"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:12 “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 This joy business sounds like it's vital fuel in this life of faith!
Lord Jesus, surely, none of us is as joyful as you intend, so I make King David’s prayer for the restoration of joy mine. But as I do so, I pray as well for family members, friends, and colleagues. Everybody is hungry for the bread that you alone can give. Like David, all of us have stories of heartache and weariness, failure and fear, brokenness and weakness. The details differ, but each of us needs you, just as much as the other. So I pray boldly and with great anticipation, restore to us the joy of your salvation. It’s your salvation, because we could never ever save ourselves, though we still foolishly try at times. Like Jonah, we humbly cry from within our own hard places, “Salvation comes from the Lord!” Jonah 2:9.
Here's some of the detail for parish life this week...
Here's the series overview: Defiant joy!
Watch back on last Sunday's online church gathering: I had the most volume of engagement & requests for follow-up conversations across church life and beyond.
Bishop Simon's very helpful writing on our emotions as we return to the future.
Worship without singing is the invitation to us up ahead: how could this be?
The Bible Society's really helpful quarterly journal on mission in these times.
Our church family life questionnaire and new comers survey have both closed with so much really helpful content for us to prayerfully reflect on. Prayers for this and our wider PCC meeting on Monday night is welcomed.
A guest blog post I've written about uncertainty and our buildings,
New Wine this summer will be different: here's the links and resources
Midweek sung worship with Adam at 6pm on our church Facebook page
Sunday word & worship at 1030 on our church facebook page for all
The ongoing John gospel daily series, on Johnny's personal Facebook page
Each Sunday our 'hospitality at home' after church via an 1115 Zoom group church conversation get deeper and sweeter; sign-in details are in the church family email sent by Sue.
Wednesday morning's are really precious times, 30 minutes of focussed prayer at 0830 each week, you'd be so welcome to join us. Here's the zoom link for this
In our return to gathered-church, here is the update from Bishop James, in the slow journey towards the future normal. The limitations continue to mean that only 15 persons at one time could meet at St Pauls, and only 27 persons at St Peters' even with the revised 1-plus metre rulings!
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
Today in our scattered 1030 online offering, Johnny will speak on the goodness of God in part-two of our Defiant Joy series: Kevin & Liz will share an all-age moment, and Rob share an everyday faith segment! Here's a youth resource and children & family resources to accompany. Also here's a Spotify playlist to accompany this new series! Defiant Joy: in your salvation! Luke 15 v 10
Why do angels rejoice?
We are infinitely valuable to God, and when we are lost and separated from Him, He searches for us and does everything He possibly can to rescue us.
Jesus said, "I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" Luke 15:10
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" Romans 10:13
God doesn’t do odds like we might…
God doesn’t do marginal losses…
Remember our culture settles for life without Jesus and without joy…
God finds very great joy in the recovery of lost sinners.
God finds very great joy in the recovery of you and me!
You can’t lose your salvation, but you can lose the joy of your salvation!
If you find that there’s no joy in your life, ask the Holy Spirit to shine His spotlight into your heart..
Happiness is a thermometer; joy is a thermostat
The Christian is a person of joy... a gloomy Christian is a contradiction of terms…
If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere!
“God has put eternity in our hearts.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Session 2: Defiant Joy – in salvation Luke 15 v 8-10
1. What immediately strikes you from these verses?
2. ‘Lost and found’ are themes in Scripture and hymns and worship songs – look at Ezekiel 34 v 11-12; Luke 19 v 10; Luke 15 v 5-7; Luke 15 v 22-24. What is your own story?
3. How do we respond to things that are lost? The woman in the parable didn’t wait for the coin to turn up she actively looked for it. What does this tell us about Gods heart?
4. The woman was persistent in looking for the lost coin, the shepherd persistent in looking for the lost sheep and the prodigal Father persistent in scanning the horizon for his boy – in what ways can and should we be persistent with those known to us that are currently lost?
5. ‘Lost sinners don’t conduct a search for God; He searches for the lost sinner’. Discuss.
6. What examples are there in our own story of God never giving up on us?
7. Heaven rejoiced when Jesus was born, 2 v 13, & when ‘one sinner repents’,15 v7 & v10. Why?
8. Defiant Joy in this parable is over the ‘one’; the one coin, the one sinner; who do you and I long to see come to Christ? Who is the ‘one’ that you are committing to pray for daily?
9. Spend some time thanking God and praying for the person through whom you became a Christian.
10. What is God saying to us as a result of Sundays input and this study? Quoteable quotes
‘At the cross, God proved once and for all that He is for us, that He will hold nothing good back from us, and that He has paid the highest price to rescue us’ Stasi Eldridge
"The secret of joy is this: knowing that God is the love we are looking for!"
'Jesus died tor store the joy that is our inheritance, the joy that we lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and set the stage for our personal spiritual rebellion'. Kay Warren
"Don’t expect Jesus to save us by teaching us to depend on the things we are afraid of losing… He will abandon every crusade that searches for salvation from anything or anyone other than God’. M Craig Barnes “Celebration … is the unceasing affirmation that underneath all the ups and downs and downs of life there flows a solid current of joy’. Henri Nouwen
“‘The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it." John Eldridge.
"The enemy of your heart, satan, does not want you to leave the place of despair, but the lover of your wounded heart, Jesus Christ has a better plan for you and, it includes joy!” Kay Warren