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Sun, Mar 26, 2017
Passage: Mark 10:10-34
Duration: 26 mins 59 secs

  What happens though when our estimate of the worth of things or people assumes too great a stage? How do we ensure that our appreciation of God’s world doesn’t supplant our appreciation and love of God Himself?

  It seems as if Jesus sets the bar so high such that it can appear almost impossible for us to enter God’s Kingdom. The danger here, though, is that we can all too easily view this Kingdom from our own point of view. It isn’t a physical entity but a spiritual reign, one which reflects the rule of a King producing an intentional response in action and attitude in the life of His followers.

Sun, Mar 19, 2017
Passage: Genesis 38
Duration: 33 mins 1 sec

If we have the means and the opportunity, what is there to stop us doing exactly what we want? Surely, experiencing everything this world has to offer is our route to self understanding and fulfilment?

  This particular "take" on life has been one expression of personal morality throughout human history. It was the Greeks who popularised the "eat, drink and be merry" culture (anything goes), way before the materialism of twentieth century but then, as now, the consequences of such behaviour are often ignored or overlooked. 

  Actions have consequences. The way we chose to satisfy our desires is rarely value and impact free - it can, on occasion, be very destructive indeed. 

Sun, Mar 19, 2017
Passage: Mark 9:2-32
Duration: 27 mins 28 secs

Some things stick in our memories. It might be something really wonderful you’re happy to look back on (and even relive) with great fondness but, on the other hand, it might be an event or even a person you’d gladly forget … if only you could.

Over 30 years on, Peter could look back to an event that had really gripped him and which he couldn’t stop talking about (2 Peter 1: 16 – 18). He’d experienced something unique, an event so powerful and an engagement so profound that he didn’t really appreciate – nor did he understand – what was going on around him. All he knew was that he was in the presence of God.

  Jesus' journey to the cross recognises His total commitment to the mission God had given Him. But, there’s more to this journey than simply keeping on to the end of the road. Here, now, before he’s even taken his first steps on the path to death, glory and hope, He is filled with God’s power and confirmed in his status (Mark 9:7).

Sun, Mar 12, 2017
Duration: 29 mins 16 secs

Being on the outside, when you’d rather be part of the group, is a lonely place to be.

Jacob’s behaviour, which reflects his characteristic suspicion of everyone around him, has sown the seeds for the disaster which follows. Joseph follows his Father’s instructions to the letter, provoking a response from his already embittered brothers. Their initial reaction suggests intense hatred of the spoilt teenager, perhaps allied to a guilty conscience for something they HAD been doing and which they wanted to hide from their Father.

Whose shoes would you like to be in now? When we don’t take our responsibility towards God and others seriously enough, it can result in attitudes and behaviour that increase the damage, rather than healing old wounds.

Sun, Mar 12, 2017
Passage: Mark 8:31-9:2
Duration: 28 mins 37 secs

There’s never a good day to bury bad news. Sooner or later we will have to face up to the facts and the potential consequences outcomes. Knowing what’s going on can even help us to come to terms with what’s happening.

It must have been tough for Jesus’ disciples to hear at first hand that their next journey would be Jesus’ last. However much Peter tried to talk it down, the inescapable fact remained: Jesus life would soon be over but, at the same time, His mission would be completed.

The real issue for them (and us) is one of conviction: do we believe enough to follow Him on the road, carrying our cross in the process?

Sun, Mar 05, 2017
Passage: Nehemiah 5
Duration: 31 mins 40 secs
Important things get overlooked in the heady excitement of a big project nearing completion. The results of hard graft and teamwork are plain to see but positive steps in one direction can sometimes mask concerns elsewhere.
Our love for God is expressed through the depth of our concern for others, alongside our readiness to get involved when their lives are broken. That’s particularly important where we are in a position of influence or power and where others are on the receiving end of bullying, deliberate isolation and/or injustice (see Micah 6:8). When we see such need can we really walk by on the other side of the road? If we can do something about it, why don’t we?
Sun, Feb 05, 2017
Passage: John 15:9-17
Duration: 26 mins 9 secs

Magnuss Magnusson’s famous words “I’ve started, so I’ll finish” give us a starter for 10 as a description of Christian Discipleship.

It’s no good thinking that everything will fall into place without any effort on our part. Yes, we have an example to follow but unless we are prepared to roll up our sleeves and get involved, then we can only ever grasp a part of God’s plan. Staying connected and being obedient to God’s guidelines will not tie us up but will release us into real freedom.

Sun, Feb 05, 2017
Duration: 32 mins 9 secs
How do you eat a whole cow(*)? It seems an impossible task given the size of the animal and the limitations of our digestive systems. Many projects can seem rather like that. There’s so much to be done with a finite resource, alongside pressing deadlines that can’t be extended. It’s may not even be a question of pressing forwards right away: there’s often more questions to be answered, ground to be cleared and clarity to be established before you can begin to bring anything new to the table. That’s when we have to separate the important from the urgent and to make sure we know what it is we are really dealing with. After all, it’s no good having a great plan that answers the questions no one is actually asking. What’s needed is an honest appraisal of how things are and the inspiration and encouragement of a gifted leader, to make things happen. (*) Not that hard actually …. one mouthful at a time, not biting off more than you can chew
Sun, Jan 29, 2017
Passage: John 13:31-38
Duration: 26 mins 30 secs
The Beatles may have said it in July 1967, but it’s not exactly a novel approach to life and relationships. Whatever we may be asked to do (and that includes the Great Commission to “ ...go and make disciples”), we won’t be successful unless we get our underlying attitudes right. God’s vision may be delivered through the work of our hands and the application of our mind but our motivation must be the love in our hearts. Jesus’ great command is to love – and His great example is simple: it’s Himself.
Sun, Jan 29, 2017
Duration: 26 mins 10 secs
It’s not a lie: it’s an alternative version of the facts. Political spin has always pushed truth to the absolute boundaries but it seems we have now entered a whole new realm – that of a “post truth society”. Whether that’s the view of just a few commentators or the accepted position of the majority, it reminds us of the value of finding (and then embracing) the truth that sets people free rather than tying them down. In today’s baptism service we’ve heard truth at its clearest: Mikey’s story is true, it’s happened to him and God hasn’t finished yet. At the heart of this very personal account is a deeper truth which is evident in the life of every believer. God is in the business of making old things new, enabling us (the new creation) to live as God intends – to the full, to eternity and beyond!!
Sun, Jan 22, 2017
Passage: John 3 & Nehemiah 21
Duration: 29 mins 54 secs
You can sometimes look but not really see, hear but not actually take it in. Nicodemus’ reaction to ideas that, to him, seem impossible (Born again? Me?), suggests that encountering the truth isn’t enough. Even knowing about it doesn’t go far enough – after all, we’d expect Nicodemus as a Teacher of the Law to be right on the button. We must experience it in person and, in the process, respond to what we are being offered. We cannot even respond for ourselves without the help of God’s Spirit, who brings wisdom and understanding. However impossible or impractical it may all seem, that’s no barrier to God who will work in the way – and through the people – he choose.
Sun, Jan 22, 2017
Passage: Nehemiah 2
Duration: 27 mins 41 secs
Patience is a virtue. Good thing as patience undoubtedly is (and where would the British love of queuing be without it?), it’s fair to say that it isn’t always easy having to wait for things we want. It’s rather harder when you’re convinced you know what you need, how you can get it and what the outcomes have to look like. Put yourself in Nehemiah’s shoes. Having heard the news about his home town, he’s poured his heart out to God. Four months have passed and nothing’s happened: has Nehemiah given up or is there a reason why the plan has yet to get off the ground? In God’s economy, the context, content and timing have to be as right. Amazing how sharing a cup of good wine can lead to some pretty dramatic outcomes!
Sun, Jan 15, 2017
Passage: Nehemiah 1
Duration: 30 mins 50 secs
What does it really take to get you going? Every vision has a light bulb moment. This is the point when dreams are beginning the process of becoming reality. At this stage there’s a greater understanding of what has to be done, how it will pan out and what resources – financial and human – might be required to get things on their way. The worst possible news - dispirited people living in a ruined city – drives Nehemiah to his knees. Alone, he can do little to change the circumstances, however big his vision might be and however passionate he feels about it all. He knows, though, that God can and will make a difference. In today’s message we’ll see how conviction (our own light bulb moment), leads to personal commitment and confirmation of what our real vision must be.
Sun, Jan 08, 2017
Passage: Romans 12:1-8
Duration: 25 mins 1 sec
We all face pressure to conform to the expectations of others. Whether it’s our families, friends or the environment where we live, play or work, we are moulded by experience and personality but also by culture. We accept that certain “rules” are important: without them we’d quickly revert to the law of the jungle where only the fittest and best connected flourish or survive. What happens, though, when there is a conflict between what others expect of us and what God expects of us? On a daily level how do we become and remain the salt and light the Kingdom demands of us? Today’s reading – including our motto text for 2017 (Romans 12:2) – invites us to consider these and other questions. What pattern are we following and in which (or in whose) mould are we being formed?
Sun, Jan 01, 2017
Duration: 29 mins 22 secs
At the beginning of a New Year thoughts often turn to the things we want to achieve over the next 12 months. It might mean getting our life in order, looking for a new job or perhaps going to the gym more often with the express intention of losing a few pounds or dropping a couple of dress sizes. It can sometime seem that whilst the dreams we set ourselves are tough enough, the bar set through God’s Vision for His church is higher still. We have the Great Command to embrace (“Love”) and the Great Commission to enact (“Go”): it’s a wonderful dream, it’s God’s plan. But, how will it all become reality?
Sun, Dec 18, 2016
Passage: Luke 2:10
Duration: 15 mins 38 secs
Luke 2:10; 18 Dec pm
Sun, Dec 11, 2016
Passage: Luke 1:39-56
Duration: 37 mins 41 secs
Social Media is a great way of sharing your news with friends and family. Whether you face time, message, tweet or send an email, your news – good or bad, expected or unexpected – is received by your closest friends within seconds of it being sent. News travels but bad news or gossip moves with the speed of a guided missile – it’s the sort of thing that people rather like (even if they’d never admit it). Mary’s news was unexpected and, at least on a human level, unwelcome to some. Things would not have been easy for her in Nazareth, what with all the doubt about the father of the child – after all, who is really going to believe her story? God’s work? According to some she’s just a teenage peasant girl who’s made a mistake. Mary went to the one person who would understand what it meant to be chosen by God. Her cousin Elizabeth was also pregnant – another miracle, given her advanced age. Mary not only found a welcome but expressed her thanks to God in an outpouring of praise that celebrates God’s work past, present and future. Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
Sun, Dec 04, 2016
Duration: 22 mins 4 secs
Locusts and wild honey may not sound like haute cuisine but it serves its purpose. Taken with clothes made out of goat hair, it provides the essential basics for food, warmth and decency, leaving you free to focus on what really matters. The coronation of a new King is an exciting and busy time. There’s a lot to get ready - no one wants any hold ups on the day itself which might prevent the King from coming to His Kingdom and taking his place on the throne. It’s a question of ploughing the road – making sure that the way is clear and path is as straight and easy as it can be. Advent welcomes the coming of the King. The way has already been prepared but it is equally as important that, when he turns up, we are not distracted either by the trappings of his arrival or by our own lack of preparation. Have you heard? Are you ready? Will you come and see? Will you receive, go and tell?
Sun, Dec 04, 2016
Duration: 26 mins 37 secs
A destabilised, secular society where people had abandoned their trust in established “religion.” Competing superpowers squabbling over the spoils pf battle with political intrigue at every turn. Small wonder, then, that most people sought solace in anywhere they could find it. 700 BC is not so removed from 2016 AD – at least, in terms of the human need for security, meaning and hope. Then, as now, we can easily feel disempowered by events and decisions taken by others with (what we feel to be) little reference to us or to our needs. Just as our needs remain the same, the answer to our concerns hasn’t changed either, even though the world might have done. There’s still hope - but for us to embrace it, we have to step out of the darkness into the light, by trusting the Saviour God has sent us.
Sun, Nov 27, 2016
Passage: Jonah 3-4
Duration: 18 mins 38 secs
God was concerned about a generation of people in Nineveh but Jonah was only concerned about himself. It's all about me often sums up our attitude. How do we overcome this?