Allan Bartlam | Matthew 4:23-5.2 | Matthew 7:24-29 

For the next few weeks we'll be focusing on "the greatest sermon ever preached". In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus set out the values of the Kingdom of God and challenged his followers to set out on an adventure of faith. Martin and Allan introduce the series and encourage us too to live life to the full.

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

Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

[Jesus said,] 'Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.'

Rachel Fasham | Matthew 13:31-33 

There have been some pretty awful monarchs thought history, in Bible times as well as in the last few centuries, but the kingdom of God has a perfect King and works in an entirely different way to any earthly kingdom. Together with Susan Haynes, who also introduces the recording, Rachel explores what it means for us to live under the sovereignty of God.

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

[Jesus] told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.' He told them still another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.'

 

John Lanchbury | Isaiah 40:12-31 

The Bible leaves us in no doubt about the absolute sovereignty of God: that he is the Creator of the universe and he can choose to do anything he wants. But in that case, why doesn't he step in and prevent many of the bad things that happen in our world? John discusses this question from his own experience as well as from a biblical perspective.

The book John mentions in his talk is Where is God in a coronavirus world? by John Lennox.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by Dan Parnell.

Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
'My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God'?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.

Chris Turner | Psalm 139:1-6 

You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

If God knows us completely, why would anyone try to hide from him? Yet, says Chris, our shame makes us fearful to open up to him and, indeed, others. Chris has a challenge for us as a church.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by Bobbie Frere and includes an interview with Chris Chalmers as she leaves us to begin ordained ministry.

Allan Bartlam | Psalm 62 | Matthew 7:24-27 

The events of the first few months of this year have been a painful reminder that we live in a fast-changing world. People and communities change too as we grow and learn. Yet, as Allan reminds us, God does not change. We can rely on his nature and promises, just as a house built on a rock is secure. How can we put that into practice in our daily lives?

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by Susan Haynes and includes other voices from Christ Church.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken.
My salvation and my honour depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

[Jesus said,] 'Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.'

Chris Chalmers | Psalm 139:7-12 

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there...
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

If God is everywhere, that includes our darkest places - even when he feels furthest away - as well as the times when we really feel his presence. Chris describes some occasions when this has been true in her life, and encourages us to think of our own examples.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by Susan Haynes and includes a reading from Ann Fasham and contributions from many more Christ Church people and families. This is an online version of an All-In Service, with a range of activities for us to continue the theme in different ways. All the details are in the YouTube video description.

May 31, 2020

Pentecost Sunday

Graham Romp | Acts 2:1-12 

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Within just a few weeks Jesus had died, been raised again and ascended into heaven. What now? Uncertain and anxious, Jesus' disciples are waiting as he had commanded them. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit comes and gives them power to proclaim the Good News to everyone. Graham reminds us that the Holy Spirit is still working in us, making God known and breaking down barriers even as we continue to experience physical lockdown.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including music, can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by John Lanchbury and includes a reading from Elsie Lanchbury and prayers from Chris Chalmers.

May 24, 2020

The God of eternity

Susan Haynes | Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 | Revelation 21:1-7 

God is not bound by times and seasons as we are. He existed before time and will exist for ever - and he wants to share that eternity with us. But as Susan explains, eternal life is very much about what happens here and now, and we have a part to play in bringing heaven to earth.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by Bobbie Frere and includes prayers from the members of her home group.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.

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. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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.'

May 17, 2020

The God of provision

Chris Turner | Genesis 22:9-14 | Acts 17:24-28 

The angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, 'Abraham! Abraham!... Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.' Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place "The Lord Will Provide". And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.'

[Paul said,] 'The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. "For in him we live and move and have our being."'

Abraham's journey of faith, of learning over many years to wait for God to keep his promises, is put to the supreme test when it appears that his son Isaac - through whom the promises were to be fulfilled - is to be sacrificed. Once again, at the right time, God provides. Chris encourages us to remember our own experiences of God's faithfulness, to learn from our failures and to recognise once again the riches of what God has provided for us, supremely through the sacrifice of his own Son.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection can be viewed on YouTube. The recording is introduced by Dan Parnell and also includes prayers from Fred, Helen, James, Elsie and John.

May 10, 2020

The God of creativity

Allan Bartlam | Genesis 1:1-5 | John 1:1-4 | Psalm 8:1-5 | Revelation 4:11 

We go on location this week as Cathie introduces our weekly reflection, accompanied by the sound of birdsong. The signs of God's creative power are all around us, says Allan, and even within us because God has given the gift of creativity to each of us. The recording ends with our musicians demonstrating their creativity by singing and playing "How great Thou art" in virtual choir fashion.

The full video version of this Sunday morning reflection, including a slideshow of photos to accompany the song, can be viewed on YouTube

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth... God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

'You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.'

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