Holiday Club 2017

BOOK NOW for the 2017 Holiday Club!

Are you in school years Reception to Year 6?

If so come and Join Flo and Joe in the summer holidays as they travel back in time on and Egyptian Adventure to see how God is the great Rescuer. There will be fun, laughter, bible stories and games.

Monday 31st July – Thursday 3rd August 10:oo til 12.30
Sunday 6th August 10.30am
Clyst Heath School, Exeter

To book your place- please click here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfoP8xobMW5XSIKNYntdhIieqwYpigfSJel-GpbTAyoc1chKA/viewform?usp=sf_link

if you have any difficulties or don’t hear back from us email: holidayclub@trinityexeter.com or phone: 07432 850402

Money!

When we talk about money at Trinity we have got to remember that Jesus says “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”. He is not a bully trying to do some financial extraction. He loves you far too much for that!

So what does God has to say? lets look at 2 Cor 8

Example of Giving v1-7

  1. Joy + Povety = Generosity. God transforms our hearts so that we don’t wait till we have loads of stuff before we are generous.
  2. Verse 4-5 they were people who were begging to give!

Remember the Macedonians!

Motivation for giving v8-15

Two Mistakes

  1. God is your ATM!
  2. Repay God – thank you for grace how can I pay for it!

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

The Christian motivation is the Gospel. He wants the gospel to so permeate you life you live sacrifice, you love not just looking at the cross but living the cross. God wants this gospel to be our heartbeat “rich become poor so the poor become rich!”

Responsible Giving (v 16-24)

  1. Love
  2. Accountable
  3. Reliable

Planned Giving (v1-5)

  1. Budget
  2. Research
  3. Vision

Helpful budgeting resources: Budgeting; http://www.which.co.uk/money/money-saving-tips/budgeting/guides/planning-a-budget/how-to-plan-an-effective-budgethttp://www.moneysavingexpert.com; If you are in debt and need help please contact – https://capuk.org

Christianity Explored Course

 

  • You are warmly invited to join us for a 4 week course on Thursdays, starting on 27th April,
  • Christianity Explored gives you the space to consider the big questions of life and to explore the life of the person at the heart of the Christian faith- Jesus Christ
    • You don’t need to know anything about the bible
    • You won’t be asked to pray, sing or read aloud
    • You can ask any question you want, or just listen
  • 9:45-11:15am,
  • Held in Rosalie’s kitchen with a Creche in the lounge,
  • Text 07846012660 for address and to let us know you’re coming.

Good Friday 2pm

Why is Good Friday good? What is Jesus dying on a cross all about? come along 2 pm at Cyst heath school for some time and some space to reflect on Jesus’ death.

Sermon Notes: Deuteronomy chapter 8

These sermon notes are from the talk on Deuteronomy chapter 8. This was preached by Tony Swain on Sunday 18th.

INTRO

Tonight we continue our series on Deuteronomy.

You’ll recall from previous chapters that Moses has been giving instructions to the Tribes of

Israel in the desert knowing that he will die shortly, but that they will soon cross over the

river Jordan into the rich land that God has promised them. The main theme of Chapter 8 is

the necessity to remember God. It contains many of the same instructions and warnings

that are in previous chapters. By constant repetition Moses is making sure that the tribes

both fully understand and remember his instructions which will be vital to their continuing

survival and wellbeing.

I don’t know about you, but I have a dreadful memory. I am always mislaying my wallet, my

glasses, and particularly my keys. I often envy elephants for their memory.

Research carried out during the 1993 drought at Tarangire [Pron. TARRAN JEERY] National

Park in Tanzania discovered that some elephant groups left the park and went to very

distant sources of food and water that they remembered from the previous severe drought

several decadespreviously. Their survival rate was far better than the herds that remained in

the Park. Remembering important things is an key life-skill!

So with this in mind, please turn to Deuteronomy Chapter 8 in your Bibles, or printed on the

song sheets.

 

1. Remember God – in the desert

In verse 1 , and later in the chapter, Moses again implores the tribes to comply with all the

commandments if they are to survive and thrive when they enter the Promised Land.

His summary of the commandments – in Deut 6 verse 5 – was, you will remember:

5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your

might.

Moses tells them in v2 that God has extended their time in the desert to humble them

following the continual disobedience of their forefathers.This was not done out of God’s

anger at them, but out of his love for the nation. God wanted to discipline them like a

parent disciplines their children, for their long term benefit. This was to ensure that their

hearts and minds would be given to God, and that they would learn to depend utterly on

him as they joureyed on through this inhospitable and challenging environment.

Moses then prompts them to remember them of two further examples of God’s amazing

provision in the desert, which he has not previously mentioned.

The first example is Manna – the mysterious substance that fell on the ground each morning

and which the Israelites ate as their main food each day – like bread. I won’t explain the

details of what it was like or how it had to be gathered and prepared: that’s all neatly

described in Exodus Chapter 16 and elsewhere.

Moses clearly states that God’s care for the tribes is much more than just for their material

needs. We read in verse 3:

”…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the

LORD”.

No doubt you are familiar with this verse, mainly because it is quoted by Jesus when he is

tempted after 40 days of fasting in the same desert some 1500 hundred years later. We’ll

refer to that again shortly.

The second example is mentioned in v4:

“Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years”.

This really took me aback when I read it as I can’t recall reading about this before. Amazing!

Peoples’ clothes never wearing out and always being like new! Mind you, I bet the ladies

wouldn’t have liked that as they’d have wanted the latest fashion every season! And it’s

astonihing that no one got foot-ache despite all those decades tramping over the sharp

stones and thorny wastes of the desert.

If you’re man of a certain age, you’ll remember Bri-Nylon shirts. They never ever wore out,

got very sweaty, but washed and dried easily – and were frightfully uncomfortable. I’m sure God would have come up with something much better than Bri-Nylon for the tribes. But I’ll

leave it to you to ponder over exactly how God sorted these matters.

The main point is that the Tribes were in a tough environment and were totally dependent

on God – for both their material and spiritual wellbeing. This dependence made it easier for

them to remember God and to obey his commands. As a result they were now equipped for

the promised land.

2. Remember God – in the Promised land

In verse 6, Moses again reiterates the importance of remembering and obeying God,

especially once entering the Promised Land. He then lists it’s wonderful attributes of the for

the next four verses.

It’s got plentiful water, it’s ideal for growing wheat, barley, vines figs and olives. Honey bees

love it. There are lots of minerals for making bronze tools and weapons, – it’s a fantastic

place. And God says he’ll bless them and that they’ll all do really well. What’s not to like?

But as we read in verse 11 onwards, Moses has clearly seen that once they are settled and

comfortable in this rich new land, they’ll think more and more about their material

posessions, their busy daily lives, and the many temptations increasingly occupying their

thoughts, diaries, and hearts. Then they’ll think that their good fortunes are more a result of

their efforts than anything to do with God, and they’ll stray from their faith.

Moses neatly highlights the danger in v 17:

“Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me

this wealth”.”

And he clearly states the consequences in vv 19-20.

“19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship

them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the LORD

makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the

LORD your God.”

3. Remember God – Incarnate

With the benefit of the hindsight that are given in our Bibles, we know that the Tribes did

indeed enter the promised land, built a magnificent temple, and prospered. After many

generations of forgetfulness and disobedience, things went from bad to worse, culminating

in the nation being conquered and the temple being destroyed.

 

But around two thousand years ago, before the final destruction of the earthly temple, we

know that our Saviour Jesus Christ, the son of God, was incarnate – made flesh –and as we

say in the creed, was crucified, and rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven.

And as we know, he proclaimed a new relationship between God and Man – replacing that

which had been given by God to Moses. A source of his key sayings was from Deuteronomy.

When challenged by the religious lawyer about the Commandments, Jesus responded that

the greatest commandment was still:

“ You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your

might” (Matt 22:37).

This is in all important respects identical to Moses’s summary of the law which we noted

earlier in Deuteronomy Chapter 6 v 4.

If you’ve got your Bibles with you, take a look at Matthew Chapter 4, verse 4. Here it says:

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And

after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to

him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he

answered, “It is written,“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes

from the mouth of God.’”

You’ll remember that last sentence came from Deuteronomy Chapter 8 v 3. And you’ll spot

that Jesus fasted for 40 days in the same desert as the tribes wandered in for 40 years,

preparing for his journey to Jerusalem and his impending death and resurrection. We

remember his fasting today (literally) as the Church season of Lent – a time of spiritual self

examination over – yes, you’ve got it! Forty days!

Jesus expands on this quotation in John Chapter 6: 32-35

32…. “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but

my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes

down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread

always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not

hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

And significantly at the last supper, as described in Luke Ch 22 v 19:

19 …… he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is

my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Notice how Jesus himself thanked God the Father for the meal they were eating, not even

taking that for granted. And then – critically – he said do this in remembrance of me.

So Jesus is saying that the very basic tenets of the faith are unchanged, despite the New

Covenant – Remember God, depend on God, and obey God.

 

4. Remember God- in the here & now

Living in the UK today has parallels with living in the promised land. It’s one of the ten

richest countries in the world and I’m told that these have more wealth than the remaining

90% put together.

Jane sometimes sends me off to buy our groceries. When I get back home she says “where

have you been?” and I explain that I’ve only been at the supermarket and didn’t go via the

pub. It’s just that there is such a massive choice there, it takes me AGES to select what we

need. For example there are dozens of types of milk – skimmed, semi-skimmed, full fat. And

these come in Organic, Farmer Friendly, and Westcountry produced types. Then there’s

buttermilk, Channel island milk, soya milk, buffalo milk, powdered milk. In all different sizes.

And that’s only the milk! Imagine how dazed I am by the other sections, honey included.

Yes, our country really is a land flowing with milk and honey

This is only an example of the wonderful things we have in this country. As we know, there

are many others: Peace, a stable political system, freedom of speech. Libraries, The NHS,

social services, Free schooling and so much more. Oh yes, and freedom to practice our

religion.

As a nation, do we have the attitude that we deserve all this because we’re British, and it’s

happened because of generations of our hard work, and our importance in the world?

From an individual perspective I’m tempted to look at my own personal circumstances –

our house, the car, my pension, our family – and think; I’ve worked hard for all this and I

deserve it. I often have to make a special effort to remember that everything that I have has

come from God – including my very being.

OOPS! Do you remember in verse 17 Moses’s warning to the Israellites before they went to

the promised land?

“Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me

this wealth”.”

And again remember Moses’s warnings in verses 19 and 20 about the very serious results of

forgetting God?

These still apply to us all here and now.

I’m often distracted by my busy-ness, doing this and that, and thinking that I don’t have

enough time to pray, or go to house-group. Or I’m tempted to watch a film, do the

crossword, or look up something interesting on the internet rather than read my Bible. I

confess that at the end of some days I realise that I have not even thought about God. And

when I do pray and my prayers are answered, or if I am especially blessed, I find that –

shamefully – I soon forget.

 

But I’m sure none of that stuff applies to you good people here tonight.

However, we are fortunate these days to have lots of prompts to remind us of God, if we

choose to heed them.

There are physical prompts like crosses on buildings, or worn as pendants, and even on buns

at Easter – reminding us of Christ’s death and resurrection.

There is the food which we eat each mealtime, which should at least prompt us to say

Grace.

We have easy access to the word of God through printed and on-line Bibles, and there are

websites from which we can be sent a bible verse each day – free of charge!

There is our church year – with all the festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, to

name a few, which help us remember what God had done for us. And of course Lent, to

remind us do our own spiritual audit.

The are our Church Services, our songs of worship, and our bible teaching. There’s our

house groups, and prayer meetings, and prayer diaries.

There is the communion where we remember Jesus’s death and resurrection.

There are many other prompts to aid our remembering, so we have no excuses!

Conclusion

We are really well equipped, living here and now, in this land of milk and honey to

remember what God has done for us, and to remember his commands. It’s easy to be

distracted by our busy lives in a materialistic culture, and become distanced from God.

We may well remember what God has done for us and what his laws are, but the bigger

question is to what extent are we going be truly dependent on him, and remember to obey

him. Those are the points that I find the most challenging in this Chapter.

Lent is a good time to reflect on these issues.

Sermon Notes: Deuteronomy chapter 2 & 3

We have the second of our online sermon scripts, with this look at Deuteronomy chapters 2 & 3. This was preached by David Harley during our evening service on February 12th 2017.

Chapters 2 & 3

We are looking at chapters 2 and 3 of Deuteronomy. Moses is in the middle of a sermon reminding the people of Israel of some significant events in their history. Prayer

Remember what God has done (1:9 – 3:28)

Last month we were looking at this photo of our younger daughter on Woolacombe beach the age of 6. This was the terrible day when she got lost. It was a very hot day and the beach was packed. We were sitting on the beach near an ice cream van and she went into the sea to paddle. She knew that when she came out of the sea all she needed to do was to look for the ice cream van. So in due course when she had paddled around for a long time she headed for the ice cream van expecting to find us. But the ice cream van had moved further along the beach. She looked everywhere but could not find us and eventually sat down and burst into tears. It all ended happily for one of our friends found her and brought her back to us. This picture is some time later when she had recovered from her ordeal and was playing happily in a sand-boat I built for her. Catherine is now 44 but this day is etched deeply on her memory. Recently she asked for a copy of this photo.

Looking back at old photos or slides or videos brings back memories of good times and not so good times. Moses did not have a camera or a video recorder, but he wanted to remind the people of Israel about some key moments in their lives. So he tells the story as dramatically as he can, encouraging the people to learn from the past and trust God for the future.

Today we are looking at chapters 2 and 3. Moses reminds the people how God has looked after them in the wilderness and given them victories over their enemies. God has been with them all the time. For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. For forty years the Lord your God has been with you and you have not lacked a thing.” (7) I want to draw out three encouragements for us from their experience.

First, God is with us in difficult times 2:1 – 23

Most of us go through times when we find it tough to continue in the Christian life. Some Christians describe it as going through a wilderness experience, God seems far away. It is difficult to pray or read the Bible. It is difficult to sing Christian songs. We lose any sense of joy in the Christian life. It is hard to hang in there.  We have a friend, Kathryn Green McCreight, who suffers from bipolar disorder and wrote a book about her experience called “Darkness my only companion.”  In her times of deep depression when it was difficult to pray or do Bible study, one thing that kept her trusting the Lord was the discipline of reciting the service of Morning Prayer.

We may not suffer from severe clinical depression but we know what it is like to struggle in our Christian lives. These struggles may be caused by pressure at work, exhaustion, illness of bereavement.  For the people of Israel it was their own fault they were in the wilderness. They were there for 40 years.  

It was tough surviving in such a hostile environment, living in crude shelters, being constantly on the move, seeking for enough water and for pasture for their cattle, defending themselves from other nomadic tribes. But they were still God’s children. Through those forty years God was always with them.

He guided them. He gave them precise guidance about where to go. In v3, God says: “You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward.”  In verse 13 we read ‘And the LORD said, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley.’ In verse 24 God says “Set out now and cross the Arnon Gorge.”

Sometimes he told to keep to the main road and not threaten other nations. (4 to 6): “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Be careful. Don’t meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.” (2:4-6). He gave them similar instruction when they passed through the territories of Moab and Ammon (2:9 and 2:19).

God guided his people through the wilderness. This reminds us of Paul’s second missionary journey where he tried to go to Asia and Bithynia and the Spirit of Jesus did not allow him. The in a dream a man from Macedonia said come over and help us. Should we expect such precise guidance? Sometimes God allows us to weigh up the issues and make our own minds up. At other times we are dependent on the wisdom of friends. Occasionally God may graciously prompt us in a particular direction. Rosemary and I have been wondering whether or not we should undertake anymore overseas speaking engagements. On Monday I received an email inviting us to speak at the OMF conference in Thailand. But the date on the email was November 1st. The email had taken 3 months to arrive and by the time it arrived they had invited someone else. God had closed that door!

God did not just instruct the people in the wilderness, telling them where to go and where not to go. He also provided everything they needed. For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. For forty years the Lord your God has been with you and you have not lacked a thing.” (7) God provides for the needs of his people. I remember last year Steve and Anna needed somewhere to stay for three months for him to finish writing his book. I took a Christmas service at village near Crediton, where we happened to meet a couple who lived in central Devon and as it turned out had an ideal place for the Griffiths to stay. God guides his people and supplies their needs.

  1. God is with us in our struggles (2:24-3:11)

The next section describes the military campaign which took place on the east side of the River Jordan. There were two kingdoms on this side of the river – Heshbon and Bahsan.  The people of Israel send messengers to the kings of these countries asking permission to pass through their territory. They promised to stick to the main road and purchase any food and water they needed along the way. But neither king wanted such a huge army of people to walking through their land and both responded by coming out to battle, determined to wipe out these invaders. Both kings are defeated, their lands are captured and their cities are razed to the ground.

The campaign lasted several weeks. The battles were fought over rocky terrain and in oppressive heat. The enemy soldiers did not just lay down their weapons and surrender. They fought with all their energy and to their last breath. This was a hard fought and bloody campaign. It was an exhausting few weeks. Doubtless many died on the Israelites side and many were wounded.

They had to contend for every inch of land but it was God who gave them the victory. Even before the battle started, God assured them of victory. Look at v24:  “I have given Sihon into your hands.” God gave the victory but the Israelites had to fight.   

Paul tells us we are engaged in a spiritual battle: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6). Sometimes we may be particularly aware we are in a spiritual war. I have twice been invited to speak on Ephesians 6 and on both occasions I was involved in a car accident. It seemed more than a strange coincidence.

As we engage in outreach we need to be conscious that we have unseen forces against us. That has been evident in the struggle we have had over the building of the new school. But here is the encouragement. We are not alone. Our God is with us. The battle belongs to the Lord, whether we live in Exeter or Sao Paulo. It is God who gives us the victory. Jesus said: “I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”  

These victories secured the eastern flank of the future nation. But while the children of Israel rejoiced, the people of these two kingdoms suffered. This is one of those passages which we find  hard to read and it raises questions in our minds about God’s love and justice. For we read that the cities were destroyed and all the inhabitants were killed. This is a huge topic and we will be looking at it again when we study chapter 7. There are no easy answers but let me make a couple of observations.

Who are the people here who are being destroyed? They are Amorites. The term Amorites is used to describe a group of tribes who lived on both sides of the river Jordan. Their culture was characterised by obscene immorality and the sacrifice of children. God had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their great wickedness. And in Genesis 15 God said the time would come when the whole nation of the Amorites would be destroyed. And now that moment had come.

This meant that whole families died, as of course, they did in the time of the flood. That was a tragedy. But there are times when whole communities get caught up in a disaster and whole communities suffer because of the actions of their leaders. But the story of Rahab shows us how families could be spared if they turned to the Lord.  

This was a unique event in biblical history, which brought judgement on the Amorites and the making of a homeland for the people of Israel. God set clear boundaries on who could be destroyed. There is no warrant for destroying other nations. The only reason why two nations on the East bank suffered in this way is because they attacked the people of Israel.

But beyond these events there is a sober reality. Here is a salutary reminder that all those who oppose the will of God and oppose the people of God and indulge in lives of gross cruelty and immorality will one day face the judgement of God.

Now we come to the third section:

  1. God is with us in our sadness 3:12-29

The East Bank of the Jordan is now secure. The people of Israel have conquered more land than they expected to do. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and some from Manasseh think it would be a good idea to settle down. They realise the land is good grazing pasture and they have a lot of cattle. Moses does not deny their request but reminds them of their responsibility to cross the river Jordan with the other tribes and see the completion of the conquest before they come back to their chosen inheritance.(3:18f.)

The chapter ends on a sad note. Moses prepares Joshua to assume the leadership of the people. He reminds Joshua of all that God has done and encourages him with the words: “Do not fear for the Lord your God is fighting for you.”   

Then Moses turns to the Lord with one more request. “Just let me cross the river and have a look at the Land. It would mean so much to me.” You can understand how Moses felt. For the last forty years he has had one consuming vision – to take the people of Israel into the land God promised to Abraham. That was his dream when he first returned to Egypt and confronted Pharaoh. For the past forty years this dream sustained him through all the criticism and heartache of leading the people.  And now he is on the very edge of achieving his life’s ambition. But God would not listen and said: “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.”

That was a huge disappointment for Moses. Sometimes we may face big disappointments. Things do not work out the way we hoped. Our prayers are not answered. Our wishes do not come true. The Lord takes away from us something we enjoy. He says to us “You have done a good job. Now it is time to hand that over to someone else.” That is what Moses is asked to do, to hand over the leadership to Joshua.

Some people find it very difficult to move on, to retire. When I had been principal of All Nations for 8 years and we had served there 15 years altogether, we felt it was right to return to missionary work. We loved being there but it was time to move on. We left our 5 bed detached house in the college grounds and moved into a small town house in Bromley. We lost our home, our work, our  church, our colleagues and friends. I lost my role and my identity. Instead of having four secretaries I had none. Instead of a spacious office I worked in a converted garage. On the first day my computer refused to work. It all got to me and I felt pretty low. Then a friend invited us out to dinner and we had a bottle of wine and I felt much better! And the next morning the Lord spoke to me through a sermon.

Sometimes we feel like that because we find our identity in our status or role or achievements. But our true identity is in our relationship with the Lord. The defining factor in Moses life was not his achievements but in his standing before God. In his obituary written at the end of this book, the first thing that is said about Moses is not what he achieved but in this “that he knew the Lord face to face.”  God understood Moses was disappointed and he told him to climb a mountain and look across the river to the Promised Land. One day Moses did stand with Jesus in the Promised Land in the Mount of Transfiguration. That’s the bigger perspective. That is the eternal perspective.

God is with us in disappointments and our sadness. Over these also two days we have been celebrating the lives of Rachel’s father and also the life of Jeremy Clark. Here are some of the things he wrote as he faced his own death. These are times of great sadness for the families. But here are some words that Jeremy wrote as he faced his imminent death:

‘At the moment when the news sank in something gentle happened. It was a feeling of deep peace. Words started flooding into my heart. “I am the Resurrection and the life. Those who die will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die”. If Jesus Christ has risen beyond death, I was safe with him’.‘What do we plan for? I’m honestly just so peaceful with both living and dying, leaving my situation ultimately in Jesus’ hands is the place of greatest peace’.