January to June 2020
24th May 2020 PENTECOST SUNDAY (The Holy Spirit comes to all believers)
Pentecost (meaning fiftieth) was originally marked fifty days after ‘passover’. Now celebrated on this the 7th Sunday after Easter. Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit. Now automatically received when becoming a Christian.
Thursday 21st May 2020 ASCENSION DAY (The 40th Day of Easter)
Ascension day commemorates Jesus ascension into heaven. Jesus promised the disciples that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, and asked them to remain in Jerusalem until the spirit had come. They waited and prayed. 39 days after that first Easter Sunday…..
10th April 2020 Dave Hopwood Good Friday
29th March 2020 Dave Hopwood SERMON NOTES FOR TODAY
Talk for Abbotsham 29/3/20 – The Way of the Cross Accepted
6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. 7 During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. 8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste of money,” they said. 9 “She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor.” 10 But Jesus replied, “Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? 11 You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory.” Matthew 26
We never know the impact we have on people. What we might do that might continue to inspire them. My class teacher, when I was about 7, got me to read out a story I had written to the rest of the class. He wanted to encourage me. And I’ve never forgotten that. It made a lasting impression. This woman would certainly have made an impression. A bit of a stink actually! Albeit a really good one. She filled the house with the kind of aroma that would have lasted days. Perhaps all the way through to the day of Jesus’s resurrection. The aroma of Jesus if you like, pointing to his death and sacrifice for the world. And in the passage we read that Jesus encouraged this woman by assuring her that what she did counted. Not just for him then, but for us now. She served him and it really mattered. And that’s a very good reason for us to continue to serve Jesus, to help us others in his name.
Here are a few more verses from Matthew 26:
36 Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go on ahead to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.”
39 He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” 40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay awake and watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!”
42 Again he left them and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, your will be done.” 43 He returned to them again and found them sleeping, for they just couldn’t keep their eyes open.
44 So he went back to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45Then he came to the disciples and said, “Still sleeping? Still resting? Look, the time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. See, my betrayer is here!”
The strange good news from this part of the Easter story is that Jesus struggled. He wasn’t pretending, or acting out a scene for us, he was scared. He wanted another way. I find myself wondering how on earth he could have had the stomach to eat anything at that Last Supper just an hour or so before, when he knew what was coming. The reason I say this is good news is because we are all fearful, we all struggle, we all wish for an easier way at times. And Jesus understands that. He knows what it is to face a difficult time. And he can help us choose the best way forward, God’s way forward. This wasn’t the first time he had wondered about changing direction. In John chapter 12 verses 27-28 we read that Jesus said this –
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from what lies ahead’? But that is the very reason why I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought it glory, and I will do it again.”
God the father, knowing his son needed encouragement, spoke to him and urged him on. Jesus knew this was going to be a hard road, and his father knew that too. Last year I met a teacher who had run the London marathon, when she reached the last few miles the one thing that kept her going, she said, was hearing the encouragement of others beside the track. The spectators urging her on. Encouragement is really important. Jesus needed it. We need it. So does the person next to you. Never underestimate the power you hold in your hands to help others keep going.Peter Harris one of the founders of the A Rocha conservation organisation wrote this in his book Under the Bright Wings:
‘We carry on working, not because of a guarantee of success, or a belief that we will change the world, but because it is right to do what we do.’
And in the film Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, the character of Frodo, frightened about the mission he is on, is encouraged by Gandalf:
‘I wish the ring had never come to me,’ says Frodo, ‘I wish none of this had happened.’
‘So do all who live to see such times, but it’s not for them to decide,’ Gandalf replies. ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’
We find ourselves in extraordinary times. This Easter will be different. But the Emmanuel baby of Christmas, the God with us baby, has grown up, and lived through difficult times of his own. He is with us. Alive and resurrected. Helping us, urging us on. Understanding our troubles. He has faced struggles himself and has the power to help us keep walking. One step at a time.
God bless you today.
15th March 2020 (FF#5) Geoff Wotton FORMATION 1 Corinthians 3: 12-17
8th March 2020 (FF#4) Geoff Wotton
1st March 2020 (FF #3) Jim reads 1 Peter 2: 4-11
Geoff Wotton Firm Foundations The 1st Essential
23rd February 2020 Rita Firm Foundations #2 ..reads 1 Corinthians 3: 1-11
Geoff Laying Firm Foundations
16th Feb 2020 Geoff Wotton Matthew 7:24 Firm Foundations (#1)