WIC Weekly August 23rd and 30th 2020
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
This issue of WIC Weekly is being sent to you very early in good time for next Sunday, and is a double issue on account of my vacation.
WIC is continuing to meet online for Sunday services. A church council meeting will be held on 2 September to discuss the planned return to church services on 13 September. It's worth noting that the number of daily COVID-19 cases is increasing quite sharply in Poland, higher than it has ever been, although the number of deaths remains relatively low. New restrictions introduced by the Polish government cannot therefore be ruled out.
I'm happy to report that our Brother Pratheep has been able to return to India to attend his father's funeral.
Our Turkish Sister Anna, for whom we had been praying on account of her severe pains and fearing bad news, has received medical test results indicating that the problem is not, after all, serious, and she can now be treated with the proper medication. We praise the Lord for this good news and Anna and I are thankful for all your prayers!
Our Spanish Sister Maria has happily been admitted to postgraduate studies at Warsaw University, although because of COVID-19 she will currently be studying online from Spain. We look forward to her return to Warsaw at a later period.
Thank you for all your support, in any form, and particularly your prayers, for our 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 Here is your link for this Sunday’s online service at 11 am CET:
Join us for this Sunday’s live online service on Zoom at 11 am CET by clicking: Warsaw International Church - Weekly Zoom Service (Sundays @11:00 am) Time: Sundays @ 11:00 AM Warsaw Meeting ID: 375 882 822
Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website.
Sister Maria in Spain reports that the coronavirus situation in her country is deteriorating rapidly, with hospitals being unable to cope with all the admissions, and the economy in ruins. In so many other countries where our worshippers come from or are currently living, the coronavirus is causing similar havoc (the USA and India are good examples). Some of our members are experiencing increasing stress. Please let's pray for one another - for people like Maria and our Indian friends, and our loved ones in particularly affected countries - that God may protect and strengthen them in this difficult time, and that they may trust Him to be in charge no matter how bleak the situation may seem.
Please pray for a sister in Warsaw with a multitude of health problems, who is increasingly restricted in what she can eat. There is no particular diagnosis, and her problems are a bit of a mystery, but let's pray that the Lord Jesus will heal her of all these ailments, that she may enjoy eating again. Pray also that she may find a true faith in the Lord.
Please remember July and Francesco in your prayers, as they begin a new chapter in their lives in the city of Iasi, Romania. May they be led to the people and the church that the Lord has prepared for them.
Please continue to pray for the power of God's Holy Spirit to descend upon the nations of this world, that there may be a mass turning to Christ as a result. The coronavirus crisis makes it clear to us that God is giving us an opportunity to turn to Him, because it is usually when tragedy occurs and life is endangered that people emerge from their self-centred shells and cry out to the Lord.
Last Sunday’s sermon
Readings: Genesis 45, 1-15; Romans 11, 1-2. 29-32; Matthew 15, 21-28.
What do we have here, in this last reading? A miracle: Jesus heals the woman's daughter, who is demon-possessed and suffering terribly. And before the miracle, a cry for help: "Lord, help me!" She is desperate - no one else can restore her daughter to health; but she has faith that the "Lord, Son of David", as she calls Jesus, can do it - even though, as a foreigner, she doesn't know much about Him. The title she gives him - Lord, Son of David - shows that she believes that Jesus is the promised Saviour of the Jews, the Holy One of God. She believes this - even though she herself is not Jewish or practising the Jewish religion. In the same way, people do not have to be practising Christians or believe all the right things about Jesus, as long as they believe in His healing, saving power.
This woman is a Greek-speaking pagan, from the area of Tyre and Sidon – towns which are now in Lebanon: yes, Lebanon, with all its horrible problems at the moment. What was Jesus doing there, in that pagan region? He was there, so that pagans – today we might say non-Christians – might get to know Him. So we see that, before Paul became a missionary to the Gentiles, Jesus was already having dealings with such people, and more importantly, He was healing them.
But notice that Jesus did not at first respond to that woman’s cry. And when the disciples urged Him to get rid of her, He said: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” – in other words, to His own people, the Jews. But think: in our modern-day context, who is Jesus sent to? Who are the lost sheep of Israel today? I would say that only God knows who they are. But they are the people who cry out to Him, like that woman – people all over the world: they could be Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, anybody who cries out to God in despair because of their problems. They are today’s lost sheep of Israel.
Jesus doesn’t respond for a long time. And then, finally, he says: “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”. Interesting. How would you feel if you came to me and said: “Pastor Harry, can you help me? Can you pray for me?” And I said: “Look here, it’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”. I think that’s the last time I’d see you in church! It’s as if Jesus is saying: “I have something good to give you, but I’m not going to give it to you, because you’re not worth it”. Can you imagine? You’re crying out to God, and you hit a brick wall. Does it happen to you? You desperately need healing – but God is silent, and nothing happens. So you give up – it doesn’t work.
But this woman does not give up. She doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She keeps on at Jesus: “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table”. She’s saying that the Jews will not be neglected if You, Jesus, heal the pagans as well. She’s saying that Jesus can heal both Jews and pagans, and no one will miss out! If crumbs fall from the children’s table and are eaten by animals and birds, will the children be hungry? No, of course not. So, in modern terms, if we get nothing but silence from God when we pray to Him in despair, should we assume that He’s going to heal other people, but not us? Should we assume that others are better qualified to be healed than we are? No, of course not. If we are lost, then the Lord can heal us just as much as He can heal others. Do you see the lesson? If you are in despair, and in need of healing, you are just as important to God as anybody else is. So keep pleading with Him. The woman’s faith and persistence enables her daughter to be healed – and Jesus didn’t even see her. Long-distance healing.
Interesting, isn’t it? You don’t have to be with someone physically, for them to be healed. You can be a hundred miles away. I remember reading about a revival in America in the late 1850s. It began with a lunchtime prayer meeting in New York City. The first week, six people came. The next week, twenty attended. Six months later, ten thousand businessmen were meeting for prayer. Similar meetings were held in more than a thousand towns and cities east of the Mississippi River. And the amazing thing was that people who were on ships approaching the East Coast felt a holy influence, hundreds of miles from land. Revival began on one ship before it reached the coast. The people on board started to feel the presence of God and a sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them and they began to pray. Another ship arrived in port with every member of the crew converted in the last 150 miles of the journey. Ship after ship arrived in the ports of the East Coast with the same story. Passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of their sin and turned to Christ, before they reached the American coast. The power of God is not limited by distance.
Yes, God has His plans for us – but He also has special plans for the Jews. Even though they killed their own Saviour, God does not reject them, or change His call. Did God reject them, after the way Joseph’s brothers treated him? No. Joseph was taken to Egypt as a slave – the lowest of the low. But God raised him up to become prime minister of all Egypt. Have you been kicked around? – God can raise you up. When his brothers came to Egypt to buy food, Joseph realized that God had sent him to Egypt for a purpose. Are you in a strange place, a strange situation, a strange land? – God has put you there for a purpose. Joseph understood what so many people can’t understand today: that God has a plan for each nation and each individual person, and will carry His plan out. Even in your crazy situation, He will carry out His plan. Rest in Him. Trust Him to lead you through the storm.
So actually, today’s main theme is: mercy. God’s mercy and man’s mercy. Joseph should have hated his brothers for what they did to him – but he doesn’t. He can’t hate them – because he loves them. After all that they did to him, he still loves his brothers! It’s illogical. The people of this world would say to him: “Joseph, are you stupid? Where’s your common sense? Don’t you want to take revenge on your brothers? What’s wrong with you?” That’s the cry of the world – and many, many people behave like the world expects them to. Their hearts are closed to love and mercy. They can show no mercy to those who showed no mercy to them. That may be the heart of the world. But it’s not the heart of Jesus.
Sisters, Brothers, look at your own hearts! Are there areas of hardness there? Areas of no forgiveness? Areas of anger? Areas of hurt? Confess them to God, and ask Him to remove them, because they’re blocking your relationship with the Lord. I have to confess before you and God an area of anger in myself – on Thursday I was on the metro, and there was a man there who was wearing a mask, but not over his mouth and nose – he was wearing it over his chin, to protect his chin from the coronavirus. I got angry with him because he didn’t respond to my request to put his mask on properly. In the end I called him a not very nice word. My mistake, because I shouldn’t have got angry. I get angry too easily when I see unfairness and stupidity. Maybe it’s a small thing – but we all have such small things, don’t we? But they block us from fully seeing Jesus.
Remember that, if God didn’t have the heart of Jesus – and if He got angry with us - there would be no hope for any of us. No mercy. No forgiveness. We would have Buddhism and Hinduism instead: if you do wrong, you suffer for it – it’s your karma. You tried to kill Joseph, so now there’s no food for you in this famine. You sinned against God in the past? – so now there’s no hope for you, and you go to hell as punishment, no matter how bad you feel about it. You have been branded a sinner, and now you can’t change it. Some so-called Christians are like that – they judge you, and then, no matter how good you are, they will never change their opinion of you.
You know, the worst thing I can imagine is a world without a merciful God. Religious sects are like that – they show no mercy. Even extreme Catholicism or extreme Protestantism can be cruel like that. But the Bible tells us there is a God, and there is mercy. So we too should be merciful. We should, all of us, have the heart of Jesus. That’s the real heart of God. So when we cry out to the Lord in our despair, in our problems and sicknesses, like the Canaanite woman: “Lord, help me!”, then let us cry, not only knowing that we are God’s lost sheep, but also knowing that He is merciful by nature, and will not reject our cries. And let us keep crying, until He comes to us, comforts us, because He has washed us clean with the blood of Jesus. Don’t let anyone tell you you are worthless and going to hell! Fix your eyes on Jesus, and let Him change you into His beautiful image – the beautiful butterfly He always meant you to be. Amen.
Readings for 23 and 30 August
23 August is the 12th Sunday after Pentecost.
Verse for the week: "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12, 1). Psalm: 124. Old Testament reading: Exodus 1, 22 - 2,15. New Testament reading: Romans 12, 1-8.
Worship leader: Christopher Stone Preacher: Sam Singh Music: Marilyn Dypczynski
30 August is the 13th Sunday after Pentecost.
Verse for the week: "Jesus said to His disciples, 'Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me'" (Matthew 16, 24). Psalm: 105, 1-6. 23-26. Old Testament reading: Exodus 3, 1-15. Gospel reading: Matthew 16, 24-28.
Worship leader: Bogosi Moepadira Preacher: Christopher Stone Music: Anna and Justin Door
Food of the Spirit
"God does nothing except in response to believing prayer" - John Wesley.
Give To The Winds Thy Fears (Paul Gerhardt, translated by John Wesley) Give to the winds thy fears; Hope, and be undismayed: God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears, God shall lift up thy head.
Through waves, and clouds, and storms He gently clears thy way: Wait thou His time; so shall this night Soon end in joyous day.
Still heavy is thy heart? Still sink thy spirits down? Cast off the weight, let fear depart, Bid every care be gone.
What though thou rulest not? Yet heaven, and earth, and hell Proclaim: God sitteth on the throne, And ruleth all things well!
Leave to His sovereign sway To choose and to command; So shalt thou, wondering, own His way How wise, how strong His hand.
Far, far above thy thought His counsel shall appear, When fully He the work hath wrought That caused thy needless fear.
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