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WOW Word 17 – Your Cross – Partakers Bible Thought

Alfie brings you a WOW Word


WOW Word – Your Cross


Jesus speaking “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26 )


What is our response to this to be? As followers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to count the cost of following Him. That is how we carry our own cross for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to be number one in the life of all those who choose to follow him! Jesus wants supremacy over everything in our lives, including family, friends, and possessions! Alas, that’s a cost too high for some! Here is one man who couldn’t give up something to follow Jesus! Let’s call him Basil. Basil runs up to Jesus and wants eternal life, wants it now and asks Jesus about how to get it. He has fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus. However!

However when Jesus said to Basil that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth and possessions in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, Basil leaves disconsolate and shattered. The life of Basil, this rich young ruler, reflected a life of absorption with his own self-interest and self-importance!. It was a step too far for Basil. He wanted his riches and also everlasting life, but Jesus said he couldn’t have both. He remains the only person that we know of, who left Jesus’ presence sorrowful. That was due to Basil putting his trust in himself, his riches and wealth alone. Now riches, in and of themselves, are not necessarily wrong! But for Basil, well, he was not willing to make the sacrifice required to follow Jesus. He couldn’t count the cost of following Jesus– it was too high a price for him to pay!

What have you given up in and as a result of your decision to follow Jesus? Making sacrifices to follow Jesus is all part of the WOW factor of Jesus. Jesus demands that He is number one and supreme over everything else in your life – yourself, family, others and material goods including money and possessions. How is this done? This is done by consistently ensuring that your works and words match your lifestyle and that no hypocrisy can be found, or indeed will be found. It means standing up for God in the face of adversity. It means loving others even though they hate you.

Just a couple of examples. In the UK, we aren’t systematically persecuted. We are marginalized, ridiculed and ignored but some of our Christian family around the world who daily face death simply because they chose to follow Jesus. They are carrying their cross for Jesus! What about us in the UK? For example: if we as Christians were known by our self-sacrificial love of all others, then Jesus whom we claim to love, follow, worship, and adore would be seen.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. … Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Jesus Christ, nor is it hero worship, but intimacy with Christ.” (The Cost of Discipleship). Bonnhoeffer knew that as a Christian, a person has to take up their own cross in following Jesus and count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.


Finally, let’s look at 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others.” Jesus told us to take up our own cross if we are to follow Him as His Disciple. How is that possible? If we try to do that in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail. If we do that using the power and strength of the Holy Spirit within you, then you will succeed at following Jesus’ command. Are you as a Disciple of Jesus Christ willing to take up your cross? What a difference that would make to the community where you live! 


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The Big Story – Part 1



Big Story – Act 1 – Creation

with Roger Kirby

Question: which is your favourite television programme?

Very probably your answer is either a “soap” (a series of episodes telling the story of a family or a group of people) or a series of linked episodes solving various crimes, containing the same central characters. Both of these are stories – and we love stories. When a girl meets a new fellow she may well ask “ tell me about yourself”, by which she does not mean the sort of list of accomplishments that would be appropriate in a job application. She wants to hear about things he has been involved in, people he knows or has met, strange things that have happened to him. Quite how we come to understand someone on the basis of disconnected small stories like that is not at all obvious.
In His wisdom God has told us about himself through stories, some connected, some disconnected, some big, some small. Quite how we can come to understand something about God this way is not clear but we do. By story I do not mean some thing that is not true. Scholars call true stories ‘narratives’ but that is too posh a word for us!
The Bible is one huge story, the greatest story ever told. But we tend to read it and hear about it only in small disconnected chunks and have never heard any attempt to put the most important parts of it together as a big, continuous story. This set of studies aims to put that right! (Even although much modern thinking rejects the idea of big stories, thinking they only function as a method of control. But then perhaps God knows better than the moderns.) at best this story will only partly succeed because the Bible is so infinitely varied everyone sees different, hidden depths in it.
There are 5 major parts to the story – I will call them Acts, as in a play, some of them subdivided into Scenes. These are headed: the Creation, the Fall, Israel, Jesus and the Church. I am going to tell the story as I see it. There must be a nearly infintite number of ways the Story could be told. This is mine. I hope you enjoy and learn from it.
Very obviously the first one is Creation. In 5 days God created the non-human world. Here that is in Genesis 1: 1 – 23: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, then a separation on the second day, vegetation on the third day, visible lights on the fourth day, living creatures on the sea and the air on the fifth day and on the ground on the sixth day. And – we are told of all these things that – God saw that it was good..
No part of Scripture has been subjected to more argument than these verses. I am not going to get into that argument. Just let me say that it is not true that we have but one God-given source of information about what happened. We have two: this scripture and the natural world round about us, both God-given as Psalm 19 clearly says: Psalm 19: 1, 4, 7, 8a: It starts off saying “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
But then it goes on to say: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
There is no conflict between Science and the Bible, as is often suggested. There cannot be because they are different sorts of things. Science is man’s understanding of the raw data of the natural world. The Bible is also raw data. Theology and Bible Study are man’s understanding of what the Bible says. Science certainly can, and does, conflict with theology and our understanding of the Bible. The natural world and the Bible are two different types of raw data, both God-given and therefore not in conflict. The natural world is our best source of information about how and when God created. The Bible is our only source of information about by whom and why. Hundreds of years ago they used to talk about the ‘perspicuity of scripture’. By that they meant that it was easy to understand, transparent to everyone, even every ordinary person. You don’t have to be a theological genius to know what it is saying to you. (Obviously the more you know about the context of scripture the better, but you don’t have to go to Bible College to work out what it is all about.) The same thing is true of the natural world. You don’t have to be a scientific genius to know what the world is telling us about God. It is not immediately obvious that we ordinary, created human beings can understand the ways of the Lord, in both his written word and his created world, but it is so. It is important to keep a balance between these two so different lines of thinking about the creation of the world and all that is in it.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them. So the answer to “by whom” is God, though what exactly that means we shall only get a glimpse of even when we have looked at all the Big Story of the Bible. This is emphasized in quite a subtle way when those first few verses refer to the sun and the moon as just ‘those lights in the sky’ not even giving them names. That is clearly done to avoid any least suggestion that they had anything to do with the creation, since they were considered to be gods in most ancient religions.
“Why” is answered in the remainder of Genesis Chapter 1: verses 24 – 31. It is for the glory of God and then, quite astonishingly, for us, for mankind. We are not just specially developed animals who happen to have developed much further than any other creature. We are those for whose blessing and enjoyment everything was created. Wow!
But don’t jump to the wrong conclusion. It is still God’s world. Sadly, mankind seems to have decided that it can do what it likes with it: rip it apart, use it up, dirty it, pollute it, empty chemicals into its rivers etc. in the hope that it will all work out all right in the end. One day the day of reckoning will come.
We, and we alone, are made in the image and likeness of God. That means, I think, many things. We alone can reason, can think, can understand – amongst other things that death lies inescapably ahead of us – can love beyond the bounds of sexual desire, can think a long way ahead of the consequences of our actions – at least when we want to do so.
To put it in very modern language, our brains, unlike those of any other creature on this earth, are, in computer speak, almost completely full of RAM, not the ROM that fills animal heads. RAM is random access memory where there is no information until some is put there; ROM is read only memory where the information has already been put there and cannot be changed or developed much. We humans, on the other hand, have to learn to speak, to walk, to understand just about everything concerning the world around us. Our brains have to learn, to be filled with knowledge. Animals are born with most of the things they need to know already implanted in their brains. That is a huge and wonderfully significant difference.

So what?

Those two words signal my comment as to what the immediate practical implication of the this passage, this part of the Big Story, means for us – for you and me – today.
We are created in the image of God. Sometimes Christians get so excited by the next two chapters of Genesis that they think of everybody as simply “sinners” to the exclusion of these important and thrilling facts. Those who are not Christians, just like those who are, have these two directly conflicting aspects to their lives. We are both made in the image of God and fallen sinners. Sometimes one dominates; sometimes the other. So your unbelieving neighbour one side may be the most delightful, helpful, loving person you could wish to meet. Your unbelieving neighbour the other side may be the most unpleasant character, impossible to carry out any sort of decent conversation with, always getting into arguments and fights and probably a thief. Those are the ways we naturally are. Neither person is acceptable to the LORD God if they have made no attempt to enter into relationship with Him. That is the way we naturally are. We need to hold firmly in our minds our understanding of human beings as both God images and sinners and be careful to understand our world in the light of those two facts.
Only as a consequence of the death, and resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who have set out to follow him can we be any different.


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Born Again – Partakers Bible Thought


Born Again!


Come hear the explanation of today’s WOW Word “Born Again”! It confused an ancient and educated Jewish leader, Nicodemus! It continues to confuse some people even today! Perhaps you? 


Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’ ‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” (John 3:3-7)

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Partakers Bible Thought – Stop Being A Chocolate Christian


Stop being a Christian made of Chocolate

Have you ever noticed that chocolate melts under pressure & heat? If you haven’t, take a piece of chocolate and hold it between your fingers! It will soon melt! If you are a Christian, you need to be active in your local church so that you don’t melt under pressure and you will remain firm in your faith! Otherwise you will be a chocolate Christian who easily gives up under the stress and pressure of every day life! At a church local to where you live, you are needed regardless of who you are! Perhaps this is you?

  • Interested observer but not a committed Christian
  • Not bothered
  • Not good enough
  • Just want to be left alone
  • Don’t know how to be involved
  • Don’t know why being involved is important
  • Too busy

But why should you be involved?

Why? You have talents to be used!!

When Jesus said to His apostles “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14v12), it was through the promised Holy Spirit (John 14v17), and the impartation of Spiritual Gifts that His words were fulfilled.

The reason that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christians is so that the body of Christ is built up (Ephesians 4v12), for the common good of the church (1Corinthians 12v7, 14v12) and “so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4v12).

These three reasons signify that God wants Christians to be active in service and not still like stagnant water. That is why we have been given gifts and if these gifts are not used for God’s purposes, then they are utterly useless and meaningless. And the gifts are not just the supposedly spectacular gifts but also the supposedly mundane! Cleaning is as much a spiritual gift as preaching is! As we are not to neglect our gifts, or let other Christians neglect their gifts, we are to fan the gifts into flame (2 Timothy1v6). Much like blowing on embers and stirring them up will restart the flames of a fire! To do this, as Christians, we are to employ the gifts faithfully and by asking God to continue their development, strengthening and for opportunities to use them! Seek gifts that build up others, commands Paul (1 Corinthians 14v1-12). Ask God faithfully for gifts that give opportunity for service to God and others!

Why? We are dependent on each other

As Christians, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part. That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God. As all Christians have gifts, we have a responsibility to discover and develop them (1 Timothy 4v14)! God has called Christians and equipped them with spiritual gifts, and they are not to be neglected! You are a member of the body of Jesus Christ the church! If you are not being active that means the Church body is affected aversely! Its like a part of your body failing to do as it should!

Why? Improve your serve!

They are opportunities for Christians to serve other people. Some gifts like teaching, helping or leadership quite possibly are enhancements of natural abilities whilst others like faith, healing and miracles are from the Spirit’s empowerment alone. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus intimates that those who follow Him, will be judged according to all that they have been given stewardship of! This includes things such as Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12v1-10), acts of service (Galatians 5v13) and material possessions (2 Corinthians 9v6-8)! These are used to accomplish three other items of Stewardship: mission, message and people.

Why? To follow Jesus

The Christian life is not to be static or inactive – it was never meant to be! The Christian life is to be dynamic! It is to be active. The word servant is key in Scripture. It is used at least 500 times in its various derivatives. When a Christian serves, God’s honour is released. This is done because service shows the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ to those being served and to those watching. That is to be our motive for service.

Serving is never to be about what you and I can get out of it. When that is the motive, God is not glorified. God’s glory, honour and supremacy are to be the goal of a Christian’s life. Spiritual growth comes from serving rather than being served. This is because what ever is given in service of God and others, your faith grows and Jesus Christ gives back even more. Jesus speaking in Matthew 25v15-30 tells of the rewards for faithful service and the penalties for being faithless.

Serving others is a sign that you are trusting in and having faith in God. It’s a visible aspect of your invisible faith. Service is the outward expression of your inner beliefs. Serving is an outward expression of your inner faith – an external working out of your inner salvation. Serving God and others is the mark of a spiritually mature (or spiritually maturing) Christian and through service, the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ, is reflected in our lives. “For Jesus Christ, came to serve and give his very life for others” (Mark 10v45).

As Christians we are to be as Jesus Christ (Romans 8v28; Philippians 2v5) and to serve. Yet if we are honest, we sometimes feel incapable, just as Moses did (Exodus 3). When the church is built up, unity will inevitably prevail and be built up.


So if you find you are currently inactive in your local church, then please go and make yourself available to serve there! Ask your pastor or church leader how you can help out! By doing so, and submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit who indwells you, the lives of other people could be changed for God’s greater glory because of your acts of service and worship.

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Partakers Bible Thought – Walking with Jesus 03



Walking with Jesus

3. Majestic

Today we glimpse together at the majesty of Jesus:
Come on in to hear what we say about this WOW about Jesus Christ of Nazareth

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty.
He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’
We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 2 Peter 1:16-18 (NIV)

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