As we meet to worship Jesus Christ this weekend, we will begin reading through the first letter of Peter, in the New Testament. He wrote to people on the journey of faith, in an often hostile world. We will discover how he encouraged them to live confidently and faithfully for Jesus, in their day. And we will learn how God wants us to live in our day.
Over these weeks at the beginning of 2017, we have spent a lot of time thinking about all that the New Testament has to say about our connection, our union with Jesus Christ, as followers of his.
Christmas was all about Immanuel, God-with-us, as Jesus came among us as one of us. But the thing we need to understand, is that the wonder of God-with-us did not end when he ascended into heaven after his resurrection. He explained to his disciples in John ch15, how his presence would work in this era between his resurrection and the new creation. He described how we are one with him, which means far more than us simply being his admirers, or even those who seek to follow his teachings. What Jesus talks about is a real organic connection between us and Jesus Christ - often called union with Christ. His life is IN us! We are one with him.
So we have spent a lot of time in John 15 looking at the image of the vine and the branches. Further to that we have also been thinking about the images in Paul's and Peter's letters, of the body, the marriage, and the temple.
We are the branches taking life from the true vine (Jesus) and producing fruit as we remain in him and are pruned by him.
We are the body of Christ, with different gifts, different roles, but all working together under the leadership of the Head (Jesus).
We as the church, are the bride of Christ, as he leads and guides us. The closest and most intimate of all human relationships (ideally) where 'me' becomes 'us', as two become one.
We are living stones in the temple of God - the dwelling place of God - with Christ as the chief cornerstone on which everything depends.
Each of these images is worth spending some time thinking about and meditating on.
Let's celebrate who we are IN Christ.
The next meeting of the Spanish-speaking community is on Saturday 4th February. 7pm at St Chad's Centre.
La próxima reunión de la comunidad hispanohablante se celebrará sábado el 4 de febrero, a las 7 de la tarde en el centro "St. Chad's"
Consider this amazing truth - Jesus teaches his disciples what 'God-with-us' looks like in this era following his resurrection and ascension. He is the vine and we are the branches and his power and strength flow through us as we are connected to him. Its not something that is true just if we feel it or it we happen to feel like we have done good things that day. It is a fundamental truth of being a Christ-follower - union with Christ!
Encourage yourself as you remind yourself of this as you go about your life today:
Some great questions for reflection here, which we have used in the past in Urban Life. Worth using again - especially if you can find the ones you used last time to compare with!
If our greatest need had been information
God would have sent us an educator
If our greatest need had been technology
God would have sent us a scientist
If our greatest need had been money
God would have sent us an economist
If our greatest need had been pleasure
God would have sent us an entertainer
But our greatest need was forgiveness
So God sent us a Saviour.
Last night we gathered for our Christmas 'hangout'. Thanks to everyone who brought food and joined in. We spent time eating, singing carols, and considering what Christmas is all about. Contact us if you would like a copy.
Here's the video we watched which accompanies the free book we gave away.
'Advent' means 'arrival' of an important or expected person. Advent is more than chocolate calendars (nice as they are!); it is about remembering what it was like as the world waited for a messiah to come, God's chosen one who would come to set the world free!
More on that in future posts, but let's think, as we look around the world today and watch the news, it is obvious that, as much as ever, our world needs setting free.
How? Or better, who? Jesus Christ - the way, the truth and the life!
The next meeting of the Spanish-speaking community is on Saturday 26th November. 7pm at St Chad's Centre.
La próxima reunión de la comunidad hispanohablante se celebrará sábado el 26 de noviembre, a las 7 de la tarde en el centro "St. Chad's"
And I am certain
who began the good work within you
will continue his work
until it is finally finished
on the day
when Christ Jesus returns
God finishes what he starts!
(Philippians 1 v6)
Learning together from the New Testament book of Philippians
Week 1: Confident in Christ 1:1-11
Week 2: Living in Christ 1:12-26
Week 3: Standing Together in Christ 1:27-2:11
Week 4: Transformed by Christ 2:12-30
Week 5: Righteous in Christ 3:1-9
Week 6: Knowing Christ 3:10-4:1
Week 7: Rejoicing in Christ 4:2-9
Week 8: Content in Christ 4:10-23
What can we be praying for one another? Here's some ideas from the apostle Paul's writings:
I pray ...asking God , the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you may grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called - his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him.
I pray that from his glorious unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. The Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow doen into GOd's love and keep you strong. And may you have power to understand, with all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
I pray your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return.
We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.
We also pray you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.
(from Ephesians 1, Ephesians 3, Philippians 1 and Colossians 1)
Have mercy on me O God
because of your unfailing love
Because of your great compassion
blot out the stain of my sins
Wash me clean from my guilt
Purify me from my sin
For I recognise my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Purify me from my sins and I will be clean
Wash I will be whiter than snow
Oh give me back my joy again
you have broken me
now let me rejoice
Create in me a clean heart O God
Renew a loyal spirit within me
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and make me willing to obey you
Unseal my lips O Lord
that my mouth may praise you.
The sacrifice you desire if a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart O God.
(from Psalm 51)
O Lord you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I ride the winds of the morning
If I dwell by the farthest oceans
Even there your hand will guide me
And your strength will support me
You made all the delicate inner parts of my body
And knit me together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
You workmanship is marvellous - how well I know it.
Search me O God and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you
And lead me along the path of everlasting life.
(from Psalm 139)
Holy holy holy is the Lord God, the Almighty
The one who always was, who is, and who is still to come
You are worthy, O Lord our God
to receive glory and honour and power
For you created all things
And they exist because you created what you pleased
To the Lamb:
You are worthy to take the scroll
and break its seals and open it
For you were slaughtered
and your blood has ransomed
people for God
from every tribe and language
and people and nation
And you have caused them to become
a Kingdom of priests for our God
And they will reign on the earth
Worthy is the lamb who was slain
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing
Blessing and honour and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.
(from Revelation chapter 4 and 5)
We need God in every area of our lives. We give ourselves to him, and we come as we gather, seeking his face. 'Your face Lord I will seek' (Psalm 27 v8)
Who we are
Urban Life is a community of people of different nationalities, who follow Jesus Christ and who live in the city of Derby, UK.
We meet together in our houses or other local community venues at various times and places through the week.
We follow the teachings of the bible, believing what Christians before us have believed for centuries.
We believe that God has made us new, forgiving us and setting us free from our brokenness. Jesus Christ has rescued us and given us certain hope, purpose and freedom, through his death on the cross and his resurrection to life again. We are far from perfect but God is at work in us, and will finish what he has started!
Jesus told us the two most important things we need in life and these are what we seek to live by:
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Love your neighbour as yourself.
So boil it right down, and what we aim to do is this: we love God and we love people.
So as a church community we meet to worship together, to eat together, to pray, to read and learn from the Scriptures, and to support one another as part of God's family. Then we seek to worship God through the week in our daily lives as we live for him and serve others.
Contact us to find out more, to meet with us, to request prayer, or a copy of the bible.
St Chads Centre
1-3 St Chads Road
In association with