November 28, 2021

Micah: God‘s leaders

Graham Romp | Micah 3:1-12 

Hear this, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice
and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness.
Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say,
‘Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us.’
Therefore because of you,
Zion will be ploughed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

What hope is there, when the nation which is supposed to belong to God has gone so badly wrong? Yet, says Graham, Micah's message did have an impact, and God responded with mercy. On Advent Sunday we look forward to the coming of Jesus, the perfect leader.

The recording begins with the reading from Matt Fox.

A fuller video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

November 21, 2021

Micah: God‘s people

Ben Green | Micah 1.1-2.5 

Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling-place;
he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope.
All this is because of Jacob's transgression, because of the sins of the people of Israel...

Therefore, the Lord says:

‘I am planning disaster against this people,
from which you cannot save yourselves.
You will no longer walk proudly,
for it will be a time of calamity.

It's an uncompromising message of judgement, as Micah prophesies disaster as a punishment for Israel's sins. Yet, as Ben explains, it is a message with a purpose: to turn the people back to God, that they might be forgiven and find true life. The recording begins with Ben introducing the book (and our sermon series) as a whole, then Pat Clayton reads selected verses from the passage before Ben continues with this week's talk.

A fuller video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

Ben Green | 1 Samuel 7:2b-12 

While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites... Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'

Earlier in the service we had thought of ways in which we receive help from other people and from God. In this All-Age Remembrance service Ben now speaks about how much we depend on God's help, and the need to remember this and thank him.

Later in the service we made a cairn of stones (now moved to the grass adjoining our driveway) to commemorate God's help to us.

A cairn of stones with a plaque quoting 1 Samuel 7:12

A fuller video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

 

John Lanchbury | Jonah 3:1-5, 10 

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.' Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh... The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth... When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

As the story proceeds we discover the reason why Jonah was indeed the reluctant prophet, who at first ran in the opposite direction when God called him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. Instead of rejoicing at the spectacular success of his preaching, Jonah threw a massive sulk at this outcome. In this recording John first explains the background to the story, then focuses on what we can learn about God and what he calls us to do in our own age.

There are a couple of references in John's talk to Jacquie Dewsbury, who earned the nickname "The gratitude lady" during her stay in hospital which ended with her death 3 days before this service. 

A fuller video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

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