WIC Weekly February 21st 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 saw the reception of Eunice Muiruri as a formal member of Warsaw International Church. We were also pleased to catch a glance of Paweł, to whom Sister Eunice is engaged.
All thanks to Sisters Preethi, Belinda and Priyanka for their service with our Sunday School, meeting at 10:30 am CET. Nine children / teens attended last Sunday. Please contact Pastor Harry if you have a child who would like to take part.
A prayer group has also been started by Brother Bogosi, meeting on Saturdays at 8 pm CET. Four people took part in it last Saturday. Please get in touch with Pastor Harry if you would like to pray with the group.
This week there will be a Bible study on Thursday at 6 pm CET. We shall be studying Matthew 5, 27-32 on Jesus' teachings on adultery and divorce. The Bible study invitation with the link is sent to you in a separate email.
The Church Council also meets this week, on Wednesday at 7 pm CET.
Join us for worship this Sunday at 11 am CET. 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".
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 17v 00-854 Warszawa Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
Please continue to pray for Sister Fem to be successful with her application for a visa to continue studying in Warsaw.
Please also keep Sister Priyanka in your prayers, as she is still seeking work in Poland, now that her postgraduate studies in Telecommunications have almost ended. A return to India would mean persecution for her.
Your prayers are requested for Christians in Turkey. The Christian church is growing there, with many Turks converting from Islam to Jesus. We pray for protection and safety for our Sister Anna in Turkey, that she may have the spiritual strength to perform the work the Lord has entrusted her with.
Please continue to pray for conversions and revival in Warsaw International Church and also globally, as so many people are searching for meaning to their lives, and many are finding faith in Christ. Pray also for unsaved spouses and partners of many of our own worshippers, that the veil covering them spiritually may be removed, by God's grace.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry:
Psalm 50, 1-6; 2 Corinthians 3, 16 - 4, 6; 2 Peter 1, 16-18; Mark 9, 2-8
If we look at today’s readings starting with the oldest one first – Psalm 50 – we see that this psalm contains a stark warning: a warning to you and me. It’s a warning because it tells us that God will one day judge the people of this earth. To be more precise, interestingly enough, it tells us that God will judge His people; as it says: “My consecrated ones; those who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice”. In those days, that message would have been for the Israelites. But now, since the Old Testament also applies to us Christians today, we have to admit that we are God’s consecrated people – and we are in a covenant with God by sacrifice: the sacrifice of Jesus Himself, who sacrificed Himself for us. Do you see how closely the Old Testament is linked to the New Testament? – its verses point us forward to the time of Christ, and beyond.
So the warning is that God will judge us – His people – and we might find His anger turned against us one day, if we don’t change our ways and get rid of our sinful and unbelieving thoughts, words and deeds. Turning to 2 Corinthians, which Dorothy read to us, Paul tells us that many people have a “veil covering their hearts”, but that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”. But we, as Christians, no longer have that veil covering us – and therefore, if we then still continue to sin, we are asking for trouble, because we are sinning knowingly rather than out of ignorance. That’s why one day God will judge us, His consecrated people – and why we must do everything to avoid giving into the temptation to sin. God will hold us Christians accountable.
Of course, in this passage from Corinthians, Paul is “building up” his readers, because he goes on to say: “We do not lose heart; we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception; and we do not distort the word of God”. Those words are very flattering to us; and they describe the ideal Christian – the persons we are supposed to be. But how true are they of us? Ask yourselves: Do we never lose heart? Have we completely renounced our former secret and shameful ways? Do we never try to deceive or manipulate anyone in a subtle way, to our advantage? And do we never distort the word of God – by passing over those parts of it which we don’t find convenient?
Let’s be honest with ourselves: we are on the right road, but we still have a long way to go, if we want to be perfect followers of Jesus. You could say that, at the moment, we’re fascinated by Jesus – like the disciples were – and we even believe all those wonderful things the Bible says about Him. But have we had a deeper, transforming experience of the reality of God in our lives – a deeper baptism of the Holy Spirit? Because only when we have such an experience will our lives really be changed – and we will then no longer ever again lose heart or occasionally fall into our old secret and shameful ways. And this brings us to the Transfiguration of Jesus.
You see, the disciples already knew who Jesus was. They knew He was the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. They knew He could perform the most amazing miracles: healing people; driving out evil spirits; walking on water; calming the storm. They knew and saw that only God could do things like that. And yet, Jesus only fully revealed Himself to them when He was transfigured. His clothes became dazzling white: whiter than any white colour they had ever seen before. Elijah and Moses appeared, and conversed with Him. What we call “reality” was suddenly turned upside down: the disciples’ perceptions were completely altered. All this happened to them by God’s grace, and for a purpose: that they might give their testimony of their experience to other people. It must have changed their own lives completely.
Fortunately we have an additional, first-hand account of Peter’s experience of the Transfiguration of Jesus, in the Second Letter of Peter, where Peter writes: “We ourselves heard this voice from God that came from heaven, when we were with Jesus on the sacred mountain”. It was the voice that said: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased”.
Dear Believers, have you had that kind of experience of who Christ is? I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone’s answer was “no”. In other words, we know there’s a lot we’re still missing out on, a lot we still have to learn and experience. And if you’re like me, you too will be craving to have such a deeper experience; an experience that will transfigure you for ever and ever. An experience so awesome that you will know God is present here and now – and you will sense His presence even more powerfully than you perceive the normal world around you. You will be transformed by the glory and power of God; and you will feel as if you were already in heaven. But at the same time, you will also become aware of your own imperfections and sinfulness. God reveals Himself to us by grace; and He shows us our imperfections and sinfulness also by grace.
There used to be a popular saying, to encourage people to pay more attention to the quality of the food they consume: “You are what you eat”. But in the spiritual realm, the saying should be: “You are what you think”. The thoughts that we nourish and cherish – for good or for bad – reveal who we really are. People are very good at creating images of themselves: a Facebook profile; a person seen as a brand; photos on the social media, designed to make a good impression – but those images may be completely false. They may paint a false picture of a person, because he or she will create the picture of how they want others to see them. Only God knows what thoughts a person really has – whether they are good or bad thoughts, pure or sinful thoughts. God sees into a person’s heart – and by “heart” we mean a person’s “thought life”, as my dear wife always likes to emphasize. So when the Lord comes to judge us, He will judge us by our thoughts.
Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians by telling them: “We are being transformed into Christ’s likeness with ever-increasing glory”. So God is already transforming us, already sanctifying us! But we must play our part as well, by desiring to be changed; by crying out to God to purify us; and by making an effort to bring our own thoughts under control, so that we don’t fall into sin. Remember what Paul says in today’s verse for the week: “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. So we see that this is our task. They might not be simply thoughts of lusting to commit a sin – they could also be thoughts of worry, fearfulness, unbelief, anger, and so on. Learn to observe your own thoughts.
Do you want to be transformed – transfigured – to see the glory of God? And do you want God to approve you on Judgement Day, and not condemn you? Then measure your life by your thoughts. Your words and your deeds come from your thoughts. If you find yourself cherishing particular negative thoughts, then take them captive – don’t let them get a hold of you and take over your will. Lay them aside – ignore them. I know it’s hard – maybe even impossibly hard. But the more desperate we get for revival, the more we will cry out to God to have mercy on us and make us into a true reflection of Jesus. May His grace give us strength and determination to cooperate with Him in becoming the person that He wants us to be. Amen.
Readings for 21 February
Verse for the week: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (1 Peter 2, 9).
Responsive reading: Psalm 108, 1-6 and 13. 1st Old Testament reading: Daniel 6, 1-12. 2nd Old Testament reading: Daniel 6, 13-23. New Testament reading: Philippians 4, 4-7.
Food of the Spirit
God Visits Saskatoon in 1971
God permitted me to be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan two years before the presence and power of God rested on that city. I met with fellow pastors and others to pray, and I found that as we prayed, God dealt with my heart. He so identified sin in my heart and so drew me to release that sin to Him for cleansing that the experiences in the prayer time week after week were so real and so significant that I literally ran back to the church I was pastoring and shared it with the congregation. The congregation began to be cleansed and restored, and they all began to hear and to sense the mind and heart of God.
Then there came that moment when Bill McLeod called me and said, "Henry, that for which we’ve been praying seems to have happened!" In his church were two deacons who had not spoken to each other for a couple of years. The previous night one of them under great conviction, head down, began to make his way to the front of the church to meet God. Little did he know that on the other side of the auditorium, his brother had come under the same conviction and he was making his way to the front. When they got there, they realized they were there together, and in front of the whole congregation, who knew of their being at odds with one another, they fell on each other’s neck and wept and repented and restored their relationship.
Bill told me that as that happened, suddenly a teenage girl on one side stood up and her mother stood up on the other side. The mother cried out to the daughter, "Oh, forgive me; I’ve not been the mother I ought to be toward you," and the daughter replied, "Oh, I haven’t been the daughter I ought to have been to you." They ran across the auditorium and fell on each other’s neck. That service lasted for several hours as God touched that congregation.
God touched the entire city of Saskatoon in 1971. For seven and one-half weeks, the Spirit of God was incredibly powerful over the entire city. Churches suddenly began to repent and return to God. For years, the presence and power of God rested on the people whose lives God had touched. I was ministering to a little congregation of ten people, all so discouraged when I had gone there, that they wanted to disband. When the presence and power of God touched their lives, they started 38 new congregations while I was there. Never in their history, dating back into the late 20’s, had they started another congregation in another community. We began to pray for laborers. They had never reached university students, and yet I baptized 180 university students. They had never had people called into ministry, but over 100 felt called into the ministry. We started a theological college in our church to train those whom God was calling into ministry. We had over 480 people come through that school, and to this day they are impacting lives in the nation of Canada and around the world. In the midst of all of that huge touch of God, my four sons felt called into the ministry.
There is a fullness of time in the economy of God. Jesus knew in Gethsemane when that was, and He didn’t want His disciples to miss that incredible moment. It seems as you read through history, God’s moment for great and mighty revival is always preceded by and accompanied by an unusual measure of prayer. God seems to do something in the hearts of His people to call them beyond anything they had ever known. Jesus knew His disciples would be the very essence of the people of God that the Father wanted to use to touch and change the entire Roman Empire, so He introduced them to a moment in God’s timing when they could see the kind of praying that would be laid over their heart.
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