WIC Weekly January 17th 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 we welcomed Monika (Ania Niedziałkowska's sister) and her family to our online service. The service also included a message by Sister Priyanka, in which she pointed out the urgent need to be prepared for Christ's Second Coming at a time when the global situation makes it increasingly plain that we are in the "last days" spoken of in the Bible.
Sunday School has resumed and meets on Zoom at 10:30 am, just before the Sunday service. Any children wishing to join in, please contact Pastor Harry.
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".
If you haven’t yet done so, please consider filling in a pledge form stating an amount you have decided you would like to commit to our church this year.
Please consider what amount you are able to commit to our church for 2021, either weekly, monthly or for the whole year. Every commitment counts. Annual pledges (promises to pay the stated amount to our church over the year) will be very much appreciated. If you decide to fill in the pledge form, please send it by the end of this week by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the pledge form:
* Warsaw International Church Stewardship Commitment/ Pledge Form
As an expression of my/our love for God and support of His work through the ministry of WIC, I/we make the following commitment to support the work of the Church.
Currency: PLN / USD / EUR / ____
Amount: ____ for the calendar year 2021
Amount: ___ every: week / month / quarter in 2021
Note to the Treasurer ___
Taxpayers may claim credit for their contributions to WIC. We are registered in the Polish register of churches and religious associations – in position 132. Polish contributions for tax deductions must be made by bank transfer.
Warsaw International Church ul. Willowa 1, 00-789 Warszawa Bank account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128 SWIFT code: WBKPPLPP Santander Bank Polska S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw, al. Jana Pawła II 17, 00-854 Warszawa
Our church’s Annual Conference will take place after the Sunday service on 31 January. It will be open to anyone who would like to take part, but only official members will be able to vote. Membership of Warsaw International Church is free of charge, and there is no clash with your home church, because ours is a non-denominational church: we don’t represent any particular Christian confession. Your membership expires whenever you decide. Please consider if you want to become an official member of WIC. If so, please contact Pastor Harry or any member of the church council you know.
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
Please pray for Sister Fem and Sister Priyanka, who may have to return to their home countries if they cannot get a visa in Poland. In Priyanka's case, returning to India could mean rejection by her family, as she was baptized as a Christian while in Warsaw.
Please continue to pray for our worshippers who are applying for asylum due to persecution in their home countries: particularly Vahid who fled Iran, and the Green family who fled Pakistan. We pray that they may be able to settle and start a new life in a safe country.
Pray that people all over the world may turn to Jesus Christ the only Saviour of mankind. May we never stop praying for this during this time of spiritual awakening opportunities but also increased persecution.
Your prayers for healing are requested for a Polish lady called Iwona who has been suffering from breathing problems (not Covid); and also for Pastor Harry's daughter Kathryn and her six daughters in the UK, all but one of whom have the coronavirus. Your prayers for their conversion are also appreciated (they are Muslims).
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry:
Genesis 1, 1-5; Acts 19, 1-7; Mark 1, 4-11
We’re still celebrating Epiphany – the time when the Wise Men or Magi brought their valuable gifts to Jesus, the baby lying in a stable in Bethlehem. The word “Epiphany” is an interesting word: a Greek word, meaning “manifestation” or “revelation” – specifically, the fact that God the Saviour revealed Himself to the Gentiles. These Wise Men were pagans from the East; but God had revealed to them that He was there in the person of that baby boy, Jesus. Actually, “epiphany” can mean any great or sudden revelation, or realization. That’s what I feel moved to talk about today: God revealing Himself to us.
God who reveals Himself is a God of power – because He can get through to us in a way which no man can possibly achieve on his own. A sister shared with me this testimony: she has a grandfather aged 98. This man has been a hardened atheist all his life – he never wanted to hear anything about God. Can you imagine? – 98 years without God! No hope for this man! And yet: in this New Year, he suddenly came to the realization that God does indeed exist! No man could possibly have convinced him of that! The revelation, or “epiphany”, came from above, from God Himself. And its power was so strong, that at first he felt there was no hope for him – he believed he was on the way to hell, because of his sins and his unbelief over all those years. You see, a person doesn’t know he’s a sinner, or that he needs to be saved from sin, until God removes his blindness. Otherwise that person will keep on criticizing and judging others, and thinking he is always in the right.
Until a person experiences such a revelation, they will laugh at the whole idea of God, because they have no understanding. Only when we ourselves have experienced this power in our lives can we speak like the author of today’s psalm: Psalm 29. Only then can we speak of God’s glory, and strength, and holiness – of His powerful, majestic voice, thundering over the waters, striking with flashes of lightning, shaking the desert. This God, who reveals His power to us, is the same God who creates the universe and everything in it: a God of power and light, who can create something out of nothing. One of the pictures that appear on my laptop, when I switch it on, is a photo of the night sky, taken from the top of a mountain in Nepal, in the Himalayas: the sky is filled with literally thousands of stars – in fact, there is more light than darkness in that night sky – and that, to me, brings home the awesome power of God’s creation.
But today’s readings also focus on baptism. John the Baptist was baptizing people in the desert, in the Jordan River. We are told that so many people in Judea and Jerusalem went out there to be baptized. Thousands of people! Can you imagine it? A revival was underway! Was God’s power in the water? No! The water was still water – nothing magical had happened to it. But the people had changed. Who had changed these people? John the Baptist? No! God’s power had changed these people’s hearts. They too were now experiencing an epiphany: a manifestation of the power of God – just like that sister’s grandfather, they were suddenly in great need of repentance, and of forgiveness for their sins, as they too realized that they were on the way to hell, unless God saved them. And John told them to believe in the coming Messiah, the coming Saviour, who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. And we can imagine that they went away from the Jordan River, with peace in their hearts.
And then, many years later, long after Jesus had already been crucified, in Acts chapter 19, Paul the apostle is in Ephesus – modern-day Turkey. There he meets some believers who had received the baptism of John. They had repented of their sins, and we can assume that they believed in Jesus – but their faith in Jesus doesn’t seem to have been complete. Paul explained the full Gospel message to them, and baptized them in the name of Jesus. And when he laid hands on them shortly afterwards, we are told that the Holy Spirit came upon them: they started speaking in tongues and prophesying.
So we have seen today that 1) God revealed Himself to the Wise Men, in the form of the baby Jesus. We have seen that 2) God revealed His power when He changed the hearts of thousands of people who came to be baptized by John. And we have seen that 3) God revealed more of His power when people who were already Christians received a further “baptism” or infilling of the Holy Spirit.
And that’s how it is today. We originally receive the Holy Spirit as a gift, when we are born again and the love of Christ transforms our hearts, and makes us loving and less self-centred. We become Christ-centred. But many people experience further “baptisms” or infillings of the Holy Spirit, when amazing things start to happen to them. For instance, when they pray for people to be healed, those people are healed, often instantly. When they preach to people about how they should turn to Christ, those people do indeed turn to Christ! Churches start growing in a remarkable way. And very often, after a further infilling of the Holy Spirit, a person may dedicate their whole self to God – not just 90% of themselves! For instance, Paul sometimes describes himself as a slave of Jesus Christ. Do you know what a slave is? – someone who has no more personal rights. I don’t think we can get ourselves into such a state – not on our own! We need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, by the grace of God, by the power of God, by the manifestation of God in our lives, so we can dedicate ourselves totally to God.
By now, the logical question you may be asking is: “How can a person be filled with the Holy Spirit? If this happens by God’s grace, is there anything a person can do to help bring it about?” I believe there are quite a few things we can do, and we can have a look at this in next week’s sermon. But today’s message is simply this: God reveals Himself to you in different stages and in different ways. It could be through a crisis you’re going through; or through a dream or vision; or through reading the Bible. I’ve seen a man break down in tears when he read some verses from the Bible. That’s God’s grace. Unfortunately, many people do not respond – maybe they see no grace. I don’t know.
But I know that the great majority of us are sincere and upright Christians. However: God is calling us to something still higher: He’s longing to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Someone said to me the other day that people really are hurting right now, because of the pandemic: they’re suffering in terms of health; or money; or depression; or persecution; or even all these things together. Judging by all that’s been happening recently, the world really does seem to be coming to an end, and we can’t control these shocking events. The first Epiphany was also about Herod’s hatred and evil, as he tried to find Jesus and kill him. And today too, at Epiphany, we have seen scenes of hatred and evil in America. It seems that before us stands either death, or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
So: are we prepared for the future? The darkness is getting darker. Are we still relying on ourselves – our little ambitions, our little plans? Or have we come to the end of ourselves, and are crying out for God’s grace: for a new epiphany, a new manifestation of God in our lives?
Brothers and Sisters, only grace can help us now. The time is very short. This year, we need to be so strong in our relationship with the Lord, in our fellowship with Him. We need to rely on Him alone as our Guide. And like Paul, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, we too need to be able to say: “I am a slave of Christ. I have sold my rights to God. And now, it is no longer “I”. No longer I, but Christ in me”. I pray that you and I may get to that stage this year, by the grace of God. Amen.
Readings for 17 January
Verse for the week: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price" (1 Corinthians 6, 19b-20a).
Responsive reading: Psalm 139, 1-6; 13-18. New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 6, 12-20. Gospel reading: John 1, 43-51.
Food of the Spirit
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit as power for service, in Mukti, India In early 1905, at the Pandita Ramabai Bible school in Mukti, India, Miss Abrams, a teacher, had been giving some definite teaching on the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as power for service, and one morning she was awakened by one of the senior girls, saying, “Come over and rejoice with us. J. has received the Holy Spirit. I saw the fire, ran across the room for a pail of water, and was about to pour it over her when I discovered she was not on fire.”
When Miss Abrams arrived all the girls in that compound were on their knees, weeping, praying, and confessing their sins. J. sat there exhorting the girls to repent, and telling them she had received the Spirit. There was real power in her testimony. She said, “O Lord, I am full of joy, but forgive and cleanse my sisters as you have me; give me strength to bear this sorrow for their sins.” Then she would exhort them and break out into new and beautiful praise. She said, “O Lord, we must have a revival; we must have it; begin it today.”
The next evening, while Pandita Ramabai was expounding John 8 in her usual quiet way, the Holy Spirit descended with power, and all the girls began to pray aloud so that she had to cease talking. Little children, middle-sized girls and young women wept bitterly and confessed their sins.
Some few saw visions and experienced the power of God and things too deep to be described. Two little girls had the spirit of prayer poured on them in such torrents that they continued to pray for hours. They were transformed with heavenly light shining on their faces.
“From that time,” said Miss Abrams, “our Bible school was turned into an inquiry room. Girls, stricken down under conviction of sin while in school, or in the industrial school, or at their work, were brought to us. Lessons were suspended, and we all, teachers and students, entered the school conducted by the Holy Spirit.”
Prayer continued all night in the various compounds on more than one occasion. The Bible school was filled with those crying for mercy. Such repentance, such heart-searching, such agony over sin, and tears, as they cried for pardon and cleansing and the baptism of the Holy Ghost! Then a baptism like fire within came upon them. They seemed to have their eyes open to see the “body of sin” in themselves. Then came a strong realization of Christ ‘s work upon the Cross, followed by intense joy. It often took a soul hours to pass through all these experiences. The Lord used the Word greatly, and the work went on rapidly for three days. Satan was also busy, and tried to counterfeit all he saw. Some who beheld the joy thought they could get it by imitating what they had seen the others do. Yet the work went on, and a spirit of prayer and supplication for a revival in India was poured out like a flood.
A letter written by one of the Mukti workers at this time says: “Even young girls are stricken down with the spirit of repentance. They cannot eat, sleep, or work till they go to the bottom of things. They seek the peace of pardon, and immediately begin to seek sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They search and weep before God, until He shows them the state of their heart. They repent, restore, confess, and finally come into such joy that it knows no bounds. They call it a baptism of fire. They say that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them the burning within them is almost unbearable. Afterwards they are transformed, their faces light up with joy, their mouths are filled with praise”. Helen S. Dyer
Revival at Mukti, India (1905)
This experience by Mr. Handley Bird was written in May 1906, almost twelve months from the commencement of the wondrous outpouring of revival at Mukti. Mr. Bird was a well-known missionary of the people known as the “Brethren,” working at Coimbatore, in South India, since 1890:
“The writer has spent seventeen days recently at Mukti - days of blessing that, please God, will leave their mark on all his future life. How can one describe the tides of feeling this first contact with the revival begat in the soul? There was hunger, real pain of hunger, for a share in this visitation of God; shame, bitter shame, at the ignorance, after long years of Christian life, of what this travailing in prayer, prevailing in prayer, being lost in prayer meant, as it was seen here in many mere children; then there was wonder, praiseful wonder, at the marvels of grace. Little girls were lost for hours in the transport of loving Jesus and praising Him; young Christians were counting it a rare privilege to spend many successive hours in intercessory prayer for strangers never seen or known.
One face ever lives before me, a strong, rough looking girl, once the rowdy character of the institution, always in trouble, now transformed, her strong face aglow with holy joy, her loud, masculine voice ringing out in her crying to God for others, or breaking with tearful entreaty.
Day after day it was meat and drink to gather to pray and praise. In one meeting we were seventeen hours together; the following day more than fifteen hours passed before the meeting broke up with great joy, and such songs of praise as hoarse and broken voices could utter. The work goes on. It is now eleven months since the blessing began, and yet while we were at Mukti we daily saw souls seeking and finding, coming out into blessing so full and definite as often to be almost more than could be borne, filling the mouth with laughter and the life with gladness.
We are full of praise that we have been allowed to live to hear such sounds in India. Souls in agony, with bitter wailing and moving entreaty seeking the Lord. Hearts overflowing with joy in Jesus abandoned to the luxury of praising Him, sitting on the ground or kneeling, lost to all that goes on around, with clasped hands and upturned faces aglow with love, in the midst of a crowd but apart with Him, exchanging the holiest confidences of affection. This is worship, the worship the Father seeks for, and it is one of the loveliest sights one can conceive out of Heaven. When some hundreds are carried away and can only sing ‘Hallelujah, Hallelujah to the Lamb’ until unable to sing any more, God is surely getting His own, and His heart is refreshed.”
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