WIC Weekly January 24th 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 were pleased to have Maria Carmona Fernandez from Spain joining us for worship.
Sister Fem is temporarily returning to Turkey but hopes to continue her studies in Warsaw in a few months' time.
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".
Our church’s Annual Congregational Meeting will take place right 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. Please consider if you want to become an official member of WIC, to be able to vote. If so, please contact Pastor Harry or any member of the church council you know. You can also become an official member right after the service on 31 January by expressing such a wish on Zoom.
Official members who will be unable to attend the Annual Congregational Meeting can cast a proxy vote. A proxy authorization form will be sent in a separate email.
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 Priyanka to get a job in Poland. A return to India could in her case mean rejection by her family, as she was baptized as a Christian while in Warsaw.
Sister Katia asks for prayer for her mother, who has been hospitalized in Ukraine due to Covid-19 and is feeling very unwell.
Sister Maria from Spain would welcome your prayers for her grandfather who suffered a heart attack on Christmas Day.
Pastor Harry is pleased to announce that his daughter and granddaughters are all slowly recovering from Covid. Thank you for all your prayers!
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.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry:
Psalm 139; 1 Corinthians 6, 12-20; John 1, 43-51
“You are not your own – you were bought at a price”, says the apostle Paul. Have we ever thought about those words? We may know them, but have we ever thought about them? It means that if Jesus died for us, He put His mark of ownership upon us. We belong to Him – though we may not feel it, or even believe it. It cost Him His life – but He achieved His purpose, and we are His.
We are His, because He loves us; and He loves us, because He made us, and because He knows us. That psalm we read – it tells us all about God’s love, which is the same as Christ’s love. Listen to these beautiful words again: “You created my inmost being”. That’s you, created by God! “You knit me together in my mother’s womb” – that’s you! “Your eyes saw my unformed body”: God conceived us, like an artist conceives a painting – God knew what we would look like before we were even born! And more than that: He knows how long we will live – right down to the last day: “all the days ordained for me were written in Your book, before one of them came to be”. God loves us so much. And if He loves us, and made us, and knows us – He’s not going to leave us. He’s with us, whether we wake or sleep, and whether we’re sad or happy.
But some people might ask themselves when exactly we belong to God: is it when He made us? Is it when Christ died for us? Or is it when we are “born again”? – if we ever are born again, because some people aren’t. I was reading the story of a revival that began in Cornwall, England in 1851. It began when a Church of England minister, William Haslam, received an infilling of the Holy Spirit – in church, while preaching his own sermon! He was a minister, a pastor. He had an intellectual faith in God and Jesus. But he thought he was saved because he had been baptized and was taking communion regularly! Many Christians still believe that today! Haslam assumed he was going to heaven on the strength of his baptism and regular Holy Communion – in other words, good works – and not because Christ had died to save him!
And he was therefore a troubled man – troubled by the joy and peace which he didn’t have, but which he saw in other people who said they had been “born again” and that Christ’s Holy Spirit was in them. Haslam couldn’t understand that. But he decided to talk to and pray with a born-again pastor.
One Sunday, Haslam was preaching in his church on how the Pharisees didn’t understand that Jesus had come to save them. As he was preaching, he thought to himself: “I’m no better than those Pharisees; because I too don’t believe that Jesus has come to save me”. And as he was thinking this and preaching, great emotion and joy and peace suddenly flowed into his soul! The congregation noticed it immediately, and the atmosphere changed: instead of a service where everything was planned down to the last detail, the last minute, the whole church and the pastor started to sing the Doxology, over and over and over again – “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”. They couldn’t stop singing it! Twenty people were “born again” in the church that morning! A revival broke out in the whole region; hundreds of people came to God; and Haslam himself became an evangelist, telling people everywhere that they too needed to be “born again”.
Dear Friends, that’s what I want for our church, and of course for myself. Not just born-again Christians, but Christians who are filled with the Spirit again and again! That’s what many of us want: a God-sent revival. But we have to believe in it. We have to believe that the Holy Spirit can come down to us! It’s not a question of taking so many steps towards being filled with the Holy Spirit – there’s no instruction manual around that can tell you how to be filled with the Holy Spirit (though you can find many books with that title!). You have to want to be filled, and believe you can be filled – and like William Haslam, you have to be bothered enough to desire it and pray for it. And like him, you have to believe that Jesus is indeed your Saviour and your Lord – that mere baptism, or church-going, or communion cannot save you. But if you’re just satisfied with what you have, or if you want to take a 10-step course in being filled with the Spirit – you won’t be filled, because that would be another “good work” of yours: whereas God is a God of sovereign grace; and it is by grace that we receive His Spirit.
I wonder how many of you are keeping the New Year resolution I imposed on you? (just kidding!). Do you remember?: do not worry, because to worry is to sin. Are you keeping that, and not worrying? Remember what I said recently: God already knows what will happen to you tomorrow, and after-tomorrow, and the day after that. He knows everything about you, and He loves you and will look after you. So why worry? Worry means you don’t believe in Him enough.
Brothers and Sisters, our two main readings today give us this greater perspective we need, about who God is and what He does. We need to have such a perspective if we desire revival – because otherwise we’ll be as surprised as Nathanael, when Jesus called him to be His disciple. “How do You know me?”, asks Nathanael. “Because I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you!”, answers Jesus. Do you get that? Jesus was in a completely different place, but He knew all about Nathanael, and He knew exactly where he was and what he was doing!
Yes – and the Lord also knows when we sin! He knows when we defile our bodies, or commit adultery! He knows where we do it, and with whom! In our sinning, we think God can’t see us – but we’re actually living in a world of alternative reality which we ourselves have created. We’ve programmed ourselves into it. As happens in politics, we have chosen to believe a lie: in our case, the lie that God is not there, that He doesn’t exist, that our sins won’t be condemned. That’s very convenient fake news which we’ve created to justify our sinning and not feel bad about it, so that our conscience won’t be troubled. Fake news and alternative reality are as old as the snake in the Garden of Eden! But you know, we can never completely bury our conscience: when I went through a period of sinning, many years ago, I started having nightmares. I believe that God will always get us, sooner or later.
But God loves us. He made us. He knows us. And He gave us our body for a very special purpose: to be a temple of His Holy Spirit – not just when we are “born again”, but also for times of individual and corporate revival, when the Spirit is poured out, as at Pentecost. Do we want to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Then we have to put away all known sin: confess it to God, and cease to indulge in it. We have to clean out our temple: throw out all the merchandise. God will help us to do that, if we’re really serious about it. And then He can fill us – His temple – with His Holy Spirit, again and again – though I emphasize once more, His grace is sovereign.
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price”. You belong to God 100%. When He made you; when He died for you; when you are born again; and when you receive a further infilling of the Holy Spirit. All the time – you belong to God! So, with God’s grace, clear away the fake news from your mind – and embrace the truth about who you really are, from God’s point of view. And when you fully realize how much you owe to God, your dependence on Him will open the door of your soul, and let the Spirit in. May we all experience this. Amen.
Readings for 24 January
Verse for the week: [Jesus said:] "The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1, 15).
Responsive reading: Psalm 62, 5-12. Old Testament reading: Jonah 3, 1-5. 10. New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 7, 29-31. Gospel reading: Mark 1, 14-20.
Food of the Spirit
After William Haslam's conversion (see Pastor Harry's sermon)
Haslam’s own account of what happened next is graphic. “On the Monday after my conversion, our weekday service was filled to excess. I was just telling of how God pulled me out of a desolate pit, when someone gave a shriek and began crying aloud for God’s mercy. This was followed by another, then another, until preaching was impossible. I cannot tell how many found peace that night, but there was great rejoicing.”
A series of midweek meetings started in a cottage, and there, too, the mighty power of God was felt, with people falling prostrate in conviction of their sins. At one service in the church, many fell down, crying for mercy. Haslam continues: “I gave out a hymn and went among the ‘slain of the Lord.’ After about an hour, someone suggested that we should go to the school-room, as it was getting dark. The men and women in distress of soul were carried there, praying as they went.
“When I reached the place, I found it impossible to get in, for all was full and a crowd hung about the door. I finally climbed in through the window and stood on a table.” The heat of the room and the noise of the people was such that Haslam could not preach. He went among the people, and as each found peace and began praising God, they were asked to leave and make room for others. In this way the meeting went on until ten o’clock, when Haslam left. It continued uninterrupted all night and all the next day, and so on for eight days!
Haslam went daily to see how they were getting on, noticing many strangers who had not been there before, but had been drawn by the Spirit of God. Yet all alike were too absorbed in God to heed Haslam’s presence.
At first Haslam could not fully accept the uninhibited shouting of praise and loud cries of repentance but after a while came to terms with what the Cornish called “wrestling in prayer.” Revival was a noisy business and the Holy Spirit worked in “holy chaos.”
The revival touched all walks of life. Haslam began ‘Drawing-Room Meetings’ for more well-to-do enquirers, many of whom were touched by God’s power. The cottage meetings for ordinary villagers continued for some years and open-air preaching reached large numbers.
One spectacular example was at Mount Hawke in 1852. Haslam preached on John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” He records: “A mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord came upon the meeting and several hundred fell on their knees simultaneously. The strange thing was that the power of God appeared to pass diagonally through the crowd, so that there was a lane of people on their knees, six to eight feet wide, banked on either side by others standing.”
The fruits of the revival were many and lasting in that part of Cornwall. Haslam records that young children in the Sunday schools would all start crying at the mention of God’s love. Notorious local sinners were converted and became soul-winners. Many Christians received prophetic dreams and visions, some being led by specific words from God to meet previously unknown seekers of God. There was also evidence of healings.
Lastly, and perhaps above all, there was a deep and all-pervading joy which attracted others like a magnet, to seek Jesus for themselves.
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