If you’re in the Watford area on 19th December, do consider joining us for our annual informal carolling evening. It’s a lot of fun. Oh, and Santa may make an appearance…..

Date: 19th December 2018
Time: 19:30-21:00 p.m.
Event: Carolling Evening, 19 December 2018
Topic: Carolling Evening
Sponsor: Watford church of Christ
07973 492 021
Venue: West Watford Free Church
Location: Tolpits Lane
Watford WD18 6NU
Public: Public

“New Year, Newer You!”, Ephesians 2.19-22, Malcolm Cox, Watford Church of Christ

Eph2v22 Slides

Eph2v22 Handout

Introduction
We are all building something
Have a choice as to what build
And how well we build
What kind of building we turn out to be
How closely we are building to God’s design – or not

1. New Identity, v19
Nothing more fundamental
Identity theft serious
Something exciting to explore
Still understanding implications of new identity in Christ
vv4-22 – what has been done for us by Christ

Application:
If you want meaningful life, need to be born again
If you want to grow in 2019 make developing your sense of identity in Christ a priority
Use a passage like Eph 2 to explore your new identity – make it a source of study and meditative prayer

The work of God is to give us a new identity
Our work is to grow into this identity and enjoy it more fully

2. New Foundation, v20
““To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:1–7 NIV11)

Application:
Make time and space for the teachings of Jesus in your life.
Basing your life, your new identity life, your kingdom life on him
Following King Jesus as a disciple

3. New Purpose, v21-22
We have a new purpose – Eph 2.10
To become a new dwelling for God – collectively!
“In him”
What does that mean?

A. Pay attention to personal relationship with God
Walking with God
Walking the kingdom way
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”” (Matthew 4:4 NIV11)

We connect with God through the scriptures
We gain strength from God’s word

““Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”” (Luke 6:46–49 NIV11)

We can be that well built house as a church
A church that glorifies God needs members who devote themselves to God
Cannot cut corners here

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NIV11)

Good fruit, that lasts depends on us being connected to Jesus
We cannot bear fruit by ourselves, we need Jesus
We are only as strong as our relationship with God
Two-way connection enjoyed by ourselves and Jesus

B. Pay attention to relationships with others in church

“you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5 NIV11)

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15–16 NIV11)

Not superficial, but real
Using gifts as a sacrifice to help others

Conclusion
Process continues as we enter our next year as a congregation
“being built”
Because of new identity
On a new foundation
With a new purpose
To God’s glory

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

A NEW CAROL, “BETHLEHEM: CITY OF JOY”

Each year I set myself a Christmas carol challenge. Two years ago I wrote a piece for a quartet of men to sing. Last year I wrote a song for myself to sing with piano accompaniment. This year I’ve decided to write a congregational carol.

It’s called “Bethlehem: City of Joy!”, based on Luke 2:8-20. I made it deliberately very simple and easy to learn. The lyrics are not particularly deep.  Celebration and joyful energy are meant to be the feelings behind the carol.

You will see that it has a simple set of harmony parts. I am teaching the congregation to sing those to the best of their ability, but, more importantly, if the worship team can sing the parts that should be enough to make the carol work.

A PDF of the lyrics is here: Bethlehem Carol lyrics

A PDF of the sheet music is here: Bethlehem Carol Sheet Music

Recordings of the various parts are below:

All four parts:

 

Alto:

 

Bass:

 

Soprano:

 

Tenor:

 

You are very welcome to use it or adapt it if you think it would be helpful for your services.

I’d also welcome some feedback and any ideas for possible improvements.

Many thanks. God bless, Malcolm

“Interview with Daniel Smith” Part 3

The Sunday Sample Episode 60

On my recent trip to Israel I made a new friend. His name is Daniel Smith and he leads worship in the San Diego International church of Christ. We sat and chatted about all things worship. Today’s recording is the third of three. We talk about what God has been teaching him personally about corporate worship.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up on coach.me.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Sources of spiritual courage” – Part 1

Quiet Time Coaching, episode 63

Recently I preached a Sermon based on Luke 4.19-30 and the visit of Jesus to the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (synagogue video).

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28–30 NIV11)

Where did his bravery come from?  In Luke chapters 3 and 4 I can see four sources of his bravery.  If we can understand them, they can help us with our growth in spiritual courage. The first one is:
God’s approval

“When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” (Luke 3:21–22 NIV11)

Jesus not only experienced God’s approval but was determined that others would sense it as well. Perhaps this is best illustrated in the way Jesus loved Peter.

“After his work on the cross was finished, however, Jesus went looking for love, and he sought it from the one who had just failed him most. Could this be what he most wanted the cross to produce in his followers? Was his death designed to reach past their fears of God and begin a new relationship based on the intimacy of love instead? What else could it be?”  From, “He loves me!” By Wayne Jacobsen, p78

In light of the significance of this need we do well to do whatever we can and whatever we must to understand, accept and live within God’s approval. Then we will live lives of inspiring bravery. Then we will see the Spirit’s power work through us to live the kingdom life.
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Where should the shock come?”

Tuesday Teaching Tips, Episode 133

My friend Stefan Wolmerans preached recently using a video illustration with a sizeable shock factor.
It made me consider how we decide where to put our surprises in our lessons. At the start, later, at the end? Where would you put it?

Croatia’s win against Russia in the quarter final on Saturday sent them crashing into the semi-final of the World Cup, but these firefighters had to rush out to an emergency moments before the crucial penalty. As the Zagreb Fire Department watch the final penalty by Ivan Rakitic the callout bell rings, launching the firefighters into action. Without hesitation and without even glancing back at the screen they race over to their protective gear and get it on within seconds of the bell ringing.
At the start?
“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.” (Luke 15:11–12 NIV11)
Later on?
“In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” (Luke 10:30–34 NIV11)
How do you decide where to place the surprises in your lessons?
Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.
God bless,
Malcolm

“Questions about Ephesians 2:22”
by Malcolm Cox


20 November 2018

I’m preaching on Ephesians 2:22 this Sunday, 25 November 2018 for the Watford Church of Christ.

“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22 NIV11)

There is tremendous theological and spiritual depth in this one verse. I’d be grateful for your thoughts, comments or questions. What do you see in this passage? What is its relevance for a congregation? What might its application be for an individual Christian?

Please send me your suggestions. By the way, if you would like to join us, we will be at Laurance Haines School off Vicarage Road in Watford this coming Sunday at 10:30 in the morning. Our service is followed by lunch. All are welcome!

God bless, Malcolm

“Interview with Daniel Smith” Part 2

The Sunday Sample: Episode 59

On my recent trip to Israel I made a new friend. His name is Daniel Smith and he leads worship in the San Diego International church of Christ. We sat and chatted about all things worship. Today’s recording is the second of three. We talk about the corporate worship strengths of the San Diego church.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up on coach.me.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“A Gethsemane Devotional”

Quiet Time Coaching, episode 62

My wife and I were privileged to be in Israel for two weeks recently.  One of the highlights was a communion service in Gethsemane. Douglas Jacoby shared some thoughts before we took communion. I recorded the audio in the hope that it will give you special spiritual fuel for your next devotional time with God.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“The Bravest Person”, Luke 4.19-30, Watford church of Christ

We take a stroll into Nazareth and the synagogue there. Inside we find Jesus reading the scroll of Isaiah. What will happen next?

Thank you for listening and watching. Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org
Have a super day.
God bless,
Malcolm