Saturday, March 31, 2012

Palm Sunday - fulfillment of Scripture

Jesus is deliberately fulfilling the Scriptures here:

Jesus sending 2 men to look for a donkey is probably significant.
In the Old Testament, Saul was anointed as king, and then he met 2 men who tell him that the donkeys he’s been looking for have been found.
(1 Sam 10:2)

When Solomon, King David’s son, was anointed King he had ridden a donkey (1 K 1:33, 38).

The point is that Jesus is God’s anointed king.

In Gen 49:8-12, Jacob / Israel says to his son Judah:
"Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness-- who dares to rouse him?
10 The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.”
Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judah.
He is the one to whom the sceptre and the ruler’s staff and the obedience of the nations belong.

In Zech 9:9-10, we read:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

In 2 Kings 9:13, when the people of Israel want to make Jehu king, they spread their cloaks before him.
Throwing cloaks in front of someone is treating them as a king.
It’s treating them like your king.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Parish Magazine

You can read a PDF version of our parish magazine (for Bodle Street Green, Dallington and Warbleton) on the Warbleton Church website. (This version doesn't include the covers and the adverts).

Apostles' Creed Lent Course - Session 5 - Bible verses

“the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
Some relevant Bible verses

“the forgiveness of sins”

Matt 6:12-15 - Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Luke 7:36-50 – Jesus anointed by a sinful woman - vv47-50: Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." 48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" 50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Matt 18:15-35 – A brother who sins against you & the parable of the unmerciful servant – v22: forgive 77 times

Jer 31:34 – No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying,`Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Mark 3:28 - I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."

Romans 12:17-21 - Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 Cor 5 – Expel the immoral brother

“the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”

1 Cor 15:12-58 – The resurrection – spiritual bodies – v49: “we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven”

Romans 8:18-23 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

1 Cor 15:20, 23 - Christ, the firstfruits - cf. Ex 23:16 - Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. "Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.

1 Jn 3:2 - Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

1 Cor 15:35-37 - But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

Phil 3:20-21 - But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

 Mk 12:18-27 - Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" 24 Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him,`I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"

1 Cor 15:42-44 - So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

John 11 – the raising (resuscitation) of Lazarus

John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

 John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 11:25-26 - Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

1 Cor 15:58 - Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Timothy 4:3-4 - They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Rev 21:1-5ff - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." 5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Jn 5:28-29 - "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What the Diocese says...

... about Mission (Op. Cit.).

Most Churches will tell you they want to improve their work with
children and families. However, recognising the principle that your
system is perfectly designed to achieve the results you are
currently achieving implies that some change will be necessary to
reach that goal. The values of a community will be exposed when
these sorts of changes are put into effect. Often change reveals
that a community’s real values are more to do with keeping things
just the way we like them!

A Church may say that growth is important to them but other
things may be more important at an emotional level. Sometimes
the values of a Church can only be addressed through systematic
teaching and loving leadership. Sadly, many folk in our pews
haven’t grasped the mission imperative and they need help to see it. Others will need loving re-assurance that their spiritualities are
not being dismissed in a scramble to be innovative and successful.


Most of the changes that happen in churches and lead to growth
are about the culture and values of the church before they are
about activity. Mere extra activity without addressing the culture
that has inhibited growth is unlikely to be fruitful.

Keys to church growth

I am reading the thing the Diocese have produced on Mission Action Planning, in case you are wondering.

There are apparently some people who are in to a thing they call Natural Church Development. I gather they reckon there are 8 things that determine this and that your church growth is likely to be limited by whichever is the weakest.

The eight criteria are:

§ Empowering leadership
§ Passionate spirituality
§ Gift orientated ministry
§ Need focussed evangelism
§ Inspiring worship services
§ Functional structures
§ Holistic small groups
§ Loving relationships

Marks of Healthy Churches

The Growing Healthy Churches people have got a list of 7 characteristics of healthy churches that grow:

§ Energised by faith
§ Outward looking focus
§ Seeks to find out what God wants
§ Faces the cost of change and growth
§ Builds community
§ Makes room for others
§ Does a few things – and does them well.

Mission Action Plans

It turns out there is a website about church Mission Action Plans.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Respectable sins

I plan to say something about sin at our Lent Course this week. I thought it might be worth thinking about what sins we tend to think of as almost acceptable, understandable, and not a big deal as Christians. I've jotted down the list of sins considred in Jerry Bridges' book, Respectable Sins:

Anger and frustration
Lack of self-control
Impatience and irritability
Envy, jealousy etc.
Sins of the tongue

With a moment's thought it's a challenging list.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Christ's words from the cross

The words of Christ from the cross would be possible material for the Good Friday Hour at the Cross:

  1. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
  3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27).
  4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me, (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
  5. I thirst (John 19:28).
  6. It is finished (John 19:30).
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).
Of course you’d want to look at Charles Spurgeon, Christ’s Words from the Cross in your preparation.

Any other resources to suggest for the hard-pressed Pastor whose behind on his great pile of Easter preparation?!