The story of Zacchaeus is often a story we think about as a children’s story we might have learned in Sunday School but it is a simple and significant story of a man whose encounter with Jesus changed his life forever. In coming to Jesus like a child, he discovered what it was to know repentance, restoration and a right relationship with Jesus, the man who knew him by name. Jesus knows our name and is looking for us and others who are lost today. Will we answer when He calls?
The opening chapter of Mark’s Gospel is a powerful, noisy and fast-paced introduction to the ministry and miracles of Jesus! We meet the Son of God moved with compassion, touching and transforming the lives of dozens of people from every kind of background. We see what it means in practical terms for the Kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. We receive our own promise of power; the assurance that Jesus will baptise us with His Holy Spirit. And we also discover that much of the action happens in “the wilderness”. For it’s in the wilderness that Jesus is baptised; it’s to the wilderness He is led by the Spirit; it’s there in the wilderness that He beats temptation; it’s to the wilderness that He withdraws to pray; and it’s in the wilderness that the crowds flock to meet Him. These extraordinary times we’re facing are for many of us an enforced slow-down; working from home, avoiding gathering with others, or isolating ourselves for the sake of public health. Maybe this seems like being in a ‘wilderness’ for a few weeks? If so, be encouraged: God is active in these slower times and quieter places; He will meet you in the solitude. The “wilderness” is not a barren place so much as a place waiting to be cultivated. So, let’s present ourselves to Him in these days, draw close to Him, and ask Him to cultivate and enrich the land of our lives!…
Worship is a powerful weapon that we can use to take down the enemy. In 2 Chronicles 20 we read the amazing story of a people who, with hearts of praise and worship, seek God, find God and thank God ahead of an impending battle. God hears their praise and intercedes for them – completely annihilating the enemy. How encouraging for us as we face battles in our own lives with God on our side!
It can be easy to let the busyness of life (and our long todo lists!) distract us from the most important thing – spending time with Jesus and listening to his word. Luke 10:38-42 describes the encounter Jesus had with Mary and Martha. Mary spent time with Jesus whilst Martha busied herself… do we identify with either of these women? God wants us to start ‘in rest’; to be in a place of peace, stillness and quiet. We don’t confuse rest with inactivity, but we know that The Lord ‘leads us beside peaceful streams’ and renews our strength as we rest in Him.
One of the things we can expect to receive when we take the bread and the wine at the Lord’s table is healing. In this message Nick shares his own testimony of seeing healing power as he regularly took the bread and wine. Although his life group, friends, family and the elders of the church prayed, it was when Nick regularly took bread and wine that he started to see his breakthrough. Why? Here’s 10 declarations that Nick confessed at the time, and shared with us:
I was a sinner and have been redeemed by Jesus blood that was shed as he died for me on the cross. (Romans 3:23)
I have been bought with a price. I am not my own. (1 Peter 1:18-20)
I am looking to His return. Jesus will come back victorious. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
I am not fighting against flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12)
I am raising a banner
I am under Gods authority. (Matthew 28:18)
I am a child of the Heavenly Father, the almighty God. (John 1:12)
I had no part in my redemption, it is the work of Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I am loved beyond measure. (John 3:16)
I am worshiping when I take the bread and wine.
What will help us continue the mission God has made us for? We talk about some of the key ways we can keep going and change the world with Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom!
In this message Kim shares with us how participating in the bread and wine joins us together in unity. Although the bread symbolises Christ’s body that was broken for us, it is one body that we are all sharing. 1 Corinthians tells us “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake in the one bread” and Ephesians 4 tells us there is ‘one body’, ‘one spirit’, ‘one hope’, ‘one Lord’, ‘one faith’, ‘one baptism’ and ‘one God and Father’. The church shares these in common and as we celebrate together around the Lord’s table, we celebrate our unity, our togetherness and our oneness.