Psalm 150 – The complete, unending, hallelujah

Passage: Psalm 150

Summary

What is it that makes you sing? That makes you laugh, that makes you shout for joy?
Perhaps it’s the moment when your favourite footballer, running up the wing, gets passed the ball and in a moment of skill curves the ball past the hapless defenders, right into the corner of the goal.
Or maybe it’s the news of a newborn. The long wait is over, and they’re finally here! 
Or maybe you’re like me, and are a product of these isles we live in. Where emotion sometimes gets stuck at customs somewhere between Dover and Calais. There’s still something that gets you a little more excited than you usually are though…
We’ve been looking at the book of Psalms most Sundays at Christ Church Hemel, and now we’re going to see where they all end…

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:10 – “Separated, but…”

Passage: 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:10

Summary

For the Thessalonians it may have felt like they’d been left alone. But as we work through this passage, we’ll get to see behind the curtains and see Paul’s actual thoughts. We will see his heart for these people living in the north of modern day Greece. As the person who set up their church, but also as a fellow Christian. We’ll see what he cares most about, and therefore see what we should care about too.

1 Samuel 17 – Seeing things as they really are

Passage: 1 Samuel 17

Summary

1 Samuel has been all about looking for a leader and we re-join in the middle of a leadership crisis. Saul has been made the first king of Israel by popular demand – but things have not gone well.
In fact, even the selection of Saul was flawed to begin with. The people had demanded a king to bring stability and security and to ‘make them like all the nations around them’.
But – as we saw before Easter – Saul had been disobedient to God’s commands and been rejected by God, but he is still functioning as the people’s King.
Behind the scenes, however, a new King has now been chosen by God and anointed at Bethlehem by the prophet Samuel. He’s nothing special on the outside – he’s small, the youngest of 8 sons, but God has chosen to use him as the next King of Israel and He’s put His Spirit on him.
So you may say our passage this morning is a tale of two Kings. The stage has been set for small David to replace tall Saul. So let’s see what happens next.

The first Noel

What is Christmas all about for you?

There’s good food, you get time to see family, crack out the board games etc. Well, one of my favorite festive things to do – call it a Christmas hobby – is playing Christmas music. Each and every year, I kindly play my Christmas music for all my family to hear. One day they’ll learn to appreciate it… (If you’re interested, this year’s is available here)

Thing is, when you think through the lyrics of the songs, it really is quite interesting. You see, these songs tell us what the authors think Christmas is all about.

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The gospel in the linen

Happy Easter!

I don’t know whether you went to an Easter service today, but if you did, you may have come across a book referred to as ‘John’s gospel’. It is read in many churches over the Easter period and no doubt will be heard many times more today. The author tells us that he wrote his book “[so] that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”. (John 20:20)

Now, if you were to give John a chance to tell his story to you (and I’d highly recommend you do), you would notice very quickly that John writes with a very clear aim. He only includes information that adds to his message – after all he states that there are things he left out to make it readable! (John 20:19)

Chapter 20 is the key moment in John’s book. It presents the familiar story of Jesus coming back from the dead. Something unexpected though seems to appear. John makes a big deal out some strips of the linen left in the tomb. For someone, as we’ve seen, who is trying to keep their story precise, surely that could have been omitted?

I’d like to show you that the linen is actually quite exciting. In fact, I want to show you that the gospel can be found in the linen. Intrigued? Well let’s get started…

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