Updated: Apr 25
Thank you for being people of faith, resilience and purpose. Thank you for being those who live by faith and not by sight, a people who refuse to be defined by the circumstances but who choose to define their circumstances by their faith! John Lennox's helpful comment, "A Christian is not so much a person who has solved the problem of pain, suffering & the Coronavirus, but one who has come to love & trust a God who has himself suffered.” Lean into God all the more in these days, and may He continue to shine out in and through you...
Adam's spotify 'Kingdom people' worship list: use it & sing out to it!
Our go-to-location with practical COVID-19 helps. Martin Lewis advice link included.
APCM dates to follow, and also a revised date for the confirmations and baptisms planned for 14th June will be rearranged for the Spring ///
Our ongoing online resources accompanying this weekly blog piece are as follows: Wednesday Worship with Adam at 6pm on our church Facebook page, Sunday word & worship at 1030 on our church facebook page for all, and daily Encouragements from Ephesians at 12noon on my 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. Sunday content, a cuppa, conversation & prayer together was just fab!
If you or others you know are struggling, do be in touch with myself as your vicar, Sue at the church office or Pauline Pearson as our Pastoral Care Team leader. Direct any queries if you wish to email@example.com
Here are the details for one off and regular direct debit giving: the bank details are Swanley St. Paul PCC Acc: 80859710 Sort code 20-25-42. Please email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 logging your thankfulness in your jars at home each day, and training your heart in the way of gratitude even in these most curious times.
In the continued breadth, depth & reach of ministry with, and for, people in all forms of need, please consider small Asda shopping gift cards are welcomed in units of £5 and £10's if you wish, in envelopes & left for distribution via the Vicarage as we are unable to accept loose foods and Foodbank is currently well stocked.
Understandably it's difficult not being able to take Communion due to the current restrictions, I'm afraid the Church of England has made it very clear what is permitted, and a live stream Communion service is not an option. Further notes here.
Calling all knitters! Knitting small hearts for those in ITU is a simple community action we can play a part in. Our link at DVH says: "Thank you and your Church for all of your support. Welcome to use any pattern, here's some details here, we are just asking that they are small enough to fit in your hand easily." We'll gather them up here at the Vicarage, and Liz Warwick will will liaise directly with DVH and after a 72-hr check and clean, they will be distributed to those in ITU particularly. they can can also be dropped into the hospital, pull up to main entrance and call us on 01322428431 or posted directly to Wellbeing Team, Trust HQ, Level 4, Darenth Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford, DA2 8DA
There's a great website for people exploring faith in these Covid-times: look for hope!, a fresh look at the fruits of the spirit in these lockdown times, Bishop Graham Tomlin's helpful article about the reach & impact of this cultural moment, and Chris Green's really helpful overview of what we're learning in these COVID times: lots of gutsy discipleship.
Today in our scattered 1030 online offering, Ian will speak on 'seeking', from Matthew 6v25-34, in our part two Kingdom people message, with Adam & the team leading us in sung worship after. The link to this new Kingdom people series resources are here. There's some associated youth resources here, and input for your children and young families here.
Here in Matthew 6 v 25-34 has the focus of verse 33, "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."
Jesus teaches about worry! This short passage forms part of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus teaches about, amongst other things, salt and light, anger, lust, divorce, retaliation, loving your enemies, prayer, money, fasting, criticising other and building on rock, not on sand.
Relevant teaching for a world in crisis.
· Damage your health
· Consume all your thoughts
· Disrupt your productivity
· Negatively affect the way you treat others
· Reduce your ability to trust in God
How should we deal with worry?
1. Look at the birds and the flowers v26-29 – God created them and they are wonderfully made but we are even more valuable to Him and he will look after us.
2. Look at the Heavenly Father v33 – Seek Him, he is hidden in plain sight and is waiting for you to reach out and find him.
3. Look only at today v34 – Dwelling in the past or worrying about the future will rob you of the joy of the present
Seek God and you will find him.
Study notes for personal or online lifegroup use...
Seeking: Matthew 6 v 25-34 - This passage follows on from where the ten commandments have been expanded and rebranded by Jesus to be freshly relevant and challenging to all listening to Him and for all who would live after His ascension. As humans we are prone to worry and anxiety; God knows all about our worries and knows what we need. This passage encourages us to seek first the Kingdom; what does this mean to you? How do we do this?
1. Read the passage in several different translations. What strikes you from these verses?
2. Matthew 6:33 is probably the most important verse in Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: What should we do with the passage and key verse?
3. What does it mean to ‘seek’? The Greek suggests that it is ‘seeking in order to find, to aim at, or strive after; to look for, to go after’. What do you and I ‘seek’ in this life?
4. What does Jesus encourage us to ‘seek first’ and why? ‘You only have one life, and it will pass. And only what you do for Christ will last’. Is this good advice for living?
5. Seeking first is Jesus antidote to worry and anxiety; how are we to counter our worries and anxieties, keep an eternal perspective and refuse to worry? Psalm 77.
6. What is God’s righteousness? Read Proverbs 2 – what clues are there here about righteousness?
7. How might praying - I Thess 5 v 17, reading scripture - Psalm 119 v 105, praise and worship - Psalm 100 v 4; Psalm 22 v 3, repentance - John 3 v 16 help?
8. What are ‘all these things’ that God has promised to provide? Do we trust God to supply our needs?
9. Reading scripture and ‘hiding it in our hearts’ - Ps 119v11 are different things. How does memorising scripture help us? What have we memorised over the years and why?
10. What might you do differently as a result of this focus in God’s word?
Point to ponder: If we are taking care of Gods business as a priority – seeking His salvation, living in obedience to Him and sharing the good news of the Kingdom with others – then He will take care of our business as he promised! What’s to worry about if that’s the case?