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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Hearty Harvest

We have to give a special "thank you" to Joe & Lisa who organised all the crafts at last Sunday's Harvest family supper. Our four tables of fun were well stocked with activities for all ages. The Cronjes laboured long and hard so that we could have memorable experiences. My table produced some distinctive hedgehogs, all of which had their own character, even if not all the eyes and mouths were in their traditional locations!

Next Sunday we're looking at Luke 14.25-35, and the Sunday after that - a real treat - Bruce Miller from ODAAT will be our visiting speaker.

See you on Sunday. By the way, don't forget the fireworks at the Makinsons' home on Friday evening. £5 each should cover it. And bring some food, please..

Malcolm

Harrow Invasion

First of all, "thank you" to Barry for preaching this last Sunday. We'll remember his story of squatting down to talk to someone who was homeless, and finding it a little hard to straighten up again. He's not the only one among us who might take a while getting back up to a vertical position!

Sunday coming sees a Harrow invasion. Well, a mini-invasion. Our sister-congregation in NW London has no venue this week, so we will have around 10 adults and 8 children from that church with us. Let's be sure to give them a famous Watford welcome! The sermon text on Sunday is Luke 14.15-24. 

The men meet on Wednesday to discuss the next part of our R.E.A.C.H. focus - "engage with kindness". See you there, fellas.

Leon will send out details of what's needed by the foodbank in advance of our family Harvest service on 28th October. Look out for that info when it arrives.

The next edition of the "Watford Word" is out in a couple of weeks. Would anyone like to write their testimony up as an article? It would be inspiring to read the way in which God moved to help us become Christians. 

Oh, one last thing. The boiler is being replaced at the school. It will take a while to complete the work. We should have heating while the work continues, but come prepared!

God bless,

Malcolm

Rejected, but Not Dejected

We've all had that feeling - dejected because rejected. Charl spoke movingly, humorously and vulnerably about his own experience from childhood. As an introduction it worked to take us into Jesus' world of unjustified and tragic rejection. The video of Charl's lesson is here, and the audio here.  We are so grateful that the rejection Jesus suffered did not lead him to reject humankind, but instead fuelled his compassion.

This coming Wednesday the women are meeting to discuss the latest phase of the REACH focus. Sunday sees Barry Edwards preaching on Luke 14.1-14, so please pray for him as he prepares his thoughts.

One correction for your calendars - the 13th November is not a London service. Instead we will be meeting in Watford as usual. Bruce Miller will be our visiting speaker that day - quite a treat!

Malcolm

Curious or serious?

Curiosity can be a good thing. Where would we be without the curiosity of scientists, artists, musicians and doctors? However, curiosity is not healthy if it becomes an end in itself. Healthy curiosity leads to discovery which opens the door to decisions.

Last Sunday we saw the difference between curiosity and seriousness from Luke 13.13-22. Our aim as a group of Christians is, although acknowledging we will never be perfect, to maintain and grow in a focus on Jesus. A focus which affects not only what we believe, but how we live. 

The church is embarking on a 10-week focus called R.E.A.C.H.. Our primary aim is to pray for our neighbours, colleagues, family and friends that they may have an encounter with God. To begin with we are preparing ourselves and our lives to be the servants that our neighbours need us to be. The men will meet on Wednesday to discuss this and pray together. 

This coming Sunday Charl Olivier will be our preacher looking at the last few verses of Luke chapter 13. Please pray for him as he prepares his lesson for us.

See you on Sunday at Laurence Haines School, 10:30 AM as usual.

God bless, Malcolm

Seeds and Yeast

We're so lucky to have talented cooks in our church! "Thank you" to everyone who made and brought delightful dishes on Sunday. I dare say some seeds and yeast were used in one or two of the bowls of food on offer. Quite appropriate considering the sermon theme on Sunday. 

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast and a mustard seed. Small is beautiful might be the underlying theme. God starts small with us, and that's the way He likes it. He gets more glory, and we get more joy. 

The video of the sermon is here - worth watching if only for my less-than-successful attempt at making a bicarb-vinegar volcano. Oh well, back to the drawing board on that one (or the kitchen sink).

The Makinson, Oliviers and Coxs met on Sunday evening for our latest leadership team meeting. We've finished our review of the first few months of our existence as a church (can it really have gone that fast?) and we'll fill the church in soon on our reflections on the feedback given.

This week the women meet on Wednesday to discuss Luke 13.10-17, and we all reconvene on Sunday at Laurance Haines School for our first service of October - sermon from Luke 13.21-30.

See you there.

Malcolm

The wood from the trees

Well, we've never done that before! Had church in the woods. What a brilliantly refreshing experience it was to take the whole church to Ashridge for a service last Sunday. Special thanks to Joe for putting together some very thought-provoking activities and sharing about God in a way that made us consider him more clearly as the creator of all that we can see in nature. 

The initial feedback has been very positive about doing it again. So please keep that feedback coming in, and we'll make a decision about repeating it or not. 

This Sunday we are back at Laurence Haines school, 10.30AM. It's a 'food' Sunday, so please bring plates and bowls of whatever you'd like to eat and share.  The Luke passage is 13:18–21.

Wednesday night is a men's meeting, Luke 13:10–17. 

See you soon, and have a wonderful week. Malcolm

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If you go down to the woods today…

If you go down to the woods on Sunday, you may be surprised at what you find! Not a teddy bear's picnic, but the Watford Church of Christ gathering in woodlands to be inspired by God's creation. 

Joe Cronje, professional horticulturalist, is preparing a special experience for us in Ashridge woods. We will be meeting outdoors for singing, prayer, woodland activities, and communion. Come ready to participate, come ready to get your hands dirty, come ready to connect with God in a fresh and inspiring way. 

More details will be coming soon, but book it in your diary now and tell your friends.  10AM for a 10.30AM start. 

God bless, Malcolm

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