Below are the service videos from Bible Society. They will be available for two weeks here on this page. Joseff’s sermon is available in printed form above and will remain after this time.
We are not taking an offering for Bible Society during the service but you can support them financially by going online at www.biblesociety.org.uk or by phone on Freephone 01793 418222 or by post to Bible Society, Stonehill Green, Westlea, Swindon, SN5 7DG. The website has more details of how you can obtain their regular prayer newsletter.
For Reflection & Discussion
Based on Isaiah 55:1-11. Do read or watch Joseff Edwards’ sermon on our website.
1. What has it been like for you to have come out of Lockdown?
Read Isaiah 55:1-3
2. In what ways does God provide for the different kinds of thirst we have in life?
Read verses 5-7
3. What is the nature of the call God gives us as His people today? What message do we speak?
Read verses 10-11
4. What sorts of things are we are afraid of as we seek to reach out to others after the pandemic? How does this passage help?
1. John got himself jailed by calling out Herod and Herodias for their lack of integrity. Can you think of any examples in the modern world where Christians have got themselves into hot water for standing against civil authorities?
2. Because we live in a society where people are allowed to speak out and demonstrate their views, and try to change public opinion, Christians have an opportunity to be part of lobby groups and demonstrations. Where do we draw the line as to how far we are prepared to get involved? How does your faith play a part in that?
3. Read 1 Peter 3:15. Why is this verse so important when we share Jesus with people who have beliefs very different to ours?
4. How do we deal with people who always take offence to our being a Christian or who think we are nuts?
1. How do you cope with change? How did you cope with the rapid changes that resulted from Covid and lockdowns? How are you responding at present to the changes in church?
2. How did John the Baptist respond to the loss of his ministry? What do you think we can learn from his response and Jesus’ attitude to him?
3. What were the priorities for believers in the messages of John and of Jesus? How may those help us determine how we go forward as a church? Consider these possible for “going forward” – or a combination of them:
A return to old ways we did some time ago when the church was thriving
Following trends within the community and society to try to engage with them
Seeking God’s will and way even if the result doesn’t seem fashionable.
4. How may the first few verses of Matthew 11 help in understanding the key to what will truly make a difference as week seek to share Good News? How do you think we should proceed with that?
1. John and Jesus were related and knew one another. How much do you think John understood that Jesus was the Messiah before the baptism?
2. How much of John’s baptism and the baptism of Jesus is in your understanding of what Christian baptism is? (We shall be looking at this further next week.)
3. What do the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus tell us about how God calls and uses people in His service?
4. We know something of the lives of both John and Jesus before their public ministries. What may we learn of the types of people God calls to serve Him? What do their characters tell us about their commitment to service?
5. What do you think we can learn from these two about our own service for God?
The Leprosy Mission
During the service Delyth talked about The Leprosy Mission’s work in Sudan and has provided us some further information from them here.
Every two minutes, someone is diagnosed with leprosy. That’s more than 200,000 new cases a year. Although it is curable, millions of people worldwide are living with the effects of the disease, from physical disability to mental health problems, poverty and discrimination.
We are a global Christian organisation leading the fight against leprosy. Following Jesus Christ, we seek to bring about transformation; breaking the chains of leprosy and empowering people to attain healing, dignity and life in all its fullness.
Everything we do is focused on our goals of zero leprosy transmission, zero leprosy disability and zero leprosy discrimination.
Many thanks to all those who put together our harvest display today. Our harvest gifts will be going to the residents of Sanctuary Supported Housing, and Access Community Trust.
I WILL STAND VIDEOS
BMS Prayers for I Will Stand
For church planters and evangelists
Lord, we pray for church planters in Asia who are facing persecution because of their faith.Thank you for the many, many people they are reaching with the gospel, and for the new house churches they have formed.Please protect church planters and new believers. Please soften the hearts of those who want to harm them.We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
For those isolated
Father, we pray for isolated Christians.May they find other believers who can encourage them, whether that is face-to-face or through social media. Help them to find ways to faithfully follow God, even when they have to live out their faith in secret.We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
For those who face rejection from family and friends
Heavenly Father, we pray for people who have been rejected by their families because they have chosen to follow Jesus.May they experience the unconditional love of God.May they find strong Christian communities.And we pray that their families would accept them and reconcile with them.We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
For BMS supported ministries
We pray for BMS-supported ministries reaching out to people who are hostile to the gospel.Help people to have wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent.Give them the right words to say. And we pray that they would see many people come to know Jesus.We pray that through the ministries of BMS-supported believers across the globe, thousands of people will experience whole-life transformation.
As Christians living in hard places seek to share the gospel in word and deed, may people experience the love of Jesus for the first time, and may it transform every area of their lives. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
MORE INFORMATION AND DIRECT GIVING TO BMS WORLD MISSION
Items for reflection and discussion
Read Luke 10:2-4
1. What is our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ? What did our short films this morning show about bringing forth fruit in difficult situations? How may that reflect on where we are individually and where we are as a church right now?
Read Luke 14:25-33
2. What does this passage tell us about the cost of being a follower of Jesus?
3. Mark said “; let’s reflect on what’s happening for example, to the church in India and China where the church is bearing fruit despite persecution, with say, Britain where the church is contracting and struggling. Is that because something that doesn’t cost much isn’t worth much? ” Do you agree?
Read Luke 6:22-33
4. Why does God bless those who are persecuted? What can we learn from this for our own spiritual lives about the risk of following Jesus wherever He leads?
This week Mark continues his series on John the Baptist, the New Testament’s worst dressed evanglist. In our service, Steve will be focussing on the work of the International Justice Mission as we mark Freedom Sunday.
1. Read Isaiah 40:3-5. Apart from fulfilling the prophecy literally, what were the advantages for John’s mission by being “a voice crying in the wilderness?”
2. Why is “having the anointing” so important when we do the work of God, or when we are seeking for someone for leadership or other important ministry roles?
3. When is “unconventional” right and “conventional” wrong? Who determines what is conventional anyway? What role does the Holy Spirit have in conventionality?
4. Why is truth, righteousness and justice so important in the message and lifestyle we should seek to project? What if that makes us unpopular? If we are, is that a problem with the word of God (the message) or the messenger?
5. Look at Romans 10:8-14. Why is speaking Good News so important? Can we really function as Christians or Church without Jesus as the ultimate focus? How can we ensure that we keep that focus?
International Justice Mission
This morning Steve talked about the International Justice Mission’s Freedom Sunday. For more information about IJM, Freedom Sunday or to give to IJM, thenplease click here.
The theme for the Gathering and the Week of Prayer is “Listening to the Voices”. Each day we will bring to you a recorded interview from a voice that sometimes is not heard and reflect on how as church communities we can be a place of welcome and sanctuary for everyone. You can access the recorded interviews on the EBA You Tube channel
Below you will find a document link to the daily reflections with bible references and questions which you can use for yourself, or in small groups. We shall also put links to the reflections and videos on the MRBC facebook page.
The EBA also invites us to join with them each day at 9.30am, and Wednesday evening at 7pm as together we pray into each theme
1. Have there been times in your life where God has really surprised you? How did that affect your walk as a Christian?
2. It could be argued that Elizabeth getting pregnant was enough of a sign that what the angel said was true, so why did Zechariah ask for a sign in addition to that? What did his being mute accomplish? Should we be asking for signs, wonders and miracles? If so, what do we think they will achieve for us and others? Think of how most people come to Christ.
3. Look at verses 67-80. How much was the prophecy of Zechariah for us now and how much was fulfilled at the time?
4. Think of ways in which we are special to God and think of what verses in the New testament may support that? How does our knowing we are special to God influence our walk with Him?