Seeking Blessing - Dec 16th 2018

by Andrew Downes

Psalm 67:1-4

May God be gracious to us and bless us 

and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 

that your way may be known on earth, 

your saving power among all nations. 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; 

let all the peoples praise you! 

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 

for you judge the peoples with equity 

and guide the nations upon earth. Selah 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 67:1–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Compelled for Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:9-21

by Nathan Randall

2 Corinthians 5:9–21(ESV)

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Psalm 130(ESV) My Soul Waits for the Lord

130 A Song of Ascents.

 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!

 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

 my soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Accepting we're Accepted - Jan 13th 2019

by Nathan Randall

Galatians 2:16-20

yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 2:16–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

God's Grace and the Gospel -- 24th March 2019

by Simon Longden

1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 15:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Extraordinary Giving -- March 31st 2019

by Russell Carpenter

Psalm 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul! 

O Lord my God, you are very great! 

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 

covering yourself with light as with a garment, 

stretching out the heavens like a tent. 

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; 

he makes the clouds his chariot; 

he rides on the wings of the wind; 

he makes his messengers winds, 

his ministers a flaming fire. 

He set the earth on its foundations, 

so that it should never be moved. 

You covered it with the deep as with a garment; 

the waters stood above the mountains. 

At your rebuke they fled; 

at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down 

to the place that you appointed for them. 

You set a boundary that they may not pass, 

so that they might not again cover the earth. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 104:1–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Guilt and Forgiveness -- April 7th 2019

by Andrew Downes

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, 

whose sin is covered. 

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, 

and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away 

through my groaning all day long. 

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; 

my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah 

I acknowledged my sin to you, 

and I did not cover my iniquity; 

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” 

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 

Therefore let everyone who is godly 

offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; 

surely in the rush of great waters, 

they shall not reach him. 

You are a hiding place for me; 

you preserve me from trouble; 

you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; 

I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, 

which must be curbed with bit and bridle, 

or it will not stay near you. 

10  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, 

but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. 

11  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, 

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 32:1–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

John 6:35-40

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 6:35–40). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Hebrews 10:36–11:3 & 6

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.

38 But my righteous one will live by faith.

And if he shrinks back,

I will not be pleased with him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

But God is the Strength of My Heart -- May 5th 2019

by Kurt Mahlburg

Psalm 73

Truly God is good to Israel, 

to those who are pure in heart. 

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, 

my steps had nearly slipped. 

For I was envious of the arrogant 

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 

For they have no pangs until death; 

their bodies are fat and sleek. 

They are not in trouble as others are; 

they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 

Therefore pride is their necklace; 

violence covers them as a garment. 

Their eyes swell out through fatness; 

their hearts overflow with follies. 

They scoff and speak with malice; 

loftily they threaten oppression. 

They set their mouths against the heavens, 

and their tongue struts through the earth. 

10  Therefore his people turn back to them, 

and find no fault in them. 

11  And they say, “How can God know? 

Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 

12  Behold, these are the wicked; 

always at ease, they increase in riches. 

13  All in vain have I kept my heart clean 

and washed my hands in innocence. 

14  For all the day long I have been stricken 

and rebuked every morning. 

15  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” 

I would have betrayed the generation of your children. 

16  But when I thought how to understand this, 

it seemed to me a wearisome task, 

17  until I went into the sanctuary of God; 

then I discerned their end. 

18  Truly you set them in slippery places; 

you make them fall to ruin. 

19  How they are destroyed in a moment, 

swept away utterly by terrors! 

20  Like a dream when one awakes, 

O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. 

21  When my soul was embittered, 

when I was pricked in heart, 

22  I was brutish and ignorant; 

I was like a beast toward you. 

23  Nevertheless, I am continually with you; 

you hold my right hand. 

24  You guide me with your counsel, 

and afterward you will receive me to glory. 

25  Whom have I in heaven but you? 

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 

26  My flesh and my heart may fail, 

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

27  For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; 

you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 

28  But for me it is good to be near God; 

I have made the Lord God my refuge, 

that I may tell of all your works. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 73:1–28). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Turn Your eyes Upon Jesus -- June 2nd 2019

by Nigel Camac

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 2:5–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Romans 1:13–23(ESV)

13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.