Family

Family
Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016: A Call to Believe


Having begun with Luke's account of the birth of our Lord, I begin my message this Christmas with an article from The Times this past Thursday under the headline:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Caesar or Jesus

In the days of Caesar Augustus, Jesus was born in Bethlehem

The Christmas story tells of the birth of a new king. The world was moving according to the orders of Caesar Augustus, but although he was hailed as the great bringer of peace, real peace on earth would be realized only through the sovereignty of the child born in Bethlehem. Today the world moves to the orders of many different Caesars …there is the Caesar who is called The Market, and he speaks each day from New York  where he goes by the name Dow Jones,

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Four Soils and Christmas


Christmas is a season of great sowing for the church and for the Kingdom of God … all the special services and year end functions are wonderful seed sowing opportunities. Your part is to try as hard as you can to bring people to them … just bring them … or at least just invite them.

Friday, December 2, 2016

I AM: The Alpha and The Omega

Here we are at the end of our series on the I AM statements of Jesus. Hopefully we know a great deal more about who Jesus claimed to be and was in the flesh. But, that is never really the goal of preaching, to increase knowledge ... No, at the end of this series I really hope we have a better idea of who we are in the light of Jesus' I AM statements.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

John Wesley: How to Vote in an Election


Thur 6 Oct 1774: I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election and advised them

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Mediterranean Storm


Luke's account of Paul's voyage to Rome stands out as one of the most vivid pieces of descriptive writing in the whole Bible. Its details regarding first-century seamanship are exceptionally precise and its portrayal of conditions on the eastern Mediterranean remarkably accurate. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

I AM the Light of the World


We continue our series on the I AM statements of Jesus. As we have seen, John’s Gospel cites the phrase “I am” together with different sets of names to record metaphors for Christ. We began with Jesus saying to the Samaritan women (John 4:26when she spoke of the Messiah, that “I am he.” Last time we saw Jesus saying “I am the bread of life” (6:35, 48) which led to many of His disciples deserting Him; other I AM statements include “the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5), “the gate” (10:7, 9), “the good shepherd” (10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (11:25), “the way, and the truth and the life” (14:6), and “the vine” (15:1, 5).  As I said in my introduction to this series, Mohamed Ali, the boxer who died during the preparation of this series, was fond of saying, “I am the greatest”. For a very brief period of time, in the very limited context of professional boxing,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Paul before Felix


Our reading this evening is quite a long one as we pick up from where we left off last time … Acts 23:25 – 24:27. Last time we had Paul in custody and examined by the Sanhedrin. Then on the Sunday which the preacher had to excuse himself from because of a family emergency, we would have looked at a conspiracy to kill Paul which was foiled by Paul’s nephew and which resulted in him being spirited away by the Romans to Caesarea on the coast. Here he appears before his accusers and Felix, the Roman governor. He denies all the charges which the governor eventually realises are baseless, but the governor nonetheless keeps him in prison because he wanted to gain favour with the Jews he governed.

Friday, September 23, 2016

I AM the Bread of Life


We continue our series on the I AM statements of Jesus. You can read the Introduction here and I AM the Messiah here.

I have chosen as my text what are for me the saddest words on Jesus' lips in the Gospels John 6:66-67

 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
 ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?Jesus asked the Twelve.

Sad, sad words. They bring to my mind the picture of a child all excited about her birthday party until one by one her friends phone up and say: "We're not coming after all" until eventually she turns to the few who are still there and says You do not want to leave too, do you?’ 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jesus: I AM the Messiah

Sourced here
John 4:1-30
(Please read my introduction to this series here.)

I wonder if there is a more misunderstood and maligned woman in Scripture that the "Woman at the Well"?

What do we know for sure about her? ... Well: 

Intrduction to I AM Series

John’s Gospel cites the phrase “I am” together with seven sets of names to record metaphors for Christ. Jesus says “I am the bread of life” (6:35, 48), “the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5), “the gate” (10:7, 9), “the good shepherd” (10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (11:25), “the way, and the truth and the life” (14:6), and “the vine” (15:1, 5). These are often called The Seven I Am Statements.  Some however, speak of The Eight I Am statements of Jesus  and include John 8:58 “Before Abraham was, I am.” Others include Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman in John 4:26 where, in response to her talking about the Messiah, Jesus says: “I am he.” Still others go beyond John’s Gospel and look to Revelation 1:8 for another I am statement:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega” which is repeated in 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The With Us God

Image sourced here
My text is Acts 23:11
The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’

Wouldn’t it be great if the Lord stood near you and me and said: ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome’; or, as He did on another occasion: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent’; or “Quick!” he said. “Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me”; or ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ (see18:922:1827:23; 2Co 12:7–10). Wouldn’t it be great if God actually spoke to us as He did to Paul; that we could be so aware of His presence that we could say, as Paul does on other occasions that we sense the Lord standing next to us? What is it for God to be with us and how do we live with the presence of God? There’s a lot

Friday, August 26, 2016

Will You Come and Follow Me ?

 


Just after Easter we began our series on The Nature Of God, and since then we’ve looked at 21 aspects of God’s nature:  Love   Holiness  Mercy  Grace  Friendship  Parenthood  Justice  Faithfulness  Forgiveness  Power  Creativity  Authority  Providence  Protection  Hope   Promise Keeper    Good  Comfort  Omniscient   Omnipresent   Compassion   Healer
These characteristics also describe the Christian, particularly the Christian born again of water and Spirit (omniscience and omnipotence are of course the exceptions which prove the rule). In my introduction to the series I reminded us that we humans are created in God’s image and as such we

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The God of All Comfort


Comfort is a word which in modern speech has lost all of its New testament meaning. It suggests to us a kind of sedative, a palliative for pain of body or mind. But the comfort of God is no narcotic. The word "comforter" applied to the Holy Spirit really means "strengthener" (John 14:16). It has the same root as "fortify." We comfort a sufferer when we give them courage to bear their pain or face their misfortune.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Paul - Roman, Greek, Jew, Christian.


We continue our journey through the Acts of the Apostles and find ourselves at Acts 22.23-30. We ended two weeks ago with the crowd in Jerusalem shouting for Paul's blood after he told them that God had sent him to minister to the Gentiles: ‘Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!’..... and the Romans taking him into custody.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Faithful Keeper of Promises


We continue our series on The Nature of God and this week's title is Hope (Promise Keeper) and there were a number of readings to choose from (1 Kings 8:56Jeremiah 31:31-34 Micah 5:2,
Matthew 16:13-18Matthew 26:33-35, Matthew 26:69-75, John 3:16, John 5:14, John 6:35John 14:1-3, John 21:15-17,Acts 2:1-12Acts 2:38-39, Hebrews 11:32-12:1, James 1:16-17, James 4:81, 2 Peter 3:8-13) and a perusal of them touches on some of the promises which God has made and kept in the Scriptures and what one lifts from all of these is that because God is a Promise Keeper, we can have Hope ... but more than that, we can be filled with hope now, a hope that

Friday, July 1, 2016

Saul/Paul's Turnaround, Britain's Turnaround, Your Turnaround


What a week it has been in British politics ... talk about a turn around, a change of direction, which, you might remember from previously, is what is at the root of the word repentance. The New Testament word translated as repentance is the Greek word metanoia which is not a confession of sins but a change of mind (here is an excellent article on this subject) implying a change of direction from moving away from God to now moving towards God. As I said: "What a week of mind changing, direction changing, we've had."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Providence, Brexit and the Gospel

It is pertinent before saying anything else this morning to pass some comments on our referendum results and the resulting Brexit reality which has thrown our country and our continent into turmoil. There is uncertainty, fear, division, (along country lines in the Union, division along generational lines, division along racial lines), there is anger and a degree hopelessness regarding any quick resolution. While none of us would wish for these things ... we must see them for what they are. And what are they: they are fertile soil for the gospel of hope, the gospel of peace, for the gospel of reconciliation, for the gospel of perfect love which drives out all fear. Brexit turmoil is an opportunity for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God to take root and grow and we, the church, we, Meadow Way Chapel, need to seize this opportunity with everything we have. It cannot be business as usual if we truly believe we are the bearers of Good News.

So, we continue our series The Nature of God and today we look at Providence and we have 3 readings to focus our attention: Genesis 22:1-19 Exodus 16:1-35 and Matthew 6:9-13, 6: 25-34 and the title of my sermon is: Providence, Brexit and the Gospel


Friday, June 17, 2016

Apostle Paul, the Referendum and Jo Cox.


We continue our teaching journey through the Acts of the Apostles. This is quite a long reading and I want to highlight a few things and apply our reading to events of the last week and the coming week here in the U.K.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pastoral Prayer for Father's Day


    Loving and Merciful God, whose power is beyond our scope and whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, we turn to you in faith assured that you know our every emotion and are aware of our every need. Our thoughts and prayers today are turned towards our fathers.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Kingdom Authority: Jesus, Jonah and our Queen


Today we continue our series on The Nature Of God and we look at the subject of Authority and our readings are Jonah 1 and Matthew 22:34-40. Today we also celebrate the Queen's Official Birthday, which, since 1974, been marked on the Saturday in the range 11 – 17 June and remembered on the following Sunday. To mark the Queen's 90th birthday, the Bible Society has joined forces with HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) to publish a book about the Queen’s Christian faith, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves. You can order your free copy here, but we are giving away one copy to each family at this morning's service. I don't want to spoil the book for you, but here is a summary of what you will discover as you read it:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mnason and the Refugee Crisis (Opportunity)


Paul is journeying back to Jerusalem: from Greece to Asia Minor, passed Lesbos to Miletus to Kos to Rhodes to Patara ... he is touring the Greek Isles on his way towards Syria and back to "The Promised Land" ... which is perhaps irrelevant except that many of these names are in the news daily right now as thousands travel hazardously and at great threat to their lives in the opposite direction from Syria towards the freedom of the perceived promised lands in the West ... in this past week some making the final stage of that journey across the dangerous and cold North Sea and landing in dinghies here on our beaches in Norfolk. You'll understand that I wondered whether Paul's journey in the opposite direction teaches us anything about those making the journey in this direction.

Paul's Farewell to the Elders


An important note to my wider readers: What follows are the rough notes for my sermon on the above subject. Various constraints have meant that I have not been able to flesh it out in a way that might make sense to folk who did not hear me preach it. I publish it mainly for my congregation who are in the habit of reading my blog in order to find the references made during my preaching.

Friday, May 20, 2016

John Wesley and Sophy Hopkey (2)



Read the previous entry here.

July 26. I set out for Charleston. In my journey, hearing Mr. Mellichamp was gone to Savannah, I was deeply concerned, having often heard her say that she hoped God would keep him out of her sight, at least till her mind was stronger, for if she was to see him then, she could deny him nothing. I prayed earnestly that he who alone was able, would snatch her out of the fire. And he did indeed stir up his power and save her with a great deliverance.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pentecost 2016

Pentecost is often seen as the beginning of the Church, and as we work through we’ll see how Luke has this idea of beginning in his mind and has the Genesis account of ‘in the beginning’ in his mind. There is a new birth recorded for us in this reading today, maybe there is a rebirth waiting for you TODAY.

When the day of Pentecost came, 
Pentecost is a Jewish festival of Harvest.  It is 50 days after the Passover Festival and was one of those festivals that Jews were expected to attend in Jerusalem. That’s why there is a crowd from all over the world. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

God's Faithfulness: And God Remembered Noah

                                                              Picture sourced here

On Tuesday 24 November 2015, just 3 weeks after we arrived in Norwich, God gave me the most beautiful rainbow that I have ever seen as I was leaving the Norwich library. I took a photo with my mobile, but before I transferred it to my computer I lost all my albums (longish and irrelevant story). However, I found this pic taken by Hayley Brasnett which, unsurprisingly, is much better than the one I took. Today I am looking at the Faithfulness of God, as we continue our series, The Nature of God.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Eutychus (Who???): There is Life in You!


When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. He travelled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.

Just how long Paul stayed in Macedonia we do not know. Luke's words seem to suggest a fairly prolonged period. One activity that especially concerned Paul at this time was collecting money for the relief of impoverished believers at Jerusalem. He instructed the churches in Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia about this. The collection was an act of love like that undertaken by the church at Syrian Antioch earlier. More than that, Paul viewed it as a symbol of unity that would help his Gentile converts realize their debt to the mother church in Jerusalem and give Jewish Christians

Friday, April 22, 2016

Nature of God: Fatherhood

Luke 15:11-32
(read previous sermons in Nature of God series here)

In today’s language, this parable would be the story of the two siblings, boys or girls, or one of each, living in a small rural village where their widowed father owns half the town and most of the farms around it.  From a young age the older child has been groomed to take over the family business and the younger has been a bit of a rebel from little, although the father deeply, deeply loves them both. The more responsible one just gets more responsibility.  The younger one eventually says: “Dad, I want to get out of here and make a life for myself in the city – I've got to get out of this place.  Can I have my part of the inheritance, and, you know I didn't go to uni like my big sister, so I actually saved you thousands of pounds in fees and residence costs, so it's only fair you give me that as well.”

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Way of Christlike Disturbance

About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 


We are still in Ephesus, an important centre for early Christianity from the AD 50's. From AD 52–54, the apostle Paul lived there, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the rest of Asia. Initially, Paul attended the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus, but after three months he became frustrated with the stubbornness or hardness of heart of some of the Jews, and moved his base to the school of Tyrannus. We have seen how Paul introduced about twelve men to the 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' who had previously only experienced the baptism of John the

Friday, April 8, 2016

Grace



Grace: what a huge subject ... HUGE!

Tim Keller, speaking about the gospel, says that if you think you really, really understand the gospel ... you don't. If you really think that you haven't even begun to understand the gospel ... you do. What he is getting at is that there has to be a lifelong process of more and more deeply realising the wonder of the gospel. This week it has occurred to me that the same applies to grace. If I

Friday, April 1, 2016

There is Power in the Name of Jesus


We continue our journey through the Acts of the Apostles, which by now you've realised is really the acts of 2 apostles, Peter and Paul, and, from ch 9 to 28 deals only with Paul. So, one wouldn't be far off the mark by saying that Acts is about the ministry of Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. It is of course, a Divinely inspired history of the early missionary church as it spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, as Jesus had prophesied (Acts 1:8).

Friday, March 25, 2016

Eternal Life - Has it Dawned on You?


Something Dawned on them that first Easter Sunday

In Matthew's gospel, he talks of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb early Sunday morning – there’s an earthquake, an angel, a proclamation: He is risen.
And something dawns on her.

The soldiers who experienced all the above as well,..... Matthew tells us they run and tell the chief priests, and they make a plan, they pay them to say “The disciples came and stole the body.”
They do this because something dawns on them, that morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good Friday: It's Always Somebody Else's Fault


Can anyone this Good Friday look at the world around us and fail to see that all is not as it should be? Wherever one might find oneself, in whatever part of the world, and whatever your faith belief: You cannot fail to know, deep down inside, that this is not how things are meant to be. From Syria, down to South Africa, across to Cuba, up to the USA, back here to the United Kingdom, across Europe, into Asia ... this is not the way things are meant to be.

And of course that’s always somebody else's fault, isn't it?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spirit Baptism



Last Sunday I taught on Water Baptism (read it here). This week we look at Spirit Baptism. My text is still Acts 18:23 - 19:10 where both are encountered. 

I am going to make 5 assertions which have guided me in my preparation. You may or may not agree with them, but they set out up front my starting point and assumptions:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

John Wesley and Sophy Hopkey (1)

picture sourced US Dept. Interior

March to June 1735

‘The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are but vain’ .

‘O give me not up unto mine own heart’s lust, neither let me follow my own imagination’.

It was not my desire, but the desire of the Trustees, disappointed of another minister, which induced me to take charge of Savannah till I could pursue my first design. And the very day I entered on this charge I told you that offences would come; indeed I expected greater, long before this day.

At my first coming to Savannah, in the beginning of March 1736, I was determined to have no intimacy with any woman in America. Notwithstanding which, by the advice of my friends, and in pursuance of my resolution to speak once a week at least to every communicant apart from the congregation, on March the 13th, I spoke to Miss Sophy Hopkey, who had communicated the Sunday

St Patrick's Day Prayers

This pic was taken in South Africa in 2015 before our move to the Norwich in the UK. 

John Wesley had a great deal to say about his ministry in both Norwich and Ireland, not always complimentary towards the folk he ministered to. In this entry from his journal for Saturday, February 17, 1781, he manages to insult both the folk of Norwich and of Ireland in one breath:

After spending Thursday and Friday with the affectionate people at Lowestoft, on Saturday I returned to Norwich. Here I found about fifty missing out of the two hundred and sixteen whom I left in the society a year ago. Such fickleness I have not found anywhere else in the kingdom; no, not even in Ireland.
Sun. 18. The Chapel was full enough, both in the afternoon and the evening. I declared to them the whole counsel of God, and on Monday returned to London.

I grew up in a home where every March 17th, St Patrick's Day, I woke up to hear my Dad singing "For they're hanging men and women for the wearing of the green" and "With me shillelagh under me arm, And a twinkle in me eye, I'll be off to Tipperary in the morning." 

So, on this St Patrick's Day and in remembrance of my Dad, Patrick, I donned some green, including his green tie with the Irish national emblem, my tweeds and shillelagh (that's the stick, from Hawthorne House, Dublin) and prayed some good St Paddy's Day prayers. The first is from the Book of Common Prayer for today and the second is Patrick's Breastplate prayer. I first came across the Breastplate prayer in 1999.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Nature of God: Introduction and Love


This week we begin a new series, The Nature of God and in this Introduction we look at Love. Our readings are 1 John 4:7-21Romans 8:38,39 and 1 Corinthians 13. As a scene setter let us remind ourselves of a truth contained in the very first chapter of our Scriptures, Genesis 1:26. As Maria von Trapp aka Julie Andrews sang so many years ago: "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start." Right back at the beginning:

"... God said, ‘Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness"

We have to get this clear right up at the start, this is foundational to the rest of the series: Humans are the image bearers of God on earth. We are icons.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Way Explained


This Sunday I have been asked to preach on The Way Explained, Acts 18:23-28 and in two weeks’ time on Receiving the Spirit, Acts 19:1-10. As I’ve read through the two readings I find, unsurprisingly, some common themes which I’ve highlighted in different colours. It's my intention to focus on the two readings each week, but focus on three different themes this week and one next time.

Psalm 23 for Mothering Sunday

Dedicated to the mothers, past and present, 
some of whom are my daughters 
who, since 1860, by the grace of God
 have played a major role in my life,
 even the ones who never met me,
but who I know prayed for me:
Caroline, Bestema, Alice,
Maud, Irene, my beloved Chrissikins,
Candice and Lee

My Mom is (perhaps was, or tried  her best to be) my Shepherd, 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Call to Corporate Prayer (Part 2)

I am interested in prayer meetings like the one we read of today. Where situations change miraculously because God’s people are praying together. In fact, throughout Acts, we see prayer meetings that do battle for souls; that overcome obstacles and move God's hand and that turn the world of their day upside down. We are asking God to teach us how to pray as a congregation as well as individuals. Last week we saw that:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey and Mission in a PostModern PostChristian Culture


Our title tonight is The Conclusion of the Mission and I thought to myself: What does one usually do at the conclusion of a mission? … Well, you would review the mission: how did it go, what did we do, what were the highlights, what were the low points, what did we do that is worth repeating, what can we build on, what could we have done better, how will all this affect our next journey? I’m really describing what is today called best practice. best practice is a

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Call to Corporate Prayer


My aim this morning is, first, to so persuade you from God's Word and from church history of the importance of corporate prayer that none of us will ever view the prayer meetings of our church in the same way again.

Second, my aim and my prayer is that each of us will determine to take one step forward in our participation and confidence in prayer, not just as an individual, but with other believers, gathered together with the purpose of seeing God's glory manifested here in Hellesdon and Norwich.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Can a Human Being Resist Temptation? Some thoughts for the beginning of Lent

Wilderness: Renounce, Reject, Repent
At the start of Lent 2016, this is a question worth reflecting on: Can a Human Being Resist Temptation? This short reading from Mark's gospel has Jesus experiencing what must have been one of the spiritual highlights of His life, His baptism in water, followed by His baptism in the Holy Spirit, followed by His hearing the very voice of God ... it really doesn't get much better than that, does it? But the first thing this Spirit does in Him, is compel Him to go alone into the dangerous Judean wilderness for forty days. Mark implies that when Jesus came out of the

Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Keep on Speaking


What an absolutely wonderful theme for a preacher to be given as a subject ... Keep on Speaking.

It comes from our continuing journey through the Acts of the Apostles, which I said last time should better be called The Acts of God through the Apostles. Today we find ourselves at Acts 18:1-17  where in verse 9 the LORD speaks to Paul and says:‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’