Updated: Jul 4
The absence of our spaces and places to gather, share & serve from make all of these days so very strange! There's lots on that is reason for encouragement, resourcing & growth! Here's some of the key updates in parish life this week...
An update on staffing and key volunteers in the mission of God in this parish.
Pauline's poem which blessed many, which I shared in our call to worship last week.
Here's the series overview to defiant joy!
Bishop James update regarding church building use and government guidelines.
Your response in a brief church family questionnaire is eagerly desired! It only requires approximately 4-5minutes, and it'll help us keenly assess the mood of our church family regarding the future-normal of gathered church! Perhaps you're one of the many guests and newcomers we've welcomed at this time - we'd so welcome your views regarding our online and future-normal gathered church life! If this is you, your response is welcome.
Here's a summary of some of the compassion shared in our parish!
A guest blog post I've written about uncertainty and our buildings,
Thinking about our buildings and heading back to the future in this!
New Wine this summer will be different: here's the links and resources
This Tearfund vision for a rebooted world: read, share & take action!
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 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.
We await further government, national and diocesan church guidelines before we consider 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
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.
Today in our scattered 1030 online offering, Johnny will speak on the goodness of God in part-one of our Defiant Joy series: Emma-Jane shares an all-age moment, and Karen also shares an everyday faith segment! Here's a youth resource, a children and family resource also. Also here's a Spotify playlist to accompany this new series!
John 15 v 9-11 - Defiant joy pt-1 The goodness of God!
Strength and delight!
The fruit of the spirit is…truly & enduringly joy!
Happiness depends on happenings, joy depends on Jesus!
Biblical joy is more durable than our circumstances.
"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good" I Chronicles 16:34. "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" Psalm 34:8
Show me as much as I can stand, Lord!
God's goodness defined
How God reveals His goodness
Natural blessings - Psalm 145 "Yahweh is great and is highly praised; His greatness is unsearchable. One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts!"
Kind interventions - Psalm 107 "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.”
Through God's Son, Jesus – Colossians 1 Jesus "is the image of the invisible God" and that "God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him".
Respond to God's goodness?
Repent of unbelief and ingratitude - Romans 2:4
Rest in His goodness when adversity comes - Psalm 31:19-20
Step out in faith - Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 84:11
John 15 v 9-11. Disciples are called to radical love and obedience!
The result of intimacy with God is fruitfulness with Jesus!
How much do you enjoy the goodness of God?
All our sap and safety is from Christ!
Without Me you can do nothing…
As branches in the vine, we have the privilege of abiding…
You and I are connected to Jesus by grace through faith!
Our life is connected…
Knowing Jesus means knowing joy…
Session 1: Defiant Joy, the goodness of God. John 15 v 9-11
‘I love you, Lord, Oh Your mercy never fails me
All my days I’ve been held in Your hand.
From the moment that I wake up, 'til I lay my head
I will sing of the goodness of God.
All my life You have been faithful, all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God’
1. Read the Scripture John 15 vs. 9-11 in two different versions. What immediately strikes you from this passage?
2. What testimony do you have to the goodness of God in your life even this week?
3. John 15 v 9 in The Message invites us to ‘make home in My love’. What does this mean to you?
4. How confident are you and I that Jesus loves us with the same love that the Father has for Him? What stops us from being secure in this?
5. Tony Horsfall says of v10 ‘Jesus lived in the discipline of obedience. His only desire was to please the Father’. Why is obedience so important?
6. Why might our joy be incomplete (NIV) or immature (The Message) v11?
7. There are at least three themes in this passage union, love, obedience which help us understand the joy that Jesus wants us to experience. Can you trace these through the verses? What is God saying to you about them?
8. How might you know Defiant Joy because of the goodness of God this week?
‘The Father does not give us joy. He gives us Himself. He is absolute joy personified’. Graham Cooke.
‘Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls’ Mother Theresa
‘Joy is the serious business of Heaven’ CS Lewis
‘Do you want to know what goes on in the heart of the Trinity? I will tell you. In the heart of the trinity, the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son. The Son laughs back at the father and gives birth to the Spirit. The whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to us’. Meister Eckhart.
'Joy is the uncontrived expression of deep trust in God which gives rise to thankfulness & the delight that comes from knowing God is in charge & can be trusted.'