Humility is something we all usually think is a good thing - for other people!
It is an attitude where we choose to take the lower place; where we prefer others' needs ahead of our own; where we seek to love, serve and bless, rather than primarily aiming to be the one who is served and blessed.
1 Peter chapter 5 describes how humility...
...should drive how leaders treat those they lead
...should drive how people respond to those leaders
...should drive how we all respond to each other
...should drive how we respond to God.
When humility is not a feature of our lives, leaders hurt and abuse people; those under their care fight back; people fall out with one another as they seek the higher place; and worst of all we assume we know better than God and refuse to follow his ways, putting ourselves at the centre of our little reality.
Following Jesus Christ - trusting him, and following his example - releases us from this trap, and leads us to freedom as we humble ourselves, and discover as we do, that God lifts us up and honours us.
We have been reading through the apostle Peter's first letter, in the New Testament. He explains how Jesus has come and set us free, so we don't simply focus on what we desire, but on what God desires. Now we want to do what his will is!
In 1 Peter 4 v7-11, we find that he says something about prayer, something about love, something about hospitality, and something about gifts.
The agenda for people that Christ has reconnected with God is now this:
- To be serious-minded and alert so that we can pray; prayer is something we need to be deliberate about in our lives, as it almost never happens as a default when we get lazy and casual about it.
- To love one another deeply so that we are united rather than picking up on every little thing that irritates or offends - 'covering a multitude of sins'.
- To show hospitality and share what we have gladly and without complaining about people using up, wearing out, or damaging our things
- To actively use our gifts to serve others, whether speaking or helping or whatever else! And to use these gifts in the strength that God gives us, not relying on our own strength.
These are the desires God is drawing out of us more and more day by day!
We do all these things because we want God to be praised and honoured and recognised as glorious and powerful.
The huge overarching story we find in the bible covers all of history, from beginning of time to the end of all things, and the new creation.
God's good news is all about how he has acted in history for us, in Jesus Christ. For those who respond to Jesus and follow him, our destiny is now intertwined with his and we are secure in him forever.
Trying to summarise the good news is difficult in some ways, because there is so much. But we have been trying to think about it using four hooks:
New creation (Ultimate hope)
These four hooks allow us to get a handle on the story. And what's interesting is that these four things touch on the big questions of life we all wonder about, if we are honest:
Identity - who am I? and who do I want to be?
Problem - what is wrong with the world? and what is wrong in my experience of life, in my own heart and in others dealings with me?
Solution - what do I think will make things better? where do I seek comfort or escape? what needs to happen?
Ultimate hope - what do I dream of ultimately? what do I think will make me truly happy? what am I banking on being the end resolution that all my hopes are pinned on?
We all wonder about these things and in different ways create stories to explain our experiences and our hopes. But the good news story of Jesus Christ gives the ultimate and best story. Because it's true. And we can depend on it - on him!
Our identity is in him as his created, loved and chosen children
Our problem is when we turn away from him
Our solution is found in Jesus' death and resurrection, setting us free
Our hope is in knowing eternal freedom and joy in and with God in the new creation one day.
Tomorrow - our English and Spanish speaking communities meet together at St Chads Centre. 7pm.
Then on Sunday afternoon we will be going to the Darley Park Concert and fireworks along with most of Derby!
Meeting together last Sunday, we thought about what it means in the 21st Century to give a reason for the Christian hope. We've been in the book of 1 Peter. And spending time these few weeks in chapter 3 verse 15. Explaining the hope we have to friends around us. What is it that we believe and why? And what about issue x, y and z? We will continue thinking about these things in the coming weeks as we meet together. Importantly though, verse 16 says this - we should always be explaining our hope with gentleness and respect. Always.
Wednesday 19th July
Bring a dish from your country
Try dishes from other countries
Make new friends
St Chad's Centre.
This weekend we are going to gather to worship God together, and to consider how he leads us and guides us in a wonderful but often tough, confusing and crazy world.
Both our communities are meeting at St Chad's Centre over the weekend:
Spanish speaking community. Saturday. 7.00pm.
La comunidad hispanohablante. Sábado. 7.00pm en el centro St. Chad's
English speaking community. Sunday afternoon at 4.00pm.
Here's a great song reminding us who we are in Christ. 'I Am They' sing the song 'No longer Slaves'.
We meet tomorrow, Saturday 22nd April, at 5pm, to baptise two of our friends, as they commit themselves to be followers of Jesus and part of his church family.
We will be using the baptismal pool at Woodlands Church in Allestree.
He is risen indeed! And that fact makes all the difference in the world!
The Urban Life community meets on Easter morning 9.30am at St Chads Centre, for breakfast and worship together, before heading over to join with other Normanton churches at 12.00 for the Easter Procession through our local area.
Tomorrow - Saturday evening, (1st April) our Spanish and English speaking meetings will be together. 6.30pm. St Chad's Centre, Normanton. We will worship together as we pray, sing, learn from God's word, and eat! All welcome.
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:
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