Sunday 24th April 2016

Ian-April2016 -2Morning worship on 24th April was led by Ian Middlemist who preached on the healing of the Centurion’s servant, Matthew chapter 8, verses 5-13. Luke shows us that Peter was encouraged to put his faith in Jesus Christ, but there was a wider audience – the Jewish people who looked on in amazement. It is a wonderful account which tells of a man’s difficult circumstances. We can put ourselves in his shoes; he is not Jewish – neither are we, we can see things are not going to plan, so we can relate.

Ian raised four points:

  • Faith knows humility
  • Faith understands authority and submission
  • Faith is a gift
  • Faith is unseeing.

Faith knows humility:
Verse 5 shows us that the centurion holds an important position of authority which has been given to him by the Roman Empire. He is a well-respected man who would have earned his position as a leader. He is in a position of authority. He is clearly a very considerate man who cares for the people he commands; when one of his servants came down with a terrible illness he is concerned for him, he was a valued member of the team. The centurion knew at this point of desperation who to turn to. Who do we turn to when things go wrong? Who is our first port of call? We should turn to the Lord in prayer. He is the only one who ultimately can help us. How do we approach God in prayer? We need to be careful. We are so used to the ‘I’ generation catering for our needs, we’re used to having things our way. This attitude can affect our prayer lives. We want things now, in a particular way. And when we don’t have it in our way we begin to complain. But this man is careful in how he approaches Christ. He comes in humility. We too need to come to the King of Kings, who has directed our lives thus far. Great faith comes in humility.

Faith understands authority and submission:
Great faith understands  authority and submission. The centurion could command people. Most centurions would die in service, they would not face retirement. He would expect his subjects to have the same attitude. He would have had five times the pay of his soldiers. The Jewish people of the time wanted to see what Jesus was made of, they expected signs and miracles. Yet when He did this they did not accept it. When He spoke of true authority they accused Him of being blasphemous. Those who come to the Lord demanding evidence will never know Jesus and come to Him. The centurion had listened to the Word of Jesus. Jesus spoke with authority and power. We must submit to Jesus in all things. He has the power and authority. We are to entrust ourselves into His care. Are you trusting in Him today, in all aspects of your life?

Faith is a gift:
See the greatness of our God. He is going to expand the Kingdom out of Israel into the whole world so that all nations can come and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ themselves. The Gentiles were not expected to be sitting at this table with the nation of Israel. In Iran today that there are thousands of Muslims turning to Christ. We need to be careful how we speak of other nations. Jesus has been given authority over all nations. It is not good enough to just be a subject of the Kingdom, just an inheritor. Look at the condemnation they receive. If you are simply just an inheritor you will be thrown into the outer darkness. You need faith. It is not good enough to have a relation who is a Christian or to have been brought up in Sunday School. Faith is a gift and must be responded to.

Faith is unseeing:
Is distance a problem? Today Jesus is high, lifted up in heaven. Today we face problems – illness, the unwillingness of friends to respond to the Gospel. What Jesus does in this account is unseen. The sick person is far away but distance is not a problem in healing him. We want to see things happening. Be careful our faith is not a demand on God. The centurion did not demand from God. Praise God. This centurion was going to trust God even if the results were not seen. Think of all the works of God which are not seen. We may not see results of our prayers immediately. Faith is a God-given sight into who the Lord is. We need to be careful to praise Him, recognise His authority and submit to Him. It makes no difference what nation we come from, what background we are from. The power of Christ is eternal, a work of Salvation.

 

 

Sunday Morning: 17th April 2016

Aaron April2016Sunday morning’s worship was led by Aaron Davies-Whitfield who preached from Philippians chapter 2 verses 12-13, which he titled “Work out what God works in.”  Aaron preached on two points:
Our Work
God’s Work

Our Work:
‘My Beloved’ shows us that Paul was preaching to people He loved. We need to be obedient to those who preach the Living Word of God. Paul knew the Philippians had obeyed. His heart goes out in this letter as he writes from prison. He says that as he was obeyed when he was with the people, it is even more important now that he is not with them, that they must obey. Acts 26: ravenous wolves will seek to destroy the work of the church.

If you want to see what someone is truly like in their work with the Lord, see what they are like on their own. As Christians we can play games with God; we see Salvation as our eternal future, future only. We forget that it is for now and we treat God and His Salvation like it’s a Sunday thing and the rest of the week it’s all about the pleasures of life. We wear Sunday Christian clothes on Sunday but worldly clothes for the rest of the week. We see church as a place where worship God and rest. We need to see Monday to Saturday as a time to work for God and see His Blessings. There is never a day when you should not be living for God.

The Philippians would have been anxious; Paul was not in their midst, they were living in a time of persecution, living in fear. But Paul has already said in chapter 1 that God will perfect His work in us. There is something we have to do – but we are not on our own. We need to act on God’s Word. We get out of this Christian walk what we put in. When God created Adam and Eve He created them to work. We need to work. The joy of our Salvation will be based on our work for the Lord, following the steps of Jesus, the Light and witness of our life. Work out your own Salvation. Paul is saying we are already possessors of this glorious Salvation, now we must work it out. We fear and tremble from a sense of awe, a sense of being moved by the fact that God wants us to work for Him. It is important we realise God has given us something to do.

God’s Work:
We can only work out what God has worked in. It is God which works in you. The Creator is at work in our life. We are on the potter’s wheel. God’s greatest work is taking place now, conforming you and me to the image of His own Son. His hands continue to work in you and me. He is moulding and shaping us to be what He has always wanted us to be, to display His Glory for all eternity. Our trials and difficulties is God at work, refining us. Our shortcomings mould us and shape us to be more like Him. His hands are upon us in love and grace. God is never going to give up on you. When God is at work, you can be sure it will be glorious. He gives us the ability, the will, to live more like Him, to live a life serving, honouring and worshipping Him. God takes pleasure in changing you and me to be a people that He wants us to be. God finds delight in your life. When all you see is failure and shortcomings God is like a potter at the wheel and knows what the finished article will be. He knew before the foundations of the world what you would be. It is awesome!

Easter Sunday: 27th March 2016

Ian Jones-March 2016Our Easter Sunday morning service was taken by Ian Jones who preached from Luke chapter 24. He began by asking us how we view the Resurrection. Is it a living hope? The Resurrection points us to Jesus’ return and we will rise again. Ian then gave an overview of the chapter showing how a person is saved. In the Resurrection account there are three stages of night turning to day:

• Darkness
• Dawn
• Day break

Darkness:
There was darkness when the women set out (John’s gospel). This is important because not only was there a physical darkness, there was a spiritual darkness too. The women may have talked about how things had happened so quickly, who would roll the stone away so they could put spices on the body? They were not the only ones in darkness. The religious leaders did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, they thought He was an imposter. They placed guards at the tomb so Jesus’ body could not be taken by the disciples. The disciples were also in darkness. On the road to Jerusalem Jesus told them He would rise on the third day, but even when the women told them Jesus’ body was gone they would not believe them. Even when He later appeared they still not initially believe – they were in darkness. Once, we were in darkness, we lived in darkness and didn’t know the truth. Many people are still like this today; they hear the Easter story but it means nothing to them. They don’t see what we see. The world loves the darkness rather than the light. We were born in darkness but we didn’t stay that way.

Dawn:
Out of darkness the light began to shine – dawn came, a wonderful part of the day. As the women approached the tomb, dawn began (Matthew). It was only when dawn came that they got to the tomb and they began to see. The stone had been rolled away, there were angels, the guards were like stone. There was a lot of emotion; fear, tears being shed. The angels tried to console and encourage the women, then they began to see what had taken place.

This happened with the disciples as they sat in the upper room and the women told them what had happened. Initially they wouldn’t believe them. Peter and John then ran to the tomb. They looked inside together. Peter saw the folded linen garments. He wondered what had taken place. The two men on the road to Emmaus had great hope that Jesus was the promised Messiah. As they returned home Jesus appeared to them and unfolded the Scriptures about Himself. They were challenged.

In the upper room, when the Lord was in the midst of the disciples, He challenged them. He helped them try to understand. We have also been in that situation. We were in the darkness ourselves, the Lord came and brought light and we were challenged by what we heard and wanted to know more. Jesus came into our lives and the true light shines. We seek Him as our lord and Saviour.

Day Break:
There comes a time when Jesus calls us out of darkness, we see the light and we embrace Jesus. We see this with Mary Magdalene; when Jesus speaks her name she recognises Jesus for who He is, the risen Saviour. When both disciples saw the empty tomb they knew of Jesus’ Resurrection. When the two men on the road to Emmaus took Jesus home and He broke bread, their eyes were opened. They returned to the disciples in the upper room because they were so full of joy, like Mary Magdalene. They wanted to share the news. Then Jesus appeared and showed Himself and they all believed. Thomas was not there and had an unwillingness to believe. But the next time the disciples met, Thomas was there and the Lord spoke specifically to him so he might believe. We have to get to the point where we see the day light, that we recognise the Resurrected Jesus. Have you come to that point of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ? He wants us to believe in Him and come to Him. Paul says we were once in darkness, not just in darkness, but darkness itself. We have come into the light, we need to stay in the light and have fellowship with one another. Live for Him and serve Him in the light.

Sunday Morning: 6th March 2016

Paul Daniel March 16This morning’s worship was led by Paul Daniel of Swansea who preached from 2 Peter chapter 3. He began be telling us that God’s Word should invoke a response in us. In this chapter Peter was preaching to scattered Christians throughout Asia to remind them of what is good. Why is it that people don’t want to believe in God? They don’t believe in His existence, in His promises. They think God’s Word is irrelevant to their lives. We live in a world of scoffers. They scoff at the Christian God yet they don’t scoff at other ‘gods.’
Three points were raised:

• The promises of God
• The patience of God
• The purity of God.
The Promises of God

The Promises of God
God is a God of promises. It is really difficult for use to keep our promises. Sometimes it can really hurt us when we hurt others. In verse the scoffers question Jesus’ return. They think the world will carry on as it is. But Peter reminds them God created the world when He spoke (v5). In verse 6 we see God regrets the evil and destroyed those who had turned their backs on Him. When God says something it happens.

We come to a God who promises that one day He will put an end to all suffering, evil and injustices in this world. This should be a real encouragement to us to look at the promises in the Bible. He will never leave or forsake us. If we become a Christian God justifies us, we are given His Spirit, guaranteeing our entry to heaven. The promises are for you and me.
We come to a God we can trust. How much of our Christian lives do we spend worrying because we do not take everything to God in prayer? We come to a God who can do immeasurably more than we ask for. What promise do we need to claim on today? What promise do our churches need to claim on today? Jesus began His ministry by going to the fishermen – not to the educated. He promised to make them fishers of men. Trust God. When we want what God wants He will bless us.

The Patience of God
In verses 8 and 9 we see God has set a time and a day when He will judge the world, but until that day He will be patient. During this time God wants people to know His Son and come to repentance. Each day is an opportunity for God’s Grace, for people to know about Him. What are we doing here? What is our church doing here? God has set the times and places. He has placed us where we need to be. He has determined exact times and places. He is a God of patience.

The Purity of God
From verse 10 onwards we see God’s purity. We ought to live holy lives, looking forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness, the home of purity. We get frustrated with this world, with the disappointments of this world. But it is wonderful knowing the promises and patience of God, leading to a day when everything will be made pure. Ungodliness will be dealt with. We will have new resurrected bodies. That day is coming soon! We need to look forward to the place we’re going to live, to the home of purity, where righteousness dwells. Our aim is to be with Jesus, where we love one another in a perfect way. This should excite us! As we look forward to that day, hold on to the promises of God. Make every effort to be sure we are right with Jesus. Tell people about Jesus. Be encouraged. One day our struggles will be over. We will be in the home of righteousness.

Sunday Morning 28th February 2016

Aaron-Feb-2016.jpgThis morning’s worship was led by Aaron Davies – Whitfield who preached from Philippians chapter 2 verses 5-11, which he titled “The lowly steps to humility.”  He described this as an ‘awesome text which should challenge everyone of us.’  There should be a stripping down of pride, a lowering of self and a lifting up of Jesus. When Jesus is lifted up in our lives, our thoughts and our attitudes we will also be lifted up in Him. This is the promise of His Word. This is the way the Spirit of God would have it. We will draw near to God and be comforted. There has to be a lowering of self. We are not perfect people. The true work of God needs to grow in our lives. We need to be stripped, to be crushed, to bring out the fragrance of Christ. So often the Lord challenges us but we will be lifted up.

Aaron preached on three points:

  • What Christ was
  • What Christ became
  • What Christ is now

What Christ was (v5)
Christ’s  equality is with the Father in all things.  Jesus is the one who created everything. We see everything is held together by Him. He is none other than God the Son. This is the one angels, seraphim and cherubim would bow down and worship. He spoke and there was light, the stars were displayed. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He is the Son of God and God the Son. In the Old Testament He is called the Lord of Hosts. He is the Lord of angels who proclaimed His birth. He has never ever not existed, not known everything. He is omnipotent.

What He became- His emptying (v7)

Christ made Himself of no reputation. He stepped down from heaven in humility. He wanted no praise, no glory. He concealed His deity and divinity behind human flesh. He was born in a manger. He chose to be conceived in a young lady called Mary. He never walked on red carpet. He never sought praise and adulation of any man, yet He deserved the praise and adulation of every man.

He took the form of a servant. The Alpha and Omega, King of Kings became a servant to sinners, to fallen humanity. He washed His disciples’ feet. He humbled Himself to the purpose and will of His Father. He made Himself a servant, but He goes lower still

Christ became obedient unto death (v8). There was only one time Jesus lifted Himself up – when He lifted Himself up on a cross. He was lifted up for all men, but never in pride. He was lifted in humiliation He became obedient. Gethsemane, when He saw what was before Him, when He knew He would suffer the wrath of God, He fell on His face. Trembling and sweating great drops of blood He asked for the cup of agony, of suffering to be taken away. Yet He became obedient unto death. He laid down His life like the Lamb of old on the altar. He did not turn or resist, He humbled Himself. Sinless. Spotless. Perfect. Before He could receive a crown of honour He had to receive a crown of thorns. What does this mean to us? We must never ever think anything is beneath us, no-one ever goes lower than Jesus. The church is not a place of self-promotion but of Christ’s promotion. We need to serve Jesus, lower ourselves, strip away our pride, become like Jesus. Humility in an attitude and action so we can lift Jesus high. We need to lower ourselves then we will be lifted up by the Spirit of God.

Where Christ is now (v9)

Jesus, who became so low, was gladly lifted high by the Father. He is more glorious now than He was before. His exaltation is unique. He is exalted as a man in human flesh. There is a man in glory. He has raised our human nature. He is now fully God and fully man. He did this so our fallen nature will be likened to His glorious body. We will one day be clothed in immortality of life. He is now exalted. Christ did not do this Himself, the Father exalted Him (Psalm 24). He has been given name above all names (v10). One day every knee will bow and confess Him as Lord. Some will do this to their condemnation but some who will bow the knee to glorification. Have you bowed the knee and do you hold Him as your Saviour? Bow the knee and confess Him. Let Him be Lord of your life, your dreams and your aspirations. One day everyone will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” (v11).

 

 

Sunday morning: 21st February 2016

Lawrence Mitchell Feb16Morning worship was led by Lawrence Mitchell who preached on the temptations of Jesus, Matthew chapter 4. He began by reminding us that when we do God’s work there will be difficulties and opposition. When we go through times of temptation, remember Emmanuel, God is with us.

In the first temptation we see the humanity of Jesus. Here is was hungry and the devil tempted Him on the material side of His life. The devil is the enemy of the church, the enemy of the gospel. Jesus Himself said the devil has power, has knowledge. He believed in Jesus otherwise he would not have tempted Him. Thank God we have a Holy Father we can turn to. The Lord Jesus Christ did not argue with the devil, He defeated him with the Word of God, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The answer is the Bible.

The second temptation shows us that the devil knows the Scripture and he knows how to pervert the Bible, to leave things out. He quotes from Psalm 91, verses 11-12, but leaves out the best part, we have a God who keeps us every day –He is with us every day. Again Jesus defeats the devil with the Scripture. John warns us in Revelation not to add to the word of God or take away from it. This great book lets us know that Christ is coming again.

The third temptation shows us that the devil has power in this world. We see this today in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Israel itself, but God is with the people. We worship Him, we serve Him. The Lord who was victorious in these temptations is coming again. Amen!

Sunday 14th February 2016

Gerald Tait Feb16Yesterday’s morning worship was led by Gerald Tait who gave a Valentine’s message from Song of Songs. He told us how Solomon had wanted the Shumannite woman to love him for who he was and so he came to her in disguise as a shepherd, in the same way as Jesus came in disguise wanting us to love him for who He is.

In chapter 2 verse 1 she describes herself as “the rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” The rose of Sharon was a wild daffodil that grew in the spring, six pure white petals with a golden trumpet in the middle. It is a very ordinary plant in the desert. The only thing that would catch your eye would be the golden trumpet. This was an ordinary woman who became something because of the royal trumpet. God’s love is for ordinary people. The King of Kings loves us in spite of the fact we are ordinary people.

Solomon describes his love in chapter 4 verses 12-15. Solomon knew his plants and chose this description very carefully. It is a picture looking down from a barren mountain and imagining a garden and a well of living water. It is beautiful amongst all the barrenness that surrounds it. In verse 16 we read how the wind blows hot from the south by day but at night cold air blows from the from the snow-capped mountains in the north, bruising the plant so the fragrance comes out. Her life is fragrant.  John chapter 7 verse 37 speaks of flowing rivers of living water, the Holy Spirit. We have a fragrance of the Lord Jesus.

The woman gives us a ‘selfie’ of herself with Jesus. She is out, she can’t find him so she gives a wonderful description of Him. He is outstanding among 10,000 and describes Him as ‘altogether lovely.’ The woman tells everyone about Him and they are eager to meet Him. We need to share our love for Jesus with other people.

We need to keep in touch. God wants to hear our voice and see us. A face to face meeting is more than a letter or a dozen red roses. A personal meeting is more important. The Lord wants to hear our voice in prayer. We need to meet with the Lord every day.

The Bible is the best Valentine’s letter, Jesus has the deepest love for us – agape.

January 31st 2016- Morning Service

Our guest speaker on Sunday was Gaius Douglas of Calvary Church, Haverfordwest, who read 2 Peter chapter 3, preaching on the final verse.

He told us to study and the Word of God and never be ashamed of it. We need to share the Word of God, share what God has done in our lives, how He has transformed our life. Rejoice in the things of Christ, live for Him and glorify His name. Spread the excitement, the thrill of Christ (Song of Solomon, chapter 5).

Peter wants us to grow in Christ. In his writing he often uses the word ‘precious.’ Is Jesus precious to you? We are precious in His sight. God looked upon us in Grace, He reached out to us and sent His Son so we could share everything that is precious to Him. Peter was writing to believers in Babylon. He wanted them to stir up in remembrance of the things that God had done. Peter always had something to say, he was the mouthpiece of the disciples.

Peter encourages us to grow in Grace, Ephesians 2: ‘By Grace ye are saved, not of works, lest any man should boast.’ Christ made it possible for us to be saved and forgiven. We deserved death but we have had the gift of Grace. He has clothed us in garments of Salvation, in His righteousness. We can now go right into the throne room. We belong to Christ. John 1:11-12. We are ‘the sons of God.’ We have been brought in by Grace, now we need to grow in Grace.

When we know the Lord Jesus Christ and allow the Spirit to appropriate His Grace in us, we will grow not only in God but also with man.

3rd January 2016 – Morning Service

jan-peteKillingleyIt was lovely to welcome back Pete Killingley into the pulpit after an absence of over three years. Pete is now pastor of Send Evangelical Church, Surrey. His message came from Mark chapter 1: 14-20, where Jesus calls the fishermen to follow Him.

The four disciples had no idea what they would follow or the cost of this to their lives, or that 2000 years later there would be billions of followers of Jesus. What does it mean to follow Jesus today? What does the call mean?

There are three points to be considered:

  • Follow, whoever you are
  • Follow, whatever it costs
  • Follow, wherever it takes you.

Whoever you are: verses 16-20

Three of the four fishermen Jesus called made up Jesus’ inner crowd who were invited to key events in His life; all four became His closest friends. They were fishermen. Jesus wants a community of followers, He didn’t go to the synagogue for Bible experts, He went and called people who were fishermen, not high up in society, not academic (Acts 4:13). This tells us Jesus calls ordinary men and women, one by one. This is grace in action. They didn’t choose Jesus, He chose them. He chooses the ones He wants. Faith is a gift of God, it is all of Grace. You don’t have to be holier than others to be a Christian, you can have a chequered past. He calls us to come just as we are, He calls us to follow, whoever we are. None of us are qualified to be followers of Jesus.

To follow, whatever the cost

The disciples left behind their jobs, they left behind their families – which was something shocking for the time. They gave up their whole lives (Mark 10:28), it was risky. What does following Jesus look like for us today? Becoming a Christian is not identical to what it was for the disciples. We don’t have to leave our jobs and families. However, there is a cost. It changes everything. Jesus says in Mark 8: 34-35 that those who follow Him ‘he must deny himself and take up His cross.’ We have to obey God as revealed in the Bible. We have to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We have to follow God before ourselves, putting others before ourselves. We also need to be prepared for suffering. Every day it costs us, we have been bought with a price; it might be that there is a cost to our time or to our popularity. If it never costs your anything you need to question how committed you are to Christ. Jesus calls everyone who follows Him to go all in.

A call to follow wherever it takes you

Jesus wanted the fishermen to become fishers of men. The fishermen did not catch a single fish without His help. Jesus here compares fishing for fish and fishing for men. There is a comparison in spreading the nets and spreading the message as widely as possible. Jesus brings fish into the nets and people to the gospel. He provides the fish; the same is true for us – we are to spread the Word, Jesus will provide the people. We have to be faithful in spreading the nets. We are all called to be fishermen to spread the gospel. The disciples had no idea they were called to death, only John survived to old age. Jesus calls us to follow Him. We have no idea where this will lead us, what we are letting ourselves in for. But we know God loves us; He sent His Son to die for us on the cross. Surely we can trust Him. Following Jesus, whether geographical or in a relationship, means taking the message of Jesus to men. Are we engaged in this mission? Follow Him and receive 100 fold blessings and eternal life.

Sunday 27th September – Morning Service

GarethI

This morning’s worship was led by Reverend Doctor Gareth Edwards from Hill Park, Haverfordwest, who preached from Exodus chapter 25, verses 1-22. He painted a vivid picture of the Ark of the Covenant depicting the reality of Calvary. The Ark is the place of God’s Law, the righteous requirements of a pure, holy God. Judgement of sinners is a necessary outcome. Because of the suffering of our Lord on the Cross we have been forgiven, our sins have been punished. The Ark is also the place of Mercy. The sacrifice made at Calvary satisfied the demands of the law. Christ’s blood was shed so we know mercy and the blessing of eternal fellowship with God.