March 29, 2020

People of faith

Peter Frere | 1 Corinthians 15.42-44 | Colossians 3.3-4 

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

With the world in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic we move into a new era where things that we once took for granted can no longer be relied upon. Peter reminds us of things that remain unchanged: transformation from seed to flower, and from human physical weakness to eternal glory through the love of God.

The recording is introduced by Bobbie Frere. Thank you also to Dilys for the readings and Martin for the prayers at the end.

March 15, 2020

Living water

John Lanchbury | John 4:4-42 

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'. (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) ... Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, 'He told me everything I've ever done.'

In a conversation lasting just a few minutes, Jesus breaks through the social barriers separating a Jewish man from a Samaritan woman, works out that her life is in a mess and convinces her that he himself is the "living water" that alone can bring true satisfaction in life. Jesus' gentle but purposeful questioning leads her to only one possible conclusion. Where are we on this journey?

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

March 8, 2020

Eco Church

Godfrey Armitage | John 3:1-17 

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

"God so loved the world..." These words are very familiar to Christians, but have we forgotten part of their meaning? The Eco Church scheme, to which Christ Church belongs, recognises that the relationship between humanity and the created world - as well as our relationship with God - is broken and needs to be restored. Godfrey is a speaker for A Rocha UK, which runs Eco Church, and explains not just why we need to act but also some of the practical steps that individuals and churches can take.

March 1, 2020

Touching Jesus

Peter Frere | Luke 8:43-48 

The rules of the day were quite clear: any person with a discharge was unclean, and anything they touched became unclean. But when the person being touched was Jesus, things were bound to take a different turn. As Peter explains, physical touch can bring both good and harm, but it's important for human relationships, and Jesus used it for healing and to break down barriers.

This talk was given in our evening service. In the morning, our interactive All Age service used many physical symbols to explore the meaning of Lent, but the message format wasn't really suited to a podcast.

A woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind [Jesus] and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

'Who touched me?' Jesus asked...

In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.'

February 23, 2020


Helen Franklin

After their years of exile the people of Israel are back in their own land, and things are going... not terribly well, actually. Have they forgotten something - or someone - important? In a series of four prophecies Haggai points them back to God and the need to rebuild the Temple to bring glory to him. Helen, now working in North Wales, was a member of Christ Church in the years before and during the replacement of our old, rather decrepit, hall with our current building and draws some parallels with that other building project in Haggai's time.

Before Helen spoke we watched this video which outlines Haggai's message.


Helen's photo of the former Church Centre and Scout Hut: you can't see the cracks in the walls from this distance

February 16, 2020


Bobbie Frere | Habakkuk 1:1-4, Habakkuk 3 

How should we respond when we see evil and injustice all around us? Or when, as Bobbie alludes to at the start of her talk, families that we love are devastated by grief? Habakkuk the prophet cries out to God, and then is appalled when he discovers that things are actually going to get worse - yet he knows that God's justice and mercy will triumph in the end. 

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, 'Violence!'
    but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy...
Though the fig-tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the sheepfold
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

February 9, 2020

Lessons for life: Amos

Graham Romp | Amos 7:1-9, Amos 9:11-15 

On the face of it, things are looking great for Israel: the economy doing well, military success, new temples being built - and best of all, they know they are God's chosen people. Then Amos arrives from a rival nation to speak some hard truths about injustice, exploitation and corruption... and to tell his unwilling audience that judgement is coming. If you think your job is tough, if you're feeling complacent, if you think God isn't interested in the real world, listen to what Graham has to say about Amos and how he went about his task.

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, 'What do you see, Amos?' 'A plumb-line,' I replied. Then the Lord said, 'Look, I am setting a plumb-line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
    The high places of Isaac will be destroyed
    and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined;
    with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.'

'In that day
    I will restore David's fallen shelter -
    I will repair its broken walls
    and restore its ruins -
    and will rebuild it as it used to be...
    I will plant Israel in their own land,
    never again to be uprooted
    from the land I have given them,'
    says the Lord your God.

February 2, 2020

Hearing God: Mary and Martha

Chris Turner | Luke 10:38-42 

"I'm very fond of Martha," says Chris: and we're pleased about that, because there were several self-confessed Marthas listening to him speaking in the evening service. There are surely many more out there, which is why this recording has been put online. Is Martha afraid that she won't be loved if she doesn't put in the work? Is she able to truly stop and listen? We have a God who speaks in both wonders and silence: will we recognise and hear his voice?

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'

'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'

February 2, 2020


Rachel Fasham

Once again we focus on someone whose story is told in an entire book of the Bible: Nehemiah, who led the people of Jerusalem in the task of rebuilding the walls of the city after their return from exile. In our All-In service we got the story in just 6 minutes in this fast moving video. As Rachel explains, Nehemiah rebuilt not just the walls but a community with God at the centre. What might that look like today, especially in Christ Church? We went on to respond to that question in a variety of ways as we spread out around the building to create, move, discuss, sing, think and write.

A broken down pile of wooden bricks lying around a model of the Temple

The broken-down walls of Jerusalem

Decorate gingerbread men with instruction: make one for yourself, another as a gift for someone else

The Create zone: decorating gingerbread men

Writing words on a picture of Christ Church and some people

The Move zone: finding words to describe a restored community

January 26, 2020


Allan Bartlam

Esther is one of those Bible characters who gets a whole book to herself, and rather than highlighting a single chapter or incident this BibleProject video tells the whole story as an animation. The book is unusual in that it never mentions God at all, yet, as Allan points out, God is clearly at work even through imperfect people. Esther finds herself in the right place at the right time, the only person who can save her people from destruction but having to risk her own life to achieve it. What's our unique role?

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

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