Belonging to the World Church

From the Portswood Church website

I recently had the pleasure of preaching at Portswood Church in Southampton for their world mission Sunday. We looked at a passage to which I seem to be returning with great regularity, these days; Acts 8.

For some reason, our podcast player doesn’t seem to be working, but you can download the talk here.

Barnabas

This is a sermon I preached at Chinnor Congregational Church at a service celebrating the work of my colleague Ann Long. Ann was the Wycliffe administrator who took care of Sue and I before we went to Africa, and years later became the head of HR while I was director in Ivory Coast and latterly, we have both been working at the Wycliffe offices in the UK.

Where Was God?

Yesterday morning, I found myself facing something of a dilemma. I was due to preach at Christ Church Flackwell Heath (the church we attend, when we aren’t speaking elsewhere), on Mission Through The Bible – part of a monthly series that will span the whole year.

However, about an hour before heading out to church, I began to have second thoughts. If mission is about engaging with the world in all its hurt and pain, I could not preach a sermon which ignored the earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan over the weekend. It wasn’t really my brief to change the sermon title, but I couldn’t contact the vicar as he would already have started the early morning communion service, so I decided to go with what I felt God was saying to me and set about writing a whole new sermon in a bit of a hurry.

The whole thing was compounded by the fact that I didn’t feel very well, having been up half the night with an upset stomach. Then again, had I been on peak form, I might never have stopped to reflect and just got on with doing what I planned to do.

Writing a sermon in a few minutes before the service is not ideal and looking back at it, I can see lots of rough edges that more detailed preparation would have smoothed off. However, there is something real about this sort of intense, ad hoc engagement with the world. This is what mission is all about. The Church didn’t get my polished sermon, with well prepared Powerpoint, but on balance, I think they did get a sermon on Mission Through the Bible, after all. If you want to listen to it, here it is, warts and all.

 

What I did on Sunday

From time to time, I have the privilege of spending time with a church community who are commissioning people to go off around the world to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Last Sunday, was just such an occasion. I drove over to Cambridge to be with Bar Hill Church as they prayed for their members John and Sheena Grummit who are heading off to work in Papua New Guinea.

The Grummits write:

This morning we had our commissioning service at Bar Hill Church, one of three churches that supports us. Eddie Arthur (right), director of Wycliffe UK came to speak and pray us off with Ruth Adams (left), our minister. It was great to have him there and hear a very encouraging message about building up the church from Ephesians.

So, now we’ve been commissioned we should be ready to go… but a look at our bedroom reveals that there’s still about 17 hours’ of packing to go. And, surprise, surprise, that’s exactly what we’ve got left in Bar Hill!

John and Sheena are good communicators and their blog should prove to be very interesting as they head off to PNG.

I’m glad that they found the message from Ephesians encouraging. From my point of view it was a little frustrating. Of late, I’ve taken to preaching without notes, but using the PowerPoint slides to guide me. However, there was a computer glitch and it was impossible to show my slides – so I effectively had to preach without notes. I notice that whenever I do this, I tend to get wordy and predictably my carefully prepared 10-15 minute sermon lasted for almost 20 mins. You can hear the whole service on the Bar Hill website. Or if you would like to listen to my sermon (I’ve increased the volume a little as the recording was very faint) you can click on the button below.

Talking about Jesus and Being Understood

This is my sermon at Poulner Baptist Chapel last Sunday. If you would rather just listen to the audio, it is here.

View more presentations from eddiearthur.

I apologise that I’ve not blogged much of late. I’ve been busy writing talks and articles for elsewhere and that hasn’t left much energy over for being creative here.

The Mission of God in the Real World

If you’d like to hear the sermon I recently preached at Winslow Christian Fellowship you can stream it from this page, or download the mp3 file here (9,700Kb). This is how the church administrator described the sermon.

Eddie Arthur (Director of Wycliffe UK) brings us a fresh insight into the meaning of Mission, and our place in it. Examples of the work of Wycliffe Bible Tranlators are also used to illustrate the real-world situation.

Interactive Preaching

Anyone who is involved in preaching or teaching in church might like to take a look at Interactivepreaching.net

InteractivePreaching.net is all about promoting the practice and values of dialogical, experimental, communal and practical preaching.

Reflecting this, our site aims to be as interactive and open-source as possible. We intend to address, in numerous ways, the issue of moving beyond monologue sermons and include articles, tutorials, reviews and sermons. In keeping with the spirit of the site, you actually have the opportunity to edit or add to one another’s preaching (think Wikipedia!).

It sounds to me like a great idea and a site that will be worth following.

HT. Milton Stanley.