October 18, 2020

The body of Christ

Chris Turner | 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body - whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. And so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

This is one of the most familiar images of the church, says Chris. Each of us has our own unique role, working together for a common purpose. What happens in a time of stress such as we are experiencing at the moment? The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service introduced by Dan Parnell with a reading from Alison Cooper and prayers from Dave Lucking.

The full video version of the service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

October 11, 2020

The family of God

Susan Haynes | Romans 8:15-17 

God's Spirit doesn't make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. God's Spirit makes us sure that we are his children. His Spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised. We will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him.

This week's recording begins with Susan introducing our new series "Being church in a COVID world", and then she explains some of the implications of being a family: complicated relationships yet a sense of belonging. How can we live out our lives as the family of God when we are separated by pandemic restrictions? The recording also includes a reading from Susan Mole, prayers from Phil Ennis and closing prayers from John Lanchbury.

The full video version of this service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

October 4, 2020

All-In Service: Harvest

Dan Parnell | Deuteronomy 8:7-11 | Ruth 2:14b-18 

[Moses said,] 'The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land - a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig-trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.'

As [Ruth] got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, 'Let her gather among the sheaves and don't reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.' So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening.

Harvest in lockdown: while we couldn't celebrate in the normal way, we were still able to give thanks for God's provision for us and remember the need to share what we have with those in need. This livestreamed service includes a talk from Dan and contributions from other members of the All-In team and extra helpers.

The full video version of this service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube. All the links to the various follow-up activities are on our website

Allan Bartlam | Matthew 7:24-29 

[Jesus said,] 'Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.'

This livestreamed service brings us to the end of our series looking at Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Allan explains the consequences of the choices we make, and how we can go about that long, slow task of building our lives on a firm foundation. Janet Chalmers introduces the service, with a reading from Val Hanson and prayers from Cathie Bartlam.

The full video version of this service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

September 20, 2020

Ensuring we are in the kingdom

Bobbie Frere | Matthew 7:13-23 

[Jesus said,] 'Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.'

Jesus challenges us to choose between two ways to live and two paths to follow. How do we find the right one, and be sure we are on it? Peter and Bobbie Frere lead this week's reflection, which also includes Cheryl Homer's account of fitting a day of special devotion into a busy, multi-tasking life.

The full video version of this service, including music and a video report on children's activities, can be viewed on YouTube.

September 13, 2020

Learning not to judge

Chris Turner | Matthew 7:1-12 

[Jesus said,] 'Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.'

Criticism is easy to give, but hard to receive. Yet, as Chris reminds us, criticism given in the right spirit and for the right motives can be beneficial, even essential if we are to grow as followers of Jesus. This recorded talk forms part of a service livestreamed from our building, with an introduction from Dan Parnell and contributions from James Howley, Judy Ward and Ann and Richard Fasham.

The full video version of this service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

September 6, 2020

Learning not to worry

John Lanchbury | Matthew 6:25-34 

[Jesus said,] 'So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.'

Jesus was speaking to people who mainly lived a hand to mouth existence. How does his teaching work out in our far more complex world, that is currently beset by anxiety? John points us to the eternal principles of the kingdom of God, and has practical suggestions for handling the worry that we all encounter. The recording is introduced by Martin Garrod with contributions from Dilys Garrod, Pat Clayton and Phil Ennis.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

Peter Frere | Matthew 6:19-24 

[Jesus said,] 'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'

Two ways to live, two priorities to live by. What should be our attitude to material wealth? How can we find true fulfilment? Graham helps us to work out the answers with help from Susan Haynes, Margaret Tucker, the Rose family and others. We also hear from Helen and Fred Collin about their experience of 'deaccumulation'.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

August 23, 2020

Learning to live humbly

Peter Frere | Matthew 6:1-18 

[Jesus said,] 'Be careful not to practise your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.'

'So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.'

It's the same with prayer and fasting, said Jesus: if you do it to receive the praise of others, that praise is all the reward you will get. How can we get our hearts in the right place? Peter points to Jesus' own teaching as a means of developing a God-centred attitude. The recording is introduced by Bobbie Frere and we also hear a powerful piece of drama from Phil Smith and Peter to illustrate the reading, plus contributions from Jeanne and Amanda.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.


August 16, 2020

Loving those who oppose us

Chris Turner | Matthew 5:38-48 

[Jesus said,] 'You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.'

Once again Jesus raises the bar, commanding us to transform our attitude to those who oppose us. Chris explains why we should do this and gives us pointers to how we can overcome our natural desire for retribution. The recording is introduced by John Lanchbury.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.

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