‘Practice Hospitality’

Julie in Japan May 2014They came to meet me. They welcomed me with open arms. They cooked every kind of dish imaginable for me. They took me out for delicious meals. As soon as I had taken an item of clothing off it was washed and on the line! Nothing was too much for them. Come whenever you like for as long as you like, they said. Our door is open – and they meant it. They loved me and welcomed me into their family. They epitomise what it means to be hospitable.

I have just come back from 3 weeks in Japan to finish writing a book. I lived there a long time ago for 13 years and the couple I’m talking about, Mr and Mrs Nakazawa, were friends from the church from the beginning. The gift of hospitality is a great thing to have. Quite often, with our busy lives and tight schedules today, we find it hard to make time to invite many people round to our house – let alone have an open door.

To be invited and warmly welcomed is a wonderful feeling. So many people are lonely or need a listening ear and would love to be invited to come and have a cup of coffee or a meal.

‘Practice hospitality’  Paul, in the Bible, wrote to the Romans.

Who could you open your doors to today?

Rev Julie Shimizu

New Sermon Series from 4th May


From the 4th May, we start a new sermon series on the Life Of Paul – who he was, where he went, what he did and most importantly what we can learn from him and his experiences for our lives today.

A Happy Easter


Happy Easter from Life



Easter eggs, daffodils, chicks, bunnies – all very colourful, comforting and fun around Horsham town but the events 2000 years ago behind our Easter celebrations now were very different.  Far from being fluffy and fun, there was pain, shock and horror as Jesus the Christ was nailed to a cross.

There was blood and sweat, suffering and tears and a whole range of emotions for His followers. They didn’t understand why the man they had seen do miracles, who had taught them so much and set them a powerful example of what loving God and loving others looked like, was now nailed to a cross and dead.  So disappointing.  They’d given everything for Him. Now – dead?   They were  stunned. That was Friday.

But then – came – Sunday. Alive again! Death could not hold Him. They saw Him, talked to Him, ate with Him. Hope restored, strength renewed, overwhelming joy.

No chicks or bunnies to temporarily gladden the heart but a mission very much accomplished that  would change believing hearts forever.

Now that’s a Happy Easter!

Rev Julie Shimizu


Why must we guard the gospel?



At Life we have used the period of Lent to send out something every day – prayers or devotional thoughts. This year, starting from Wednesday 5th March and running until Easter Day,  we are using this opportunity to help be clear about what we believe and hopefully this will help us be able to give an answer or discuss with those who are asking questions about the Christian faith.  1 Peter 3:15  says  ‘always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope you have’.

We are using video clips by “The One Minute Apologist” on a range of topics.   The clips are usually between 1-2 minutes and will provoke to at least consider the questions people often ask and how you might answer them.

Click HERE for the email for 29th March 2014 and ‘Why must we guard the gospel?’  

For a list of the emails for each day click HERE 

Live every day as if it were your last

great wall of china

Photo by Kevin Tuck (Micromoth) A shot of the Great Wall of China in early evening

It was great to read last week that a Broadbridge Heath employee is taking on a trek across the Great Wall of China to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Those of us who have had family members with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia know how sad, painful and frustrating it is for people who gradually lose their memories and the ability to look after themselves but also for their loved ones to witness that struggle.

Good health is so precious and it is wise for those of us who still generally enjoy it, to seek to make every day count both for ourselves and for other people. Things can change very quickly for any of us and we never know when our final day will be. I remember someone encouraging me to live every day as if it were my last.

Another poignant article in the same edition recorded that ‘I love you’ were a young mother’s last words. Let us too make sure we try to ‘finish well’, whenever that may be, that we keep no relationships unreconciled as far as it is possible and that we make sure we are at peace with both our fellow man – and God.

Rev Julie Shimizu


Thoughts for the new year

flood pictureRain, floods, power cuts, falling trees – not quite the Christmas many people had planned for.

Our hearts go out to those for whom the storm affected in this way. It was unexpected hardship.

Life however doesn’t always go as planned. We can be confronted with sudden pain, loss and difficulties. What is important though is how we react. We can let things pull us right down and give up or we can cope as best we can and accept help from God and other people. Also important is how we respond to others going through tough times. It was inspiring to read the offer on Facebook of a lady who offered her spare room and a Christmas meal for anyone locally without electricity or made homeless by the storm. How kind.

We don’t know what 2014 will suddenly confront us or others with. There are those around who will hopefully help and God is always there to strengthen and comfort us – if we let Him.

But may we too be among those who are willing to stretch out kind hands, give of money, offer time, meals or homes to those confronting hardship in various ways this coming year. That will surely make life a lot easier for us all.

Rev Julie Shimizu