August 29, 2021

The shrewd manager

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.

August 22, 2021

The wheat and the weeds

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.

August 8, 2021

Ready… but for what?

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.

August 1, 2021

The valuable pearl

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).

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