We begin a new sermon series on Sunday 11th January, on the Ten Commandments:
- Are they still relevant for today though?
- Don’t they need updating?
J John once said ‘According to social and economic trends our country is in deep decline. We are being confronted with a rise in crime, in family breakdown, debt and drug abuse. We live in a generation that has lost its fixed compass. It’s lost its anchor. The Ten Commandments are only like the embossed numerals on the dial of every person’s conscience. They are not made for any particular period in history. They were based for human nature and therefore were commandments for all seasons, all centuries, for all cultures, as universal and perpetual as honour and truth…
God himself is the source of the Ten Commandments and because the basis of the Ten Commandments is God – THEY WORK’
So over the next few weeks (interspersed with a mini monthly series Wally will be running alongside on ‘Jesus through the Bible from beginning to end’) we’ll be taking a look at how we might apply these principles to the real life situations we face day by day.
Our All Age Christmas Service on 21st December 2014, entitled “Something to be happy about”, looked at our different emotions and we then thought about the varying emotions that the people involved in the first Christmas had, as told in the Nativity account (Luke chapters 1, 2 and Matthew chapters 1, 2) – Real people, real events relevant to us today.
We, along with billions of others around the world, celebrate Christmas because of the birth of a special child 2000 years ago, Jesus, which is the happiest news ever. The angels told the Shepherds: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
So said the angel to the shepherds – God Himself born into our world to be our Saviour, to bring us the forgiveness and peace with God that we so desperately need.
Now that is the source of “great joy”
In the rush of Christmas we can so easily lose sight of what is important and forget what Christmas is really all about
Of course it’s all about Jesus!
It was good to spend some quiet time at St Cuthmans, a beautiful and tranquil retreat venue in Coolham; reflecting on some thoughts around Advent, praying and also walking round the gardens
We should always make it a priority to make space and time to listen to what Jesus is saying to us
Here are some photos from the day
“God can teach us more about himself through any life experience if we are willing to learn.”
As Julie reflects on the journey of her life, including a number of years spent in Japan, adapting to the culture, she recognizes key lessons that God has taught her through her experiences.
Drawing on diary entries, as well as her poetry and artwork, Julie delightfully illustrates many timeless truths.
Each lesson includes a scripture to meditate on, as well as an honest, heartfelt prayer to help you draw near to the Father.
Life is full of those defining moments when the things that happen to us or the decisions and choices we make have either positive or negative far reaching consequences for ourselves and others.
We can all remember those wises choices which seemingly changed the course of our lives and also those mistakes we have made. Defining moments are not trivial. They forever alter our lives.
The Bible is full of such defining moments for many of the characters in it.
Romans 15:4 ‘For everything that was written in the past was to teach us so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope’.
From Sunday 7th September, we start a series leading up to Christmas looking at various people’s defining moments – what led to them making a good decision such as resisting temptation etc but also the mistakes that were made and how they and others suffered as a result of it. This series will also serve as a refresher of various people and stories in the Bible.
Learning from them then, how can we be prepared to make the right decisions in our lives and avoid making mistakes? What motivates our decisions?
Let’s pray for God to speak to our hearts through this series and be open for Him to do so.
‘The Moldova 2014 Team’ are back! The team consisted of Brian, daughter Michelle, niece Emily and Anna. Our trip was from Thursday 24th July to Monday 4th August (with the exception of Michelle who returned to the UK on 30th July). We thank God for a safe journey and a blessed time. Some brief highlights:
- Cup Cakes: Upon immediate arrival at Chișinău, en-route from the airport to the village of our stay in Malcoci, we required an immediate stop at The Metro, a huge cash’n’carry place in Chișinău, to buy resources. Michelle was set to spend the whole of the Friday making 160 cupcakes for the wedding. They turned out to be a novel delicacy for the wedding reception, enjoyed by all.
- Nastea & Victor’s wedding : Saturday 26th July. Those who have visited Malcoci over the years will have seen them grow from small children into two fine young adults; they both have a strong faith in Christ. Nastea is one of the key people who translates for us. The bride and groom looked stunning. The marriage ceremony and reception was held at the same location, a modern church in the capital of Moldova, Chișinău, called ‘Casa de Rugăciuni‘ (meaning House of Prayer). The interior has a novel design, shaped into a cross. The ceremony took place in the main part of the church, which is on ground floor level, and with the reception down into a spacious basement hall. There were about 160 guests who attended in total. Most of the guests brought bouquets of flowers for the bride & groom – this is traditional in Moldova and flowers are a home grown commodity. See above video for an overview of the day).
- 2 brothers for 2 sisters! On the Sunday, a day after the wedding,, there was a very pleasant surprise with the bride’s sister, Cristina, and the groom’s brother, Illie, announcing their engagement, so we were invited to another party, to celebrate but this time it was at the groom’s parent’s house Their wedding date is set for 20th December
- The children’s work: During last year’s trip we were told of a national project which was due to be introduced at the end of 2013-beginning of 2014 where community-based services such as primary education and healthcare were going to be provided as replacements for institutions that often neglected these basic needs. The after school support for the disabled and disadvantaged children in the local Malcoci school which, at that point, was being provided at “NAŞTEREA DOMNULUI” (the Malcoci Baptist Church) was in the process of change and set to be provided by the local school. This has meant that the church no longer operates its Monday to Friday programme of after school support for the local underprivileged children. However, it has continued to keep in contact with most of those children who had attended the “ANCORA SPERANTEI” after school club, and now offers a once a week Saturday Bible Study. Igor advised us that he has plans to extend this to a a further 2 evenings as there are further children in the area who are in need of support – despite the national project there are still some very sad cases where children are left neglected and abandoned, which demonstrates the extent of the social problems in Moldova. We were pleased to have 30 children attending on both of the 2 days of activities at the church. We were impressed that the children have a heart for prayer and are keen to learn more about the bible. Furthermore, there were 32 children and 18 adults who attended the day at the Acqua Park. On a separate day we took 8 of the underprivileged children to Chisinau for new school shoes and clothes
- The hospitality: The hospitality and fellowship we received was amazing. They love to offer what they can, which is mainly food based, a lot of it grown on their own land – it’s good food, beautifully tasty and delicious fruit and vegetables which is evidence of their fertile land. We also saw a lot of preparation to get ready for their harsh winters which require conserving their surplus fruit and vegetables in jars
- Church community: – the church strengths are prayer – they fervently pray for their community and for each other. They also love to listen and study the word of God; having a respect for the word of God, at the Sunday services they stand whenever a bible passage is read out and they appear happy to listen to long sermons. Furthermore, every Thursday they attend a one hour prayer meeting; on Fridays they attend a one hour bible study; on Saturdays there are three, two hour long, sessions for the children, teens and youth groups. Sundays is a when they all gather together for their church service. On the first Sunday of each month they have ‘An Agape Fellowship Meal’ where the church prepares a meal and the congregation sits down and they eat together following the church service.
Prayer Needs: Their main prayer need is their job situations. There are many who need to go abroad and leave their families behind in search of jobs. Moldova’s job situation is rather dire and the ones who hold jobs need to work long hours for low wages. They also asked for their faith to remain strong in God and to follow His will.
To Him be all the glory.
‘MOLDOVA 2014 TEAM’
They 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