Over these weeks of September / October, I will be preaching on a number of themes which I believe are important for us as a church family. I have entitled this series: ‘Sermons from the heart’. We will be seeking to reflect on all that the LORD has been doing here in recent years, what He is doing now and what He may do in the years ahead. 


            As I prepare to move on, so I feel that I cannot leave without ‘blowing the trumpet’ to warn the church family of dangers in the Church and dangers in the nation. There are terrible and imminent dangers, which people need to be aware of and to pray against. 



Sat. 23rd         ‘Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – thirty fold, sixty fold or a hundred fold’           (Matt. 13: 8).



            Some hearts, however, are ready for the sowing, and as soon as the Word of God is sown into them it flourishes. That heart begins to read and to mark and to learn and to inwardly digest the Word. The Word begins its mysterious work, and that life begins to change.


            Is that true of you? Praise God – and pray that God may use you to bless others.


            Pray for revival among the Banyole people as they hear God calling to them through His Word.


Sun. 24th                      ‘He who has ears, let him hear’              (Matt. 13: 9).



            ‘This is the day that the LORD has made.


             Let us rejoice and be glad in it’.


            Please pray for Guy and Mark as they open God’s Word to us today at our Harvest Festival services. Pray that ground may be tilled, hearts softened and opened to the truths of the Word.


 


            Pray for Phill and Phil as they bring Zoe to St. Mark’s for baptism this morning. Thank God for them and for Lydia and for all the family.


            Pray for our Prayer Meeting this evening.


            Thank God for new computers in Uganda for the translation of the OT into Lunyole. Pray for a continuing flow of funding.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2017

 

JESUS’ LETTERS (II Cor. 3: 1 – 6)

 

            We think of Jesus reading and speaking and praying – but how often do we think of Jesus writing? In the Gospels, the LORD is only recorded once as writing, when He wrote in the sand, but in this passage St. Paul says that Jesus does write letters and is, indeed, still writing them! These letters are written not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. These living letters are the result of Paul’s ministry and proof that God was working through him to change lives.

 

Mon. 25th       ‘Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? (II Cor. 3: 1)

 

            Many people in the church in Corinth were not convinced that Paul was a true apostle of Jesus, and so Paul feels that he needs to justify himself and his ministry. In those days, travellers would carry letters of recommendation in order to establish their good standing. Did Paul need such letters?

 

            What evidence is needed to establish the validity of someone’s ministry?

 

            ‘Father God, in these days of coming change, please give us all wisdom to be able to distinguish true ministry from false. Help us, we pray to be able to see whether or not you are truly at work. Help us to know what to look for – so that your living church here may continue to be built up strong and secure.’

 

            Please pray for our continuing outreach to those who are bereaved through our Bethany project. Pray especially for John and for Jan.

 

Tues. 26th      ‘You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone’             (II Cor. 3: 2).

            The Corinthian Christians were themselves the living evidence of the validity and value of St. Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles. They were the living proof that God was at work in Corinth – their changed lives declared that they were faithful followers of Christ. They were not the same as they were before they turned from sin and turned to Christ. They were transformed.

 

            ‘Father God, today I pray that you will write your word of truth into many hearts in our parish. Today I pray that you will change and transform many lives. Today I pray that many may see the darkness of sin and turn towards the light of salvation.

            And I pray that more and more local people may see what you are doing – and believe.’

 

            Thank God today for Pam and the Stewsdays Team. Pray that all the practical arrangements may go well and pray that each member of the Team may shine for the LORD.

 

 

Wed. 27th       ‘You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry’   (II Cor. 3: 3).

 

            The Corinthian Christians were, together, a letter from Christ. Jesus was writing his message of love and truth and grace upon their hearts – and this was not a private letter, just for the chosen few to read, but a public letter for all.

 

            ‘LORD Jesus, today I pray that you will write your Letter to Clacton on the hearts of all the faithful here. I pray that you will write using words and phrases which everyone may understand. I pray that you will write in block capitals, so that everyone may see.

            May your letter not be hidden away behind church walls and in private houses, but may it be displayed in our schools, in our offices, in our factories, in our care homes and in our streets.’

 

            Please pray for Mark today as he gives a Harvest Message to the children at Burrsvile Infants – and please pray for Wednesday Worshippers.

 

Thurs. 28th     ‘written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts’  (II Cor. 3: 3)

 

            Jesus is still writing letters, not with ink, but with the Spirit. Not on tablets of stone (like the Ten Commandments) but on human hearts.

            And what is Jesus’ message? What is Jesus saying?

            Perhaps He is saying that He, alone, has power to forgive: He, alone , has power to transform lives: He alone can give a hope and a future: He, alone, can fill with joy and delight.

            Is Jesus writing a letter on your heart? What is He writing? Don’t keep it a secret – tell someone else.

 

            Please pray for our Church School Years 3 and 4 children, as they come to St. John’s this morning for their Harvest Festival service.

 

Fri 29th            ‘Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God’

 (II Cor. 3: 4).

 

            St. Paul is confident that God is at work in Corinth. He is not unsure, unconfident, hesitant. He can see God at work and he is going to make that clear to all.

            Am I confident that God is doing a work here in Great Clacton? Can I see it? Can I explain it in words which my friends will understand?

            If you cannot do this, why not discuss this with someone else?

 

            Please pray for an important meeting taking place today, at which orthodox clergy in the diocese will seek to explain why they believe what they believe to Bishop Stephen.

 

Sat. 30th         ‘Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God’   (II Cor. 3: 6).

 

            St. Paul is not trying to blow his own trumpet; rather, he is giving all the glory to God for all that the LORD is doing in Corinth.

            So – when anything really good and great and marvellous happens here, we must thank God first, for all His grace and mercy and loving kindness.

 

            ‘Praise you, LORD, for continuing to work your purpose out and continuing to call men and women, boys and girls, out of the darkness in Great Clacton and into the light.

            Help me to see more clearly what you are doing, LORD, and to give you the glory.’

 

            On this really special day for Jews (The Day of Atonement) please pray that many Jews may come to realize that Jesus has atoned for all our sins and that salvation is to be found in Him alone.

 

Sun. 1st Oct.  ‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’             (II Cor. 3: 6).

 

            Today, the LORD’s Sabbath, rejoice in the LORD and in His mighty power. Give thanks to Him for who He is and for all that He is doing and intends to do. Our God is mighty to save. Praise God!

 

            Pray for the strangers in our midst today – either this morning at our Communion Services, or this afternoon at our Tea-Time Church.