WIC Weekly December 6th 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
Our online Sunday School now has five children attending, aged between 8 and 11 years. They meet at 10:30 am, just before the Sunday service. I'm very grateful to Sisters Preethi, Belinda and Priyanka for their dedication and enthusiasm.
Here is your link for our Holy Communion service this coming Sunday on Zoom at 11 am CET:
Warsaw International Church - Sunday Service(https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81817145932?pwd=NHJTUkdWQWR3YU9FaFUwWEQzU2dxUT09) 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".
Five Messages from Pastor Harry to Seekers and Unbelievers in the Coronavirus Age have been recorded on YouTube. IF YOU KNOW ANY SEEKERS, UNBELIEVERS OR DOUBTERS WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM WATCHING THEM, PLEASE SEND THEM THIS LINK TO THE MESSAGES:
Thank you for all your support and prayers for our church and for one another.
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 continue to pray for peace in Ethiopia and for the safety of Brother Issayas' relatives in the Tigray region.
Your prayers are requested for 12-year-old Kacper, a disabled boy who has had a major operation to straighten his spine. The operation seems to have succeeded, but Kacper's wounds are taking a very long time to heal, and he is also in some pain.
A Pakistani Christian family (parents and three children) has contacted us from Azerbaijan, where they are applying for asylum following persecution in Pakistan. Please pray that the Azeri court will allow them to stay in that country, and that they may survive financially.
Please continue to pray for all you know who are experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Some of our worshippers are suffering financial problems because of job losses or cutbacks. Others have lost relatives or friends due to the virus. Pray for the Lord's protection!
Pray for the Lord to lead people everywhere to repentance and faith in Him as a result of the current crisis.
Sermon preached by Pastor Harry on 29 November
Psalm 80; Isaiah 64, 1-9; 1 Corinthians 1, 3-9; Mark 13, 24-37
Elvis Presley once had a hit with a song called “Why Can’t Every Day Be Like Christmas?” The song points out that Christmas is special – not like our grey everyday life. The grey reality today is not only the grey Polish weather, but also that COVID-19 cases and deaths are still very high in number. In the past few months, we were hearing of famous people who had been infected. But now we are hearing of our own friends and relatives who have fallen ill. And at least one member of this church has lost a close relative due to the coronavirus.
Is there any hope for people? Maybe – because several vaccines are being developed, and our leaders are telling us these may be available to us as early as January. The hope is that people will soon be able to get vaccinated and then life will return to normal. Maybe this hope of a vaccine will keep us going over Christmas.
In today’s psalm, the people of Israel felt crushed. The psalms are traditionally regarded as being written by David, but in reality they span several centuries, and this one seems to date from the time of the Babylonian exile – just like that other famous psalm, “By the rivers of Babylon” (David wasn’t alive then). The people are crying out to God to save them and restore them. They’re in a state of crisis – but they have hope that God will raise up “the man at His right hand – the Son of Man”. That to me seems a clear reference to Jesus, who wouldn’t appear on earth until many hundreds of years later. So the Israelites in our psalm are already looking forward to Christ! And that verse – verse 17 – is a good verse to write down and quote when you’re dealing with people who say there’s no connection between the Old and New Testaments, or no mention of Christ in the Old Testament: “Let Your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the Son of Man You have raised up for Yourself”.
Today’s Old Testament reading from Isaiah 64 also carries a message of hope. It dates from when the Jews were already back in their homeland, after being set free by the Persians. Their cities, and especially Jerusalem and its temple, are in ruins. Do the people have hope? Yes. They remember that God came to help them when they did what was right – and He withdrew from them when they persisted in sinning and turning away from Him.
Notice that here in Isaiah, the people have no illusions about how sinful they are. They’re not saying: “Come to us, God, because we’ve been good!” They already realize that they’re not actually capable of doing any good. It’s as if they’re saying: “We are all unclean – and only You, Lord, can make us clean, by coming to us”. Maybe all those years in exile under the Babylonians and Persians have made them humble, more away of their own sinfulness. They say to God: “You are the potter, we are the clay”. They’re saying: “We are useless, shapeless clay – only You, God, can make us into something lovely – a beautiful pot”.
If you know your Bible, you’ll remember that in Romans 9, the apostle Paul takes up this same symbol of the potter and his clay, by giving it a new meaning – to say that God is sovereign and can therefore make good pots or bad pots, as He pleases. But that’s not the original meaning, because here in Isaiah the message is: “Wait on God – rely on Him – ask Him to make you into something beautiful”. So again, there is hope: we don’t have to stay the way we are – we can hope that God will change us into something new, something better. And isn’t that why Christ came to earth?
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? How much hope do you have? Just a little? An average amount? Or maybe you’re overflowing with hope? To tell you the truth, the Bible is very pessimistic about the future of the world. In Mark’s Gospel reading for today, this is how the future of the world is described by Jesus: “The sun will be darkened; and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky; and the heavenly bodies will be shaken”. That sounds to me like a fair description of a nuclear war. Enough to make us all very pessimistic about the future of the world.
So the great surprise is the attitude of the first Christians – people like Paul, or the churches he was writing to. Were they depressed? Not at all! They were brimming over with optimism! Full of hope! I’m sure their situation was worse than in today’s pandemic – not only did people fall ill and die much quicker in those days, but they were also persecuted. Yet look at Paul’s description of the Corinthians: “You do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed!” Those first Christians were expecting the world to end at any moment – and they were ready for it, even longing for it, because then Jesus would come again in Person! That was the only thing that interested them! It was the only thing that gave them hope!
So, Friends, our mentality today is very different from that of those early Christians. How many of us sincerely, honestly, have the longing and tremendous hope in Christ’s return that those early Christians had? How many of us look forward eagerly to being gathered up by Christ’s angels? Were those first Christians closer to God, with their lack of interest in what happens to the world? Or are we closer, by emphasizing man’s responsible stewardship in making our planet a safe and wonderful place to live?
Or maybe both attitudes are needed? – our love and care for our planet; but also our confident looking forward in hope to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? And of course, looking forward in hope to meeting God face to face after our own death. The big question is: are we prepared to meet Him, one way or another? Are we alert, ready and watching, even now?
I want to offer you today a clearer perspective on what it really means to be ready and alert for Christ to come. Does it mean just waiting for the big event to happen? Waiting for our death, or the Second Coming of Christ? I don’t think so. Being ready, being alert, watching, means being willing to do anything that God gives us to do, today, tomorrow, after-tomorrow – whether it’s something big and important, or something small and unimportant. When you think about it, who actually programmes your day? Is it you, with your list of tasks? Or is it the Lord? You might have a list of jobs to do – but everything might turn out very differently from what you expect! It’s actually God who gives us His tasks every day! He’s the one who gives colour to our life – we just have a few outlines. So the point is to be ready and alert for whatever duty God is giving us to do, every day – no matter whether we find that duty pleasant or unpleasant. We serve the Lord – and so we must be ready to respond to His voice all the time.
Dear Friends, do you see what I’m saying? Yes, we must eagerly hope for the spiritual blessings that await us in the future. But we must also open ourselves to the presence of God in our everyday life. The Kingdom of Heaven is already here on earth – it was ushered in by Jesus. So, just like the burning bush which revealed the presence of the Lord to Moses, so we can expect that presence in our life right now, at every turn. And then every day will be like Christmas for us; because Christmas – Bethlehem – will be in our hearts, all the time. Amen.
Readings for 6 December (2nd Sunday in Advent)
Verse for the week: "We preach Christ crucified" (1 Corinthians 1, 23).
Responsive reading: Psalm 87. 1st New Testament reading: 1 John 4, 16-21. 2nd New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 13, 4-13. Gospel reading: John 15, 9-17.
Food of the Spirit
Did you realize that the Body of Christ lacks no funds to pay for the expenses of every one of God’s ordained plans, including taking the Gospel to all nations?
“But Brother K.P.,” you will immediately reply, “if this is true, what about all the desperate needs and heartbreaking stories we hear about the mission fields of Asia and other parts of the world?” The answer is simple: The money that God has entrusted to individual believers and local churches is tied up in properties, elaborate church buildings, houses, cars, boats, bank accounts, investments, fashion, entertainment and self-serving programs. Billy Graham once said, “The hardest thing for a man or a woman to do is to give their money. A person’s money represents his time, his talents, his education, his sweat, his tears, his job, his toils; and when he converts them into currency and gives it, he is giving his life.”
However, if we understood what our money does on the mission field, that is, what God is doing with it, we would be amazed and more than willing to sell even the clothes on our back to reach the lost world. The following story perfectly illustrates the eternal value of the money we give.
In northwest India, a group of native missionaries was preaching the Gospel on the street. A man in his late 50s came and got a Gospel tract in his native language. This man was a Hindu Brahman landlord. He had cancer in his body; and in order not to bring shame to his family, he ran away from his home to commit suicide. Far away from his home now, he sat on the street corner and read about Jesus and how He had died for him on the cross 2,000 years ago.
There was a prayer he could pray at the end of this tract for forgiveness of sins and peace. For the first time in this man’s life, he not only read about Jesus, but he prayed to Him. He felt something happening to him—a peace began to fill his heart. He did not commit suicide that day, but instead he journeyed back home.
The next day he went to the hospital for the doctors to give him further checkups. To his amazement, the doctors pronounced that he was completely cured. The doctors could give no explanation of how it happened. He told them he knew—the tract he read had cured him. He traveled to the nearest mission station at the address on the Gospel tract and told our brothers what had happened to him. As they explained to him more about the Lord Jesus, he began to weep. Finally he said, “Now I know this Jesus is my God.” Then he said to them, “I am the landlord in my village. Would you please come and make all my people Christians?” How innocent, how naive and how little he knew about sharing the Gospel.
Two brothers went with him and began to preach the Gospel in this village. Dozens of people gave their lives to Christ and were publicly baptized. As they continued sharing, a strong church was developed in the community. The transformation of this village happened through one simple Gospel tract that cost less than what it costs to buy one pack of chewing gum. Would the individual who gave that $1 or $10 have ever thought a few pennies of that money would be used to print a Gospel tract that in turn would touch the life of one individual, saving him, healing him and as a result reaching a whole village with the Gospel? Probably not.
Consider the thousands of underground churches in mainland China. Most churches there are privileged if they have one or two Bibles for the entire congregation. Several years ago I was in China. I was totally amazed as I listened to the Chinese brothers explain the scarcity of Bibles. When I asked how they manage, they told me that they tear the Bible into sections and hand out 10 pages per family. Each family will copy down these pages and bring the portion back, and then they are traded around so each family gets a different 10 pages.
What an incredible joy it will be for a person to stand before the throne of God and meet thousands of Chinese brothers and sisters whose church received Bibles through his faithful sacrificial giving. Can you imagine the joy, the thrill that will be? Here’s a third example: Consider the 60 adults who came to the Lord Jesus Christ through hearing the radio broadcast in the northeast India state of Orissa. No missionary had ever gone into the community. The people had never seen a copy of the Bible or a Gospel tract. But now, in their native language, they heard the Gospel presented through the Gospel for Asia Athmeeya Yathra radio program. After weeks of listening to the program, the news began to spread from one individual to the next, and finally more than 60 people gave their lives to Christ. The families of these new believers were deeply impacted by the change that came into their lives. One of them wrote a letter to Gospel for Asia’s office requesting “that book” our brother was talking and reading from. Soon we sent two missionaries to them. They were overjoyed when our missionaries came with the Bible and explained to them more about the Lord. The believers were baptized, and a glorious church was established.
That broadcast they heard was made possible through the support of an individual, family or congregation that was willing to give its resources to reach the lost world by faith.
During World War II, Winston Churchill called Franklin Roosevelt over the telephone and said, “Give the tools, and we will complete the job.” Today that is exactly what tens of thousands of brothers and sisters scattered in the most unreached parts of our planet are crying out to us—to help them with our prayers and resources so they can complete the task.
We must take this request very seriously. I pray that we will ask ourselves the question, “What can I give or sell so I can give to reach the lost?” Selling out for Jesus is not a new doctrine. Read Acts chapter 2, and you will find that these people sold everything. They had one thing on their mind—to declare to the whole world that Jesus is alive.
I think about the man in Oklahoma City who called me one day weeping over the telephone. He had just finished reading my first book, Revolution in World Missions. He told me of his two expensive Mercedes Benz automobiles, his mansion and all the other stuff he owned. He explained how brokenhearted he was when he realized that millions are lost without Jesus. Finally, he told me he had made a decision with his wife and children that they would sell these expensive cars and home and live modestly so they could spend the resources to preach the Gospel and to reach the lost.
First John 3:16–17 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
A day is soon coming in which we will stand before God to give an account for the way we squandered our resources on our own self-centered living. We are the prodigal church that squanders away the Father’s wealth on the affair of an adulterous relationship with this present, passing world.
Your money today can be turned into eternal souls. Don’t wait for someone to come and pester you for it, but look for ways to invest it as a good steward. Don’t forget that soon all you have—everything—will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10). If you hold on to your resources tightly now, you will walk into eternity empty-handed—but with a lot of regret. On the other hand, if you give away what you have now to reach the lost souls, you will walk into eternity with an inheritance that will never perish. Jim Elliot aptly stated this irony: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
What will you do now? You must decide.
Please be informed that your Data Administrator within the meaning of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation, ”GDPR”), is Warsaw International Church with its registered office in Warsaw (00-789) at ul. Willowa 1.