip. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Me stood in our hotel window

⇧ Surprised to find this great window in our hotel room! 🙂 ⇧ 

Sarah next to the river with the Cathedral in the background.jpg

 ⇧ Sarah & i had a lovely riverside walk ⇧ 

Derby Cathedral

  ⇧ Derby Cathedral (i proposed to Sarah inside, 9 years ago ⇧ 

Me  my 2 sisters Ambber  left  Charlotte

 ⇧ Me and my 2 sisters, Ambber (left) & Charlotte ⇧ 

Ambber Sarah Me Charlotte  Marc

 ⇧ From left: Ambber, Sarah, Me, Charlotte & Marc ⇧ 

A photo of me with my beautiful niece Saira

 ⇧ Me with Saira (one of my beautiful nieces) ⇧ 

Saira (one of my beautiful nieces).jpg

 ⇧ Saira ⇧ 

Saffy (one of my beautful nieces) .jpg

 ⇧ Saffy (one of my beautiful nieces) ⇧  

Taylor (one of my beautiful nieces).jpg

 ⇧ Taylor (one of my beautiful nieces) ⇧ 

Me, Eileen (step mum), my Dad, Sarah, Saira, Saffy & Taylor 1.jpg

 ⇧ From back left: My Dad, Eileen (my step mum), Me, Sarah, Saira, Saffy & Taylor “”

Ben  brother in law my Dad Eileen  my step mum Me Saira Saffy  Taylor

 ⇧ From back left: Ben (my brother in law), Dad, Eileen, Me, Saira, Saffy & Taylor ⇧ 

All photos taken with my iPhone 5s

Related Posts: Families

We Aren’t Here By Accident

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God leaves us here because He has a mission for us to fulfill. We aren’t here by accident; neither are we here simply to enjoy the good things life has to offer. We are here because God put us here, and He has a sovereign purpose in keeping us here. It’s true for us as individuals, and it’s true for His body, the Church, in all of its fullness. As Jesus prayed just before His arrest and trial, “I am not praying that You take them out of the world…As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:15,18)

Billy Graham

The Gladness Of The Man Of Sorrows

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As he sees us day by day more conformed to his image, he rejoices in us. Just as you see the sculptor with his chisel fetching out the statue which lies hidden in the block of marble, taking off a corner here, and a chip there, and a piece here—see how he smiles when he brings out the features of the form divine—so our Saviour, as he proceeds with his graving tool, working through the operation of the Spirit, and making us like unto himself, finds much delight in us. The painter makes rough drafts at first, and lays on the colours roughly; some do not understand what he is doing, and for three or four sittings the portrait is much unlike the man it aims at representing; but the painter can discern the features in the canvas; he sees it looming through that mist and haze of colour; he knows that beauty will yet beam forth from yonder daubs and blotches. So Jesus, though we are yet but mere outlines of his image, can discover his own perfection in us where no eye but his own, as the Mighty Artist, can perceive it. Dear friends, it is for this reason, because we are the work of his hands, that he takes delight in us. We are his brethren—and brothers should delight in brothers. We are his spouse—and where should the husband find his comfort but in his bride? We are his body—shall not the head be content with the members? We are one with him, vitally, personally, everlastingly one; and it is little marvel, therefore, if we have a mutual joy in each other, so that his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces of his church, wherein he has been made glad.

As yet we do not see The Lord Jesus Christ or what we will be as the finished product of his work for us and in us, but that fact should not lessen our joy  Our Saviour is totally satisfied with the fruit of his work for sinners.

by Charles Spurgeon

♥ Love ♥

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Ephesians 5:25 Easy-to-Read Version

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.

My Thoughts 💭

This is one of my favourite Bible verses that i try desperately  each day to live up to. As soon as i first read this verse it convicted me straight away and i knew i wanted to be a husband like that!

🙏 Prayer

Spirit, thanks for being a constant guiding presence in my life. Give me the faith to take practical and radical action to keep in step with You, so that You can love my spouse through me in a way that will sustain a fun, loving & trusting relationship. Amen.

To All The Churches #7

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Revelation 3:14-22 The Voice

Letter to Laodicea

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Laodicea. “These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation:

“I know your works. You are neither cold with apathy nor hot with passion. It would be better if you were one or the other, but you are neither. So because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. You claim, ‘I am rich, I have accumulated riches, and I need nothing’; but you do not realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. So here is what I suggest you do: buy true gold from Me (gold refined by fire so that you can be truly rich), white garments (to cover you so that you can keep the shame of your nakedness from showing), and eye ointment (to treat your eyes so that you may see clearly).

“Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back.[a] Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me.

“The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death I will place next to Me on My throne, just as I Myself conquered and took a place of honor with My Father on His throne.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

King James Version

To All The Churches #6

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Revelation 3:7-13 The Voice

Letter to Philadelphia

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia. “These are the words of the holy One, the true One, and the One who possesses the key of David, which opens the possibilities so that no one can shut them. The One who closes all options so that no one can open:

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can shut. I have done this because you have limited strength, yet you have obeyed My word and have not denied My name. Watch, and I will make those of the congregation of Satan—those who call themselves ‘Jews’ but are not because they lie—come before you penitent, falling at your feet. Then they will know how much I have loved you. Because you have obeyed My instructions to endure and be patient, I will protect you from the time of trial which will come upon the whole earth and put everyone in it to the test. I will soon return. Hold tight to what you have so that no one can take away your victor’s wreath.

“As for the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will plant that person as a pillar in the temple of My God, and that person will never have to leave the presence of God. Moreover, I will inscribe this person with the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, New Jerusalem—which descends out of heaven from My God—and My own new name.

God’s intention for the world is this: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” This is fulfilled by those who are faithful to Him.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

King James Version

To All The Churches #2

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Revelation 2:8-11 The Voice

Letter to Smyrna

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Smyrna. “These are the words of the First and the Last, the One who was dead and returned to life:

“I know your deeds and the difficult ordeal you are enduring and your poverty, although you are actually rich. I am aware of the offensive accusations preached by those who call themselves ‘Jews.’ But these people are not the Jews they pretend to be; they are actually the congregation of Satan. In the face of suffering, do not fear. Watch; the devil will throw some of you into prison shortly so that you might be tested, and you will endure great affliction for 10 days. Be faithful throughout your life, until the day you die, and I will give you the victor’s wreath of life.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will escape the second death.”

View King James Version

✞ Music “Wild Things” by Andy Mineo

My Thoughts 💭
I love the lyrics & message in this fat tune! Turn up the subs and enjoy!! 🙂

“Wild Things”

[Hook]
I wanna go where the wild things are
I’m talking lions, tigers, bears (oh my)
Christ died for the terrible heart
That’s why I wanna be where the wild things are

[Verse 1]
Welcome to the church in the wild
I live with dudes haven’t been to church in a while
I’ve chosen this lifestyle, you ever met my friends?
Porn stars, dope dealers, they like, “Why you chill with them”?
I thought you was a Christian? Yeah I’m on that team
But I’m with them cause my life’s the only bible that they’ve ever seen
Some wanna be an earshot from the church bell
I wanna win souls, make gunshots in the worst hell
Telling ’em Christ became a curse for they sin with my words and my works
They won’t come in? I’m bringing church to them
Yeah, that’s why I live where I live
They say, “You acting cray, that ain’t no place to raise your kids”
But um, if we ain’t living it who else gon’ show em
What a family supposed to look like instead of them broken homes
Gotta be living stones around where they getting stoned
Live and know Him, die to make Him known ’til He take us home, let’s go

[Hook]

[Verse 2]
If you catch me in a bar where the wild things are
With my pastor and an entourage who loves God
Please don’t think that it’s odd, we kick it ’round broken hearts
Fishing for men, surrounded by sin but ain’t taking part
I talk about Jesus, all the Christians love me
I walk like Jesus now they wanna judge me, ain’t it funny?
I’m ducking stones thrown from the Pharisees
Gospel of Peace up on my feet like a pair of cleats
Walking with the Paraclete, that’s Greek for The Spirit
They say the wild things’ll eat you up
Who shall I fear when God is walking with me
If I die that’s a win, that’s the seed of the church plus I get to be with Him
And we so undefeated like Hanes made our sneakers
I had beef with Jesus and my sin it got deleted
So I gotta go and speak it to those who really need it
Let the Gospel off the leash, go and be where the beasts at

[Hook]

The Most Excellent Way

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1 Corinthians 12:31 The Voice 

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way—love.

1 Corinthians 13  The Voice

Gifts of the Spirit, which are intended to strengthen the church body, often divide the body because members of the church elevate those who possess the more visible gifts over those whose gifts function in the background. In fact, this is the very problem facing the Corinthians. So while talking about the importance and function of these gifts in chapters 12 and 14, Paul shifts his focus to the central role love plays in a believer’s life in chapter 13. Love is essential for the body to be unified and for members to work together. Members of the body that are very different, with little in common, are able to appreciate and even enjoy others because of the love that comes when a life is submitted to God.

What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. 2 What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. 3 I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts.

Paul boils it all down for the believers in Corinth. Religious people often spend their time practicing rituals, projecting dogma, and going through routines that might look like Christianity on the outside but that lack the essential ingredient that brings all of it together—love! It is a loving God who birthed creation and now pursues a broken people in the most spectacular way. That same love must guide believers, so faith doesn’t appear to be meaningless noise.

4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 8 Love will never become obsolete. Now as for the prophetic gifts, they will not last; unknown languages will become silent, and the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. 9 Gifts of knowledge and prophecy are partial at best, at least for now, 10 but when the perfection and fullness of God’s kingdom arrive, all the parts will end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. 12 For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.

How Better We Can Love

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Is life not full of opportunities for learning love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.

Henry Drummond

Let Us Pray

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Let us pray for the Church and for the world, and let us thank God for his goodness:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray with faith.

We pray for your Church today, gathering all around the world in tiny churches and great cathedrals, to praise you, to hear your holy word, and to meet with you in bread and wine. Give us a sense of expectation as we come and inspiration as we go. Help us to put our differences behind us and to behind the great commission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations.

We pray for a world which struggles to live justly and in peace. We pray for those who have to search for daily food or walk long distances for clean water. We remember with sadness those whose live are cut short by preventable diseases and malnutrition, and those who have fled their homes for fear of violence. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done as it is in the heavenly places.

We thank you God for your forgiveness and for revealing that you are Love. Thank you for those people who sustain us by sharing this love to us. Thank you for the network of people with whom our lives are inextricably linked and who make up the fabric of our family and community life. Make us alert to each other’s needs and quick to serve and encourage one another. May our gentleness with each other reflect your gentleness with us.

We pray for those who are laid low by suffering and those who are experiencing the outrageous assault of pain. We trust your love for us and for all people, and your deep desire for our well-being. As we name in our hearts those who are in the grip of suffering, help us so to pray and to act that they may know your comfort and healing, both now and in the coming days.

We thank you for those people who have tonight given us examples and models by which we try to live. We thank you for those who have lived and died in quiet holiness and whose prayers have helped to sustain the world. Help us to live in the light be which they lived, and to worship the source of that light, Jesus Christ our risen Lord.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all people, we commend ourselves to your unfailing love. Merciful Father, accept these prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

My Thoughts 💭

Tonight at our café style evening service we were lead through this lovely prayer above. Thought you might want to join in with us. 🙂

“I am loved”

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My Thoughts 💭 

Last night during the evening service at our church, Nik our Minister read the following and asked us to discuss which one from the bullet list really stood out to us, and why?:

I am loved”

but what does this mean to you?

• The whole of me my body, mind heart and soul, that is my strength, my thoughts my deepest longings and all my emotions are loved by God.
• God knows me AND loves me (not God knows me but loves me)
• I am loved for who I am. Completely, Utterly, For Ever.
• Others may dislike me, but God loves me
• I may hate myself, but God continues to love me
• He loves me for what I am and what I will be.
• He loves me because he understands me.

it was really interesting hearing the different answers from the diverse brothers and sisters in our congragation.

So I wondered if you could comment with your answers/thoughts to the same question above?

Come Together In Agreement

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1 Corinthians 1:10-14 (VOICE)

My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. I have heard troubling reports from Chloe’s people that you, my siblings, are consumed by fighting and petty disagreements. What I have heard is that each of you is taking sides, saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with the Anointed One.” Has the Anointed One been split up into many small pieces? Do you think Paul was crucified for you? Were you ceremonially washed through baptism[a] into the name of Paul? Absolutely not!

Paul knows that if the work of Jesus’ gospel degenerates into a cult of personality, it will hardly resemble true Christianity. If the focus is on Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or any famous religious leader, then that distracts from the person and central message of Jesus. Any cult of personality is intoxicating, and it is often easier to claim to follow a person who can be seen and touched. But Christianity is founded upon the belief that Jesus is the head of the church and that all of His followers serve His will as a part of the royal priesthood.

Humility

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1 Peter 5:1-9 (VOICE)

Now for the elders of the church. I want to encourage you. As you know, I am an elder, too, like you. I have witnessed firsthand the sufferings of the Anointed One as well as shared in the glories which are soon to be revealed. When you shepherd the flock God has given you, watch over them not because you have to but because you want to. For this is how God would want it not because you’re being compensated somehow but because you are eager to watch over them. Don’t lead them as if you were a dictator, but lead your flock by example; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will be crowned with honor that will shine brightly forever. You who are younger in the faith: do as your elders and leaders ask. All of you should treat each other with humility, for as it says in Proverbs,

God opposes the proud
but offers grace to the humble.

So bow down under God’s strong hand; then when the time comes, God will lift you up. Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries.

Humility is rarely a virtue that our culture values. We’re trained from an early age to show our strengths and hide our weaknesses. This type of thinking also spills over into our models of leadership, as we learn to dictate to others how they should perform. Peter, however, says that we should be humble in our relationships with one another and not lead as dictators. In fact, this humility before one another and God is actually the position of the greatest strength. Our enemy desires to consume us, but we find strength to resist him when we are dependent upon God for His strength.

Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone. Resist him and be strong in your faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are fellow sufferers with you.

Prayer #1

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PRAYER. (I) by George Herbert

PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth ;

Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear ;

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.

My Thoughts 💭 

A visiting minister read this poem to us on sunday and I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve never heard it before but i’m sure some of you will know it! 🙂

Walk Wisely

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Ephesians 5:15-20 (VOICE)

So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times. So understand and be confident in God’s will, and don’t live thoughtlessly. Don’t drink wine excessively. The drunken path is a reckless path. It leads nowhere. Instead, let God fill you with the Holy Spirit. When you are filled with the Spirit, you are empowered to speak to each other in the soulful words of pious songs, hymns, and spiritual songs; to sing and make music with your hearts attuned to God; and to give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done.

Wisdom is a rare commodity. Paul urges believers, then and now, to walk wisely. It involves living well every day. Time itself seems to be co-opted by dark forces. But when believers understand God’s will, avoid drunkenness, and allow God to fill them with His Spirit, they are able to walk wisely and live well. The Spirit-filled life is not just for a special few; it is the normal Christian life, and it affects everything, including how we live in community and how we treat others at home.

In Perfect Sync With God’s Spirit

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Galatians 5:13-26 (VOICE)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. For the whole law comes down to this one instruction: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” so why all this vicious gnawing on each other? If you are not careful, you will find you’ve eaten each other alive!

Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings. For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do. But when you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

It’s clear that our flesh entices us into practicing some of its most heinous acts: participating in corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, drunken revelry, and other shameful vices that plague humankind. I told you this clearly before, and I only tell you again so there is no room for confusion: those who give in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul has been preaching about the call of God to freedom, and so he now spells it out: we are done with the demands of the law; now we are free to live in the Spirit and to be truly right with God. As free people, the Spirit gives us the characteristics of Jesus; we, too, can freely love in joy and peace. We can have patience along with kindness and faithfulness that can only come from the Father. We can reflect the goodness of God while being gentle in operating with self-control. For those who follow Him and live in the Spirit, these characteristics or fruits are a gift from God. As we grow in the faith, we find that we belong to God and can walk daily in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us.

Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy.

Prayer For Unity

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Lord Jesus we prayed that your people would be one, forgive us Lord and take away the pride and arrogance which divides your church. Break down the walls that separate us; unite us by your spirit ant teach us how to love each other.

Help us to humbly kneel before you and surrender all, Please guide us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds as we seek to find your good and pleasing will, Amen.

My Thoughts 💭 

The church I attend on sunday mornings has been without a pastor for well over a year now, so I post this prayer to try and help the body of believers unite and stay faithful to our awesome God.

I’d also love prayers from all of my amazing sisters and brothers here for this church as we seek to find a spirit filled, mature and wise pastor.

Become The Right Person!

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The first command in Ephesians 5 tells us to be imitators of God by reflecting the way he loves us. Our love for others flows out of our sense of being deeply loved. Instead of constantly looking for the right person, God tells us to become the right person. Instead of looking for love, God tells us to realise that love has already found us! God loves as no one else ever can.
Chip Ingram

Our Gifts Of Service

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Father, thank you for making me a part of something so precious, so awesome, as the bodily presence of the Lord. Please help each person in our church family to find his or her gifts of service and to use those gifts in ways that touch others with your grace and that bring you glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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