Our Weekly Message

November 13, 2016
13 Nov 2016

Hatred and division begin as small seeds in people’s hearts; born of greed, selfishness and the false words of others. Unchecked they can grow into acts of evil, conflict and war – just look at what’s happening in the World today. On the day that we remember those who paid the ultimate price in those wars, let us  instead plant in our hearts the seeds of peace, love and harmony born of the true Word of Jesus. Let us pray for peace and the healing of division around the World – especially in America and the Middle East but also in all places where conflict rules people’s lives.

The short film below was played in our service as well as at Friday Night Special where the children began writing those very prayers for peace.

Luke 21:5-19
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

Our Weekly Message

November 6, 2016
06 Nov 2016

Today we had a talk by Andrew from LICC who provide the study material for our house groups. He spoke to us about the concepts of Frontline, Gathering and Scattering. For those who haven’t attended a house group they are simply as follows; your frontline is where as a Christian you meet up with others who may be of a different or no particular faith. The example you set here is how they perceive what Christianity is all about. Your frontline can be a workplace, the shop or anywhere that you regularly meet other people. Gathering is where we as Christians gather together – such as in church, and scattering is where we go out into the World. In order to spread the word of the Kingdom of God this scattering must take place. This does not mean we must stand on a soap box and preach to others but simply make them aware of the Truth and who we are – a kind of leading by example.

The truth shall illuminate the Way and dispel the falsehoods and lies of the World just as the light dispels the darkness.

All the details about LICC and the work they do is on their website The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity so please take a look and check out the resources they have – you never know you may decide to run a housegroup – they are very rewarding!

And here was our reading which speaks about resurrection and the transition from the Worldly to the Heavenly.

Luke 20:27-38
The Resurrection and Marriage

27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “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 raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Our Weekly Message

October 30, 2016
30 Oct 2016

This week our reading was from a video on the big screens and was followed by a re-enactment that involved Damian balancing on a step ladder with bags of chocolate coins that were later handed out via our children to the whole congregation. The story here is that Jesus recognises what was missing from the heart of a man who before was before greedyand selfish. Zaccaeus himself was drawn to Jesus without necessarily knowing why but as a result his heart was changed and the giving away of his ill gotten wealth was testament to that change. We don’t have Damian on film but here is that video…

Luke 19:1-10
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Our Weekly Message

October 23, 2016
23 Oct 2016

Luke 18:9-14
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Our Weekly Message

October 16, 2016
16 Oct 2016

This week our message was about prayer and the fact that persistence can pay off in what we are asking for.  In the parable below the widow does not simply give up and her efforts are finally rewarded. If this judge who is not a good man gives her what she wants because he tires of he,  then what about God who loves all of us and never tires of our prayers? Also important is who we pray for in the fight against injustice in the world. Pray for the people suffering injustice that they may be delivered from it but also for those who commit that injustice that their hearts are reached by God’s Holy Spirit and are changed.

Luke 18:1-8
The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Our Weekly Message

October 9, 2016
09 Oct 2016

This week the theme of our service was on giving thanks to God for the gifts he gives us and we were all asked to think of something to say thankyou for – there were a wide range of answers but the most popular here was family. The kids (and adults) from Friday Night Special had also written prayers of thanks and watched a video which you can see below. If anyone is wondering what Friday Night Special is all about, then come along – every Friday at 6.00pm in term time – it’s a really good night!

Luke 17:11-19
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosymet him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”


Our Weekly Message

October 2, 2016
02 Oct 2016

Our reading this week was about the Mustard Seed and how just a little faith can be used by God to do great things. This is best explained by this brilliant and inspiring video which was shown as part of the service – if you haven’t seen it then have a look now!

Luke 17:5-10

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

Our Harvest Message

September 25, 2016
25 Sep 2016

For our Harvest Service the reading was the Parable of the Sower in which Jesus explains about God’s harvest of the people in which the seed of His Word is planted. The explanation of the parable is given from verse 11. We also collected offerings of food to be given to the Blackburn food bank and prayed that the Earth’s harvest of food will get to all those who need it and make an end to hunger around the World as will happen in God’s Kingdom.

Luke 8:1-15
The Parable of the Sower

8 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Our Weekly Message

September 18, 2016
18 Sep 2016

Today was Chris’s last sermon at St James’ before he leaves us to serve God in his new church in Stoke. He and his wife Josie are both true servants of the Lord as well as two of the nicest people you could know and will be sadly missed here. We wish them all the best for their journey to pastures new. Here then is the reading from today and part of the sermon about encountering Jesus.

Luke 16:1-13
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

6 “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel can be thought of as encountering Jesus. Jesus had been speaking to a wider audience but here he was talking only to his disciples. He is the one telling the parable (the rich man) calling the steward to account. All that the steward had done was to be laid bare before his master with no hiding of the facts… no fancy talk would get him out of the situation.His day of reckoning was coming. On the day of reckoning – sometimes called judgement day – a whole raft of people; politicians, business leaders and even sports people will be called to account for their actions…

2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.  
Luke 12 2-3 and Daniel 5:25 says: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting

What about how God sees you? When the day of reckoning comes what do the scales say of you and your lifestyle? Jesus though doesn’t leave us to try and earn our salvation – God draws us to himself and makes our new life possible with Him because of His Grace. It was that same gift of grace that sent Jesus to Calvary to take the punishment for all our sins – mine and yours – that same gift of grace that re-makes our relationship with God each time we ask for His forgiveness.

We will be known by our love but also our integrity. By backing up our faith with our words and actions we will be seen for who we are because of Jesus. In other words Live in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God will come to know God because they know you.

Our Weekly Message

September 11, 2016
11 Sep 2016

At the end of the Crossroads Mission Weekend our message was about God’s love and what it means for us. In the parable the pharisees had completely misunderstood so Jesus explains to them that God loves all of us regardless of position or appearance and his purpose is to bring every last one of us – sinners included – to him to experience the joy that his love brings. The aim of our mission events here is to let people know that by turning away from sin and the reliance on material things, which can only ultimately bring misery; they can receive the love of God which will lead to joy and contentment.

Luke 15 1-7
The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

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