WIC Weekly May 9th 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
We were pleased to welcome Nimo and her daughter Makela from Kenya to last Sunday's worship service. We also welcomed Laura Florencia. Laura comes from Indonesia but is spending a month in Warsaw, where she is also studying.
Next Sunday's service will be an "ethnic service" organized by our Kenyan worshippers, and will feature many Kenyan accents. If you know any Kenyans, please make the link to our service available to them!
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 every Saturday at 8 pm CET. 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
Please pray for help to reach the people of India, who are suffering so much from Covid-19. We pray that help may be provided in the form of hospital beds and medical attention, including oxygen supplies, ventilators and vaccines.
There are also many other countries that are in a catastrophic state due to the coronavirus. Let us remember their citizens in our prayers.
Let us continue to pray that the pandemic and its consequences may cause increasing numbers of people to turn to Jesus in their need.
We pray for Brother Sharoon to be able to minister effectively to Christian families in his part of Pakistan, and that he may be blessed and protected in his work.
We are overjoyed that Sister Priyanka has been selected for a job for which she had been receiving training. We keep her in our prayers that she may now make a good start at her work.
Please continue to pray for Brother Kenz, Sister Kelly and their three children to be finally given refugee status.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry.
If you’ve been following today’s readings carefully, you may notice that the Bible is saying some contradictory things. Our verse of the week states very bluntly that the hearts of men are full of evil and madness. A similar statement is found in the Old Testament passage today, from Jeremiah, where Venu read to us: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure”. This sounds really bad – the word of God is not very optimistic about the human heart! If you followed the recent Oscars ceremony, you might remember that the Chinese film director Chloe Zhaou, whose film “Nomadland” was voted the best film, stated her belief that people are basically good – she still wants to believe that that is the case. But the Bible suggests that people have a constant inclination to do wrong, do bad things and make bad decisions – simply because they are sinful creatures. They can’t help it.
But now look at the other readings. In Psalm 84, the author “yearns for the Lord” – his heart and his flesh “cries out for the living God”. And in the New Testament reading, Paul says to the Corinthians: “You are a letter from Christ!” Really? That sounds wonderful! So: are we basically good, or basically bad?
The prophet Jeremiah tries to give an answer to this, in today’s reading – he writes: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man; but blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord”. So the state of your heart depends on who you trust in – if you trust in man or even just yourself, your heart is bad; but if you trust in the Lord, your heart is good. But remember that Jeremiah then writes (as I said earlier on): “the heart is deceitful and beyond cure”. So if our hearts are naturally like that, we can’t just make a simple decision to trust in the Lord. Someone or something has to put us on the right path, and somehow cure that sinful heart of ours.
And neither can we simply obey God’s laws or commandments, just like that. The Israelites couldn’t do it either – they kept breaking them, because their heart wasn’t right with God. It doesn’t mean they were all evil – but they were all self-centred, instead of God-centred – just as man today is self-centred rather than God-centred. And of course, we know from the Bible that God saw this, and in His mercy sent the Saviour, Jesus Christ, to save us from our chronic self-centredness, to create a clean heart in us, and to give us a right spirit. And Jesus came, and gave us His Holy Spirit. Amen! And when we have His Holy Spirit, we find ourselves becoming God-centred, instead of man-centred or self-centred. Not all at once, maybe – but more and more so, as we live in the Spirit.
Let’s now turn to our main text – Matthew 25: the Parable of the Talents (or money). The man entrusts his property to his servants, while he goes away. One gets 5 talents, another gets 2, and the third servant gets 1. The first two make their money work for them, and earn a profit. The third servant plays it safe, and buries his talent in the ground. The master returns after a while, and praises the first two servants, but condemns the third one, because he didn’t actually earn anything with his talent. Don’t you feel sorry for that poor servant? I used to feel very sorry for him.
You see, when I was younger, I used to think: “Why does the master call this servant wicked and lazy? After all, he didn’t lose his talent – he just kept it”. I sympathised with him, because I’d do exactly the same – it’s my nature. When the financial situation is favourable, lots of people I know immediately change their currency and make a profit – whereas I just keep it where it is, and miss out on all the profit I could be making! And if I’d try some kind of an investment, I’d be worried that I might lose my money! I’d make a terrible treasurer… And therefore I just didn’t understand Jesus’ parable.
You see, I used to think this parable has to do with using our natural gifts or abilities, which God gives us. One person has more gifts than another. And some people make tremendous use of their gifts and abilities, and do great things – especially if they’re lucky in life. But those who don’t use their gifts so much – is that a reason for them to be condemned? What if they don’t have any luck in life? What if they were a talented athlete or a musician, but then had a serious accident or sickness which made it impossible to develop their career? Is that a reason to condemn them? That’s how I was thinking.
But this parable is not about our natural talents and abilities. Like the parable of the 10 bridesmaids or virgins, who were waiting for the bridegroom to come, this parable is a description of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. The Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus’ name for our state of being when the Holy Spirit comes to us – in other words, when by God’s grace we are “born again”. So the parable is really a description of our life in the Spirit: it describes us as committed Christians. It does not apply to our natural abilities – though of course you can understand it like that if you want.
You see, in our Holy Spirit life, we have a certain power we didn’t have before – we’ve talked about this already. Every day, God expects us to serve Him, and to keep ourselves clean from sin. Natural man cannot do this, because he’s always serving himself – his heart is sick. He has no power. But Spirit-filled man can serve God, and can keep himself clean from sin – because his heart has been healed.
Look again at the parable – what do we find, as born-again Christians? Just like the servant who had one talent, we grumble at God, don’t we? We complain: “God, this is too much for me! You are a hard God! No way can I do what You’re calling me to do! Your demands are too high! You call me to witness to my flatmate, or my neighbour, or a person at work, or my cleaner (one of us has a problem with their cleaner) – and I can’t do it! You’re calling me to pray – and I haven’t got the patience! You’re calling me to preach – and I haven’t got the skills! You’re calling me to financially support people who are in difficulties (especially our Christian brothers and sisters), and not to worry about where my money will come from for tomorrow – but I can’t stop worrying! I have to secure myself”. And so on, and so forth.
But look at the master’s conclusion at the end of the parable: “Everyone who has will be given more – but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him”. That’s how it is in the spiritual life, when Christ’s Spirit dwells in you. If the Spirit is gently but insistently telling you to do something, and you obey, even though it seems impossibly hard for you – then there will be great blessings. Not just for you, but for many others – because God wants to use you in His plan to save the world – and God knows you can do it. It’s the same with sin – if we keep ourselves clean, the Holy Spirit can entrust us with greater possibilities of service. But if we complain that this is too much, or if we give in to sin, we miss out on God’s opportunities for us, because He can’t entrust us with greater responsibilities.
Brothers and Sisters, you must know if you have God’s Spirit within you. You must know that God wants to use you in a wonderful way. He wants you to live in His Spirit as much as possible. He doesn’t want you to ignore or forget His Spirit. He doesn’t want you to be spiritually lazy, like the servant with just the one talent. So you need to commune with Christ as much as you can – the Holy Spirit is nothing less than Jesus Christ in you. Keep reminding yourself that in God’s eyes you’re a temple of the Holy Spirit – that’s an awesome responsibility God has given you! And one day He’ll hold you and me accountable.
Today we shall have Holy Communion. But every day is spiritual communion! Every day we should be spiritually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus – spiritually. God yearns, longs to entrust us with revival – He longs to make His promises come true. And He’s given us His Spirit – He’s given us the essence. But the rest is up to us, because in Christ we have the freedom to do something, or to do nothing. And so I’ll just leave you with this question: What use are you making, and going to make, of that one talent of the Holy Spirit that God has given to you? Amen.
Readings for 9 May
Verse for the week: "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we don't grow weary " (Galatians 6, 9).
Psalm: 136, 1-9. 23-26. Old Testament reading: Exodus 1, 8-21. New Testament reading: Galatians 6, 1-10. Gospel reading: Luke 6, 27-35.
Food of the Spirit
What's Happening Spiritually In India
I want to tell you that God is moving in India, especially in northern India. It was a very unreached region of India just a decade ago. I accepted Christ around 20 years ago and was one of the very first converts from my background. But today when I look at northern India, at Punjab, I see so many people coming to Christ. Hundreds and hundreds of people have accepted Christ. Even in the middle of COVID we saw many people accepting Jesus Christ.
We are seeing a time when God is moving in India and in our own church. In 2014 when I took over as senior pastor, there were hardly 30 people in our church. Then we started discipling our people. We started teaching them how to pray, how to share their testimony with others, how to pray for the sick. We started teaching them these principles and teaching them about discipleship. We have really seen God doing some amazing things. Our church has exploded in growth since then. Now we are already 1,000 members in our church. I was talking to one of my friends a few days ago. He was telling me Punjab is going to become like South Korea. We are going to have quite a big percentage of people becoming followers of Christ very soon. I think northern India is very, very open for the Gospel.
At the same time, we are also facing persecution. Our government in India is very much against Christianity. They are passing laws against conversion. We are seeing them creating all kinds of hindrances, but in spite of all these things, God is at work. Most of the people who are coming to the church are new people from non-Christian backgrounds so their family doesn’t accept that. Society doesn’t accept that. Even when I became a Christian I was kicked out of my home because my father thought I brought shame to the family.
I think persecution actually is the seed for revival. What I have seen over the years is that when we are persecuted, the church explodes in growth. A few years ago, our church was basically an organized kind of church where we mostly used to worship in the church buildings. But in the last few years I am seeing a new phenomenon coming into our ministry, and that is a house church model. We are seeing small groups forming and people accepting Christ. I think that is the way forward. We are really seeing God doing some amazing things. I am very excited about the future. I think this is the time. It’s time for the Middle East. It’s time for China. It’s time for India and it’s time for my own state, Punjab. So thank God for that.
When I accepted Christ, I knew on the very first day that I would have to pay the cost because Christianity is treated as a third class religion in India. The people think that only the poor, in order to get money, become Christians. We are accused of many things. When a person makes a decision of following Jesus from a different background, a Sikh family background or Hindu background or a Muslim background, they know that they have to pay the cost. Our discipleship is based on that. We actually prepare our churches to respond to the persecution, to prepare a church member that he will have to go through all of this. He may be kicked out of his or her house. Their relatives and family members may abandon them. But it’s the crazy love of Jesus, it’s the power of a relationship that comes out of becoming a disciple of Jesus and going through the process of discipleship.
In the West, discipleship is treated more like a textbook program where they go through 7-10 lessons of discipleship. But in the East, in our country and in Iran and in China, we take discipleship as a life lived. In my church, because they know that I was kicked out of my home and couldn’t attend my mom’s funeral, that I was never allowed to attend any of my family’s weddings or other gatherings – the church sees that. It’s a life lived. Discipleship is life lived – a person is living the life in front of their church members. That is what is happening in our part of the world. The pastor, the elders, the deacons – the people leading the churches – are the ones who have already sacrificed a lot, and the church is following in their footsteps. It’s like Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Discipleship is more like imitating someone who has lived the life. This is the cloud of witnesses, that helps us to keep moving forward and running the race.
Maybe what the Western church can learn from the church in India, China and Iran is the passion and the power of prayer, the dependency on prayer. I think it’s about going deeper with God and not just following Christianity as a religion, but getting deeper with the Vine and abiding in Him, being more passionate and spending more time in prayer. And not only praying for the sick or for ritual, but praying for the sake of seeing a revival, for the sake of seeing transformation in our community. I think God is going to do great things in the future. Please keep praying for us. I think God is going to bring a great revival in our land.
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