I'm so very struck at the oddness of these days. Its much beyond curious! I've been particularly struck by the call to be, 'saints caught up in hopeful praise' from Ian Paul is really helpful in reflecting on Revelation 7, its this vision that will sustain us! Praying on for your patience, grace and joy as a child of God, by grace through faith!
Here are some further linked resources and wider detail for this weekend:
It won't be what we're hoping for post:Covid, The churches aren't rushing to open their doors, personality and disagreeing on when we reopen, reflections on types of people in times of change, Kingdom life & church gains at this time, the small matter of responding to Dominic Cummings, in the light of this-and-that there are many things we can agree on!, the original 2020 is so history: disruptive trends we're all facing! Atheists in Praise of Christianity? a vital read from The Stream, Helping others mature in Christ: whats your part? Bishop Simon shared much in a inspiring cultural critique this week: full notes here...
Our ongoing online resources accompanying this weekly blog piece continue: Wednesday Worship with Adam at 6pm on our church Facebook page, Sunday word & worship at 1030 on our church facebook page for all, and though the daily Encouragements from Ephesians 70-part series has wrapped, a new one is pending on Johnny's personal Facebook page, This Sunday we'll continue our 'hospitality at home ' after church via an 1115 Zoom group church conversation; sign-in details are in the church family email sent by Sue.
Regrettably we would dissuade you from not meeting with others in the intended CTSD activities planned for this weekend. Please might you honour Jesus by doing what our government are advising...
Heres a Beacon of Hope message I wrote & shared for the wider diocesan church of England - for we are never without hope!
If you or others you know are struggling, do be in touch with Pauline Pearson our Pastoral Care Team leader. Direct any queries if you wish to firstname.lastname@example.org
The CofE offer a free-phone whereby older, non-techy people can dial-up for a sermon, hymn or prayer. It’s refreshed daily. 0800 804 8044.
Revised date for this years APCM is set for 18th October.
Here are the details for your giving: the bank details are Swanley St. Paul PCC Acc: 80859710 Sort code 20-25-42. Please email Sue at email@example.com with any questions and we will gladly assist. Although our church buildings continue to be closed, God is very much on the move in our communities and we are here to support, encourage and resource many more at this time.
Keep on recording your daily thankfulness... yes in every season!
Today in our scattered 1030 online offering, I'll be speak on 'reward', from Matthew 20:1-16 in our concluding Kingdom people message, Kevin & Liz will be bringing an all-age moment, with Chris sharing an everyday faith moment, and we'll share in sung worship. The link to this Kingdom people series resources are here, and the spotify playlist to accompany this Kingdom series, here too!
Rewarding – Kingdom people pt7, Matthew 20:1-16
God is God and we are not!
We are tempted to ‘play God.’
Exodus 20:3 What are our ‘trivial gods’?
Are you ok with not getting what you deserve?
How much of a friend to grace are you?
Where is the kingdom increase in you?
1 The kingdom of heaven is characterized by grace
Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13.
It’s not yet too late…
2 There is great benefit in coming early to Jesus
Everyone is part of the same family.
Lateness is really not great… how many have said, “I wish I had come sooner to Jesus.”
3 God cares for people more than things!
We look at this parable often in the wrong way
We are unhelpfully obsessed with comparison…
A days wages… less than a denairus would put them in severe straits.
Mercy is in play here, so lets not miss it!
4 When we focus on what others get we are unable to enjoy what we have been given.
jealousy — envy — hatred — resentment...runs in the family.
‘Grace shocks us by what it offers...’
Take advantage of the offer of salvation.
Take a good look at what God has given you.
Work at learning how to celebrate the wins of others.
Life is not always fair. But God is always good.
Revelation & mystery
He is good all the time...
Matthew 20 v1-16
The parable of the workers in the vineyard
Another familiar parable of the workers in the vineyard; it follows on from the story of the rich young ruler (Matt 19 v 16-24). Peter then asks the question ‘what then will there be for us?’ (Matt 19 v 27); therein lies the heart of man. The parable of the workers in the vineyard could also be subtitled: ‘The scandal of grace’ as it challenges what we believe (in the human) is fair and just and our understanding of grace.
1. Read the passage in at least two different versions of the bible – what immediately strikes you from them?
2. Who is the parable about – the owner of the vineyard or the labourers and why?
3. Which one of the labourers are we in terms of our journey of faith? Do we recognise ourselves in this parable? Are we someone that is picked first, or last?
4. One of the basic elements in the make-up of human beings is envy; envy is clearly seen in this parable. Where does envy come from?
5. What does the bible say about envy? Where else do we see examples of envy in Scripture?
6. Look again at v 8-16; there is a tragic chain of events that starts with comparing themselves to the others. Comparing led to coveting, coveting to complaining and complaining to criticising. Do we recognise this ‘chain of events’ at times on our own lives? How might we pray for one another in this?
7. How do we feel about v 15?
8. How does this parable show that the Kingdom of God is an ‘upside down kingdom’?
9. How might we explain ‘grace’ to a non-Christian? What are our ‘grace stories’ even this past week?
10. Listen to ‘Wonderful Grace’ by Lou Fellingham & Stuart Townend; thank God for His grace in our lives. What is our takeaway from this passage and session?
POINT TO PONDER: “Live in the kingdom of God in such a way that it provokes questions for which the gospel is the answer.” Lesslie Newbigin