(Titus 2:7) In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified
Note that it is not just good deeds that Paul is encouraging Titus to do (and through him, encouraging us). It is good deeds according to good doctrine, that is according to the Word of God, the Bible. In addition to this he is told to do them with the right, dignified attitude. In other words, the right good deeds for the right reasons. Many people do good deeds, which may, or may not be for unselfish reasons. These things are, as the name suggests, good. But Paul is asking for more than this, he is encouraging Titus to be an example, and a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that people looking at him will have no reason to reject the gospel because of his life. The call is also to consistency, "in all things". This sort of lifestyle can only be achieved through the strength that God gives by His Holy Spirit, through feeding on His Word and drawing close to Him in prayer and worship. In the words of a well-known quote "live your life in a way that makes people want to follow the God you serve".
Pastor of Redhill Christian Fellowship
Chair of Churches Together in Redhill and District
(Colossians 3:23–24) Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.
In John’s Gospel, the Last Supper is the occasion for Jesus to show what sort of Master he is. He kneels to wash his disciples’ dusty feet. He is the Lord who has come, not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. He kneels to set an example for his disciples to follow.
How does our day ahead look? Full of promise… anxiety… boredom? Our days vary - some easy, others hard. But Jesus has promised to walk alongside us every day, sharing our joys and our burdens: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for this day with its opportunities and challenges. Please remind us to lean on you, to learn from you, to do every task – however lowly – as for you, our Servant King. Amen.
Churchwarden Holy Trinity Redhill
SparkFish Chair of Trustees
(Genesis 2:3) So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
God’s last day of the week, man’s first, was a day of rest.
Humanity revealed in a world complete;
replete with calm contentment.
A world often stumbled only by accident now...
Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
...And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
I too sat in a station one hot summer. The only thing making any effort was a fat bumblebee bashing its head against the overhead canopy. If it just stopped trying, the Creator’s force, gravity, would take it to where it could see round the problem...
The doctrine of the Kingdom invites us to take on this perspective. The kingdom is his. It’s not for us to initiate or implement. We believe and receive.
Like that fly, we have the option of trusting in that vast sufficiency... or we keep banging our heads in frustration.
If, like the poet halted in Adlestrop, we find it only when circumstances dictate: what else are we missing?
Facilitator of churches together worship leaders forum
(Proverbs 14:23) In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty
The Bible speaks much on the power of the spoken word: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made” Psalm 33:6. The Roman Centurion said to Jesus, “Just say the word and my servant will be healed” Matthew 8:8
The book of Proverbs contains many sayings about words, for example: “A healing tongue is a tree of life” 15:4; “The tongue has the power of life and death” 18:21. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” 10:11. These verses also have their negative counterparts and James 3:1-12 warns of the power of the tongue for both good and evil.
Ecclesiastes 3: 7 tells us that there is, “a time to be silent and a time to speak” and Jesus told us that the words we speak depend on what is filling our hearts (Luke 6:45). So, during this time between Ascension and Pentecost we seek again the filling of the Holy Spirit so that we, like Jesus, may say what the Father is saying (John 12:49) through the gifts of the Spirit. With words of knowledge and wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8) may we all know the joy of speaking a word in due season and seeing how good it is. Proverbs 15:23
St John the Evangelist, Redhill
(Matthew 5:15) Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
What is the purpose of a lamp? It gives light, so there is no point lighting a lamp and covering it over. Where there is darkness, we need light to move safely without stumbling blindly and coming to harm. What is Jesus talking about? Many today are so conditioned to spiritual darkness that this seems to be the norm. So then, where is light? Does it even exist? Jesus is saying that there is light from him in every believer which needs to be seen. The sudden presence of light in a dark place contains those elements of surprise and revelation that bring a whole new perspective. It should be challenging, highlighting danger, truth and the pathway to safety. The question for believers is whether our light is as visible and purposeful as it should be, or is it covered over by a basket of fear, wrongdoing or just neglect?
Chair of Renewed Hope Trust
(Matthew 25: 15) To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.
Every morning when I walk down the hill to open up the church, I catch sight of our modest spire peeping between the houses and businesses of the parish. It’s such a thin presence , it would be easy to miss it unless you stop for a second, and then squint in the right direction.
In the light of today’s scripture, many of us might conclude that we are one of those servants entrusted with just a single talent, rather than the five or the ten our companions seem to possess.
Or worse than that. We may think you have no talent at all or if we do have one, it is yet to be identified.
Our world is full of movers and shakers intent on building their own kingdoms using the strong arm tactics of the state, the clever manipulation of market forces and an understanding of authority based on the voice which can shout the loudest.
Those of us who suspect we have just a single talent might be inclined to wither alongside such a worldly array of wealth and power.
Yet our talent may be simply to be present to another person’s need. To be still and listening to the person in front of us. Giving of our time. Giving our thin presence.
To be present with someone in the name of God may help more than we realise.
Being there can make a real difference to another person’s skyline and point the way to the outline of another kingdom.
Rev. Andrew Cunnington
Vicar of St Matthew’s Church Redhill
(Luke 21:12) But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.
This is a verse that is very easy for us to gloss over living in 21st century Britain. But I think it poses some challenging questions for us nevertheless. Questions like “How far are we prepared to go for our faith?” and “How uncomfortable are we prepared to let things get?”
As Christians living in the west, we don’t suffer the kinds of persecution that other Christians have suffered in ages past, or indeed in other parts of the world today. It’s not that difficult to be a Christian in the west right now. We may have our sensibilities offended when we feel our rights are impinged, or be indignant at what we might perceive as a lack of tolerance for our faith when other faiths seem to be given disproportionate respect in comparison. But actually, things aren’t that bad.
We aren’t arrested for declaring Jesus is the Son of God. We aren’t beaten for daring to go against the political regime or put to death as an example to frighten others. These things happened to Jesus. They happen today under oppressive regimes.
But how far are we prepared to go for our faith? How uncomfortable are we prepared to let things get?
Are we prepared to discuss our faith openly with those around us, even if we feel a little awkward doing so? Or to step in when we see the refugee, the marginalised or the poor being taken advantage of? Are we prepared to declare the cross of Christ even if others might think we are foolish?
Let’s not forget "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
Rev. Jonathan Hardwick
Pastor Earlswood Baptist Church
Baptist Representative for Churches Together in Surrey
(Psalm 90:17) Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands!
Today’s verse speaks of human longing. A longing for our actions and our deeds to reflect the glory of God; a longing for the ordinary things that we do from day to day, to be worthwhile and to make a difference.
The ‘work of our hands’ will be different for each of us. For some, it may be physical work; constructing buildings, building and creating things that make life easier for people. For others it may be teaching or caring for the sick. For still others it will be painting, writing poetry, composing music… creating beauty that all may enjoy. Regardless of what the ‘work of our hands’ is, most of us long to do something of value that will outlive us and make the world a better place.
Whilst we know that our beauty, our actions, can be nothing when compared to the glory of God, we also know that when we have him at the centre of our lives, when we do what we do for his glory, some tiny part of that glory reflects in us and transforms us. What a wonderful and glorious opportunity we have today… this very day!
May the work of our hands today reflect our heavenly Father to those we meet.
Reader, St. Margaret’s, Chipstead
(Acts 2:1,4-6) When the day of Pentecost came … All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
On that day, with people gathered in Jerusalem from many lands, Peter and the disciples were ‘on fire’, touched by the flame of the Holy Spirit, restored and rejuvenated after the roller coaster ride of the last few weeks. And now they were able to share their joy with all those around them. People from all backgrounds were able to hear of the wonder of the Risen Christ, and to become part of the body of believers sharing the wonderful gift of Jesus, who lived among ordinary human beings, gave them a new commandment of love, a promise of forgiveness for sin, a hope of everlasting life and a Holy presence that would be with them always, guiding them and strengthening them in good times and bad times.
And that invitation is still there for us today, an invitation to be part of that great body of believers, to make Jesus the centre of our lives and to accept the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit day by day.
Rev. Sue Weakley
St Nicholas Charlwood and Emmanuel, Sidlow