From Small Things

26 08 2013

Better late than never! After a busy weekend, have finally got round to typing up my Sunday sermon notes.

My notes normally start with lines that have struck me from the songs we’ve sung, then go through what we’ve heard in the sermon, and then anything from the final song, so I thought I may as well keep that up here. There’s bits missing from the sermons to, I just write down the bits that strike me. All it really is is a collection of thoughts I’m sharing just incase they help others!

“I’m so unworthy, but still You love me”

“All my sins are now forgiven
and my life is hidden
saved through Jesus Christ”

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust my feeble frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name”

Matthew 13 vv 31-33The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast

In those days, the word “Kingdom” was associated more with power and glamour, the rule of the Roman Empire. People hearing the stories about farming would maybe find that hard to understand.

The parable of the mustard seed

A mustard seed is about a millimetre in diameter, barely visible. It’s hard to believe that that speck can grow to a bush 6-12ft high – so large that birds shelter under it’s branches!

Sometimes we can see things as mediocre mustard seeds, but this parable teaches us to view things through the eyes of faith.

Jesus was the ultimate mustard seed. The son of a carpenter, He died on a wooden cross, saved for the worst of criminals, He was buried in a borrowed tomb, not at all impressive.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1 v 25

What began in Israel breaks out into the whole world, the Kingdom is growing every time someone decides to make Jesus Lord and King of their life. He died and rose again to bring us into His Kingdom.

We’re heading towards Revelation 7 vv 9-10: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” A multitude – all tribe and tongue – not dissimilar to an afternoon in Westfields shopping centre?! But praising God!

The parable of the yeast

This is how the Kingdom grows.

The effects of yeast are massively disproportionate to it’s size. The effect Christian individuals and groups can have when they infiltrate society.

The yeast itself is hidden inside. The Holy Spirit is transforming us from within.

Rodney Start, in “The triumph of Christianity” argues that Christianity grew because of the way it cared for people, both within and outside of the church. He even cites pagan sources that complain about the good reputation Christians were gaining!

One of the greatest periods of social improvement cam through Christians in the late 18th and the whole 19th century. The abolition of the slave trade, improvements in education and also workers rights, for which the first fighters were Methodist preachers!

We need to be communities of yeast working quietly and effectively in our towns and cities. We should not underestimate our influence as Christians.

A little years and a small seed can go a long, long way. We just need to leave the results to God.

God works with the small, weak, unimpressive things. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

“We will not be crushed, Your hope will strengthen us”

“Through our lives, by Your Grace, may we overflow with Jesus”

Stats on Poverty: There are many reasons why I love this video

23 08 2013

If you haven’t checked out TED before, it’s a website full of short talks about all sorts of topics by all sorts of people, from a blind pianist, to mental health, there’s some great stuff on there – check it out!
Here’s one that I discovered today and is completely fantastic:

Reasons I love it

  • It is choc-a-block full of data and statistics with proper deep meaning
  • There are colourful graphs that move and show 4 dimensions of data in one go
  • The speaker commentates on the moving graph as if it’s a sport
  • There is a mass of information about the changes in world poverty over the last 40 years in all sorts of aspects
  • The man’s passion to make data more accessible to all by providing a link to make it more visual and less dull
  • The guy reminds me so much of one of my maths lecturers from uni with his accent and enthusiasm!

Definitely worth a watch!

Friday Five Favourite: Romsey Baptist Classics

23 08 2013

Growing up at Romsey Baptist Church we sung a range of songs, old hymns, 80s classics, modern stuff, and several things in between!

Years and years ago I remember a song being introduced that the worship leader said it’s one of those he’d never heard sung anywhere else but here, and I’ve noticed as I’ve now moved on from there, there’s a few songs that go on that list! So I thought I’d share them, maybe some you’ve heard before, some you haven’t, but I think that the reason they’ve stuck with me is I think they’re great, and therefore worth sharing the joy!

Maybe you’ll find something new to try out on Sunday! 🙂

Oh Lord, you are my Rock and my Redeemer
I have searched high and low for a video of this and have failed. The words are great, but the tune is so good too, I’m sad not to be able to share it!
The closest I have is just the words.

O Lord, You are my Rock and my Redeemer;
My song, You are the Strength of my life.
O Lord, You are the Shepherd of Your people;
You keep us always walking in Your light.

You brought me out of darkness,
You took away my shame;
You broke the chains that bound me,
I praise Your name!

You carry all my sorrows,
You carry all my pain;
You fill me with Your Spirit,
I praise Your name!

We recognise Your splendour,
Your greatness we proclaim;
The Alpha and Omega,
We praise Your name!

I’m gonna trust in God (How great is the love of God) – Steve Earl

The people who walk in darkness (He will be called wonderful) – David Lyle Morris

A little seasonal!

Say the Word (I simply live for You) – Hillsong

Without Jesus where were we – Romsey Baptist Young People (pretty sure no one else knows this one!)

Without Jesus where were we
Lost, rejected and all alone
He sought us out in order to save us
So we can know the Holy One

You died for me
You set me free
Now Jesus You are changing me

With my Saviour friend forever
Master, Healer, Father, King
He shows the way and gives me a purpose
In living for the Holy One

Putting your name in

18 08 2013

I don’t know if you’ve ever put your name in John 3v16, it’s something we did once or twice on youth weekends away.

It starts like this

For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believed in Him would not die, but have eternal life.

So then you insert your name instead

For God so loved Ineke that he gave His one and only Son, so that if Ineke believed in Him would not die, but have eternal life.

Try it out!

For God so loved ______________ that he gave His one and only Son, so if ______________ believed in Him would not die, but have eternal life.

This morning during communion a similar thought struck me that the same thing works in.

Even if you were the only person on the planet, God would have still given up His only Son to die for you!

I tried putting in my name

Even if Ineke was the only person on the planet, God would have still given up His only Son to die for Ineke!

Try it for yourself!

Even if ______________ was the only person on the planet, God would have still given up His only Son to die for ______________!

I reckon this’d work with a whole host of verses! Any suggestions?

How to spell toasty/ie

17 08 2013

Why is it spelt toasty warm,  but then cheese toastie?

The Parable of the Net

11 08 2013

Over the summer we’re doing a series on parables at church, and this morning’s was The Parable of the Net. I’d never even heard of it before! Neither had the girl next to me, neither has my housemate! Have you?!

Matthew 13:47-52
47 ‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 ‘Have you understood all these things?’ Jesus asked.
‘Yes,’ they replied.
52 He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’

So as mentioned last week, I thought I’d share some of my notes from the sermon incase they’re helpful to anyone out there on the internet!

In this parable, the net represents the gospel. The gospel is to be put out to all mankind, there is no discrimination.
God so loved the world. – The gospel is for all!
In Matthew 4vv18-20, Simon Peter and Andrew are called to be fishers of men.
All we have counts for nothing really, the one thing we really need is eternal life.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Our responsibility is to share the gospel with all we come into contact with. It’s never too late. For example the criminal on the cross in Luke 23, Jesus didn’t discriminate there!
We mustn’t write people off because they’re drunkards, criminals, or even because we think that they wouldn’t want to know.
On the last day, the net will be sifted with all mankind, but it won’t be us who decide. The criteria has been set by the fisherman, that is, God. The criteria is not who is good or who is bad. It is not who is in or out of church. All have fallen short of God’s glory. The criteria is who has accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Who is saved, who is not.
We have a responsibility, let’s take it seriously.

Friday five favourite: Traditional hymns

9 08 2013

There’s a reason these hymns have lasted a long time, we live in a time when there’s new worship music out all the time, but move on even 5 years, let alone decades, and which ones are you still singing? There’s a whole tonne of modern hymns coming out which are also great, but these below truly have stood the test of time.

I’ve tried wherever possible to find congregational versions rather than performances, because worship is not about a performance, it’s every person individually, coming together to make the most beautiful and powerful sound! (And that doesn’t even have to be tuneful!)

How great Thou art

Favourite bit:

And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die – I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

Thine be the glory

Favourite bit:

For our Lord now liveth
Death has lost it’s sting!

Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, Thou o’er death hast won.

And can it be

Favourite bit:

My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Amazing Grace

I couldn’t find a traditional version of this on YouTube that I liked, and I know my Dad really hates it when people take old hymns and “think they can do better by adding a bit in”, but I do like this, so excuse the modernisation for this post!
Favourite bit:

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

To God be the glory

Same with this one, although actually I’ve always prefered the modernised version here. The words are still there, the same meaning and depth to them, but a slightly less “twee” tune!
Favourite bit:

The vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

A couple of others that just missed the cut:

What are your favourite traditional hymns?