WIC Weekly November 29th 2020
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 welcome Przemek from Poland to our online service. Brother Olusegun addressed the church on the subject of stewardship in this November WIC stewardship month, with particular emphasis on how to be a good steward in a pandemic.
Here is your link for our service this coming Sunday on Zoom at 11 am CET:
Warsaw International Church - Sunday Service(https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81817145932?pwd=NHJTUkdWQWR3YU9FaFUwWEQzU2dxUT09) 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 weekly online English-speaking Sunday School class will be started as of this Sunday (29 November)! It will meet 30 minutes before the service, i.e. at 10:30 am. The teachers will be Sister Preethi and Sister Belinda as well as Sister Priyanka. If any of you know of any English-speaking children who might want to take part – in an age range of roughly 7 to 12 – please let Pastor Harry know and he’ll put you in touch with the teachers. The Zoom link to this is:
WIC Online Sunday School on Zoom Meeting ID: 725 9416 8755
Please pray for this initiative to get off the ground. We already have a Polish-speaking Sunday School in operation.
PLEASE NOTE: Five Messages from Pastor Harry to Seekers and Unbelievers in the Coronavirus Age have been recorded on YouTube. IF YOU KNOW ANY SEEKERS, UNBELIEVERS OR DOUBTERS WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM WATCHING THEM, PLEASE SEND THEM THIS LINK TO THE MESSAGES:
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
The situation in Ethiopia is very bad, in a civil war which is also seeing a mass exodus of refugees. Please continue to pray for peace in that country. Please also pray for the safety of Brother Issayas' relatives in the Tigray region.
Your prayers are requested for Poland. The virus infection rate is still very high, as is the death rate. Pray for the Lord to guide the leaders, since the country is experiencing daily demonstrations and scuffles with the police. Poland is also in danger of losing a huge amount of EU funds earmarked for projects and COVID-19, due to the government's veto of the EU budget. Pray for the leaders to demonstrate wisdom.
Please continue to pray for all you know who are experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Some of our worshippers are suffering financial problems because of job losses or cutbacks.
Pray for the health and protection of your loved ones, and for members of WIC.
Pray for the Lord to lead people everywhere to repentance and faith in Him as a result of the current crisis.
Sermon preached by Pastor Harry on 22 November
Ephesians 1, 7-8; Esther 3, 1-7; 5, 10-14; 7, 1-10
When I think of the festival of Thanksgiving which North Americans will be celebrating on Thursday, it calls to mind a Hebrew festival of giving thanks – called Purim. Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the danger of being exterminated in the Persian Empire under the rule of the great king Xerxes, 450 years before Christ was born. If you know your Bible history, you’ll remember that the Jews were taken into captivity first by the Assyrians, then by the Babylonians. But then Babylonia was conquered by the Persians – and they were the ones who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. The wonderful Old Testament Book of Esther is about the Jews in the Persian Empire, before they returned to their homeland. I urge you to read the whole Book of Esther for yourselves (it’s only 10 fairly short chapters) – it’s a lovely story with a happy ending, and would make a really great film! And the festival of Purim dates from the Book of Esther.
As you can see from our readings, there are four main characters in the book: the Persian king Xerxes; his Jewish queen Esther; Esther’s cousin Mordecai; and the king’s leading official, Haman. In our first reading, the king has just honoured Haman and appointed him his top royal official. But Haman is unhappy, because Mordecai the Jew doesn’t respect him. Mordecai was already known to the king, because he had reported – to his cousin Queen Esther – a plot to assassinate the king. But when Haman found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he determined to have all the Jews in the land killed on a certain day. So Haman and his officers drew lots – called “purim” in Hebrew – to determine which day of which month it should be. And the king approved the idea – he had no idea that his own wife was Jewish!
Now, when Mordecai and the Jews got to hear about this, they were horrified. Mordecai went to his cousin the queen, and told her what was going to happen. Queen Esther said there was nothing she could do – but Mordecai urged her on with these words, from chapter 4: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house, you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, we will all perish. And who knows? – maybe you have come to this royal position precisely for such a time as this?”
Those are beautiful words that Mordecai speaks. He’s suggesting that God puts us in the places and positions we are in, precisely for a purpose – God’s purpose. It reminds me of something that a modern-day Persian told me – an Iranian brother called Khashi, whom some of you may remember. Khashi had been imprisoned in Iran for criticising the government – he was an atheist at the time, and was imprisoned for political, not religious, reasons. But while in prison, he met another Iranian, who was a Christian evangelist – and this evangelist shared the gospel with Khashi in prison, which led to Khashi becoming a Christian himself! Never underestimate the position you are in at the moment – you may be more important to God than you think you are!
Queen Esther listened to Mordecai. She was a good steward in her position as queen, because she decided to do something very risky for herself, in order to save her people. She decided to plead with the king to have mercy on the Jews. So first she organized a banquet just for the king and for Haman, and when the king guessed that she wanted to ask him a favour, she said she’d tell them about it the next day, at another banquet. In our second reading, we see that Haman is very pleased that the king and queen are honouring him in such a way, by inviting only him to the banquet – he doesn’t know that Queen Esther is Jewish! And we see Haman’s wife encouraging him to already ask the king the next morning to have Mordecai impaled on a sharp pole: the perfect opportunity to get rid of that troublesome Jew!
But now, here again in the story, without God even being mentioned, something unusual happens. Is it by chance? Or is the Lord stepping in to protect His people? That night, King Xerxes can’t sleep at all, and so he asks for the records of all the events of his reign to be brought to him, so he can spend the night reading. And he reads about this Mordecai character, who reported the plot to assassinate the king. So in the morning, the king asks: “Has Mordecai been rewarded for what he did?” “No”, say his officials. And just at that very moment, Haman arrives in the king’s presence to ask the king’s permission to kill Mordecai! But when the king sees Haman, he orders him to reward Mordecai by having Mordecai dressed in the king’s robes and ride through the city on the king’s horse! So Haman’s plot has been foiled – as if by accident, but the implication is that God is the one who’s in control!
So that same evening, Queen Esther gives her second banquet for the king and Haman. And Esther this time tells the king that she’s Jewish, and that it was Haman who had planned to kill all the Jews. The king is furious with Haman, and walks out into the palace garden. Haman realizes he’s in deep trouble, so he falls onto the couch where Queen Esther is lying, and begs her to save his life. But at that very moment, the king walks back in, and thinks that Haman is about to molest his wife! Haman’s fate is sealed, and he is impaled on the same pole he had set up for Mordecai.
The story ends with the Jews being saved, and Mordecai is appointed prime minister. So that’s where the Jewish festival of Purim comes from – when Haman and his officials cast lots to determine on which day the Jews should be massacred. But of course, it’s a festival of thanks for God’s deliverance of His people.
Dear Friends, as I said, there are several lessons we can learn from this great story. Firstly, that things don’t happen by chance. Secondly, that we need to be responsible stewards in the position God puts us in. And thirdly, that God delivers His people – He comes to their rescue. That’s why, in a sense, the most important text today is not from the Book of Esther, but from our verses for the week – Ephesians 1, 7-8: “In Christ we have redemption through His blood; the forgiveness of sins; in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us”. Redemption means salvation. Christ saved us through His blood, and forgave us our sins through His blood.
In that verse, we see clearly how God has delivered us – not by our own works, but by God’s grace in Jesus, who rescued us from the devil’s clutches by sacrificing Himself on the cross. So Esther, who is ready to give her life to save her people, is another forerunner of Jesus, who did give His life. At Thanksgiving, and every other festival, let’s enjoy ourselves. But let’s never forget to give thanks to the One who has delivered us from evil and will lead us safely home. Amen.
Readings for 29 November (1st Sunday in Advent)
Verse for the week: "You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember Your ways" (Isaiah 64, 5).
Responsive reading: Psalm 80, 1-7. 14. 17-19. Old Testament reading: Isaiah 64, 1-9. New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 1, 3-9. Gospel reading: Mark 13, 24-37.
Food of the Spirit
Called For This Crisis Hour!
By Arthur Wallis
It was an hour of crisis. A situation had arisen in which the destiny of the elect nation seemed to hang in the balance. Xerxes, the despotic monarch of Persia, had consented to sign a decree at the request of Haman, the adversary of God's people, that on a certain day all Jews throughout his vast domain were to be slain. It seemed that certain judgment was about to overwhelm God's people, and that the lamp of Israel would be quenched forever.
But in the wondrous providences of God a Hebrew orphan girl had been brought into a unique relationship with the king. Xerxes had chosen Esther as his bride, set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen (Esth. 2:17). God had so ordained that she should come to the kingdom for such a time, that out of desperate weakness His people might be made strong. He had determined that through Esther He would make the wrath of man to praise Him, so that in an hour of impending judgment and calamity there might arise relief and deliverance to the captive daughter of Zion.
In This Crisis Hour!
It is such an hour of crisis today! Satan, the "Haman" of the people of God, knows that his time is short. From within and from without he is making a last desperate bid to overwhelm the church. Materialism, Mohamedanism, Humanism and Spiritism are making rapid advances. If figures issued are reliable, the increasing world population is swallowing up the efforts of the church to evangelize to a finish by preaching the Gospel to every creature….
It must be obvious to every thoughtful mind that the situation is desperate. Time is running out. World events are moving fast. The nations are lining up for the last great conflagration. Only revival, a last great sweep of the Holy Spirit can meet the need. This is indeed the hour of crisis, and "who knows whether you are not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
The Call to Intercede
“Charge her that she should go in unto the king, to plead with him, and to make request before him, for her people" (Esth. 4:8). Thus Mordecai, Esther's guardian, answered the messenger whom she had sent. She was to use her unique relationship with the king for the deliverance of her people. She was to "go in unto the king, to plead with him" who alone could alter the situation.
A breach had been made in the defenses of God's people, and the enemy was about to rush in for the kill. But there was one who had the ear of the king, who could therefore stand in the gap, and turn the tide of calamity that would engulf both her and her people.
Like Esther, many of God's people today are oblivious of the breaches in our defenses that leave us wide open to the enemy. They look upon the Mordecais of today who foresee the perils, as pessimists. Like Esther, they would like to take from these realists the sackcloth of their gloomy outlook, and clothe them with the bright garments of their own wishful thinking (4:4). The church needs to be awakened to the perils of the hour and the possibilities of revival!
Down the years God has ever looked in the hour of crisis for intercessors. Sometimes He has looked in vain. Has He to say to His people today what He said long ago through Ezekiel: "You have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the fence for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord" (Ezek. 13:5)?
The Word of God, the need of the church, the plight of the world, the possibility of revival, the shortness of the time, would unitedly urge us "to go in unto the King." God forbid that He should have to say of His people today: "I sought for a man among them, that should make up the fence, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I should not destroy it: but I found none" (Ezek. 22:30).
Today God is seeking for a man, a woman. Will you be that one? "Who knows whether you are not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
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