Oooh, Fruity

Over the summer we’ve been looking at the fruit of the spirit, but have you noticed that it is singular? Sometimes we think about fruits, as if each characteristic was a different fruit that we can choose from like a fruit bowl.

Instead, all Christians are meant to produce all these characteristics in our lives as we are led by the Holy Spirit. Some might come more naturally, others might take more work, but by the power of the Holy Spirit God enables them all in all of us that we can say that it is the fruit of God working in us, changing us more and more to the likeness of Christ.

Why not try to learn the verse (the kids are!) and explore with God to what extent you are producing this fruit.

 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:

 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Galatians 5:22-23

Fruits of the Spirit - Peace & Patience

This week we continue to explore the fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5 v22 says (amongst other things) that “the fruit of the Spirit is...peace and patience....”  What does this mean?

Dictionaries give various meanings for the words

peace: no dissension

peace: a time when there is no war

peace: freedom from disturbance; tranquillity; inner calm

“Peace”: a greeting on meeting or parting!

patience: quality of calm endurance of misfortune, suffering or discomfort.

patient: one who suffers...is ill.

Patience: feminine name created by Puritans in 1600s derived from the virtue “patience”.

being patient: putting up with provocation, irritation or annoyance etc, without complaint.

 

How close do these definitions take us to a Christian understanding? Charlotte will be speaking to us about these “fruits”. If you miss her talk catch up with it on our web site.

 

Fruits of the Spirit - Joy

We continue our Summer Series exploring the fruits of the Spirit, and this week we focus our attention on ‘joy’. People don’t often employ that three letter word, but the search for happiness is something that most people understand. A lot of us run after it…chasing the things we imagine will bring it…not always finding it.  We’re going to look at what Jesus has to say about the matter. But in the hunt for joy, it’s worth starting with this realisation:

“The greatest moment of your life is now. Not because it's pleasant or happy or easy, but because this moment is the only moment you've got. Every past moment is irretrievably gone. It's never coming back. If you live there, you lose your life. And the future is always out there somewhere. You can spend an eternity waiting for tomorrow, or worrying about tomorrow. If you live there, you likewise will lose your life.

This moment is God's irreplaceable gift to you.”

Possible Openings

This week we have a selection of possible mission/job opportunities. Firstly, OM (Operation Mobilisation) are putting out a plea for people to deploy their everyday work skills in the mission field. It could be as a career break, or those moving towards retirement, but their Africa director is looking for people in the following areas:

  • Financial Developer
  • Personnel Manger & Personnel Officer
  • Administrator
  • PA to Associate Area Leaders

The place of work would be either South Africa or Zambia. They’re also looking for a financial manager and administrator in OM Malawi and OM Mozambique. If you’re interested then speak to Jon.

Southwark Diocese are also advertising a number of jobs at Trinity House and Southwark Cathedral via the Church of England Pathways Jobsite:

 http://southwark.anglican.org/about-us/vacancies/ The jobs include:

  • Property Administrator & Part-time Admin Assistant
  • Finance Officer & Choir Chaperones

 

Bishop's Certificate in Discipleship

The Bishop’s Certificate is a Southwark Diocese initiative to help people grow in faith and life.

The course is designed for you if you want to gain confidence in speaking about faith, deepen your prayer life, read the bible with more understanding and application, or simply reflect on your Christian journey and make increasing connections between life and your faith. There are six modules to the whole course. You can take individual modules or the whole course, and also decide whether or not to complete assignments. 

It is filling up fast so take a leaflet and look at the options. It has been revised and updated recently with a wider range of ways to tackle it, so its not as daunting as it sounds! Penny or Sybil can fill you in more, and leaflets are in the information point.

Just pick one up and see if its for you!  If not this year, maybe in the future.

The Happiness Course

Wellbeing is a concept that is in vogue at the moment, not least of all because contentment appears to be increasingly elusive for people.

‘The Happiness Course’ hasn’t simply jumped onto the latest social trend though. It is a course designed by the Christian charity, Livability, who have been working in some of the country’s most deprived areas for a long time. Forged out of their engagement with local communities, the course encourages people to grapple with what’s really important in life to help them discover a sense of wellbeing that is deeper than a fleeting good mood.

Dawn and Penny have been on training with Livability and would like to ‘test drive’ the course with you. The plan is to run it at SJ's, 7:30-9:30 pm (coffee from 7:15 pm) on the following Thursday Evenings – 19 & 26 July, 2 & 9 August. You don’t need to attend all 4 sessions on this taster series, but if you are interested please ring or text - Penny (07912 870528) or Dawn (07985 943158).

 

Commissioning Amber

Amber will soon be starting her new role as our Young People & Families’ Enabler – yay!

She begins on 1 August, but before then we’d like to officially mark her taking up of this post in a 10am service. So, next weekend (15 July), we are going to dedicate part of time together to just that. We’ll have a chat with her, refresh our memories of the role she will be playing, and most importantly pray for her - that God’s Spirit will equip her for all that lies ahead.

It would be great to have as many of you there as possible to cheer her on and lend your support. If you can’t make it, please continue to hold Amber in your prayers. Starting in a fresh post is exciting, but it’s also draining adjusting to lots of ‘new’ things.

 

Remembering our Purpose

You might think it’s a slow news week to cover the front page with this – but sometimes a bit of poetry is simply good for the soul. Enjoy.

The place He gives us to inhabit.                               carrying on with

The few things                                                              what they were made for,

He gives us to do in that place.                                   the night craft of

The persons He invites us to know there.                    unnoticed faces,

These our days,                                                             with our wings unobserved,

Our lingering.

                                                                                        until He walks again

It is enough then,                                                            in the cool of the day,

this old work of hands                                                    to call our names once more.

His and ours                                                                      

to love here,                                                                      And we then,

to learn His song here,                                                      with our stitched white flags,

                                                                                           will from behind his evergreens

like crickets that scratch                                                   finally unhide ourselves,

and croon,                                                                          unblushed with Him to stroll

from nooks unseen,                                                            once more.

From ‘Sensing God’, Zach Eswine

Sprung

Even if you’re not one of the lucky ones who will soon be wrestling canvas and tent poles, I hope that you are aware that our home-grown Summer Camp takes place next Friday at Downe Activity Centre.

I appreciate that if you don’t have kids going, or you’re not part of the organisational team, then it might feel hard to get too excited by it all. However, I’d encourage you to try and see it as something of real spiritual significance. These camps are more than just great fun. They often represent times when our young people take real strides in their faith, or when those on the edge of church life make a commitment to Christ. The value of those sort of things cannot be quantified, but they will only happen if the church family rallies in prayer.

So whether or not you’re going to be at Downe next weekend, you can be involved in the crucial work of praying your socks off. Pray for the leaders, the young people, our guest speakers (Anna and Josh), and most significantly that God’s Spirit would be at work in the thick of all the activity, drawing new followers to his side.

Happy Father's Day

One of my favourite stories that Jesus tells is the parable of the Prodigal Son. You’re likely to be familiar with it – it’s one of his better known yarns. I love it because for a long time I could identify with the younger son’s waywardness and his disbelief at the reaction he receives when he sheepishly returns home. As I’ve got older, and my children move into their teen years, my love for the story has not waned, but my focus has shifted more to the Father.

Which I think is probably the point!

Tim Keller, in his book, the Prodigal God reminds us that “prodigal” does not mean “wayward”, but “recklessly spendthrift” – to spend until you have nothing left. This is as appropriate for describing the Father, as it is his youngest son.  He welcomes his son back recklessly, not holding anything against him.

It challenges me as I recognise my own shortcomings as a Dad. But equally encourages me as Jesus told the story so that we might recognise the true nature of our heavenly Father. Happy Father’s Day.

A Call to Exercise...

This week we step into our new sermon series, ‘You Asked For It’.

Over the next 6-7 weeks we’ll be looking at some topics that can be emotive, and may well have been a source of pain for a number of our church family in the past. It’s healthy to acknowledge that, but we don’t want it to mean that we duck consideration of these subjects.

As we delve into them though, it will require us to sharpen our understanding of something dear to the gospel, which also has the power to soften our hearts. It is something with which Paul invariably tops and tails his letters to the churches. It can be easy to miss, but one way or another, ‘grace’ forms the bookends of all that he wishes to communicate with the people for whom he cares.

This series will cause us to consider the very nature of this ‘grace’ thing, but more than that I pray it will propel us to exercise its healing power.

One-Bit Word Game

‘Do you know the One-Bit Word Game? It’s a game where you may not use words that have more than one bit’ [syllable]. It’s a kid’s game but one that can help us be clear. When we talk of God we can use big words to make us sound smart. We can use big words – some may be in Greek – to make sure that what we say is true but when we do this we can hide the truth – make the light turn dark.

Can you tell the good news of God in one-bit words? Give it a go. It is hard! Make sure that you do not miss bits out. It’s not that we should use one-bit words all day, but it can help us drop big, smart words for clear, plain ones. It can help us think more of what the good news of God is and share it more but not with bunk words. Why not write it down and share with folk at church? Pete C would like to see too.

Is it a cinch? Then try this: How do you tell that God is one in three?

Inspired by tinyurl.com/ybg8lwrg

Wardy Summer Garden Party

Hopefully you’ve already got the date in the diary, but here are some more details. The get together will be on 10 June from 3pm, at the Rectory (30 Coney Hill Road).

For those of you who are newer to the church, it’s an open invitation - all are welcome. Feel free to bring family and friends, and you can come and go as you please through the afternoon. We’ll provide a selection of drinks, including Pimms and afternoon tea, as well as some nibbles. However, it’s as a ‘bring and share’ occasion, so if you could come with anything suitable for an afternoon feast - cakes, sandwiches or savoury nibbles - that would be great.

If you are in it for the long haul, you might want to bring something to sit on. We’ve got a few things to keep littlies amused, but no doubt sugar levels will be high, so don’t hesitate to arrive armed with your distraction tool of choice.

We look forward to seeing you.   

Church Weekend Away

Following the details we provided at the APCM about the above, we can confirm that we are fixing the date for 17-19 May 2019 (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon). The venue will the be the De Vere Horsley Estate Hotel, which you can find at https://www.phcompany.com/de-vere/horsley-estate/

Our hope is to get as much as the church family there as possible. We do not want cost to be the limiting factor, so we are inviting you to indicate whether you would like to go, irrespective of whether you think you can afford it or not.

There will be a sign up sheet in church, or you can contact Margaret at the Parish Office. Please state the names of everyone in your group and the ages of any children, what type of room you would prefer (Family, Twin, or Double), and if you would be prepared to share with someone.

Further details of the theme and speaker(s) will follow.

'You Asked For It'

Hopefully, you’ll recall that a few weeks back we asked you to provide any topics/questions that you’d like to see tackled in a sermon series. We said that the most frequently requested subjects would be the ones picked for the six slots allocated to the series. The results are in and so here are details of the series, which will start in June:

 

10 June                               LGBTQ

17 June                               Marriage

24 June                               Tithing & Money

8 July                                   Singleness

15 July                                  The Bible

22 July                                  Abortion

 

Given the nature of some of the topics, the plan is to also have Q&A sessions after the service, where the preacher and the clergy will be available to explore the subject further.  

GDPR Privacy Notice and Consent Form

You may have heard mention of the new data privacy legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation, that comes into effect on the 25th May 2018. St John’s, like all other organisations that process personal data will be impacted by the new legislation, and it is important that we make you aware of these changes and your rights under the new law.

Attached is a copy of our general privacy notice that explain how we will process your personal data, and a consent form for you to complete and return to the Parish Administrator by the 25th May. Please complete the form, indicating your chosen preference to receive communications from the church and affiliated groups.

We will require a separate form to be completed for each person over the age of 13, for children under the age of 13 the parent or guardian of a child should provide their details to confirm their consent.

If we do not receive a completed consent form from you we will regrettably be unable to continue to send you emails and information about church activities.

If you have any questions or concerns in this respect please contact the Parish Administrator.

 

Welcome to our Guests

This morning we extend a particular welcome to two sets of people marking special occasions:

Firstly, we join with Tracey and Lee, as they bring their children, Erin and Ethan to be baptised. They come with the support of family and friends and we look forward to celebrating this great occasion with you all.

Secondly, Ian and Allison Ayres are all the way over from France, as they remember the anniversary of a particular event which took place in St John’s a number of years ago (more details to follow in the service…).

It is our privilege to host you both and be a small part of notable moments in your lives. We wish you God’s richest blessings, as you give thanks in different ways.

Thy Kingdom Come

Churches are coming together between the 10-20th May 2018 to pray for God’s kingdom to come and for hearts to be turned to Jesus, and we at St. John’s are joining in. Here are a few events we are running to help you pray:

  • 10th – 8pm, prayer at church
  • 13th – 6pm, Prayer drive, start at church
  • 13th and 20th - 9:15am, prayer before the service for 30 mins

We will also be providing some resources to help you pray for your family, friends and work colleagues during the event. We will be letting you know more about this before the 10th.

  • Shoelace prayers
  • Work prayer cards
  • Online scripture and prayer resources

Other churches in our area will also be running events. Here is one we have already been invited to join in with.

  • 10th-11th, 14th-18th, 9:30am. Weekday morning prayer at Coney Hill Baptist Church for an hour.

For more info ask the prayer team or visit: www.thykingdomcome.global

For Everything There is a Season

This week we’ve been catapulted into tropical weather. With snow on the ground only a few weeks ago, you could be forgiven for thinking that Spring was overlooked and we moved from Winter to Summer in a single bound. The more typical transition through the seasons gives us space and time to adjust.

An abrupt change can be disorientating.

This is equally true for the changing seasons of life. Most of us understand that with the long view, different periods of life have their own distinctive hue. But when we are jolted into change unexpectedly, it can feel like we lose our bearings. If you’re weren’t ready for the season you find yourself in, or you’re simply not sure what season you’re in, I hope you can draw on the truth the author of Ecclesiastes arrives at after talking about a ‘season for everything’ – ‘everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.’ (Ecclesiastes 3: 14)