Tag Archives: devotional

A valuable record of the steps on your spiritual journey

My Sermon Response Journal – 3

As you fill the pages of your journal – there is room for 60 sermons – you will create a valuable record of the steps on your spiritual journey.

And you will come to appreciate anew the skills and insights that your preachers gift to you week-by-week.

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Identify how the message challenges you

My Sermon Response Journal – 4

On each two-page spread you can write down the scripture readings, key points the preacher makes, and your immediate reaction to them.

You are also prompted to identify how the message challenges you, actions you will take and the key idea you will take away from the sermon.

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Healing of the Nations

A Thought for Today

Healing of the Nations

With laurel leaves
the winners crowned
Olympian effort applauded

With laurel leaves
the emperor crowned
power and force rewarded

How then to crown
the Lord of Life
the Saviour long-expected?

With sharp, hard thorns
was Jesus wreathed
prophecy and love contorted.

Crushed, healing herbs
dressed wounds and hurts
bodies whole again

Lest we forget
the dying sun
green shoots, new life
still comes.

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About this poem

Our congregation took part in the Living the Questions study programme some years ago. This poem is a response to the session on the book of Revelation.

It contrasts the way ancient Greek Olympic champions, Roman emperors and Jesus were crowned. This leads to thoughts about commemorating those who died or were injured in war.
Like the book of Revelation, the poem finishes on a hopeful note of renewal and growth.

This poem is found in my collection of, music, prayers and poems: Kindle a Flame
which you can download as a free 30 page PDF eBook when you sign up for our email newsletters.

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How should we spread the Good News?

A Thought for Today

“…Jonah just stood up in the middle of the street and shouted at people.

The way we tell God’s message needs to be adjusted for each situation.

At this point, I imagine Jonah was expecting to be arrested for disturbing the peace and chucked out of the city. At the very least he could expect to be jeered at and heckled. Or maybe worse, just be ignored. He would have been watching for trouble and scared.

Now the story turns. The Bible says, “And the people of Nineveh believed God.”

They stopped doing evil, repented and turned their lives around.

Jonah’s mission was a total success. He didn’t expect it.

How does Jonah react? If you go on to read Chapter 4 at home, you will see that Jonah sulks. It’s as if he wanted the people of Nineveh to be destroyed by God.

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We need to be sure of our motivation when we tell the Good News.

God used an ordinary, grumpy, ungrateful chap like Jonah to talk to the people of Nineveh.

What then is there to stop us sharing the Good News with the people we meet?…”

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From the sermon – How should we spread the Good News? – 22 January 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Whatever’s Written in Your Heart

Thought for the day

“I like the last part of the reading from Matthew, where we are told to simplify our speech, say “Yes” if you mean Yes or “No” if you mean No. Don’t prevaricate, hum and har or pad out your response.

I warm to this advice. It means you need to know your own heart and your own mind and then you can make a clear decision. “Yes, I will,” “No I won’t.” “Yes, I agree,” “No I disagree.”
In the same way I find it helpful to simplify and summarise in my own mind the commandments and laws that God gave, and that Jesus proclaimed.

For me they become:
Love God, love your neighbour, as you love yourself.

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There is a God. We worship that God. A God who is at the same time magnificent, awe inspiring and unimaginably powerful; yet also intimately present in all the small ordinary things in our lives. A God of love, whose love for us knows no limit, and no end. Hallelujah!

Who is my neighbour that I should love and care for? This is a radical, uncomfortable part of Jesus’ message. Our neighbours are our friends and our families whom we like, but also our enemies, those who are different from us and those we just don’t get along with.
Tough, they are all worthy of God’s love. Jesus knew this. John Wesley knew this. We need to be reminded too.

The last part is important. It is not that I should put myself above others or that I am better than others, but rather that as part of being in God’s realm we as individuals should also take good care of ourselves. Sometimes this will mean saying “No.” Other times it will be pausing to do something that you enjoy just for the sake of the enjoyment.

Taking these three rules to heart will help us make a heartfelt response to the need around us.”

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From the sermon – Whatever’s Written in Your Heart – 13 February 2011, in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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