WIC Weekly June 20th 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 receive Sister Renata as an official member of WIC.
Renata Jabłczyńska and Ewa Kuracińska are also new members of our Church Council.
Last Sunday marked our long-awaited return to our church building, and it was wonderful to be able to see our worshippers again, no longer virtually! It was a first-time occasion for Laura and Mike, who had joined us for worship when we were still exclusively online. There were also a handful of new persons in church: Adrian (Polish), Valentine (Nigerian), Mortuma (Ethiopian) and young Matilda (Polish). It looks like our regular singers will now be Janet and Marilyn. Essayas and Samuel were responsible for sanitary precautions, while Eric (in church) and Thomas (at home on Zoom) coordinated the technical aspects.
After the service we initiated our new procedure of going to the nearby park for fellowship in the open air, with tea and coffee available.
Apart from some technical details which remain to be sorted out (with Zoom - please be patient as we are resolving these issues one by one), our reunion was a great success. I firmly believe our church will now really start to grow.
This Sunday we shall celebrate Father's Day (in Poland), and I am pleased to announce a guest preacher - Brother Emmanuel Joseph. Brother Sam will also give a testimony on being a father.
Anyone can now worship with us, either in church or on Zoom, and recordings will always be available on YouTube. Sunday School will also be held simultaneously in church and on Zoom, now at 11:30 am CET.
For those who will be with us in church, please adhere to the usual sanitary regulations, and stay at home if you feel at all unwell. In church, you'll have your temperature taken, be able to sanitize your hands, and you must always wear a mask. You'll also be asked to sign a registry list if you're a newcomer, or sign an attendance sheet if you're a regular worshipper. Please get to church in plenty of time before the service starts. Practise social distancing (every other row in church will be vacant, and in your row please leave two chairs vacant between yourselves, unless you are with a partner or family).
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".
A prayer group meets on Saturdays at 8 pm CET (NB This Saturday there will be no meeting). Anybody in need of prayer or requesting prayer for others is very welcome. You can also pray in any language, so feel free to take part in these online meetings - the Zoom link is: Saturday Prayer Meeting Meeting ID: 847 9391 7308
Thank you for your continuing support and prayers for our church and for one another. Please remember that WIC is entirely self-supporting: without your contributions we cannot operate as a 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
Thank you for your prayers for Brother Sam S., who is now feeling much better.
Please continue to remember our Pakistani Christian family in Azerbaijan in your prayers. Any financial help for them will be greatly appreciated (please contact me for details).
We thank the Lord for blessing us in our first service in church after so many months! Let us all now pray for an explosion of growth as we remain faithful to God in our worship and in our daily Christian walk.
Let us continue to pray that the pandemic and its consequences may cause increasing numbers of people to turn to Jesus in their need.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry:
The theme of last week’s service was revival, and what needs to be in place for it to happen. David Harris preached on how important it is for us to spread the message of Jesus to those around us – otherwise they might never hear it. And in her testimony, Priyanka shared how she had started a prayer group, and how someone they prayed for was finally able to expect a baby – and that lady found a faith in Jesus. Praying for someone and then telling them about Jesus is missionary work – and all Christians should be doing mission of one kind or another.
But it’s not always easy – especially if you’re shy! I don’t find it easy to go up to strangers and tell them about Jesus; and I can be startled by the unexpected things they might say. When I tried to give a leaflet to a man in the street last year, he said: “Sorry, I have no contact with Jesus” – and I didn’t know what to reply! So I think we all need to have the basis of our faith in our minds, when we go up to talk to someone. So what’s the basis of our faith? – the accent might vary from person to person.
Let me tell you something. Ania and I were at a retreat, with people from all walks of life and different beliefs. We were asked to split into groups of 4 or 5, and talk about faith. So in our group we were talking; but we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. At one point, I said: “Usually we don’t get such a chance to talk about our faith, but now, when we have this opportunity to talk about Jesus, we don’t know what to say!” But then I collected my thoughts and said: “The basis of my faith is these words in the Bible: ‘By grace you are saved’. It’s got nothing to do with what church you belong to, or with doing good works – you can’t earn your salvation”. Somehow, my words seemed to affect some people. But suddenly a young woman sitting next to me burst into tears, and walked out of the room. When she came back a bit later, she’d controlled herself a bit, but she took her handbag and got ready to leave us. I asked her if I’d offended her by what I said, but she just replied: “I thought there was another God”; and she walked off. All I could say was “oh” – I couldn’t think of anything else.
That story I’ve just told you didn’t really happen – it was a dream I had last week. About once a year I get a very vivid, powerful and perfectly logical dream – I think it’s a gift I have; and when I wake up right after the dream, I can remember every detail and even the words that were spoken. And I write the dream down before I forget it; and then I go back to sleep. I think God wants me to share my dream with you.
There are two things that stand out in this dream. The first one is the message I gave: “By grace you are saved”. That surprised me, because I wouldn’t normally give that as the basis of my faith. It made me think that perhaps this is the message we should be sharing with anyone we want to evangelize: salvation by God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
The second point that stands out in my dream is what the woman said: “I thought there was another God”. Strange words – I’ve been thinking about them. Here in Europe, Christianity is the traditional culture; so most people in Poland will tell you they believe in God and Jesus – which seems to make our efforts to evangelize them a bit unnecessary. But ask yourself: do they actually believe in the same God as you? Or do they believe in another God?
Once, in Egypt, I was talking to two friendly Egyptians, and they kept suggesting that Christians and Muslims believe in the same God. But it’s not true. My Muslim daughter’s God is very different from the God of Jesus Christ.
And once I was telling my wife that almost everybody in Poland seems to believe in and worship Jesus – so how can I evangelize them? But she said: “Oh no. The people here think above all that Jesus is a wafer, kept in a container in church. So when we talk about Jesus, and they talk about Jesus, we’re talking about two different Gods!” That’s true: only the other week, a well known priest said: “Come to church to adore the wafer – because if you don’t, Jesus will feel lonely and sad”. In other words, Jesus is the wafer. But that’s a different God – it’s not the God of the Bible, and not the Jesus of the Bible.
So, dear would-be missionaries, I believe we have a lot of work to do! All around us, people believe in another God – and they understand very little about salvation. We must explain to them not only who Jesus really is, but also how Jesus saves them! These are the two focal points of my dream; and I believe God showed me that they are also the two focal points of all our evangelizing: presenting the true Jesus; and presenting His grace.
So firstly, who is the true Jesus, the true God? Our readings today make it clear: He is our Saviour. A wafer can’t save you, no matter how long you adore it. Neither can a god like Allah save you. In fact, in the Koran, Allah doesn’t even like you, because He says you’re blaspheming when you believe that Jesus is God, or is called the Son of God. Only the God of the Bible can save anyone – because He’s God the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus appeared to bring us the kindness and love of God. Whoever you are, and whatever sins you’ve committed, Jesus loves you with God’s love, and saves you with God’s power. If someone tells you they have no contact with Jesus, it means they don’t know what love is, and they don’t know what power is. Jesus is love and power, and He is the Holy Spirit who gives new life, new birth. He’s the only foundation.
In my dream, the young woman burst into tears when I shared my message about God’s grace. I think that’s significant too – because it shows how powerful the message of God’s grace is. If you worship another God, then there is no grace. You have to earn your own salvation, by your good deeds, and hope it’s enough to get you to heaven. So you’re full of stress deep down – and to hear about God’s grace is a releasing experience, which can make you cry, because it’s so simple, so liberating. What a relief to hear we are justified by grace – put right with God, through His own grace! The only thing we can’t do is boast about it; because salvation is Jesus’ work from start to finish. Only He can give life to our dry, dead bones.
Jeremiah says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man”. If our God is not the biblical Jesus with His grace, human ideas will creep in about how to be saved: for example, by good works, or religious practices. We do good works because we are saved – not in order to be saved!
Brothers and Sisters, God gives each of us specific missionary tasks to do – just like Apollo and Paul. Nobody is better than anybody else. We are all labouring in God’s field, and for that we need strength, courage and inspiration. We also have the task of re-building Warsaw International Church after this pandemic. So we need God to take us by the hand and lead us, especially when we’re weary. Then may our next hymn speak to us, as we feel God’s refreshing touch: “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”. Amen.
Readings for 20 June
Verse for the week: [Joseph said to his brothers]: "Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you" (Genesis 45, 5).
Psalm: 112. Old Testament reading: Genesis 43, 11-14; 45, 1-5; 46, 28-30. New Testament reading: John 17, 1-5.
Food of the Spirit
God's Abounding Grace May Be Yours
Grace is undeserved kindness. It is the gift of God to man the moment he sees he is unworthy of God's favour. Whenever we discover this, God will bless us with His grace. And this is free to all.
Grace comes from the heart of the Son of God. "He was full of grace and truth." He came into the world to bless men – not to curse them, not to make them miserable, not to work men's ruin. He came to give the grace of the Son of Man to us, to perfect our happiness.
Men talk much about grace nowadays, but they don't know what it means. We love a man for a little while, and when circumstances arise to make him independent of us, our love cools. It is the very reverse with God. He loves those who are independent of Him – those who are at enmity with Him. There is not a rebellious son on this earth whom God does not love, and whom He does not seek to bless.
See a man's idea of grace. Let a businessman go to a bank tomorrow and borrow a thousand dollars at thirty days, and he gives a note, "I promise to pay." If he is not able to pay at the end of thirty days, he gets three days' grace, and if at the end of that time he cannot pay, they seize and sell his store, his house and everything he's got. That is not God's grace. God would cancel the debt, give the man principal and all. God says: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Men try to carry their idea of grace into effect in accepting the grace of God. They try to give Him something for His grace instead of taking their places like poor beggars at the feet of Jesus and accepting the gift. It is free. Let us come to God and ask Him to give us of His grace in fullness.
Who are partakers of this grace? Any man who is willing to repent of his sins – I do not care who he is. He may be the worst man in the city; if he but repents he can have it.
Jesus told the chief priests: "Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you" (Matthew 21:31).
It did not matter whether they were publicans or harlots. If they only took their places as poor sinners at the feet of Jesus, they received the blessing. They took their gift because they took their places as poor sinners. The chief priests tried to get grace upon their own works. Perhaps they would not associate with these publicans and harlots – they thought they were beyond redemption; they would not be seen with them.
You, in your self-righteousness would not be seen walking down the streets with a drunkard. He would disgrace you. But if that drunkard but repents and takes his seat at the feet of Christ, the grace of God will flow into his heart. Those who repent are partakers of grace, and that was the lesson Jesus wanted to teach the Jews. They thought themselves a great deal better than the publicans and harlots, and when they crowded around Him, He wanted to teach them how they could become partakers of eternal life.
God will take you and bless you if you but repent. He can do great things. He can raise you from darkness to light, from lowness to highness, and He will go to the corners of the world for a man, if he has sunk into the pit, and will raise him up. He brought me out of the pit and set me up. It was His grace – His grace that did it.
We must become as beggars – we must be stripped of every particle of self-righteousness. Whenever we do that, the God of grace will meet us and deal bountifully with us.
A man does not get grace till he comes down to the ground – till he sees he needs grace. When a man stoops to the dust and acknowledges that he needs mercy, then it is that the Lord will give him a blessing. If you are ready to partake of grace, you don't have to atone for your sin – you have to accept Christ's atonement. What you need to do is to cry, "God, have mercy upon me!" That is the way to receive the blessing.
We are saved, not by good deeds or good works. We work from the cross, not towards it. We work because we are saved, not in order to be saved. No man or woman has ever been saved who has been trying to save himself or herself.
You do not work for salvation, but work day and night after you have it. Get it first before you do anything, but do not try to get it yourself. Paul says in Ephesians: "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God" – it is the gift of God – "Not of works, lest any man should boast."
There is one thing we know – we have all got to get into Heaven the same way. We cannot work our way there. We have to take our salvation from God. Turn to Timothy and we read: "Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (Ephesians 1:9).
"Not according to our works." Not because a man has given liberally to the poor; not because he has built a church or endowed a university or a seminary; not because of our works shall we receive grace. It is a free gift. If a man is unsaved, it is not because he has done few good works or because he has no money, but because he would not accept the gift.
Salvation is a gift, and if you try to buy it you do not get the gift. We must go like poor beggars, and take it as a gift. We cannot get it by deeds. It is worth walking round this world barefoot for, worth climbing the highest mountains and swimming the roughest rivers. But this cannot get it. It is offered as a gift – salvation is offered to the whole world.
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