1 John 4: He loved us long before we loved Him

This is how God’s love has appeared among us: God sent his only son into the world, so that we should live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the sacrifice that would atone for our sins. Beloved, if that’s how God loved us, we ought to love one another in the same way.

1 John 4:9-11, New Testament for Everyone

Tomorrow at Explore: Pentecost

Although tomorrow’s Explore service has been advertised as a Communion service, we will not be having Communion after all.  It is a third Sunday in the month, so we will still have a Bring and Share Lunch after the service, for all who can stay for it.

Shortly after Jesus’ ascension, on the Jewish feast day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon his disciples. While they were gathered in a house, a sound like a violent rushing wind filled the place and flames of fire rest on each disciple, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began speaking in different foreign languages, with the result that many of the Jews from different parts of the world heard them speak in their own language. This and other notable miracles took place as the number of converts to Christianity increased rapidly in Jerusalem.

How does this link with the Old Testament covenant and festivals?  Tomorrow at Explore, Colin and Annette lead us through the roles of the Spirit and the Church.  There’ll be the opportunity to ask God for more.  The Tindals will share some stories of their work in recent weeks with young mothers in Kenya.  11.15am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: God is united with humankind

“In the body of Jesus Christ, God is united with humankind, all humanity is accepted by God, and the world is reconciled to God. In the body of Jesus Christ, God took on the sin of all the world and bore it. There is no part of the world, no matter how lost, no matter how godless, that has not been accepted by God in Jesus Christ and reconciled to God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from his classic book, Ethics

Austin Fischer: At the centre of the universe, there is the worship of a mangled lamb

Church Leader Austin Fischer writes:

In Revelation 5, John is caught up into a dazzling vision of heaven. There’s thunder and lightning and bizarre animals and angels—lots and lots of angels. The hurricane of heaven swirls around John—a barrage of glory and fury, deafening praise and frenetic motion—when suddenly it all ceases. The motion stops, the heavens go silent, and all of creation turns to look because Jesus, the Lion Of Judah, the Son Of God, the King Of the universe is approaching.

And perhaps like little Zaccheus, John climbs on top of a tall angel for a better view, he cranes his neck to see and there—at the throne of heaven, at the centre of the universe—is… a mangled lamb. The Lion of Judah is a mangled lamb. The King of the universe limps to his throne a mangled lamb. Surely there must be some mistake. But as John watches, all of heaven falls down around him, falls down before the mangled lamb, and they begin worshipping him. At the very centre of the universe, there is the worship of a mangled lamb.

And it’s not a mistake. Twenty-eight times in twenty-two chapters, sword-wielding, conquering, victorious King Jesus is called a lamb (and for those counting, he’s called a lion once … in the place we’re told the Lion of Judah is actually a slain lamb). And it was an image I simply could not reconcile.

At the centre of the universe, there is a suffering, crucified, mangled lamb, endlessly giving away self.  It was the sort of thing that makes you stop arguing because you’re too busy worshipping.

Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed, by Austin Fischer


Be Chainless


So come and be chainless
Come and be fearless
Come to the foot of Calvary
For there is redemption
For every affliction
Here at the foot of Calvary

Rescuer, Rend Collective

2 Corinthians 8: Although He was infinitely rich, He impoverished Himself for our sake

You have plenty of everything, after all – plenty of faith, and speech, and knowledge, and all kinds of eagerness, and plenty of love coming from us to you; so why not have plenty of this grace too?

I’m not saying this as though I was issuing an order. It’s a matter of putting their enthusiasm and your own love side by side, and making sure you genuinely pass the test. For you know the grace of our Lord, King Jesus: he was rich, but because of you he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

2 Corinthians 8:7-9 New Testament for Everyone


in the Passion translation:

So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity...  For you have experienced the extravagant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was infinitely rich, he impoverished himself for our sake, so that by his poverty, we could become rich beyond measure.

Tomorrow at Explore: Jesus ascends to heaven

The birthplace of the Church is Jerusalem.  After His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the power of the Holy Spirit and then to be witnesses to Him in Jerusalem (their city), Judea and Samaria (the surrounding provinces), and the remotest part of the earth (the rest of the world). Then Jesus ascended into heaven right before their eyes.

In Explore tomorrow, Fiona Rimmer takes us to the next significant step in the Bible Timeline.   11.15am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.  There will be no separate children’s meetings in this service, but it will be planned with all ages in mind.