WIC Weekly April 18th 2021
Warsaw International Church
Mobile +48 601 331 032
Worship every Sunday at ul. Miodowa 21 (near Old Town) at 11:00 AM
Entrance from Schillera Street
Last Sunday was Peace Sunday at WIC. Not only were the hymns, readings, message and prayers devoted to this topic, but Sister Pulane also shared her Peace Manual with us, outlining what she has found important towards achieving peace in her own life.
Here is your link for the Sunday service: Warsaw International Church - Sunday Service Meeting ID: 818 1714 5932
Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website or by googling "Warsaw International Church YouTube".
Thank you for your continuing support and prayers for our church and for one another. Please remember that WIC is entirely self-supporting: without your contributions we cannot operate as a church.
Should you wish to make a contribution to WIC, the church's bank details are as follows:
Warsaw International Church Santander Bank Polska S.A. IV/Oddział w Warszawie ul. Jana Pawła II 17 00-854 Warszawa Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
We thank God that several worshippers and their families who had fallen sick are now much recovered. Please continue to pray for all you know who are sick at this moment.
Please continue to pray for our English-speaking friends Brother Kenz, Sister Kelly and their three children, who are in Azerbaijan trying to find a church in another country which can sponsor them so that they can start a new life with work prospects. They are still in great financial need and any contributions for them are greatly welcomed - please contact Pastor Harry for payment details.
Vahid in London also welcomes our continuing prayers in his own wait to be granted asylum in the UK.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry.
Last week we saw how Jesus appeared to His loved ones on the very day that He rose from the dead – first to Mary Magdalene, according to John’s Gospel, and then to the disciples when they were locked in their house. I said that this was the beginning of the Christian Church, because the disciples, who had now seen Jesus, must have lost their fear of death and danger completely. They were now living on another level of consciousness – a level I called “resurrection life” – in which they now looked at everything not from the perspective of their limited human life, but from the perspective of eternity, of heaven. They now saw that there is life after death, and it transformed them.
All except Thomas. Thomas didn’t believe that a dead man could just appear in the flesh to many people – but a week later, he was persuaded, because Jesus appeared also to him. His reaction was to confess: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had no more doubts, because he knew what he had seen, and he immediately identified Jesus with God – something he presumably hadn’t done before. He worshipped Him! Only God could do such a thing! So Thomas too now had “resurrection life” or “resurrection consciousness”. And the point that John makes, in that last verse we read, is that anyone who believes with all his heart will also be able to have this new life or consciousness – this new awareness. Anyone who believes with all his heart.
Let’s put it another way. Imagine you are having a near-death experience. Your heart has stopped beating for a while, maybe during an operation in hospital. During that time, you may have an experience of heaven, which many people have had – and they insist that it’s not a dream. You might see your loved ones there, who have passed on. You might see Jesus, perhaps even talk to Him, and He might tell you your time has not yet come, and that you must return to your body in the hospital. But you don’t want to return – no one who has had such an experience wants to return to their bodily life! They all want to stay in this heavenly place. Why? Because it’s all so full of goodness, so full of innocence, so full of peace. There’s no suffering; no pain; no deception; no aggressiveness. Just peace and love everywhere. That’s what resurrection life is like – it’s what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. Jesus always refers to it: it’s the central part of His message, especially in Matthew’s Gospel, where so many parables of Jesus describe to us what life in heaven is really like. Read the parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel!
Love, peace, goodness, kindness – and harmony. “How pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity”, says our psalm for today. And this new resurrection life – this life of living on earth as if you were already in heaven – this is what characterizes the disciples and followers of Jesus from now on. When they pray, they pray with hope and expectation, not with doubt and uncertainty or fear. When they are together, they share everything they have. None of them is in need! Money is available because those who are better off give what they have in abundance to the poorer ones! You don’t find a mentality of calculation here, according to which we have to be careful how much we give to others because we might not have so much left for ourselves! That’s not the Kingdom of Heaven mentality! When two believers – Ananias and Sapphira – decide to give some money to the group, but then change their minds and keep part of it for themselves, what happens? They both drop dead. Why? Because their calculation mentality has no place in the Kingdom of Heaven. I think this is a clear warning to all of God’s people!
You see, this highlights the problem that we Christians have. We live in two competing worlds at the same time: the earthly life, and the heavenly life. And in fact we have two competing natures within us: a self-centred nature, and a Christ-centred nature. But the Bible tells us that our “self” nature has been crucified with Christ – when He died for us – and that we must now live in accordance with that fact. We must somehow live without being self-centred – not like Ananias and Sapphira. If I give a poor man a million pounds, he is in fact a rich man – his poverty is dead, non-existent. But if he continues to live as a poor man, with his shabby clothes, then he has no benefit from his richness. In the same way, if we continue to live according to our sinful instincts and our calculation mentality – our self-centredness, with its fears and worries, when we keep things for ourselves instead of giving them to God or to others in need – then we won’t have any peace and joy of living the heavenly life here on earth. We are Christians, but we have no peace, because we’re always worried about ourselves – and then we easily fall into sin.
Dear Friends, Jesus wants us to have peace – peace from sin, peace from worry – and He wants us to be at peace with others! Every time He appears to His disciples, He first says: “Peace be with you”. And that’s basically the Good News about Jesus that was, and is, and will be proclaimed to mankind: “Peace on earth, good will towards men!” Jesus brings peace between God and man, because He ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven – a kingdom which we can live in, here on earth, right now! How can we do it in practice? Sister Pulane has spent a great deal of time thinking about this, because it’s a subject that’s close to her heart. She’s had to find peace within herself; and she’ll share her conclusions with us right after our next hymn.
Jesus wants all of us to be at peace, no matter how negative our external situation may be. If we can have that peace – not just for a moment, but continually – then we’ll be living as if we were already in heaven. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as having a limited life of so many years. No! – we have eternal life, and heaven is real! Heaven is a place where we have all that we’ve ever really wanted to have, deep down: love, peace, acceptance; goodness, kindness, gentleness; innocence, happiness, forgiveness – and above all, the presence of Jesus, the presence of God.
So heaven is the true reality – because one day our earthly life will come to an end. When you wake up in the morning – and whenever you can during the day – think about your future “heaven” life; and put it into practice here and now. If you do that, you can find yourself having a peace and joy which you didn’t have before – and you can have it on a permanent basis. Jesus never gave us a set of instructions, like other religious teachers do. He simply showed us what heaven is like. And it’s now up to us, to learn how to live in it. Amen.
Readings for 18 April
Verse for the week: "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2, 6).
Responsive reading: 2 Samuel 22, 33-41. 50. 1st New Testament reading: 2 Timothy 2, 22-26. 2nd New Testament reading: 2 Corinthians 10, 3-6. Gospel reading: Matthew 22, 34-38.
Food of the Spirit
“JESUS IS THE ONE THEY ARE LOOKING FOR”
After a year of seeking unity and sharing the message of Jesus Christ, one ministry says it was able to reach more than 100 million people with the Gospel in 2020. Pulse, a millennial-led evangelism movement, is looking to do it all again in 2021 by empowering more Christians to share the hope of Christ with a new generation. Founder Nick Hall says that today’s political atmosphere is actually driving young people closer to God.
“What I am hearing from young believers is really a desire to come together around the need to share Jesus, to share the Gospel,” he explained. “There’s all sorts of opinions about all sorts of things, all sorts of ideas and yet there is one thing that changes everything, and so I am seeing people praying, fasting, and really believing that no matter what happens, we know that God is in control and we need to trust Him now more than ever.”
He notes that the ministry is looking for fresh ways to engage with people because Jesus is what will bring them hope and healing. “Our team is really trying to rally the church to pray, to unite, to heal and really to mobilize because in the midst of an unsettled time, in the midst of uncertainty, we have the certain message of the Gospel. And now more than ever, people are open to that message. Now more than ever, we need to share it and we need to be looking for opportunities to reach more people who need Jesus.
“…This is a digital age, and in the midst of COVID-19, racial crisis, and political crisis, we as the church have an opportunity of what we’re going to respond with, and…our team in the midst of this, we’ve been able to pivot and put on some massive gatherings. In the last 12 months, even from March to May last year, we had over 150 million people hear the Gospel and over 100,000 publicly respond to Jesus. These are digital events, outreach events, Zoom all over the world and through television. I just think there’s never been a hunger like this.”
Hall said his prayer in 2021 is for revival. “I think we need revival. We need God to move, to change us as a church. God always starts in His house. More than we need a change in the White House or our neighbor’s house...God always likes to start in His house…we are His people. We need God to rend the heavens and stir in us.
“Repentance needs to start with us and we need to get before God that He would set us on fire for what matters, that we would burn for Scripture, that His Word would be alive in us… – it’s a prayer for an awakening. I believe that now is the time for the world to see a clear declaration of the Gospel and that Jesus is the One they are looking for.”
– CBN News
Praise the Lord for the way He is working through the Pulse ministry, and other ministries, even in the midst of the pandemic and other crises! Thank Him for bringing many lost people into salvation and for encouraging and strengthening many who already belong to Him. Pray that He will continue to guide and empower these ministries to reach many for Christ. Pray that He will rend the heavens and stir in the lives of His people so that 2021 is indeed a year of revival!
GOSPEL ADVANCE IN IRAQ
When throngs of Iraqis began converging on Baghdad’s main square in peaceful protests more than a year ago, a highly educated businessman made sure he was there on the first day (Oct. 1, 2019). Samer Jawad (name changed for security reasons) joined thousands of others in Tahrir Square frustrated at the faltering economy and breakdowns in public services. Demonstrations went on for months, spreading to central and southern provinces, with various groups in Tahrir Square setting up tents. Protesters included scientists, doctors, engineers and intellectuals, and Jawad visited tents filled with well-documented books on political and economic issues.
The leader of a ministry based in Iraq also set up a tent in Tahrir Square – eager to show solidarity with the protesters’ desire for basic rights and seeing a unique opportunity to reach a broad cross-section of the population with the Gospel. Over the ensuing weeks, local missionaries maintained their presence in the square even as demonstrations met with tent-burning, armed militias and a government military response that killed at least 700 people and injured more than 2,700 others.
Intrigued by the Christians’ tent, one day Jawad happened by and found a wide variety of Christian books, the scope of which he had never imagined. “Samer is an educated and rational person who always faces any argument using logic,” the ministry leader said. “He got a copy of the Gospel after he expressed a strong desire to read it. He said, ‘Throughout my entire life, I had hoped to get the Bible, but I had no opportunity.’ He had many questions about the Christian faith during the months of protests and visits to our tent.” The tent was staffed by a well-trained team to proclaim the message of Christ’s salvation and, if necessary, to discuss objections that Muslims might have.
“Samer asked Jesus Christ to be his personal Savior and started attending local church meetings,” the leader said. “He told us, ‘Who would have believed that I would meet Christ in the midst of this great revolution in Tahrir Square in Baghdad?’ He has now shared Christ with his three brothers and three sisters.”
The arrival of the novel coronavirus in 2020 helped put an end to the crowds in Tahrir Square, but not before the Lord used the protests to reach many people with the message of eternal life. “Despite the tension in Tahrir Square, the burning of tents and the intervention of armed militias, the Lord gave us a great opportunity to share the Gospel with hundreds of people, distribute more than 4,000 New Testaments to the protesters, pray with many of the wounded and offer condolences to the families of those who were killed during the demonstrations,” the leader said.
Most of the native ministry’s work is directed toward the continually growing number of displaced people and refugees, especially as they have been hit hard by the pandemic. “The pandemic has placed its weight heavily on them, which opens the door for us to intervene and help,” the leader said. “As we do this work, we present Christ and share the Gospel with many, and the results of people interacting with the work of the Holy Spirit are amazing.”
Praise the Lord for the people who met Christ in the midst of the protests in Iraq! Thank Him for the ministries that shared the message and love of Christ during that time and for their ongoing outreach in the midst of the pandemic. Thank the Lord for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives. Ask the Lord for His continued guidance, provision and blessings upon His people in Iraq and the ministry He has entrusted to them.
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