The Rectory Bulletin
Fruits of the Spirit

Fruitful Living

Mon 31st May 2021

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-24) - At times you may feel a million miles away from patience and self-control. Joy and peace might feel like far distant hopes. At these times the answer is not positive thinking, or sheer effort. No, times like these are calls to put down roots.

Read more

Sundays

Adopted

Sun 30th May 2021

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:21-17) - Some treat Christianity as being fostered: you can only stay with God as long as you behave yourself; you might be moved on at any moment. That is to misunderstand things. Adoption is permanent. The papers have been signed. You are now a child of God. If have decided to follow Christ, you are a Child of God and the Holy Sprit within you acts as your adoption papers. He bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Spirit of God

Sat 29th May 2021

"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26) - And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6) - Here then is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. This Spirit is as much God as the Father and the Son are, but we must be careful not to think of him simply as some vague force.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Son of the Father

Fri 28th May 2021

“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:2–3) - So it is that Jesus is not another God, but simply the God. God made manifest. The God made known. The image of the invisible God.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Uncreated Father

Thu 27th May 2021

In the beginning, God... (Genesis 1:1) - God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14) - Often when you meet someone, you ask them: “where are you from”. God alone can answer: nowhere. He just is. In the beginning God was already there, and his name is simply “I AM WHO I AM”. He just is. We can describe him, but we cannot define him. Deeper than all my thought, emotions and intuition is God. Who is.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Trinity

Wed 26th May 2021

“And when Jesus was baptised, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”” (Matthew 3:16–17) - As our heads gently swim, perhaps I might put it this way: we believe in the Trinity, because the Father acts like God, Jesus acts like God and the Spirit acts like God. Yet we know that God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4). Quite how it works, we leave to God. That it works is clear in the pages of the Bible.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Very Meet, Right, and our Bounden Duty

Tue 25th May 2021

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Revelation 5:12–14) - At times it is easy to live your life with eyes cast down, and shoes shuffling along the pavement. It is at precisely that time that you need to look up and realise the great majesty of God. A God who knows you by name!

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Righteous and Kind

Mon 24th May 2021

“The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17) - God may be the judge, but he is also the one who sent his Son so that we might be forgiven. God is “kind”. To have a God who is both righteous and kind; well that is a most comforting balance. God judges, but God forgives. What a God we have!

Read more

Sundays

Pentecost

Sun 23rd May 2021

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:1-2) - So it is that Pentecost burst onto the world, bringing together word and Spirit as Joel’s words pointed to what was happening. Bringing together Old and New Testaments that selfsame prophet’s prophecies were fulfilled. Bringing all peoples together as they shared in the joyous call of God. We may long for such days again, but don’t simply long. Allow that longing to turn you to prayer, prayer that God’s church might once more be revived.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Infinite, Infallible, and Self-Contained

Fri 21st May 2021

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?” (Romans 11:33–34) - We unconsciously imagine him to be bound by culture, and time. As if an eternal God knows more than he did back then. As if the God who himself is the definition of truth, makes mistakes. As if our very salvation, and our hopes for eternal life are in the hands of a fallible God.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

God Sees

Thu 20th May 2021

"And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) - Some might find this idea that God sees all a threatening one. But then, the realisation that regardless of this Christ still died to gain your forgiveness dawns. What Grace that is! However much you screw up your eyes, you are not out of the sight of God. That, though, should be a comfort!

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Sovereign God

Wed 19th May 2021

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) - “which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” (1 Timothy 6:15) - God can do what he pleases, and we should be very wary of sitting in judgment over him. We know very little in comparison to his all knowing knowledge. Better to trust that God is good, and that he works all things for good for those who love him.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The God of All Things

Tue 18th May 2021

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) - For anyone to be able to say that they fully understand God is to claim that they are in fact greater than he is. That their finite mind can contain the infinite! In the end, we owe all that we are to the eternal God.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

God Derives No Glory From Us

Mon 17th May 2021

“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10) - We must be wary of thinking that we are doing God a favour with our devotion and energies. He needs no favours, but rather our actions are a rich response to his grace. A joyful echo of what we have received from him. The glory is not in the thing that is produced, but in the majestic God which prompted all of this in the first place.

Read more

Sundays

In the World, but not of the World

Sun 16th May 2021

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. (John 17:6) - Christian! The Father has taken you from the world and placed you in the secure hands of Christ. You will find no safer, or more secure place in which to dwell.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The All Sufficient God

Sat 15th May 2021

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24–25) - Perhaps rather than helping God out we would let him help us out. Rather than making him ‘up to date’ we should realise he is timeless. If God is God, perhaps we would do better to trust him, his message and his methods.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Sure and Certain

Sat 15th May 2021

“After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’” (Acts 15:16–18) - And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the LORD: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind.” (Ezekiel 11:5) - Whereas our plans are often contingent on other things, and less than certain, not so with the Almighty. What God says will occur, will occur

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Blessedness

Fri 14th May 2021

he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15–16) - To be blessed is to be the recipient of something which brings joy and is undeserved. It is to live in a state of thankfulness, knowing that someone else has favoured you. Treat all things like a blessing, and it’s like living as if everyday were your birthday!

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

Goodness

Thu 13th May 2021

“You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:68) - It is only as we live in accordance with God’s statutes that we can be a reliable judge of “good”, and experience the fullness of goodness. Let God, not anyone else, be the arbiter of “good”.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The God of Glory

Wed 12th May 2021

And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,” (Acts 7:2) - It is easy to acknowledge that we rely upon God for life, but not often easy to depend on him for glory or worth. Better to seek the Lord in whom all wisdom is to be found, and who alone can give you a meaning which endures.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

God Has All Life

Tue 11th May 2021

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King.” (Jeremiah 10:10) - “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” (John 5:25–26) - I AM. God just is. God has no beginning or end because he is simply ‘being’. God has “life in himself” and so all life is a gift from God. I wonder, how do you use it?

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

He Will by No Means Clear the Guilty

Mon 10th May 2021

The LORD ... keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty. (Exodus 34:7) - The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. (Nahum 1:3) - The move from iniquity to repentance is a move from guilt to forgiveness. It is a humbling thing, but also a liberating thing. It might not be natural to us, it might even take years, but the Lord is patient.

Read more

Sundays

As Christ Loved You

Sun 09th May 2021

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9) - That is the church - the living body of Christ. Not simply a charity or a building, but a people called together by God himself. What an awe inspiring vision, what a wonderful prospect. So, go and love each other as Christ loved you.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

God and Sin

Sat 08th May 2021

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18) - Christ’s righteousness covers over the unrighteousness of all who turn to him. In Christ, God provides us with a solution.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Justice of God

Fri 07th May 2021

Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. (Nehemiah 9:32–33) - It is as we come to terms with the justice of God that we begin to grasp the wonderful, deep grace of his forgiveness. As we realise how far short we have fallen, the bloody, reconciling sacrifice of Christ on the cross becomes more precious

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Rewarder of Those Who Seek Him

Thu 06th May 2021

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) - The best way to seek God then, is to read this revelation. It is to pray and live in the knowledge that God exists. It is to realise that the world revolves around him, and not around you! It is a revolution in the way you view the world.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

A God All-Gracious

Wed 05th May 2021

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:6–7) - The fact that he sent his only Son so that we might be reconciled back to him is sheer grace. The fact that Jesus’s death has washed away those sins which we commit is abundant mercy. The fact that he sticks with us is great patience indeed. That he forgives “iniquity and transgression and sin” is something to be cherished.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

A Most Loving God

Tue 04th May 2021

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:8–9) - So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16) - This is what love truly looks like, it is not simply an emotion or a feeling but active and reconciling. It is the means by which God brings forgiveness, and restores sinful humans to a holy God.

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Glory of God

Mon 03rd May 2021

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36) - Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11) - When we give glory to God, we are giving him the weighty seriousness he deserves. God’s glory means he shouldn’t be taken lightly, or dismissed with a brief “I’m sure God wouldn’t mind”. People get nervous when the Queen enters the room. How much more the King of Kings!

Read more

Sundays

Abiding in God

Sun 02nd May 2021

This is how the Christian bears fruit which glorify God. As Jesus I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1) - The practice of abiding in Christ is a lifelong task, something which deepens and becomes more rich over time. This is how the Christian bears fruit which glorify God. As Jesus says: “apart from me you can do nothing”. As Jesus warns: “if anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned”. The soil of Christ is rich indeed. Christian - put down your roots!

Read more

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Prevailing Will of God

Sat 01st May 2021

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11) - To have this confidence in God’s will is something which will keep you going through the darker turns of life. Rather than just fatalism, it is knowing that you are being shepherded by a God who both loves you and sent his son to die for you. The prevailing will of God is the most wonderful thing.

Read more