Ben Green | 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way - with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge - God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
You wouldn't guess it from these words, but the church at Corinth was in trouble. It was divided, disorderly and had lost sight of the things that really matter. Yet, says Ben, they belonged to Jesus and enjoyed all the benefits if only they chose to take hold of them - just like us.
This is the first in a new series "Seeing the Son" which, over the next few weeks, will take us through the first 4 chapters of 1 Corinthians. The recording begins with Ben introducing the series, then after the reading from Alison Cooper he preaches the first sermon in the series.
A full video recording of the Sunday service (with slight edits) can be viewed on YouTube.
Ben Green | Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’
Jesus went on to tell a story of a rich man who decided to build bigger barns in which to save for himself his vast stores of grain - but he did not live to enjoy his wealth. Ben challenges us: where do true riches lie? What should our life priorities be?
The recording is an edited version of our All Age Sunday service. It is introduced by Rachel Fasham and includes prayers from Phil Ennis. A longer video version of the service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.
Graham Romp | Luke 16:1-12
[Jesus said,] '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 - I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses." So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, "How much do you owe my master?" "Three thousand litres of olive oil," he replied. The manager told him, "Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifteen hundred." ... The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly... I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.'
The manager is sacked for dishonesty, and then proceeds to swindle his employer even more in order to secure his own future. Surely, Jesus' hearers will be thinking, this man will be thrown into prison? But like so many of Jesus' stories, this one has a surprise twist. Graham explains the lessons we can apply to our own lives (and acting dishonestly is not one of them).
The recording comes from a voice recorder rather than (as we prefer) our microphones so there is some traffic noise, and also some additional sounds contributed by a very young but contented member of the congregation.
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by Susan Haynes with a reading by John Mason, and before that, Elsie Lanchbury interviews Adrian Jones about his experience of joining a Christ Church home group.
Peter Frere | Matthew 13:24-30, Matthew 13:36-43
Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared.... The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” “No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”’
Jesus goes on to explain the meaning of the parable to his disciples. As Peter explains, it's a parable that speaks of God's patience and desire to save as many people as possible, but also of coming judgement. How should we respond to this story?
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by Bobbie Frere with a reading by Kate Routley.
For copyright reasons we can't include the music in the recording, but this was the first service since the pandemic started when we have been able to have live music and sing together as a congregation.
Susan Haynes | Luke 13:6-9
[Jesus] told this parable: 'A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, "For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?" '"Sir," the man replied, "leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."'
It sounds like a warning, but it's also an encouragement. The fig tree is given more time and care in order to have the opportunity to bear fruit as was intended for it. Susan points the way for us to be fruitful in bringing glory to God in our lives.
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by Ben Green, with a reading by Chris Powell and prayers from Bobbie Frere.
For copyright reasons we can't include the music in the recording. The opening song, "Let our praise be your welcome", was also used in the service held on 31 January 2021 and the closing song, "In Christ alone", was used in the service held on 20 June 2021 (the links are to YouTube videos). Also from YouTube is Dream Small by Josh Wilson.
Ben Green | Deuteronomy 31:7-8
Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’
As Ben speaks on the Sunday after taking up his post as vicar of Christ Church, we have much in common with the people of Israel, heading into an unknown future with a new leader. Ben points us to Moses' words of encouragement and how we should respond over the coming weeks and months.
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It begins with an interview with Ben and his wife Jess, conducted by Rachel Fasham, and includes a reading by Susan Mole and closing prayer from Graham Romp. A longer video version of the service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.
Rachel Fasham | Matthew 13:44-46
[Jesus said,] 'The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.'
One stumbles across it by accident, while another seeks it out. Each finds something they recognise as being worth everything they own. What kinds of people are they, and what is the treasure? Rachel explains how we can become part of the story.
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by Janet Chalmers, with a reading by Pat Clayton and prayers (recorded) from Phil Ennis.
For copyright reasons we can't include the music in the recording. The opening hymn, "Great is Thy faithfulness", was also used in the service held on 14 June 2020 and the closing hymn, "Be Thou my vision", was used in the service held on 25 April 2021 (the links are to YouTube videos).
Allan Bartlam | Matthew 21:28-32
[Jesus said,] 'What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, "Son, go and work today in the vineyard." "I will not," he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.'
'Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, "I will, sir," but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?'
It's a simple story and the crowd have no difficulty in coming up with the right answer. But when Jesus goes on to identify who each of the sons might represent, things get a lot more uncomfortable. This is the first of a series in which we look at some of Jesus' parables and how they apply, not just to Jesus' hearers but also to us today. Which "son" is each of us more like?
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by John Lanchbury, with a reading by Dave Lucking and prayers from Margaret Tucker.
For copyright reasons we can't include the music in the recording, but the songs used in the service were "Loved before the dawn of time" and "Hear the call of the kingdom".
Chris Turner | Mark 6:30-34, Mark 6:53-56
The apostles gathered round Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.‘
Having returned from the spiritual adventure of a lifetime, Jesus' followers now find themselves surrounded by a demanding crowd - as does Jesus himself. How to balance the desire to show genuine compassion with the need to recharge and find new strength? Chris points to ways in which we can apply Jesus' instructions to our lives today, and especially to the situation we find ourselves in as we prepare to be joined by our new vicar, Ben Green.
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by Martin Garrod with a reading by Susan Mole and prayers from Susan Haynes. The full video version of the service, including music and a celebration of Holy Communion, can be viewed on YouTube.
John Lanchbury | Mark 6:14-29
On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.’ And he promised her with an oath, ‘Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ ‘The head of John the Baptist,’ she answered.
In this grisly story we discover how the life of John the Baptist came to an end, as Herod's wife, whom he had denounced, took advantage of Herod's vanity and folly. The cost of being a true disciple of Jesus can be high, says John Lanchbury, even to the extent of our physical lives, and indeed we are all called to die to ourselves.
The recording is an edited version of our Sunday service. It is introduced by Bobbie Frere, with prayers from Elsie Lanchbury and a reading by Trevor Whitehouse. The full video version of the service, including music, can be viewed on YouTube.
During the service a video "Chu in Vietnam: No Turning Back" was shown. This can be viewed on the Open Doors Vimeo channel.