7 January 2019

Happy New Year! Welcome this first Monday of 2019 to a new year of Daily Podcasts from STC Sheffield. My name is Mick and alongside my wife Tricia we have the great privilege of leading this amazing church. Our Monday to Friday daily Podcasts by staff team and guests offer a bible reflection, a prayer and a song of worship – a great way to build Godly Foundations in our lives as we follow Jesus. If these Podcasts area blessing to you why not pass the link onto somebody you know through social media or email and spread the blessing. Around 150 adults listen to our Podcasts each week and our hope and prayer, with your help, is to double that number by the end of 2019!

We began our reflections on the four gospels last September beginning with Matthew and moving to Luke chapter 1, his account of the Christmas story just before Christmas (great planning!). During Christmas week we listened again to Bryony’s reflections on the words of the prophet Isaiah and next week we continue again in Luke’s gospel – but something different this week. As we begin this new year an opportunity to focus on our walk with Jesus – both personally and as a church community, as we consider St Paul’s words in the letter to the Ephesians.


Some context here… Ephesus was the London of its day. A major trading and business centre with a vibrant, busy 24/7 harbour; a cosmopolitan city with many people from many nations gathering there. Paul set up a base there for two years, planted a church and spread the message of Jesus throughout the region planting other cluster sized small churches, probably meeting in homes . This letter to the Ephesians was read out and studied in these communities.

Paul writes to expand the horizons of his readers, so that they might understand better the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for his church – our church!

Today’s reading is Ephesians 2:10-16; it gives an overview of what to expect this week as Paul explains Gods plan for a ‘new humanity’ formed through ordinary people like you and me. We are the plan! Here is today’s focus verse:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (v10)

Isn’t that an amazing truth to start this brand new year with! In our busy, easily distracted and often hectic lives this teaching is so relevant for us today particularly as we begin this exciting new Grow Project year at STC.

Paul summarises his gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone and describes the nature and role of the church in God’s eternal plan.

Without Jesus …
‘separate from Christ’ (v.12a)
‘without hope’ (v.12c) and ‘without God in the world’ (v.12c)
‘far away’ (v.13) and finally separated by the ‘dividing wall of hostility’ (v.14b).

With Jesus …
‘brought near through the blood of Christ’ (v.13)
‘reconciled to God through the cross’ (v.16).

The only command that Paul gives us in this passage is simply to ‘remember’ – the amazing transformation that Jesus brings to our lives (vv.12–13). So often we can forget that being a Christian is all about what Jesus has done for us, as we often get caught up in what we are doing for him!

Next week our Grow Project begins here at STC. A key time in the life of our church as we commit a whole year to go deeper with Jesus. To enable us to speak into the culture around us with love, grace and generosity whilst still holding fast to a biblical faith as revealed in the Bible. To engage in a Godly way with the every day growing issues in our society ranging from poverty, broken relationships and general mistrust … to consumerism, family life and the outcome of Brexit whatever that may be! These are tough issues to face, but face them we must as followers of Jesus, as we seek to build his Kingdom in our time and to build secure Godly foundations for the sake of our children and grandchildren. I truly believe the gospel work of the church is needed today more than ever; we can do this … together!

Today’s reading helps us to stop at the beginning of this new year, say thank you to Jesus for his many blessings and remember this great truth: that he goes before us.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

That’s amazing… this year, Jesus goes before us and enables us to be blessed as we bless others with kindness and generosity. Today is Monday number one, there are fifty one more to go this year; fifty one more opportunities to have a blessed start to a God filled week and to see his Kingdom come! Enjoy your Monday!


Lord, thank you for your great love for us. Thank you that you are rich in mercy and have made us alive with Christ. Thank you for the utter transformation you bring to our lives. Bless me and those I love this day and this year. Amen

READING:Ephesians 2:10-16

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.