WIC Weekly October 4th 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, after a break of six months, WIC returned to worshipping in its church premises at Miodowa Street. The weather was bad, we were late starting because another group was late in finishing its service, and a marathon was being run outside our window, causing noise and traffic problems. Not to mention the usual COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. However, it was thrilling to be able to worship together again in church! I extend my sincere thanks to everyone who helped to arrange the service, and to all who took part.
There were one or two technical problems with the recorded video on YouTube. We will try our best to resolve them somehow.
We have been informed that as many as 40 worshippers can meet in church under the restricted access, which is practically the size of our average Sunday congregation. So be encouraged that if you come, you won't be turned away!
- However, please stay at home if you feel unwell! You don’t want to make life worse for either yourself or others, and you can always follow the service on YouTube.
- If you decide to come to church, please remember that we will start the service punctually at 11 am because of those worshippers connecting with YouTube at that time.
- Before entering the church, cover your mouth and nose with a mask, and keep it on throughout the service, even for singing.
- At the entrance, you’ll have your temperature taken and you’ll be able to disinfect your hands.
- There will also be an attendance list for you to enter your name, ID number and phone number, in case there’s a coronavirus scare and the authorities will want to trace those attending the service.
- The church will be well aired throughout the service – some, if not all, windows will be open.
- Our ushers will show you where to sit in the church – social distancing at all times is vital.
- Please avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing those who are not from your family.
- Instead of the usual collection, there will be a collection basket on the table at the back of the church, where you can leave your offering as you leave the church. If possible, consider sending your offering through e-banking. The items above may be modified from time to time, depending on our experience and on how the COVID situation in Poland and Warsaw develops. However, with such basic precautions, I firmly believe we can still enjoy exciting worship in these difficult circumstances!
Also, because of the ever-changing situation and the greater likelihood that those of you playing a key part in our services may be absent at short notice, if only because of a bad cough, our services may sometimes not run so smoothly as usual. I'd appreciate your understanding if that is the case.
Last Sunday we were joined for the first time by Nick from the USA; and Boriana and her daughter Elizabeth from the UK.
We are pleased to announce a new official member of WIC: Katia Shelest from Ukraine. Katia works in Warsaw and expressed a desire to belong to WIC even though she currently has to work on Sundays. She attended Bible College in Ukraine and worked as a Pentecostal missionary for 8 years. Welcome, Katia!
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
Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
PLEASE NOTE: Another marathon will be run this Sunday (!), this time in the Mokotów part of Warsaw, which may cause bus diversions and affect traffic in the southern part of the city.
This Sunday we will be celebrating Holy Communion. Please feel free to celebrate with us online, by preparing your own bread and wine. The Communion procedure will be explained in church, to ensure maximum safety. The Communion liturgy will still be the same.
Here is your link for this Sunday’s online service at 11 am CET:
If you enjoy watching our YouTube recordings of the service, please like and subscribe to the channel. The more people that like and subscribe, the more YouTube will share the content to people who might be interested.
Recordings of our Sunday services are also available on our wic.org.pl website or by googling "Warsaw International Church YouTube".
As COVID-19 continues to affect increasing numbers throughout the world, we have a duty to pray for those suffering directly or indirectly as a result of the pandemic. Pray that people everywhere may turn to the Lord and rely on Him to heal and save them from disease and sin.
Please pray for the continuing improvement in health of members of the families of our worshippers, who have been infected with COVID-19.
Your prayers are also always requested for the safety of all of us connected with WIC, whether we meet in church, at the workplace or elsewhere.
Sermon preached by Pastor Harry on 27 September
Romans 6, 16-23; Luke 4, 14-21. So at last we’ve arrived at this strange and wonderful day, when we can meet again for worship – together with all the new obstacles. There’s a pandemic raging, a marathon being run outside, and the German congregation finished their service only 30 minutes before the start of ours. What a good start! But at least we don’t have time to be sad!
Actually I already went to a church service in these new coronavirus conditions – in the early summer, at the Polish Lutheran church. Everybody was wearing a mask, of course, and sitting at a distance from everybody else. For the Communion, the pastor put a mask on. The singing was terrible. And everyone looked so sad. I felt really miserable.
So I expected to feel the same this morning, because of all the restrictions: masks, disinfectant, temperature taken, no hugging and kissing, no shaking hands. But instead I feel excited. How to explain this? Only by the Spirit of God! God’s Spirit can change our sadness into happiness. God’s Spirit can release spiritual energy. And God’s Spirit can set us free from whatever holds us back from worshipping the Lord. God’s Spirit brings freedom.
What is freedom? It’s hard to define, isn’t it, because it’s so subjective. Some people think freedom has to do with a country’s political situation. In the West, they used to say that the West is free and the Communist Eastern world is unfree – but I felt just as free in communist Poland as in capitalist England. Some people think freedom has to do with a country’s religious situation – but again, even though Poland has a different form of Christianity from what I was used to in England, I can’t say I feel unfree here.
As long as people leave us alone and don’t impose their ideas on us, we feel free. But if a group of people starts controlling you, condemning you, projecting their ideas of what is right and wrong onto you, then you feel unfree, imprisoned – it’s a horrible feeling. All you want is just to get away from them. It’s amazing how many political and religious groups want to control your life.
And of course, our personal circumstances can also take away our sense of freedom. If your body’s falling apart because of a disability or sickness, you might feel imprisoned. If you suffer from depression, you might feel imprisoned. If your job is incredibly boring, or incredibly demanding, you might feel imprisoned. And yet, other people might feel free in the same situations. Freedom is actually in the mind.
Some of you may have heard of the amazing spiritual revival that took place in the Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland between 1949 and 1952 – I’ve mentioned it before in a sermon. The revival happened as a result of the preaching of an evangelist called Duncan Campbell. The atmosphere on those islands was just like in New Testament times: thousands of sinners turning to Jesus, the presence of God being felt everywhere – not just in the churches, but also in the fields, the villages, and on the roads! Healing miracles occurred. The greatest sinners and the most hardened unbelievers were inwardly transformed. People were down on their knees in the fields and by the roadside, crying in spiritual agony: “What must I do to be saved? I feel my soul is going to hell! Save me!”
But do you know what actually started the revival? It was two old ladies, praying day after day in their humble cottage in one of the villages. Two sisters: Peggy and Christine Smith. 84 and 82 years old. Peggy was totally blind. Christine looked at the ground when she walked, because arthritis had bent her back. They couldn’t even go to church. So they prayed at home. And they received a promise from God – Isaiah 44, verse 3: “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground”. They prayed this promise back to God, day and night, and pleaded with Him to send His living water – and revival broke out in the Hebrides. People’s souls were being set free – they were experiencing freedom from slavery to sin and unbelief.
When the revival was at its height, blind Peggy sent for Duncan Campbell to come to her cottage, and she asked him to preach in a small, isolated village. But he didn’t want to go, because that village was against spiritual revival, and he saw no point in going there. But she turned to him and said: “Mr Campbell, if you were living as near to God as you ought to be, God would reveal His secrets to you also!” Duncan Campbell was ashamed of himself, and went there to preach – and of course, revival broke out in that village as well.
Many people in the situation of those sisters – old and blind, or crippled – would feel their life is useless. But those ladies did not feel imprisoned by their physical condition. In their spirit, they felt free – and their praying led to the Hebrides Revival, one of the greatest revivals of the 20th century in the Western world.
When Jesus spoke in His local synagogue, as in today’s reading from Luke, He also quoted Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind.” Jesus was talking about Himself. In spiritual matters, it is Jesus who sets us free. Isn’t it ironic that Peggy was totally blind, and yet had such spiritual sight? Jesus’ followers thought He was talking about political freedom, and they saw Him as a revolutionary. But He was, and is, concerned with freeing the human spirit, that most precious of all freedoms. If your spirit is free, it doesn’t matter what happens to your body – you are free of it, and you are in touch with God. That’s when miracles occur, and – like Peggy - you also understand things that others don’t understand.
How can we become so free? As Paul says in today’s reading from Romans, God has set the Roman Christians free because they have been obedient. Romans 6, verse 17 says: “though you used to be slaves to sin, you obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted”. Obedience to the teachings of Jesus in the Bible is what sets us free. We can’t get away from Jesus – He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. And in our verse for this week, Jesus says: “If you hold to My teaching, if you keep to it and obey it, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.
Do you want to be truly free? Then obey the teachings of Jesus. Don’t run away from them. But I’d like something more than just to be set free by Jesus. Most of us here have been set free by Jesus, thank God! But I want something more. I want us to have the spiritual eyes of blind Peggy, who could see things that even the great evangelist Duncan Campbell couldn’t see - because, as she said, he wasn’t living close enough to God.
I want us to be so close to God that we will commune with Him, as friend with Friend, in our prayer life, day after day – thirsting for revival, thirsting for conversions, thirsting for people to turn to Jesus, the only Truth. I want our spirits to be totally free, totally unchained by our bodies. Like the ladies, I want us to plead God’s promises back to Him: “God, you promised to give water to the thirsty – give us that living water, so that all around us, people may be saved and turn to Christ”.
I think I shared with you a promise I was given at Christmas: a dream I had that I was trying to put out fires with a little cup of water. It was useless – I couldn’t put the fires out. I was almost in despair. But then it started to rain – and the rain was cool, and it was putting out the fires. The rain represents God, and He is changing lives in a way that I could never do. Dear Friends, that dream is for our church. If we keep pleading with God in prayer to save people’s souls, He will send a revival, and many, many people will be set free. May Peggy and Christine Smith be your inspiration in the weeks ahead! Amen.
Readings for 4 October
4 October is the 18th Sunday after Pentecost.
Verses for the week: "Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19); “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30).
Responsive reading: Psalm 73, 1-12. 23-26. 28. Old Testament reading: Joshua 7, 2 - 8, 1.
Food of the Spirit
During the Hebrides Revival
During the Hebrides Revival, an elderly woman [Peggy Smith] would periodically call for [evangelist] Duncan Campbell and give him instructions. He trusted her because he knew she walked deeply with God. One morning she told him he was to cross the island to a particular village he had never been to before. On the way he passed a young girl sitting alongside the road crying. He stopped and knelt down in front of her and asked if he could help her. She replied, "You cannot help me, only God can help me." He thought perhaps God was dealing with her and that he could lead her to Christ. He said, "I think I can help you." But she resisted, saying, "You cannot help me, only God can help me." He said, "What is wrong?" She said, "Way over the mountain somewhere there is a man named Duncan Campbell. And God has told me that he is to come and preach at my village because my brother and my uncle are lost."
Duncan Campbell asked, "How do you know this?" The seventeen-year-old girl said, "Because I spent the whole night in prayer." "You spent the whole night in prayer?" "Yes, and the whole night before that." "You spent two whole nights in prayer?" "You do not understand. My brother and my uncle are lost, they are going to die and go to hell, and God has told me Duncan Campbell will preach in my village and that they will be saved."
Duncan Campbell took her by the shoulders and said, "Look at me. I am Duncan Campbell." She threw her arms around his neck and began to sob and kept repeating to the Lord, "You are a covenant-keeping God. You are a covenant-keeping God." Duncan Campbell preached that night in her village and the first two people down the aisle were her brother and her uncle.
God has mighty works He wants to accomplish in our day as well. And it will be the people who are persistent, humble, surrendered and desperate in prayer who get to participate in what God is doing.
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