Science Sunday comes to Watford


Psa. 19:1  "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."

This Sunday we're experimenting! Dawn, our resident chemistry teacher, will be helping us all to discover some of the glories of our God through experiments for young and old. We might not be taking off into space (!), but we'll experience a greater wonder of God through these creative experiments.

The service will be followed by lunch - please bring a food contribution if you can.

There is no Wednesday meeting on 31st May - it's a five-week month. The men meet the following  Wednesday at my place for a follow-up on our vision discussion from two weeks ago. 

Have a wonderful week!

Malcolm

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London Bound

This Sunday, 21 May, we're not in Watford. Instead we'll be joining our sister-congregations from around London for our bi-monthly service in Logan Hall off Russel Square at the Institute of Education (10.30 AM). 

The following week we're back at the school for a very special event - "science" Sunday coordinated by our very own science teacher, Dawn Burke! Be ready to muck in with the experiments. It's also a lunch Sunday, so bring along your contribution to our fellowship meal together and hang around afterwards to eat and chat.

The women meet next Wednesday for discussion about our "Church Aspirations". The draft version is here:

1. God-Focused
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
2. Relationship-Based
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35)
3. Enabling Our Children to Become Christians
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
4. Always Free Yet Spiritual
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
5. Toiling to Build the Church Well
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

I hope you have a wonderful week. God bless,

Malcolm

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The Dannatts are Descending

This Sunday we're lucky to have Tim & Shevvy Dannatt with us. They minister to the Thames Valley churches of Christ and are old friends of mine. Indeed, Tim was in Christ before me and attended my baptism in 1984. His lesson at his previous visit last year was well received, so we are very grateful to him for coming all the way to Watford to speak again this Sunday. Please make him and Shevvy very welcome in my absence. 

I request prayers as I attend the UK/Ireland/Scandinavian/Nordics staff retreat in Helsinki this weekend. Please petition God that I will come back with ideas that can help us as a congregation to be the best we can be for God. 

The following Sunday (21 May) is a London-wide service. The following week (28 May) we are back in the school for "Science Sunday". Experiments and fun for all!  That will be a 'lunch' Sunday too, so please bring food along too.

God bless,

Malcolm

Annual Church Meeting

The London annual church meeting takes place in Regions. Our local one is the North West Region, and takes place in Harrow High School on 4th June, 1pm after their church service. It's an opportunity for the trustees of ICCM to present financial updates and matters of charity policy.

We're a little small in Watford (at this point) to warrant our own meeting, so anyone who is interested in such matters is invited to go down to Harrow. We'll still have our service in Watford that day, and finish by 11.45 should anyone want to make the trip to Harrow.

God bless, Malcolm

Church Aspirations

What's Coming Up in Watford

"Thank you" to Barry for preaching on Sunday (and hosting the men on Wednesday evening). 

We're at the school again this Sunday when we have something special for some of the children. The sermon is on Luke 19.28-48 - have a look and let me know if you have any questions of comments.

Some reminders:

  • The Special Contribution takes place in June (see below for more details. 
  • Teen camp info and registration is here: http://www.iccmissions.org
  • Preteen camp registration is here: http://www.iccmissions.org

Church Aspirations 

A focus for the moment is prayer and discussion over our "Church Aspirations". Here they are again:

1. God-Focused

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

2. Relationship-Based

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35)

3. Enabling Our Children to Become Christians

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

4. Always Free Yet Spiritual

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

5. Toiling to Build the Church Well

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

We have visionary aspirations as a church. We aspire to be God’s people in Watford, where we live, where we work and to our families. But, are we as clear as we could be about our aims - our guiding principles? We’re starting a process of reflection about this guided by the aspirations of the Thames Valley churches of Christ (see left).

Please pray about this and ask God to give us the wisdom we need.

Schedule

30 April - launch aspirations process

3 May - men pray and discuss the aspirations

24 May - women pray and discuss the aspirations

28 May - conclusions presented at church


Special Contribution announcement

“In Jun 2017 the London Church will be taking a Special Contribution to further the work of expanding God’s Kingdom.

This will primarily be for the UK & Ireland Missions Fund to continue supporting the employment of staff in the Belfast, Leicester and Glasgow Churches, and since last year’s collection, in the Edinburgh and Dublin Churches too.

£46,000 will go to the South Asian Missions Society to support our sister churches in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

£32,000 will be set aside for the future hiring of young ministry interns in the London Church.” 

God bless, 

Malcolm

From the garden - to the empty tomb - back to the garden

Easter is a special time. We wept with Jesus in Gethsemane, mourned over the cross, then celebrated at the empty tomb. Here's the video of Sunday's resurrection story - with the children's help!  

This coming Sunday is "Allotment Sunday" - we'll be sowing, planting, harvesting and much more at Joe's allotment, 10.30 am. Communion will conclude the activities. Please bring folding chairs, warm clothing, footwear appropriate for the countryside and food. If the weather is bad we'll meet at the school. The address is: Bournehall Avenue, Bushey, WD23 3BB.

 

The men meet on Wednesday at Barry's.

Have a wonderful, resurrection-inspired week.

Malcolm

 

Easter is coming!

This coming Sunday's service should be memorable for many reasons. First, we've a special activity for the children; second, the adults have a craft to make; third, the children will help me with telling the Easter story; fourth, there will be an Easter egg hunt after church; and fifth, and most importantly, we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

In the words of the excellent hymn, "Come, people of the risen King",

1. Come, people of the risen King
Who delight to bring Him praise
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the morning star of grace
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in

CHORUS
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice
Oh, church of Christ, rejoice

See you at Laurance Haines School, 10.30 am!

God bless,

Malcolm

The Blind Man Sees

This Sunday we're back at Laurance Haines School for our usual 10.30AM service. Osagie is preaching - on Luke 18 and the healing of the blind man.

There is no Wednesday meeting this week since it's a 5-week month.

Other events in the pipeline include our Easter service on 16th April, and the "Allotment service" on Joe's allotment the following Sunday.

Please pray for the fathers and sons on their retreat 8/9 April. And also for Simon and his family as they attend his mother's funeral on Friday this week.

God bless,

Malcolm

Dan the preacher man

Many thanks to Danny for preaching on Sunday. If you missed it, the sermon audio is here: and the video is here.

Sunday coming is a London service, 10.30AM Logan Hall, off Russell Square (don't forget to love up on your mother, since it's Mothering Sunday!). The following Sunday we are back at Laurance Haynes School for our next Watford Sunday service. The passage for the lesson that day is Luke 18.36-43 - the healing of the blind man in Jericho. If you'd like some more thinking about this passage, check my blog.

Wednesday this week looks like being a spectacular time for the women of the church. The special "pampering" evening is on at the West Watford Free church, Tolpits Lane, 7.30PM.

Let's continue to pray for Simon and his family as they mourn the death of his mother. There is, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

Prayer - Part 2?

Actually, this Sunday's lesson, even though it looked to be about prayer, was really about who is justified before God. We explored the topic of self-righteousness and humility. I really appreciate the way the congregation engaged with the discussion and sharing segments of the sermon. We all learn so much more when we can hear from one another.

As for the week ahead, the men are meeting at Joe's place on Wednesday, 7.30PM. On Sunday Danny will be preaching on this passage:

    “A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”     “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’”     “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.     When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”     When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”     Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”     Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”     Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”     “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”     Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”     The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.” (Luke 18:18–34 NIV11)

Send Dan a message if you've got any particular thoughts on the text, or questions for that matter. 

Thank you to the volunteers who have contacted Joe about helping to prepare his allotment for the special service we'll be having there on 23 April. If you'd like to be involved please contact Joe directly. 

See you soon,

Malcolm

Prayer X2

This last Sunday we looked at perseverance in prayer and Jesus interceding for us in prayer (check the Watford YouTube channel for the video of the sermon). And this coming Sunday we have a second bite at the prayer topic, looking at prayer, pride and humility. All this from Luke 18.

Here's the passage for Sunday 12th March:

    “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’   “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’     “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”     People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Luke 18:9–17 NIV11)

On another note, the women are meeting on Wednesday night this week.

See you on soon!

Malcolm

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Who Does Jesus Save?

As we saw on Sunday, according to Luke 17.11-19 Jesus saves the desperate, the obedient and the grateful. Fortunately we are all able to imitate the Samaritan leper and see Jesus do his work in us as he did in that man's life.

Talking of humility (which embraces all three of the qualities above) this was illustrated beautifully by the story of 92-year-old Syd who was baptised into Christ last Tuesday. Having survived Dunkirk and a serous injury during 'Operation Market Garden' he finally found what he was looking for. We praise God and join in the angelic celebrations!

This week the men meet on Wednesday at Osagie's place (Dan running the meeting), and Sunday we are at Logan Hall for the bi-monthly all-London service, 10.30am. We'll be back at Laurance Haines school as usual on Sunday 26th February when Charl will be preaching on Luke 17.20-37. Being the last Sunday in the month we'll be having lunch together too.

See you soon and God bless,

Malcolm

Syd

Syd

Which Way?

Have you ever come to a life-crossroads and not known which way to go? It's a common human experience, and one we also experience in the spiritual realm. Our passage on Sunday (Luke 16.19-31) helped us to see that direction is provided by God's word and people He puts into our lives. We've all got stories of the right person speaking the right words at just the right time. Thanks to God for providing. 

The rich man had the scriptures and he had the presence of the beggar Lazarus beside his gate. Neither were enough for him to wake from his spiritual stupor, but he had no excuse. As Hunter says in 'Interpreting the parables', 

“If a man… Cannot be humane with the Old Testament in his hand and Lazarus on his doorstep, nothing-neither a visitant from the other world nor a revelation of the horrors of hell-will teach him otherwise. Such requests for signs are pure evasions.” 

Let's be sure to keep our spiritual ears and eyes attentive to the scriptures and people God guides into our path.

This coming Sunday we look at Luke 17.1-10 - a collection of sayings connected by the theme of faith. See what you make of it. In particular, what do you think of the challenge to forgive the same person seven times?

In other news (as they say), there is a London service on 19 Feb.  In addition, we're making plans for a special outdoor service on Joe's allotment - probably in early April! 

See you on Sunday,

Malcolm

Lessons from Lazarus

It goes without saying that last Sunday was a great encouragement to all of us who were there. I am reminded again and again how lucky we are to have one another in this church. The devotion to God's work, the building of His kingdom and the love expressed to one another are testimony to the power of God's Spirit.

This coming Sunday we are at Laurance Haines school (please let's be early to help with set up as usual), and it's the last Sunday of the month with means ..... LUNCH!  It also means a combined sermon and communion.  The passage we'll be looking at is Luke 16.19-31, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

What are your thoughts on this interesting story? Is it about what to expect in the next life? Could it be a warning about the dangers of wealth? Are there points about the nobility or otherwise of poverty? Does the name "Lazarus" connect with John chapter 11? What might the presence of the Pharisees have to do with it? 

For now, I'll leave the topic with this quote from a book: 

"[Lazarus]... neither complains about his hard lot on earth, nor gloats over the rich man after death, nor expresses resentment at the latter’s endeavours to have him sent on errands. Throughout he accepts what God sends him." Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary.
Other news
  • The men meet on Wednesday 1st February at the Red House pub, 131 Watford Rd, Croxley Green, WD3 3DX on Wednesday, 7.30pm.
  • 'London' singles devo/event 18 February
  • The next 'London' service is 19 February
  • School of Missions, 10-12 March - 'Exegesis'

Contact me if you would like more details.

God bless, Malcolm

January Plans

What a creative Christmas we had! Our thanks go to Oge and her team who made the Christmas Craft service so much fun. 

Now that we're into 2017 (can you believe it?), it's time to set out plans for the next week or two.

This Wednesday 18th Jan the men are meeting, 7.30PM. Venue tbc. We're at the school as usual on Sundays 22nd and 29th, and the sermon this coming Sunday is based on Luke 16.1-15. Let me know what you think of this unusual parable. 

The women meet the following Wednesday 25th Jan, and the men again on 1st Feb. The children are welcoming us to church on 5th February.

Please keep Charl's mother, Susan, in your prayers as she recovers from illness now that she is back in South Africa. 

One last thing, Croxley Baptist church are hosting a men's breakfast on 4th Feb with the Man Utd chaplain - see flyer below. Dan & I went to a similar event last year, and I'll be going this time. Anyone interested in attending, please let me know. 

God bless, Malcolm

New Year Plans

To mark the beginning of the year in a special way, we're going to meet at Dunstable Downs. Time: 10:30AM. Date: Sunday 1st January. Address: The Gateway Centre, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2GY.

The plan is to meet at the Gateway Centre, then walk to a promontory (footpath all the way if you're bringing a buggy), pray together there, walk back to the Centre for coffee and/or lunch. The views are spectacular, over much of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

If you would like more details, go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunstable-downs-and-whipsnade-estate.

You will need coins for parking (if the meters been fixed since the last time I was there). If the weather is foul, we will meet at our house instead.

Keep your eyes peeled for messages nearer the time.

God bless, Malcolm

Plans for the near future

Many, many thanks must go to Oge for all the hard work that she and her team put in to give us such a memorable craft Christmas service last Sunday. It looked to me as if all children, from 3 to 73, had lots of fun.

This Sunday we do not have a service in Watford. We're joining our family of churches across London for a special carol service at the Institute of Education, just off Russell Square, 10:30 AM.

Next Wednesday we will be having a caroling sing-along at the West Watford Free Church on Tolpitts Lane. Start time is 7:30 PM. Mulled wine and mince pies should be in plentiful supply. Send in your favourite carol, and we will see if we can all sing it on the night.

Have a blessed week,

Malcolm

Christmas Cometh

It's time for the carols to commence. We got one in this week and one last week. Sunday coming will be even more Christmassy. Especially because Oge is organising our family "Christmas Craft" service. We'll have a setup similar to Harvest: four tables loaded with crafty fun for every age group - including adults!

Come with your craft brain on and bring some friends. We'll also have a telling of the Christmas story called, "The Well Good News of Christmas."  Barry will be serving hot drinks from the start of church - including, he tells me, hot chocolate. Now that's a reason to come to church this week!

By the way, the men meet this Wednesday at Tunde's place, 7.30PM. 

See you on Sunday,

Malcolm

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