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Sermon: Healthy Family – “Follow me!”

Talk by Nnamdi Maduka at our 10.30am service on Sunday, 2nd February 2020.

This sermon is based on Luke 5.1-11

Here are the notes from the front page of our news sheet:

“Healthy Family: Follow me!” by Nnamdi Maduka

Discipleship (i.e. following Jesus wholeheartedly) has always been at the heart of what it means to be the family of Jesus and is one of the vital issues for today. The Christian church has largely neglected the thrust of the Great Commission: to make disciples (not just converts!). When the charge ‘follow me’ comes from a member of a healthy family and from someone we trust, it leads us into the fullness of life that Jesus promised. The first disciples were a strong community and the healthiness of that family has been a blessing to the Christian world. God has placed people around you with a purpose- it is for you to point them to Jesus, the living water. According to Andrew Roberts in his book ‘Holy Habits’,  “there are striking similarities in Luke’s account of the call of Simon and the story of the call of Isaiah which reassures us that  places of worship as well as places of work can also be places of encounter, call and commission.”  By allowing Jesus to live His life through us we will be a living and attractive message from God, which people will read and by his grace find Him.  There is no greater good news to be found anywhere than in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Who else in the history of the world, can answer the deepest cries of the human heart? The cry for meaning. The cry for unconditional love. The cry for forgiveness. The cry for freedom. The cry for hope.

The clear resounding answer to every cry is Jesus Christ! Not only has he something highly relevant to say concerning all our deepest needs, but by his living presence among us, he has the power to change the very heart of man/woman. When our hearts are transformed, the resultant impact on society will be staggering. This happened in the first century when a tiny handful of timid disciples began, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the greatest spiritual revolution the world has ever known.  If they did, of course we can, for He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Sermon: Healthy Family – the Call to Discipleship

(Due to technical issues the sound quality of this recording is less clear than usually – our apologies!)

Talk by Ian Jennings at our 10.30am service on Sunday, 26th January 2020.

This sermon is based on Matthew 4.12-23.

Here are the notes from the front page of our news sheet:

THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP

Ian Jennings

At St Mary’s we are currently looking at the subject of Building a Healthy Church Family. The early followers of Jesus were quick to respond to his call and to embark upon the adventure of discipleship. The subtitle of Alison Morgan’s latest book is, “the Plural of Disciple is Church.” We are in this together; a community of disciples; sharing in the glorious adventure of following Jesus.

I am very unhappy with the ‘pew fodder’ concept of Church life. Andrew Roberts says we sometimes reduce the adventure of discipleship to ‘turning up, shutting up and paying up.’ That is a dull and deadly vision of church and one that is essentially unhealthy. True discipleship is never dull. As a church we need to be Kingdom-focused, and actively engaged in the service of the King. There is an urgency in this call in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. The word, ‘immediately’ crops up. Jesus said ‘follow me’ and ‘immediately they left their nets and followed him.’

True disciples do not graduate from arm chairs! Only doing does it! And not doing does not do it! We may feel inadequate and hesitant and inclined to say, ‘I haven’t got what it takes!’ The good news is that God has got what it takes and is ready to empower us with his Spirit. It is true to say, ‘what I give he takes and what he takes he cleanses and what he cleanses he fills and what he fills he uses.’

Let us respond wholeheartedly to the urgent call of discipleship as we move forward into 2020.

“I have grown up believing in God and I believe that being an England international and a lawyer has not just happened by accident. I am a person who has a relationship with God, and it’s a very active one. So whether I’m having my breakfast, driving, stood on the pitch or about to take a penalty, I will be praying, or in my mind speaking to God.”

Eniola Aluko, former professional footballer with 102 caps for England’s women’s team

Sermon: Healthy Family – The Adventure Begins

Talk by Christoph Lindner at our 10.30am service on Sunday, 19th January 2020.

This talk is based on 1 Corinthians 1.1-9.

Here is the prayer used at the end:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

(Attributed to Sir Francis Drake – 1577)

Here are the notes, which were included in the news sheet:

Healthy Family: The Adventure Begins

Today we are starting a new sermon series on being a healthy church family. This is part of our process of renewing our mission plan for the next years. You can listen to sermons again on our website: www.denhamparish.church/blog

Being disciples of Jesus

  • The initiative is with Jesus (“Follow me!”).
  • We don’t know where the adventure will lead, but we know who we are going with.
  • The biblical word for disciples is mathetes, which means ‘those who learn as they follow’ – it’s training on the job!
  • We are called to follow a person, not a philosophy or a set of rules.
  • The adventure is for everyone – not just for the clever, the important, the physically able!
  • Discipleship happens in community – you cannot be a disciple apart from the family of Jesus.
  • Jesus calls his disciples the Body of Christ – his living active presence in the world today.
  • The same Spirit that empowered Jesus now empowers his followers!
  • A sense of urgency: Jesus will come back and our time on earth as his followers is limited.
  • There will be battles and blessings, but following Jesus will be the most fulfilling life possible.

“The need for active, adventurous disciples of Jesus is as urgent as ever. There is a broken world in need of healing, good news to be shared and Kingdom work to be done, all energised by the Spirit so powerfully present at the baptism of Jesus and the birth of the church at Pentecost.” Andrew Roberts

Questions for Reflection

  • How do you feel when you hear Jesus’ words ‘Follow me’? Find a trusted friend to talk with about your thoughts and feelings.
  • Do you know someone who might find the adventure of following Jesus challenging at this time? How can you support him or her?
  • Imagine Denham Parish Church as a sailing boat. Where is the boat at the moment? In the safety of the harbour? Heading out to sea? Caught in a storm? How strongly is the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing through its sails? How could you catch a fresh wind?