Chris Turner | John 10:1-10
A sleep-deprived week spent camping with thousands of Christians of all ages... maybe not the ideal opportunity for sermon preparation, but it inspired Chris with a vision of what life could and should be like for those who gather in local churches. Jesus offers not just a way in to life but also the means to enjoy safety, growth and community.
One of the camping villages at New Wine: a temporary home for people of all ages and backgrounds
Jesus said again, 'Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'
Susan Haynes | John 8:12-20
If you've ever been in pitch darkness, you'll know how frightening it can be. Speaking in an All In service, Susan reminds us of the many ways in which light can help us - and that only Jesus' light is true and lasting. What kind of light do we need most at the moment?
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” [The Message version]
Chris Turner | John 6:25-40
One moment the crowd want to make Jesus king, but soon we read that many of his disciples turned back from following him. Why were Jesus' claims about himself so hard to accept, and why do people follow him even today? Chris explains with hope and a challenge.
Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.'
John Lanchbury | 1 Timothy 2:1-6 | Hebrews 7:23-28
"I can't do anything else, so I might as well pray." When confronted with a world full of evil and suffering, it's hard to believe that prayer should be a starting point or that it could really make any difference. Yet through John's guests we hear about a country where a prayer movement led to a peaceful revolution, and another where Christians who were once persecuted are now in positions of influence and need our prayer. Here's an encouragement to join together as God's people and be a blessing to the world.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Geoff Lanham | Colossians 1:1-14
In his final sermon as vicar of Christ Church, Geoff returns to a constant challenge we face: in all our activity and busyness, to put our relationship with God first. It's spending time reflecting on Jesus that makes us more like him - truly a people of love who can make a real difference in the world.
Geoff preaches his final sermon as our vicar
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people - the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world - just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Rachel Fasham | Luke 15:1-10
Something's missing... that's annoying. Or, maybe, someone's missing... panic! Rachel has experienced both kinds of loss, and in this All Age service she reminds us how important it is that we seek the people who are currently missing from God's family.
Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home... I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.’
Geoff Lanham | Psalm 19:1-6 | Hebrews 13:15-16 | Ephesians 5:15-20
We all know that worship is in some way important, but in the end what difference does it make that over 100 of us gather within our building each week to praise God? More than we might realise, says Geoff, because we are part of a much bigger picture which involves the whole of creation and the nature of God himself. There's plenty of encouragement here for each of us, however feeble our efforts might seem, to join in worship.
Discussion questions can be downloaded here.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremy Thompson | Luke 4:14-30
When Jesus stood up in his own home town, read the words of the prophet Isaiah and applied them to himself, he proclaimed the values of the Kingdom of God: values that motivate us to welcome refugees and offer them safety and friendship. Jeremy is Acting Director of Restore, which works alongside Birmingham churches to befriend refugees. Speaking at the end of Refugee Week, Jeremy reminds us how hard it is to feel like a stranger and encourages us to continue our support of those who have come here in fear of persecution: it is Kingdom business.
[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read...
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour."
Geoff Lanham | 1 Peter 3:8-12 | Romans 12:14-21
God bless you! We might say this casually - even when someone sneezes - or possibly with greater meaning. Rarely will we seek God's blessing for someone who has hurt us, yet that is what Jesus did even for those who crucified him. As Geoff explains, fighting fire with fire only spreads the flames, but responding to evil with goodness is the Jesus way.
Discussion questions can be downloaded here.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord.
Graham Romp | 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
As ambassadors we've got a job to do, says Graham: and speaking on Pentecost Sunday he reminds us that the Holy Spirit goes ahead of us as we tell others the good news about Jesus. Here is a privilege, a challenge and a top-priority, God-given task.
[God] has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God.