O God the author of all good
I come to you for the grace another day will require for its duties and events
Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it
To improve my talents
To redeem my time
To walk in wisdom toward those without
And in kindness to those within
To do good to all people
And especially to my fellow Christians
And to you be all the glory.
(adapted from Valley of Vision)
It's not the full film, but here's an intro to the short film we watched in Urban Life yesterday, as a reminder/recap!
Tomorrow at 4pm we will gather as church at St Chads Centre for the final part of the More than conquerors series. We will worship together, pray, encourage one another, and consider the parable of the hidden treasure in Matthew 13 v44. This story from Jesus is wonderfully simple and yet compelling in its call to pursue him and his kingdom as our greatest desire and passion, and so to give everything to love God and to love and serve our community.
Here's the parable. It's just one verse:
"“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field."
Our verse for 2018 is Psalm 90:14
'Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
If we pray this regularly - maybe every day - during this year, we will grow strong and clear in our faith as followers of Christ.
Here's a four minute summary of last weekend's teaching on this prayer.
A prayer from our meeting last Sunday:
Disturb me Lord, when my dreams come true
only because I dreamed too small
Disturb me Lord when I arrive safely
only because I sailed too close to the shore
Disturb me Lord when the things I have gained
cause me to lose my thirst for more of you
Disturb me Lord when I have acquired success
only to lose my desire for excellence
Disturb me Lord when I give up too soon
and settle too far short of the goals you have set for my life
(Simon Guillebaud - More than conquerors)
These are our plans as a community over the next few weeks:
Wednesday 13th December
Bring a dish from your culture, try dishes from other cultures!
An early holiday celebration.
6pm to 8pm at St Chad's Centre
Sunday 17th December
Our Spanish and English-speaking communities gather for carols
and to remember the coming of the Lord Jesus into the world
4pm at St Chad's Centre
Eating and sharing food together afterwards.
Wednesday 20th December
Our regular Wednesday night hangout with a few thoughts about Christmas
and a few carols round the piano!
Bring Christmassy food to share for a buffet.
6pm at 79 St Chad's Road
Sunday 24th December
All-Age Christingle Service
Especially to involve our little ones, we will meet to
remember the Light coming to our world on Christmas Eve.
11am at St Chad's Centre.
Join us for lunch together after the meeting.
We're continuing to think and pray through what it looks like to be a serious follower of Jesus. Loving God radically. Loving others radically. Giving ourselves to Christ completely, in our trust, in the choices we make, the daily decisions to keep going even in the tough times, and to express this as we engage in prayer. We want to live like Christ. We want to love like Christ.
Humility is something we all usually think is a good thing - for other people!
It is an attitude where we choose to take the lower place; where we prefer others' needs ahead of our own; where we seek to love, serve and bless, rather than primarily aiming to be the one who is served and blessed.
1 Peter chapter 5 describes how humility...
...should drive how leaders treat those they lead
...should drive how people respond to those leaders
...should drive how we all respond to each other
...should drive how we respond to God.
When humility is not a feature of our lives, leaders hurt and abuse people; those under their care fight back; people fall out with one another as they seek the higher place; and worst of all we assume we know better than God and refuse to follow his ways, putting ourselves at the centre of our little reality.
Following Jesus Christ - trusting him, and following his example - releases us from this trap, and leads us to freedom as we humble ourselves, and discover as we do, that God lifts us up and honours us.
We have been reading through the apostle Peter's first letter, in the New Testament. He explains how Jesus has come and set us free, so we don't simply focus on what we desire, but on what God desires. Now we want to do what his will is!
In 1 Peter 4 v7-11, we find that he says something about prayer, something about love, something about hospitality, and something about gifts.
The agenda for people that Christ has reconnected with God is now this:
- To be serious-minded and alert so that we can pray; prayer is something we need to be deliberate about in our lives, as it almost never happens as a default when we get lazy and casual about it.
- To love one another deeply so that we are united rather than picking up on every little thing that irritates or offends - 'covering a multitude of sins'.
- To show hospitality and share what we have gladly and without complaining about people using up, wearing out, or damaging our things
- To actively use our gifts to serve others, whether speaking or helping or whatever else! And to use these gifts in the strength that God gives us, not relying on our own strength.
These are the desires God is drawing out of us more and more day by day!
We do all these things because we want God to be praised and honoured and recognised as glorious and powerful.
The huge overarching story we find in the bible covers all of history, from beginning of time to the end of all things, and the new creation.
God's good news is all about how he has acted in history for us, in Jesus Christ. For those who respond to Jesus and follow him, our destiny is now intertwined with his and we are secure in him forever.
Trying to summarise the good news is difficult in some ways, because there is so much. But we have been trying to think about it using four hooks:
New creation (Ultimate hope)
These four hooks allow us to get a handle on the story. And what's interesting is that these four things touch on the big questions of life we all wonder about, if we are honest:
Identity - who am I? and who do I want to be?
Problem - what is wrong with the world? and what is wrong in my experience of life, in my own heart and in others dealings with me?
Solution - what do I think will make things better? where do I seek comfort or escape? what needs to happen?
Ultimate hope - what do I dream of ultimately? what do I think will make me truly happy? what am I banking on being the end resolution that all my hopes are pinned on?
We all wonder about these things and in different ways create stories to explain our experiences and our hopes. But the good news story of Jesus Christ gives the ultimate and best story. Because it's true. And we can depend on it - on him!
Our identity is in him as his created, loved and chosen children
Our problem is when we turn away from him
Our solution is found in Jesus' death and resurrection, setting us free
Our hope is in knowing eternal freedom and joy in and with God in the new creation one day.
Tomorrow - our English and Spanish speaking communities meet together at St Chads Centre. 7pm.
Then on Sunday afternoon we will be going to the Darley Park Concert and fireworks along with most of Derby!
Meeting together last Sunday, we thought about what it means in the 21st Century to give a reason for the Christian hope. We've been in the book of 1 Peter. And spending time these few weeks in chapter 3 verse 15. Explaining the hope we have to friends around us. What is it that we believe and why? And what about issue x, y and z? We will continue thinking about these things in the coming weeks as we meet together. Importantly though, verse 16 says this - we should always be explaining our hope with gentleness and respect. Always.
Wednesday 19th July
Bring a dish from your country
Try dishes from other countries
Make new friends
St Chad's Centre.
This weekend we are going to gather to worship God together, and to consider how he leads us and guides us in a wonderful but often tough, confusing and crazy world.
Both our communities are meeting at St Chad's Centre over the weekend:
Spanish speaking community. Saturday. 7.00pm.
La comunidad hispanohablante. Sábado. 7.00pm en el centro St. Chad's
English speaking community. Sunday afternoon at 4.00pm.
Urban Life communities - followers of Jesus living life and bringing life in an urban setting!
The blog gives a snapshot of our life together as we post things we are learning about; things we believe; songs we love; readings and prayers to strengthen and help us; and general information about what is happening in our communities.
So here are updates, reviews, reminders and support for those who are part of our communities, and a chance to 'look in' for those who are interested and wondering what we are all about.