- Who we are
- What we do
Remember 31/12/2019? New Years Eve – a time of celebration, resolutions often broken by 12.01AM on the 1st and optimism or was it “The Day the Music Died” for those who recall that classic line.
None of us imagined what 2020 held. CV19 was already in play with suggestions the first deaths in China occurred in late November as we readied for another Christmas.
We have since been dominated by it with unheard of changes and restrictions, some not seen since Spanish Flu hit in 1919 on return of troops from WW1. Shadows of the Great Depression have been cast while leaders and others have rushed to find precedents.
History is marked by major events; at least three have changed its face:
Whether you accept or reject them, they are still there when you open your eyes.
But what should we pray for in 2020?
The Lord’s Prayer is a good start: “…Your Kingdom Come Your will be done on earth as in heaven…”. God remains in control of all things as Genesis 18:25 reminds us: “…Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”.
What about His judgement on a rebellious world, i.e. us? The Old Testament reminds us of His actions in the face of disobedience. Numbers 21:6-9 is but one example.
We should pray God might relent of His Judgement and people might turn to Him as some did when Moses lifted the Serpent onto the pole; all they needed to do was look, as we look to Jesus for salvation.
What are we looking and praying for as 2020 runs down? We are people of Faith first not fear.
– GEOFF KYNGDON
John 3:16-17 & Psalm 17:6
These are not words we often hear in our current circumstances!
Indeed, even when our lives are ‘normal’ there are always lingering “What if….” questions. “What if I get a serious health diagnosis?” “What if I fall into some really bad sin?” “What if……….?”
We like to know, we long for certainty and predictability, but if there is one thing we can be certain of in life it is….. uncertainty!
What is the answer? Looking at ourselves and our circumstances will only breed doubt, dissatisfaction and even fear. We don’t have the control we crave….and we are not meant to have it!
Focusing on God’s promises is the key.
It is trusting in the eternal God with whom there is ‘no variation or shifting shadow‘ (James 1:17), and who is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). God’s character doesn’t change!
It is trusting in the eternal God ‘who works all things after the counsel of His own will‘ (Ephesians 1:11). God is all-powerful and in total control!
It is trusting in the eternal God who will not allow anything in our lives, past, present or future…..or even our death to separate us from the love He has for us in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). God’s love for us is unbreakable!
You see, we do not know what the future holds for us globally, nationally or personally, but we do know Who holds the future….and that is sufficient for us to live confident, secure and faithful lives for the glory of our loving Saviour.
– PHIL PRATT
Most of us are “keeping our heads down” so to speak, during this covid crisis. So what do you do when you are “locked down”? Well St Paul sets a good example – he did some serious reading whilst in prison! How do I know this? Because of something he wrote to his friend Timothy.
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). Why did he want the scrolls and parchments? To read, of course!
I know many of us have been reading, because our bookstall stock became seriously depleted. But in the last couple of weeks I have been able to restock, and have a number of new titles. Now is a great time to choose some books to read yourself, or to give away. How often the gift a well chosen book can be a real blessing for someone’s birthday or Christmas.
There is a great series of children’s books called ‘Tales that Tell the Truth’. Well presented and illustrated Bible stories like – “The Storm that Stopped”, “The One O’Clock Miracle” and my favourite “The Friend Who Forgives”.
If you like biographies, try Metaxas’ works on Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (which will keep you quiet for a while), or his smaller book “Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness”. Others authors will introduce you to William Wilberforce; Arthur Stace (Mr Eternity); Susannah Spurgeon; John MacArthur and more.
Keeping up our daily reading of the Bible should be front of mind always, and you will find a range of help options, including the small “10 of Those” series – generally about 20 to 50 readings with one day per opening, making them interesting and challenging for those with not a lot of time.
We also have the popular daily reading books “The Way of Wisdom” (Proverbs) and “My Rock My Refuge” (Psalms) which take about a year to go through, and some helpful books by John Piper.
And remember, there are less than 160 days to Christmas!
– JOHN WILSON
This week we will be continuing a series in John’s gospel started by Ken Coleman last year.
Helpfully, the apostle John explicitly tells us his purpose for writing his account of Jesus’ life:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
I pray that as we read and consider John chapters 9-12, you will be convinced that what is recorded is sufficient for you and everyone you know to believe in Jesus.
– Sam Pursell
Wise people are open to correction.
If you are anything like me, you spend more time thinking about how to address the foibles of others than you do listening to their corrections of you.
It is tricky to work out how to rebuke someone else well, but are we the kind of people who can receive a difficult message?
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
The proverb above likens having an ear open to correction to an earring or jewellery of fine gold. It adorns and enhances the person.
Are we a church where encouragement is freely given and correction is invited? Having a personal or congregational culture of only one or the other is not good. Correction only can crush, and encouragement only can be stifling.
But also note that having a listening ear doesn’t mean you need to take on board what everyone says. Don’t just listen to anyone. Develop an ear that listens to the rebuke of a wise judge—a person who can discern truth and error, wisdom and foolishness, and teach it. Look out for wise people who input God’s truths into your life, and give you good advice.
So, let’s develop our hearts and ears ready to receive correction from the word of God and from one another. Such a disposition is more valuable than gold, and more striking as well.
– Sam Pursell