Church Membership 6: To Give Money to the Work of Church

1101060918_400Does God want you to be rich? It’s a straight question. When Time magazine asked the question, they found, 61 percent of those surveyed believed that God wants people to be prosperous. And 31 percent agreed that if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.

Of the four largest megachurches in the USA, three—Joel Osteen’s Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar’s World Changers near Atlanta—are all Prosperity pulpits. For Osteen, the Prosperity Gospel isn’t a pejorative term: “I preach that anybody can improve their lives. I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy.” The pastor of the fourth largest megachurch, Rick Warren, however, sees things differently. “There is a word for that” he says, “baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty.”

Does God want us to be rich? from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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The United Kingdom: A Christian Country?


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Church Membership 5: To Receive Communion Regularly and Faithfully

When I travel abroad, I empty my wallet of all my extraneous plastic – there’s my Boots Advantage card, Tesco Club card, Waitrose, Shell and Nectar ‘you deserve it’ loyalty cards, my Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Caffe Nero cards, my Halifax Ultimate Reward Card, my RAC members card and of course, my Wentworth Club card. Into my wallet goes my British Airways Executive Club card and my Passport. I would be very surprised if you are not and never have been a member of various ‘clubs’ at some time in your life. It may be a trade union, professional association, community group, society or charity. Membership is universal. Some are more exclusive, and more expensive than others. But what may surprise you is that ‘Membership’ is actually a Christian word.

In the letter to the Romans it is written, “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:5). That means ‘the Church’ is the oldest and largest club in the world. What makes membership of the Church unique however, is this – it is granted freely because Jesus has paid the price.

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Church Membership 4: To Give Personal Service to Church and Community

To Give Personal Service to Church and Community from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

How do you find authentic, deep, lasting fulfilment in life? Is it a dream or can it be a reality? The problem is after years of bombardment from the secular media and advertising we are confused, cautious, sceptical. The daily diet on the TV, on the bill boards, newspapers and magazines tell us unashamedly that freedom and fulfilment comes from indulgence, luxury, space, exclusivity. The subliminal messages tell us to indulge ourselves. Fulfil our desires. Pursue pleasure. Stay free. Protect my space. Minimize commitments. Given such messages, it’s easy to understand why many people are cautious about commitment – whether its commitment in marriage, commitment to a charity or community service, commitment to our Church. We fear commitment, obligation, being tied down, restricted. If I commit myself, will I end up enjoying it or regretting it? Will life really be more fulfilling? Or just more draining? Well contemporary medical research provides a conclusive answer.

Dr Paul Pearsall, the psychologist, writes in his book The Pleasure Prescription (Hunter House, 1996) “Modern research shows one of the most pleasurable of all human acts is also one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and for others. Gentle, caring selflessness results in significant health benefits.”

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Church Membership 3: To Read the Bible Carefully

Richard Bewes on Reading the Bible from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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Church Membership 2: To be Faithful in Private Prayer

pregariaA Short Guide to the Privileges of Church Membership
To be Regular in Private Prayer

Two weeks ago, I woke from a brief Sunday afternoon powernap to find a black spot on my arm. I thought it was a piece of mud, but it would not come off. When I looked closely I realised it had legs and was moving. Alone in the house and unable to remove the tick sucking my blood, I did what any man would do, I drove to St Peter’s A&E. I kept watching it closely to see if it was burrowing its way into my arm. I imagined it disappearing into my bloodstream, like in the film Alien … Sitting for two hours in casualty did not improve my peace of mind. The nurse who saw me admitted having removed several from herself in the past, but only managed to pull the body off leaving the head inside my arm. She called a doctor who, with the aid of a magnifying glass and scalpel, performed micro surgery, removed the head, cleaned the wound and prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics. Back home, an internet search for the symptoms of Lyme Disease did not improve my well being. Apparently these little creatures feed off foxes, deer, dogs and humans and the disease they carry can attack your brain, heart and other vital organs.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

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Associate Vicar at Christ Church: Wanted

See here for the ministry and person spec

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Church Membership 1: To Follow the Example of Christ


My name is Sonia. I am quite religious. I think there are many ways to God. I think it is very intolerant to insist your religion is right. Although I don’t go to church I regard myself as a good Christian. I give to charity and do my bit for society. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.

My name is Percy. I am a Christian. I believe in God but I think faith is a personal matter. I do have a Bible and if I had more time, I’d probably read it. I go to church occasionally but find it a little boring and irrelevant. I prefer to dialogue with friends online about religious issues. I think you should live out your faith in what you do.

My name is Delia. I am an Anglican. I have been baptised and confirmed and was brought up to go to Church on Sundays. I find meaning and comfort in the liturgy, the choir and the church calendar. Taking communion is important to me. If I ever have a question, I can always ask my priest. My faith provides me with security in a changing world.

My name is Sebastian. I believe in Jesus Christ. I prayed to receive him when I was a student at university. I pray every day and read my Bible occasionally. I get to Church maybe once a month but I have a busy weekend schedule. There’s golf, the family to see and the shopping. Most people at work know that I am a Christian.

My name is Freddie. Jesus is my Lord and Saviour. Church? I wouldn’t be anywhere else on Sundays. It’s my family. I can’t wait to be with them. We share our lives together, the joys and sorrows. Mid week we have a Bible study group. We support and pray for one another other. They give me the strength to share my faith and work. By God’s grace, he has used me to lead others to Jesus Christ.

Membership 1: To Follow the Example of Christ from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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Enlightenment 2: Ben Jamal on 5 Broken Cameras

An interview with Ben Jamal discussing the film, 5 Broken Cameras, for Aletejah TV

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Enlightenment 1: Andy Peck on Decision Making

An interview for Aletejah TV with broadcaster and author Andy Peck reviewing the book ‘Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work‘ by Chip and Dan Heath. This is the first of a new weekly programme called ‘Enlightenment’ broadcast on Aletejah TV.

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