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If you are pushed for time, on this page we provide a bite-sized version of the message in this week's service

16th June - Authority and Faith

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Local Preacher Peter Walsham led our service today and asked us to consider the meaning of the word ‘authority’ and the faith we need to live a Christian life.

 

To illustrate these we read two famous Bible stories. First,  in the Old Testament in 1 Kings Ch 18, we saw how God’s great prophet Elijah, a man who exuded authority, humbled the false prophets of the pagan god Baal when he demonstrated God’s awesome power by calling fire from heaven to consume an animal sacrifice that the false prophets had been unable to light. Elijah demonstrated authority and faith.

 

Then in the New Testament book of Acts we saw how Philip, one of the first apostles, spoke with the authority of his own personal knowledge obtained through faith, about the risen Jesus and God’s offer of salvation to a foreign statesman, an Ethiopian man who was banned by disability from entering the Jerusalem Temple.

 

As Philip’s knowledge was dependent on his faith in Jesus as the God’s Messiah, we then thought about what faith actually means.

 

Having faith is a gift from God (Ephesians Ch 2 vs 8) which enables us to interact with Him and it’s essential for our salvation. It’s also a matter of having trust in God and Proverbs Ch 3 vs 5&6 tells us that we can trust God to make our paths straight, whilst the writer of Hebrews takes the whole of Ch 11 to give examples of faith and the importance of it.

 

God invites everyone and it’s our task to tell people about God and His ways through both words and deeds. We can do this if we have faith that God will provide us with the tolls we need. Nothing is impossible for God so reach out to Him in faith.

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2nd June - What's the Plan?

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Because today is Environment and also Bible Sunday, Rev Dawn Brown brought the two together by referencing the stories in the first chapters of the Bible.

 

The book of Genesis opens with a very short, succinct summary of how our World and the Universe began, saying that it did so through the power of God who made everything and who saw that it was good.

So God spoke and Creation happened. People argue about whether this stands up to scientific scrutiny but what cannot be denied is that billions of organisms live together harmoniously until something upsets the balance and the early Bible stories deal with that too.

 

Sin and disharmony entered the World when, disobeying God, humanity decided to do things differently. For example, Cain killed Abel because he didn't love his brother as he should have and God destroyed everything on Earth except Noah's family and the animals in order that we could start again.

 

We have different ways of viewing Creation. Some see it when they climb mountains, others when they swim in the sea and others still when cuddling a new-born baby. God is creating still and all these are part of God's interactive plan.

 

God never gives up or gets tired of His creation, including us. The proof of that is that God, in Jesus, came in love to redeem us through His sacrificial death, offering eternal life with Him if we listen and then follow the guidance of His Holy Spirit, who God sent to live within each one of us if we accept Jesus as our Lord.

 

God wants a close relationship with us - which means loving Him and caring for His creation so if you want a nice World then love it, and everything in it, because God's plan is simple. It's called Love.

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26th May - Three in One

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Today is Trinity Sunday, where we celebrate God in His three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Taking the Trinitarian, tripartite nature of God as her subject, Local Preacher Maureen Simpson said that it's an idea that many people find hard to grasp, yet was perhaps best explained in terms of a snowdrop that has three petals but is one flower, or a Shamrock which is a one-leafed plant yet appears to be divided in three.

 

In John Ch 3 Jesus meets Nicodemus, an important cleric of his day, and explains that God grants eternal life to those who follow Him, but that we must be 'born again' by which He meant that to obey God we must follow the guidance of God's Holy Spirit. And the Good News is that God's Holy Spirit is available to everyone who asks Him to come in and influence their lives.

 

God is more than just our hope in the promise of eternal life though. All the Bible stories relating to God's work in the world are powered by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit to people who delivered them, and it remains so to this day. We are invited to go ever deeper into our relationship with God as our Father, with Jesus as our Saviour and with the Holy Spirit who guides us.

 

Being inspired by God is a lifelong process not a single event which means that throughout our lives, we need to give ourselves the opportunity to be close to God. To do that, it's a good idea to make a point of regularly taking some time out in quiet contemplation, to think about Him and allow Him to speak and tell us what He would want us to do.

 

Let the Holy Spirit empower you today to do God's work in His world.

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19th May - Dem Dry Bones

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For Pentecost Sunday, which celebrates the coming of God's Holy Spirit to Jesus' first followers in Acts Ch 2 Local Preacher Bill Naylor investigated the famous piece in Ezekiel Ch 37 where the Spirit of God is breathed into dry bones lying in the desert. Basically both pieces are about God coming - especially for you.

 

Jesus had promised the original Disciples that He would be within them in Spirit form, for all time but for the Jews, Pentecost was already a celebration where they thanked God for their Early Harvest.

 

Note how God uses our traditions and conventions to introduce Himself into our lives! But of course there were the scoffers back then, as now, who said ‘They are filled with new wine’. Sadly, today such people sneer at social justice and condemn caring as being "woke". Jesus' work doesn’t make sense to those whose only idea of service is self-service!

 

Rewind 600 years to Mr Ezekiel's vision of Dem dry bones, which represented Israel having turned from God, yet His response is to give them new life, reflecting Genesis Ch 2 vs 7 Then the Lord God formed a man... and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life... The Bible equates 'living' with the breath of God which is to know and serve Him.

 

Ezekiel also says: 'So I prophesied as I was commanded...' and that's our job too - to breathe new life into people.

 

The bones were dry because Israel had turned from God, following other gods. In our time, this is us becoming ever more embroiled in everyday life, like overworking or spending all day in the gym. Remember the seed that Jesus sowed which fell among the thistles?

 

So to avoid becoming 'dry bones' we need to stay connected to God, through worship, praise, prayer and doing His works of service to others. There is no 'life' without God's Holy Spirit.

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12th May - Build It High

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We celebrated a baptism this week and Rev Dawn Brown spoke about the need to build God's kingdom up and to build ourselves up too. We read from John Ch 17 where Jesus prays for His disciples knowing He will be leaving them very soon. And to this day He is still praying - for us.

 

It's important to recognise that we are in something bigger than we can imagine and part of a bigger picture we don't understand which means that we must trust in God and we can do that because the Holy Spirit, who was sent to the first disciples at Pentecost as Jesus had promised, is with us every day.

 

Jesus is praying for us right now to do God's work in the world and build His kingdom high. sometimes this will be difficult but if there's a set-back don't give up because we only fail if we fail to try - remember we have God on our side!

 

And don't panic even if the situation appears grim. We can take each challenge in our stride because God, through His Holy Spirit, will provide us with the skills and inner strength we need which comes from His love for us.

 

So how do we build God's Kingdom high? We do it by praying together and supporting each other. trusting in God and the power of His Holy Spirit.

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5th May - Love Your Neighbour

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In John Ch 15 vs 9-17 Jesus reminds us of His love for us His friends and tells us that when we obey God's commandments and love one another as God loves us, we remain in His love.

 

Some people might consider this burdensome but Local Preacher Jean Shotton emphasised that being alive to God actually brings us joy in many things and that following the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are not isolated and alone but become part of the community of God.

 

Jesus demonstrated His gift of love for us when He died on the Cross, actually choosing to become the sacrificial Lamb in atonement for our sin and wrongdoings and in turn, we know that if we choose to trust Him and put Him at the centre of our lives, everything we say and do, that we are not far from our great Almighty God.

 

To put it another way, if we love one another it becomes a way of life and in so doing, we are invited to share in and become a part of God's family, through which we can obtain a taste of heaven and a glimpse of our eternal life to come, all whilst we are still here on earth! Yes, it's true that with certain people this can be difficult at times, perhaps when we do not see eye to eye with them, but it's something we are called to do nonetheless.

 

And the commandment to love is something that gives us confidence as well as the ability to conquer our disabilities and fears and can be transformational - both of others and ourselves.

 

For each one of us, it's worth asking ourselves this question. Enlivened by the Holy Spirit, how does your love for Jesus shine through?

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28th April - Good Shepherds

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Following on from last week's message, Local Preacher Maureen Simpson asked us this morning if we were following Jesus' example by being good shepherds to God's people today just as Jesus was - and is - our Good Shepherd.

 

In Biblical times, occupations were followed down the generations, so fishermen were the sons of fishermen and shepherds were the sons of shepherds etc. We read John Ch 10 vs 11-18 where Jesus states that He is the Good Shepherd of His sheep, that His sheep know Him and yet there are other sheep that need to be brought into His flock, which, dear friends, is our job in our generation!

 

We all go through difficult times in life but through them we need to remember that Jesus laid down His life for us and stands at the gateway to our sheepfold protecting us from the ultimate harm of separation from God, just as the 23rd Psalm tells us.

 

After His time on Earth, Jesus passed the baton of His mission, which was to reunite the people of the world with their Creator God, to Peter. In turn, we have choices to make. Do we follow the promptings and promotions of the many celebrity influencers we see on TV and in social media or do we encourage the people we know and meet to want to know more about Jesus THE Good Shepherd and the way God wants us all to live in the world.

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21st April - Walking with God

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In John Ch 10 Jesus states that He is the Good Shepherd of His sheep so Rev Dawn Brown asked us to consider how well we follow Him through our words and actions, which is what it means to walk with God. This is reaffirmed in 1 John Ch 3 where we are told that as Jesus died for us so in turn we ought to dedicate our lives to work for the good of others. Vs 18 says: 'Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.'

 

Following Jesus also calls for our attitude to be right as well, because to walk with God we need to do His work not in a dissatisfied manner but with contentment, without restlessness or grumbling. It's all about our surrendering our wish to be in control and give our souls to Him.

 

Finally we celebrated Psalm 23. Firstly, it tells us that we are not lost and alone but cared for beyond all measure because the Lord is our Shepherd. We are thankful to be led into calmness and peace and shown our path home for all eternity. As the Psalm says, we are anointed with oil and made part of His royal priesthood with a service to do, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

 

It's not enough to know the Way, but to walk the Way supporting each other, living as Jesus taught, at one with our heavenly Father, loving Him and other people as Jesus calls us to do.

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14th April - Gospel Basics

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Reflecting on the lessons of Easter Rev Jenny Porterpryde spoke on 1 Corinthians 15 where St Paul reminds people of the basics of the Gospel by which we are saved.

 

Back then, there was no Bible, hence the need for Paul's teachings via his letters and he writes to encourage his readers. The Corinthians were worried about their personal resurrections and Paul needed them to know what the real truth is, that Christ died to redeem us from our sins and this was what the scriptures had foretold.

 

For Christians then and now, this is the Gospel truth on which we have taken our stand and which shapes our whole lives, a people who can speak about their faith not in terms of what people shouldn't do, but about how much God loves them.

 

God has a plan for us that nothing can thwart whatever joys or problems we encounter. Although we live in a fallen world where bad things happen and which we struggle to understand, God has a way of working through everything. For example, in Acts, we read of Paul (then known as Saul) persecuting people, and as a result some Christians fled, and God used this to expand His kingdom.

 

Paul reminds us that death is not the end and we will awake refreshed in God's presence at the end of this life. Whatever guilt we feel, as Christians we know that everything is under God's control and that death has been defeated, so we have nothing to fear.

 

Trusting in the Easter story we have a Gospel we can be sure of and know that we have eternity within us. No matter how fearful we are at times, we know that God will make all things new again when His kingdom comes.

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7th April - Sin is Dead

7th April - Sin is Dead

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Rev Alf Waite commented that both Lent and Easter had given us the opportunity to reflect on God's love and to recommit ourselves to following Jesus.

 

We read Psalm 51 which is King David's lament and contrition for his sins. Remember that David had not only committed adultery and got Uriah's wife pregnant, but to cover this up he'd had Uriah put in harms way and so, in effect, had murdered him. In the Psalm David pleads for God's forgiveness and that God should not reject him as He had done with King Saul his predecessor.

 

We then looked at John Ch 12 vs 20-33. Here Jesus' disciples tell Him that some Greeks would like to meet Him but Jesus uses the moment to tell His disciples that He would soon have to die, sacrificing Himself on the Cross saying "anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me".

 

Jesus knew that this was His mission and the reason why He had come, but He also knew it was going to be extremely painful and hard. But the sacrifice of Good Friday wouldn't have meant anything if we had not had Easter Sunday where the resurrected Jesus demonstrates that He has defeated sin and death for all time.

 

All humans struggle with sin, but through Jesus' sacrifice if we truly repent of our wrongdoings we can pray to Him in order to gain God's forgiveness as King David had done.

 

In our lives we should ask ourselves what we can do through our words and actions, to bring other people to know Jesus' love and saving grace.

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Easter Sunday -  O Glorious Day

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Leading our Easter Sunday celebrations Rev Dawn Brown began by asking us to imagine how Jesus' followers must have felt on the day before, when it appeared that their Messiah, who some had thought would free them from Roman rule, had been defeated when He was executed on the Cross.

 

What they did or thought that day is not recorded but they must have experienced heart-breaking grief and a total emptiness. Everything must have appeared lost and their missionary life with Jesus over the previous three years a waste of time. It must have been a very dark day indeed!

 

And the Jewish leaders who would have been jubilant, believing that a major challenge to their authority had been removed were still taking no risks, having the tomb guarded to prevent Jesus' body being taken and used as a rallying point for further dissent.

 

When we too have dark days and all seems lost and our prayers appear unanswered, we need to remember that God is with us in our worst moments and just as in the Garden when the risen Jesus meets Mary and calls her by name, He never gives up and stops caring for us either.

 

And that's the message of Easter, that death is not the end and that if we listen for Him we can have hope in a glorious new day because Jesus is calling us by name too, transforming our darkest days and offering us new life to come with Him.

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24th March - Give Thanks and Praise

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This week Rev Alf Waite spoke about Jesus' famous entry into Jerusalem (see Mark Ch 11 vs 1 -11) on a young donkey where the crowd acclaim Him and spread palm leaves in His path as a sign of honour for someone who they probably thought had come to free Israel from its Roman occupation. We call it Palm Sunday.

 

Jesus had probably been into Jerusalem to celebrate the first Passover, the festival which preceded the Jews' liberation from Egyptian captivity a thousand years earlier, many times in the past. However, this year was different because having built a loyal following over the three years of His ministry, the crowd were now expecting so much more from Him. They wanted their Messiah to liberate them! This was going to be THE year!

 

With hindsight we know that overthrowing the Romans militarily was not what Jesus had in mind but we also know that He about to deliver them (and us) from their sins and reconciling us with God by giving up His own life on the Cross.

 

The crowd sang "'Hosanna' Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" So today is a day to give praise and thanks to God because on the Cross Evil is conquered forever. St Paul tells us in Romans Ch 11 vs 15 that the Jews' rejection of Jesus brought about reconciliation with our Creator God who loves us and is always in control.

 

And we do not even have to lift a finger to benefit from this. All we have to do is accept Jesus into our lives, follow Him and His wonderful gift of eternal life is ours! What a wonderful day to give God our thanks and praise!

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17th March - Pilgrimage

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At the beginning of the Easter season, today is Passion Sunday and Rev Derek Aldridge spoke about Jesus' journey towards Jerusalem and the Cross, picking out two readings from Mark's Gospel, Ch 1 vs 14-20 and Ch 10 vs 32-45. One is at the start of His ministry which could be said to be the beginning of His pilgrimage whilst the other emphasises the end of His pilgrimage on Earth and the sacrifice He is about to offer.

 

Clearly there were many people making the journey from Jericho with Jesus. Some, like the twelve original Disciples, had been with Him from the start, others were probably very recent followers but none really understood where or how things would end, despite Jesus telling the twelve that He was destined to die on several occasions. Everyone was on their own individual spiritual pilgrimage as well as taking part physically.

 

Notwithstanding that, even two of His disciples, the brothers James and John, were pre-occupied with their own personal positions rather than with the needs of others which was what Jesus had been concentrating His entire ministry upon. 

 

And today, we're all on personal pilgrimages. All of us are on the same journey of learning more and more about God, turning ignorance into recognition, turning the old saying 'Seeing is Believing' on its head by changing it into 'Believing is Seeing - but differently.

 

But unlike the travellers of old we know that Jesus' pilgrimage ends with His death on the Cross, giving Himself as an offering for all our sins, past present and future.

 

Jesus invites us to make the journey with Him. We don't know exactly how it will go but we can be assured that He wouldn't invite us to take part if it wasn't worth it.

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10th March - Letting the Light in

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Local Preacher Maureen Simpson led our worship today and emphasised the need for us to stay positive, even in the most difficult situations because Jesus has been through earthly sufferings and is always there to support us and pull us through.

 

We read the Old Testament story of how the Israelites, on Moses' instruction, had trusted in God when confronted with a plague of poisonous snakes in the desert. He told them, in Numbers Ch 21,  to erect a bronze snake as a symbol of God's healing power and if bitten they could touch the image and be saved.

 

After Jesus' time on Earth, John Ch 3 vs 14 - 21 tells us that we no longer need a bronze symbol because through Jesus, we have God's promise that He will do the same for us when we are in trouble.

 

People have a choice whether to be positive or negative, to live in the light or the dark, but our eyes need to be open to appreciate the wonder of God's creation and let His light into our lives. Jesus represents the light, life and spiritual healing of God.

 

Negativity is a terrible affliction because it acts like the snake venom that poisoned the Israelites and the news media often accentuates this. Similarly, we are often locked in our traditions and attitudes rather than seeking the changes necessary to heal ourselves.

 

There's an old saying that we sometimes hear in such situations. "You need to get out more!". Approaching God is not restricted to a church service on Sundays - He is available and longing to help us in every moment of every day, wherever we are and whatever we may be involved with.

 

Place your dark times in Jesus' hands and let His light flood into your life.

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3rd March - Spiritual Cleansing

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For this years' World Day of Prayer Rev Dawn Brown spoke about Jesus' cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple as told in John Ch 2 vs 13 - 22. In this story Jesus causes chaos by entering the Temple with a whip, scattering the animal sacrifices and disrupting the smooth running of the Temple because over the years, layers of tradition and privilege had been added which prevented people from approaching God and offering their worship. Everyone must have wondered what He was doing - and why.

 

The answer is that Jesus needed to recreate the opportunity for people to simply come before God and access His forgiveness. In the same way, we have to let Jesus into our hearts for restoration to take place, disrupting our corruptions as He did in the Temple.

 

Jesus had had enough of the separation from God caused by Jewish traditions which over the years, instead of enabling a better relationship, had put burdensome practises between God and His people. Jesus was saying that's not how it works - He comes to destroy separation and break down barriers.

 

What would Jesus find if He made a whip and came into our hearts? Would He find a heart filled with corruption, discrimination, division and separation caused by tradition, false expectations, blame and bitterness like Jesus found in the Temple or one filled with love and compassion?

 

We know the basics. The Temple wouldn't have been in a mess if people had been more committed to God's principles. Jesus summarised the ten commandments into two simple tenets - love God and love your neighbour as yourself.

 

But instead of coming with a whip causing pain and suffering, Jesus comes in love to cleanse us. So today, let's share the peace and love of God with people we don't know or whose opinions we don't share.

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25th February - Do It Now!

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As part of our Lent journey Rev Dawn Brown asked us how we receive and respond to visitors. Do we give of our best, laying out the crockery reserved for important occasions and serve a special cake or do we hope that they won't stay long?

 

When God in the form of Jesus, came to visit us on Earth He received different reactions. Some people accepted Him with open arms and gave Him everything, whilst others saw Him as a threat and eventually got rid of Him. Sadly, as it was then, it would be the same if He had chosen to come down from heaven in our time today. Some people would welcome Him fully whilst others would be less wholehearted and try and fit Him into their busy schedules, committing themselves to give Him only a limited amount of their time.

 

But as we continue our journey through Lent we come to realise that when God comes to us He comes bringing His all. So how do we respond to the fact that in a few weeks’ time at Easter we will experience Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for us on the Cross? Will we give of ourselves, regardless of cost as we respond to this very special visitor?

 

Back then, the disciples and the Jews were waiting for a political Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression but that wasn't God's plan then or now. We need to remember that Jesus wants us to put others before our own needs and be ready to die to the values of this world.

 

And the time to do it is now - don't put it off until later! Put what God wants first in your life and express your faith because that's what it means to be a Christian.

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18th February - Proclaim His Name 

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Today Rev Alf Waite discussed the horrors and depravity of this world, like Oct 7th last year and the murder of Alexei Navalny just last week. In Mark Ch 13 Jesus speaks of the signs that will be seen at the end of time itself. That is not to say that current events are part of that time but vs 17 stresses how dreadful such things are for families.

 

Unlike the other Gospels, St Mark spends little time talking about the end of the world. His emphasis is to tell about Jesus' death and resurrection because it's through His selfless act of love for us that we are saved. Only in Jesus is our hope and encouragement found! It's the essence of what Mark is teaching.

 

Sometimes the purposes of God and the pains of the world cross and Christians have to stand in that place because notwithstanding persecution, God needs a remnant to survive and carry His message. For example, when the Berlin wall came down, young people who became Christians had done so through their grandparents who had kept the faith alive during communism.

 

We are called to pray in times of suffering because it's only through Jesus that change and healing can come and we need to trust that God's presence will enable us to endure such times. 1 Peter Ch 3 vs 15 teaches believers to revere Jesus because He knows what it is to live a human life.

 

Lent is a good time to reflect on our faith. Christianity is in decline in the West, so we need to witness Jesus in whom we believe and what He has done for us. Pray for guidance, listen to what God wants and be prepared to proclaim His Name, the answer for the hope that's in us.

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11th February - Trust in God

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Rev Jenny Porterpryde spoke of our need to trust in God and that He will protect us as she related the famous story of Daniel in the lion's den told in Daniel Ch 6. The context here is that although Daniel is a hostage held at the court of Darius, King of Persia, he has become a trusted servant held in high regard by the King who clearly cares about him.

 

However, Daniel's popularity has made him a target of the Persian hierarchy who, knowing that Daniel prays to God three times a day, set a trap to kill Daniel by inflating Darius' pride into legislating that worship of anyone other than the King is punishable by death.

 

So that's how Daniel ends up being cast to the lions and Darius spends all that night worrying about the outcome.

 

We too live in a world where there are evil influences and Christians are not immune from persecution but Psalm 91 entreats us to trust in God, safe in the knowledge that we are always in His care and that we can be sure of His protection.

 

Please remember this coming week and every week that trusting in God we have hope of eternal life and that God holds you in His love and will keep you safe.

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4th February - Priorities

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Today Local Preacher Judy Tasker asked us to think about our priorities in life, to whom and what we give special attention to.

 

With this in mind we read Mark Ch 1 vs 29 - 39 and it is clear in this, the earliest of the gospels, written around 40 years after Jesus' three year ministry on Earth, that Mark's priority is to record without preamble or deviation the Good News of Jesus, who He was and what He had taught about God.

 

In this passage, Jesus cures Simon Peter's mother-in-law so that she could resume her work of service to Him and her family now that Peter had resigned his profession as a fisherman to follow Jesus' call. Her priority became to help Jesus because He had helped her and we are then told that He then goes on to cure many others who had come to the house.

 

What priorities can we learn from this? Firstly, it's that Jesus was never too tired or too busy to help people when they brought their problems to Him and He did that regardless of anyone's race, gender or their position in society. We need to do the same.

 

And next, we need to set time aside for prayer and meditation, not just to list our needs, which God knows before we ask Him, but to listen for His voice.

 

As the season of Lent approaches, we should make time to meet with others to consider the Scriptures and what they are telling us we need to do, here and now in our time and in our communities.

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28th January -Opportunity Knocks

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This week Worship Leader Gwyneth Walsham discussed how a visit to the Doctor had led to an unexpected admission to hospital and had provided her with a renewed confidence in the goodness of God together with an opportunity to express her faith with others.

 

Whilst going through triage Gwyneth had lost the cross she always wore, not once but twice! The first time had been bad enough but on the second occasion she had been moved to another ward so had had to involve half the hospital in searching for it! Many prayers were said but luckily, or through Providence, it had turned up again.

 

But the loss also provided Gwyneth with an opportunity to discuss Faith and the importance of the Cross with other people, both patients and staff, putting into practice the lessons learnt and witnessed at Christmas, when God had sent His only Son into the world to reconcile humanity to Him, a reconciliation that was expressed through the Cross.

 

One of the other patients Gwyneth met had been diagnosed with two forms of cancer. Perhaps Gwyneth's admission was God placing her where He wanted her to be, in order to give comfort to someone badly in need of God's love.

 

We are called to live out God's vision for us, putting into practice His love and care for all His people.

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21st January: Love Needs Action

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In the week designated as the week of prayer for Christian unity Rev Dawn Brown took us through our annual Methodist church 'Covenant' service where we affirm our commitment to God and to do His will in our lives and communities.

 

We read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke Ch 10 and looked at the characters of the Priest and then the Levite who both passed by the injured man at the side of the road before a Samaritan, a people who were hated by the Jews, stopped to help.

 

Maybe the first two had been either too busy or too tired or perhaps it might have cost them too much to stop so although they were committed to serving God, they weren't actually involving themselves in doing it and seem to have forgotten the real reason for their calling. In other words, they didn't have 'skin in the game' of loving their neighbours and putting other peoples' interests before their own.

 

Can we be like the Samaritan, who hadn't cared how he might have been seen by others or what it was likely to cost him, and show ourselves to be both committed to God by actively involving ourselves in His work?

 

So in our Covenant service we reaffirmed our commitment to love, as Jesus loves us, giving of ourselves and getting involved?

 

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son (John Ch 3 vs 16) and we can be safe in the knowledge that Jesus is always with us and never asks us to anything that is beyond our capacity.

 

Only through God's Holy Spirit which is the DNA of love within us can the World be changed through both our words and actions.

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14th January: Talking God

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Local Preacher Maureen Simpson discussed with us how God sends people to intervene on His behalf with us - although we don't always listen! When as a child the great prophet Samuel was called to serve, as told in 1 Samuel Ch 3, it was his master, the old priest Eli who discerned it was God calling him and in John Ch 1, when Jesus was appointing His disciples, Nathaniel needed his friend Philip to introduce him to the Lord

 

It's easy to assume that these things only happened in ancient times but that's not true - God continues to speak and He's speaking now. The Bible stories we learnt in childhood all have messages for us today, but do we allow ourselves the quiet time needed for the penny to drop and for God to speak through our seemingly random thoughts?

 

Do you remember who it was who brought you to the knowledge of God? We are all called to be aware of the opportunities to affirm God to other people when we get the chance. Perhaps we can do this when we are at work or at the match or whilst enjoying one of our leisure pastimes.

 

So let's meet together and pray together in order to move forward together in the power of God who will always be with us, as we walk God's walk and talk God's talk.

Enjoy this service here in full:

7th January -Hear God Speak

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In our first service of 2024 Local Preacher Jean Shotton asked us to be aware of and appreciate all the different ways God might be speaking to us and encouraged us to be aware of what He might be telling us to do if we are truly intent in following Him.

 

We read the stories of God's first call to the great Israelite leader Samuel, as a sleeping boy, in 1 Samuel Ch 3 and then in 1 Kings 19 how the prophet Elijah heard God comfort and direct him in the calm after a great storm had passed by.

 

But God can speak to us in many different ways. We looked at this painting to think about some of the methods God uses.

 

Can you pick out an image of a Trumpet? Music is something that touches many people deeply reminding and connecting us with our emotions, with places or important events in our lives.

 

Then there are the hands in the picture. We can all remember those times when just a fleeting touch can bring a sense of relief or connection. They're part of our body language, one of our modes of expression. The healing hands we all need sometimes can remind us of the privilege of holding a new baby and seeing purity and innocence.

 

Is there an image of a scroll? If so, think of the continuity of the word of God throughout the ages whilst the water, essential to life but also the risk it brings.

 

Then there are those 'thin' places, from great churches where people have worshipped God for centuries to wilderness places where you might be more open to God.

 

God can speak to us in all of these places and circumstances. Can you find yours?

Enjoy this service here in full:

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