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Showing posts from January, 2008

The Lord's Prayer (5)

THE LORD'S PRAYER ( MATTHEW 6:6-15 ) A series of talks given on retreat, January 2008 LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL In many ways this could have been one of the first talks. One of the things that happens when we shut the door and take time out is that the demons come. We are in a spiritual battle, and the enemy, the evil one, does not like it when we mean business with God. I remember as a parish assistant in London keeping Wednesday as a day of fasting. I used to expect that I would feel very spiritual. In fact what happened was that I would find myself becoming very very angry. It was almost as if, because I was letting down the physical defences, some of the other stuff that I was very good at pushing down came to the surface. And when we close the door, and shut off other voices, sometimes those voices that we are very good at suppressing grow louder. You may have seen the programme, Extreme Pilgrim, in which an Anglican vicar goes off to spend 3 weeks

The Lord's Prayer (4)

THE LORD'S PRAYER ( MATTHEW 6:6-15) A series of talks given on retreat, January 2008 FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US Having spoken of physical bread, our relationship with the physical world, the Lord's prayer moves us on to consider our relationship with others. At the heart of that relationship is forgiveness. Forgiveness received from God, and forgiveness shown towards those who have taken from, offended or hurt us. 'Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us' This is all wrong! It should be 'Forgive us our sins, so that we forgive those who sin against us'. God’s forgiveness comes first, and our forgiveness of others comes next. That certainly is the logic of Matthew 18. In Matthew 18 Jesus tells the story of a ruler who has a servant who owes him about £10000. In those time it was Northern Rock kind of figures. The servant cannot pay, begs the master to have mercy on him and the debt is forgiven. The servant go

The Lord's Prayer (3)

THE LORD'S PRAYER ( Matthew 6:6-15 ) A series of talks given on retreat, January 2008 3. GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD Not sure we fully appreciate this part of the Lord's prayer, until we learn to pray this prayer as if our lives depend on it. This is the prayer of a person who is totally dependent on God. It seems a totally unnecessary prayer for someone who lives in our society, and who can safely presume that there will be three square meals a day. But it is not unnecessary This is a prayer that 1. Expresses our total dependence on God Having prayed for God's kingdom to come and his will to be done, we now pray that God will give us what we need here and now. I had a friend who lived in East Germany, and who I met when he was allowed to study for one term at the theological college where I was. It was before the fall of the Berlin wall. He told us about one day in his school, when the philosophy teacher took the children to the dining room and said, 'Today we are

The Lord's Prayer (2)

THE LORD'S PRAYER ( Matthew 6:7-15 ) A series of talks given on parish retreat, January 2008 2. PRAYING FOR GOD’S GLORY Hallowed be Your name There are two versions of Christianity In the first version God exists to make me happy. It is centred on me. In the second version we exist to make God happy. The first begins with how I can be blessed. The second begins with how God can be blessed The Lord's Prayer falls into the second category. The first thing for which we pray is 'Hallowed be your name'. We pray that God's name will be shown to be holy, set apart, honoured, glorified. God’s name: His name is the embodiment of who He is. To honour his name is to honour him. YAHWEH, ‘I am who I am’. It was so holy that the Jews would not and do not even now speak it. And yet it sums up the complete uniqueness and the absolute divine freedom of God, the power of God, the otherness of God And as Christians, we have another name, JESUS CHRIST. It sums up the intimacy and clo

The Lord's Prayer (1)

THE LORD’S PRAYER ( Matthew 6:7-15 ) A series of talks given on Retreat, January 2008 1. 'OUR FATHER' Coming on retreat is about doing what Matthew 6 urges us: it is about shutting the door and praying unseen to the unseen God who answers our prayers touching an unseen world. 1. We shut the door in order to remove distractions CS Lewis writes, "The real problem .. of the Christian life comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning is just shoving them all back; just listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind". Beyond Personality, p42 Other voices are some of those distractions, and on a silent retreat we seek to silence some of them so that we can listen to that other voice. Sil


MATTHEW 2:1-12 It all seems very sudden this year. We’ve celebrated the new year, the schools have already been back 2 days, and in case you hadn’t realised, Easter is only two and a half months away. This is the Sunday that the church calls Epiphany. Epiphany means literally ‘concerning the light’, and we remember the wise men who travelled to Jesus by the light of the star. Please turn to Matthew 2:1-12 It is a significant passage for us at the beginning of the year, because it is about worship. v2,v8,v11 It is about an act of worship. The wise men bow down before the child. But it also tells us about worship as lifestyle. In Romans 12:2, Paul tells the Roman Christians, ‘in view of God’s mercy .. present your bodies as living sacrifices, which is their spiritual (or reasonable) worship”. And it is appropriate to start the year looking at worship, because worship is what we are about. The Westminster catechism states that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”