Notices for Sunday 12th July 2015

This signet from God is the first instalment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
Eph 1:14 (Message)

Father God empower us through the power of your Holy Spirit to strive for the justice of God that makes all life holy.

We welcome our preacher this morning who is Mr Ebenezer Sam
After service tea hosts Keith and Myra

Our thanks for the flowers which are given by Ken Holroyd in memory of his parents Derek and Rhian Holroyd
Organist: Lydia Edwards

Sunday 19th July
11.00am        Rev Richard Sharples (Communion)
Vestry Stewards – Ian and Avril
Door Steward – Chris
Tea Hosts – Chris and Joan

Diary Dates
Sun 12th        Flower Festival at Overton 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Sun 12th        Flower Festival Worship 6.00pm
Mon 13th       Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Mon 13th       Lunch at Gresford noon – 2.30pm £5. Booking required
Tue 14th        Ephesians Bible Study at Ruabon 7.00pm
Wed 15th      Circuit Meeting at Brymbo 7.30pm
Fri 17th         Friday Lunch Club at noon in the hall £2.50
Mon 20th       Lunch at Gresford noon – 2.30pm £5. Booking required
Tue 21st        Cream Tea at Rhosnesni 3.00pm
Tues 21st      LA Resource Evening at Ruabon 7.30pm
Wed 22nd      Midweek Communion at Regent Street 11.15am

Please pray for the following:
Richard Down
Phyllis Davies
Isobel Holroyd
Mark Steene
Maurice Anderton
Seren Williams
Vanessa Woolrich
Kay Davies

All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.

James Knight
Funeral will be here at 12.30pm Wed 15th July led by Rev John Wiggall followed by interment at Hope at 1.15pm. You are invited to share refreshments afterwards in our church hall.

Ernest Tait
Funeral will be at 1.00pm at Hope Parish Church Fri 17th July

Looking redeemed
Eph 1:3-14

Every year Fortune magazine publishes a list of the best companies to work for—places where people actually like their working environment and actually enjoy what they do. This year, Methodist Hospital is the highest-ranking company in Houston on the list. What a concept—spending your life at something you really like and enjoy! As we look at scripture from the perspective of learning ways to help our church find new vitality, I wonder if we ought not look at the enjoyment factor. Having a thriving church is not primarily about strategies and techniques, but about the quality of life that is present among us.

Unfortunately, most churches would not be characterized as “joyful.” I think Friedrich Nietzsche said it best when he mocked that for him to learn to have faith in Jesus, his disciples would have to look “more redeemed”! From a less cynical perspective, Paul Tillich asks whether the lack of joy that is conspicuous in many churches is due to the fact that we are not “sufficiently Christian”!

By contrast, our Psalm for today portrays a festival celebrating Yahweh’s reign over Israel—indeed, over all creation—that is nothing if not joyful! After confidently declaring that Yahweh rules over the whole cosmos, the Psalmist characterizes those who seek God as the “pure in heart” who “see God” (cf. Matt. 5:8) and are overcome with joy. And they express their joy with an antiphonal shout welcoming Yahweh as the “King of Glory.” I don’t know that we can be sure, but many Bible scholars think that this Psalm was composed for just such an occasion as the one described in 2 Samuel. As David brings the Ark of the Covenant into his new capitol, Jerusalem, he is clearly overcome with joy. Whether or not David’s motives in this were completely pure, it would seem that “joyful celebration” is a pretty good description of what he was doing. David gave full expression to his joy over God’s covenant faithfulness and God’s continual presence with Israel.

As I think about this story, it occurs to me that we don’t see much of that kind of thing in church. It seems that most churches would be less accepting of David and more like his wife Michal who thought he was making a royal fool out of himself! Now, I’m not too interested in shouting and leaping in church, but it seems to me that a good dose of laughter is very appropriate. And dance can convey a wonderful sense of joy in worship. Of course, different people express joy differently—some more externally, others more internally. But either way, joy is something that I think should be a natural part of our Christian lives. We’re meant to “look redeemed”!

If we want to see our church thrive, I think we should make cultivating joy a priority—joy in life, joy in service, and joy in worship. Christian worship is intended to be a celebration of the resurrection, a celebration of new life. At one time or another, most of us have probably experienced the level of joy in our faith that David displayed. But the question is how we maintain a sense of joy—not necessarily a “dancing in the streets” kind of joy, but joy that lasts.

How do we cultivate that kind of sustained joy in our congregation? I think it begins with our relationship with God. The church is the place where Jesus Christ “is present and alive”! It is the place to celebrate God’s presence, God’s life, and God’s grace in this world. Sustained joy also comes from recognizing our blessings—as Paul enumerates them in his letter to the Ephesians: freedom, pardon, hope, and assurance—and all an expression of God’s great pleasure in us (cf. Eph. 1:5, The Message)! Sustained joy can also come from our mission. We are called to be the church that is out there striving for the justice of God that makes all life holy, striving for the universal peace of God that embraces everyone in God’s love and that sets all creation free from the chains of death. When we cultivate these aspects of our faith, our very life becomes infused with the joy that comes from God’s grace and mercy. Then we cannot help but be joyful. Then, perhaps, we can look more redeemed.

Alan Brehm, Hickman Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA


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