Tag Archive for: Church

Join us for our Ascension Day service

This service will be available from Thursday, 21 May, 7am onwards.

Sermon: Healthy Family – “What we need is a miracle!”

Sermon preached by Christoph Lindner on Sunday 23 February, 10.30am service.

This sermon is based on Acts 4.5-13 and Luke 7. 11-23.

During our service and at the beginning and end of this sermon, we sang and prayed this hymn:

Here are the notes from page 1 of our news sheet:

Healthy Family: What we need is a miracle

“Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.” (Acts 2.43)

Jesus and his disciples spread the good news in both proclamation (preaching) and demonstration (healings, miracles).  

For Luke, who wrote a gospel and the Book of Acts, signs and wonders

  • bestow benefits (often physical) on those blessed by them.
  • show that Jesus truly is the Son of God in whom ‘there is salvation’ (Acts 4.12)
  • show that the Kingdom of God truly is among them.
  • form part of the Christian witness and produce faith.

Wherever signs and wonders are done in the name of Jesus today, they have the same potential. God works through the regular rhythms and rules of creation (e.g. modern medicine!), in response to faithful prayer and through specific acts of grace, sometimes miraculous.

Healthy Habits

From Pentecost we will explore and practise healthy habits of Christians. When we grow in Christlikeness, that itself is a gift of God’s grace. The more we practise healthy habits, the more signs and wonders we will see, with the habit of prayer playing a prominent role. And there is no greater miracle than the transformation of the human heart!

When we follow Jesus, the initiative always lies with him! It is important to remember this when it comes to miracles: we cannot produce them ‘to order’ and sadly the realm of God’s supernatural intervention can be misused for human manipulation and deceit. We need to humbly recognise that there will always be an element of mystery as to why we see some signs and not others. Many questions beginning with ‘why’ will remain. But as followers of Jesus we are already part of the greatest miracle of all – Jesus’ resurrection and our firm hope of overflowing and eternal life as we follow him.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) 

Sermon: Healthy Family – Suffering and Sacrifice

Talk by Ian Jennings at our 10.30am service on Sunday, 16th February 2020.

This sermon is based on Matthew 16.24-26  and Romans 8. 18-25.

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

Healthy Family: This Will Hurt!
By Ian Jennings

When I was sixteen I had a serious car accident. It was the days before compulsory seat belts and I was in the front the passenger seat. I was projected through the wind screen and so suffered a feather fracture of the skull and many lacerations of the scalp. I was rushed to hospital and the surgeon said, ‘I’m going to stitch your scalp back on but I don’t plan to use any anaesthetic – if you can stand the pain it will aid the healing process. But it will hurt!’ He was right – it did! But he was also right in that my scalp did heal quickly.

The experience of discipleship will hurt at times. Jesus said to his disciples, ‘in this world you will have trouble.’ It is unavoidable if we walk the path of true discipleship there will be times when it will hurt. Jesus went on to say, ‘But cheer up because I have overcome the world.’ There will be healing – ultimate and eternal. But as we live out our calling as disciples of Jesus we will experience and suffering and sacrifice. That is part of the deal.

For some the sacrifice is huge and the suffering intense. Sheila Cassidy was arrested and tortured when serving as a missionary in Chile. She went on to be the Director of a Hospice. She wrote a book called Sharing the Darkness. She writes, ‘Right at the heart of the mystery of suffering is the grace that sustains us all, carers and cared for alike. It comes as freely and as surely as the sunrise, piercing the blackness of grief and despair, restoring once again the hope of things unseen.’

Jesus said, ‘if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Sacrifice is part of the adventure of discipleship. It may take many forms but it will involve moving out of our comfort zones and embracing new challenges. ‘Lord what would you have me to do today,’ is a good place to begin in our morning prayers. We may well be surprised by the opportunities that open up to us as a result. It may hurt as we step out of our comfort zones but it will also bring healing – to us and to others.

And ultimately, as St Paul says, ‘The suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.’

Sermon: Healthy Family – The Aims of Discipleship

Talk by Christoph Lindner at our 10.30am service on Sunday, 9th February 2020.

This sermon is based on Matthew 3. 1-6, 4.12-17

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

Healthy Family: The Aims of Discipleship

“If you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it!”

 “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.” (Jesus)

What are the aims of Christian Discipleship?

  • Participating in the Kingdom mission of Jesus. “Your kingdom come … on earth as it is in heaven.” “The Kingdom of God … is the reign of God over all the forces of death, the triumph of love over all the forces of hatred, the triumph of peace over all the forces of violence and warfare.” (Professor John Hull)
  • Transformation: personally (conversion and discipleship) and of our society and world (social justice). This larger transformation happens one person at a time as we become more like Jesus. “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” (Mother Teresa). We can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit and because through all our failures, God forgives us and gives us another chance (and another!).
  • Disciples in the whole of our lives. “Our primary calling is to make a difference where we find ourselves most of the time.” (The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) – licc.org.uk)
  • A vibrant, full life. Not just ‘whole-life disciples’, but ‘full-life disciples. “I have come that they may have abundant life.” (Jesus in John 10.10). No one is attracted to Jesus by a dull and joyless Christian!
  • Gathering people into community. Community with Jesus and one another, that will model heaven on earth, “resident aliens” (Stanley Hauerwas). The more communities of disciples there are, the more transformation we will see!
  • A heavenly calling. “We may be confident that the crowning wonder of our experience will be in the heavenly realm with endless exploration of that unutterable beauty, majesty, love, holiness, power, joy and grace which is God himself.” (Bruce Milne)

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:


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?

SERMON: Who is Jesus?

24th February 2019 – Francis Moloney, 10.30am