Latest news and 'Thought for the day'
Thought for the Day by Simon James-Morse (Minister of Goldstone Church)
Meet My Best New Friend
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honour. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luke 5:27-32 NLT)
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “if you draw near the light, you become light; if you draw near the dark, you become dark”. In other words, stay away from the bad people. But in this Bible passage, we see Jesus asking a questionable character to follow him. In turn, Levi invites a whole group of dreadful tax collectors and sinners to meet his new best friend. This caused a massive outcry among the pious Pharisees!
Jesus saw beyond the crusty exterior of Levi and his peers. He saw something in them that wanted to break free from the darkness – but they did not know how. Jesus, the Light of the World shows the way. With overflowing forgiveness, abundant grace and mercy, Jesus reached out and shared a meal with these money swindlers; in the same way that He spoke with a notorious woman at the well, and shared His life with ordinary, smelly fishermen.
As Christians, we were introduced and encountered Jesus personally. We were called out of the darkness of our sinful lives and brought into the light of everlasting love with Jesus. And having received this gift from Jesus, He calls us to share with others what He has done in our lives.
What are the ways we can reveal the light of Christ in our work, our home and with our friends?
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me out of darkness into Your incredible light. I confess some darkness remains in me. Forgive me. I have often yielded to inaction and not stood up for You before mockers and slanderers. Keep me strong so that Your light in me will overcome the darkness in them. Help me to draw near to You, so that more and more of Your light will overflow in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thought for the Day by Stephen Demetriou (Youth Minister)
To me, one of the scariest animals in the world, is the seagull. I’m not joking, they really freak me out!
Which makes it quite a weird choice to live in Brighton the home of the most fierce, bold and gigantic seagulls on this planet! All of us probably have different animals that scare us, don’t even get me started on cows…!
But back in 62-63AD (Peter’s time) one of the undisputed scariest animals was the lion. I mean nearly 30 stone of pure muscle eating up to 40kg of meat in one go, my word, that’s scary! And so, as Peter draws his first letter to a close talking of the church as God’s flock of sheep, look how he speaks about the devil.
1 Peter 5:8
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
A prowling lion… If he was writing that to me, today, he might say; “your enemy the devil circles above like a seagull looking for someone to divebomb.” That would send shivers up my spine!
But Peter is getting his readers to see that they have a deadly enemy on the prowl so they are to be alert, to be watching out ready for when he might strike! And these words ring true today. We have a deadly enemy prowling determined to take us away from our God.
But to be ready for his strikes; we need to know what his tactics are and I think his tactics are slightly changing for the 21st Century?
I think the devil is using distraction as one of his main weapons against believers in this modern world. Distracting us with endless hours of Netflix to watch; taking our attention with a constant stream of YouTube videos; filling our minds with all the countless worries of this world; stealing time as we scroll listlessly on our phones. The devil would love our attention and our focus to be less on our Saviour and more on our socials, he loves it when we put off Bible reading to switch on the PS4, the devils loves a distracted heart.
And distraction works so effectively because it doesn’t look like the ferocious assault of a roaring lion.
It works so effectively because everyone else is getting involved doing those things!
It works so effectively because we fall for it almost every single time.
The devil dangles the carrot of distraction and we need very little persuading to take it up.
How are you being distracted from God?
What things are drawing your soul away from time with the Lord?
Where do you need to be alert this coming week?
Prayer news from Martin and Fran Russell
Thought for the Day by Chris Dalton (BH Member)
We find the story about King David and the threshing floor in 2 Samuel 24:18 – 25 where God commands David to “...raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So, David goes to Araunah and they discuss the threshing floor and David is offered it for free along with oxen for a burnt offering...here is David’s response,
“I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
The other picture above is depicting the woman with an alabaster jar of expensive ointment who poured it out over Jesus’ feet, whom we read about in Luke 7:36 – 50. The ointment was valuable but the cost to the woman was also in being seen to do something scandalous – when she was already looked down on and despised.
So, two pictures of ‘costly worship’.
I wonder what costly worship might look like for us in 2021? It might be just our willingness to be known as a Christian – at work or school or among our friends and family. It might be about our giving in terms of Christian service within the church and within the community or in our finances. It could be in leaving our homes on Sundays to come to the church building for services when it might be less stressful, easier or more comfortable to stay at home and watch online.
The key thing about costly worship is that it is showing what we believe God is worth!! David had lots of money to buy the threshing floor but it was important to him that he demonstrated God’s worth by purchasing it. For the sinful woman her heart was so full of love for Jesus’ who had forgiven her sins, that the cost – immense as it was – didn’t actually matter so long as she demonstrated His worthiness and showed Him how much she loved Him. The thing about faith is that it’s all about the beauty, kindness, love and grace of the God who came to save us because He cares. So...our worship is a reflection of how much we value Him. The cost of our worship isn’t a reflection of what we are able to give – it’s a response to how much we’ve been given!!
Don't Forget our monthly prayer meeting this evening at 7.30pm on Zoom.
Access, as always, through MyChurchSuite
Thought for the Day by Phil Washington (BH Member)
Why so much hatred?
‘The acts of the flesh are obvious.....hatred, discord...factions.’ Galatians 5:19
What saddens me so much about our current world situation, is not so much the pandemic, or the climate crisis, nor even the hatred that we see between individuals, groups and nations. What gets me is the belief that we can fix all these problems! The optimism of mankind, bearing in mind the dreadful track record so far, is utterly staggering - don't you think?
Take human hatred for example. 'All you need is love' sang the Beatles at the start of the 'Make love, not war' hippy generation. A few years later those four fabulous friends were at each others throats. It's the same wherever you look isn't it? Why can't we just get along? Why has there been, and continues to be war and hatred in all it's ugly manifestations?
The writers of the (wonderful) Heidelberg Catechism of 1594, showed far more sense when they wrote 'I am by nature prone to hate God and my neighbour' (Question 5). It sounds rather harsh to our (woke-ish) ears doesn't it? But what they were teaching was biblical truth. God's Word tells us that we are bent upon hatred. It festers in all of our hearts in some form or another. As Galatians 5:19 teaches us, it's an act of our (fallen) nature.
So, don't be over optimistic for world peace, or for a Utopian society. Rather seek a new heart, a new nature, that will (naturally) bear the fruit of peace and righteousness. That new heart and nature is the gift of God to all who put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
'I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you' Ezekiel 36:26
Brighton and Hove City Mission
Thought for the Day by Chris Dalton (BH Member)
It’s not where you start...
I wonder what you think these Bible characters have in common... Solomon, Asa, Joash, Demas.
The first 3 are Old testament kings and the last a New Testament disciple. All of them started out well but sadly they didn’t finish well! There are many others sadly who could be on this list.
Solomon – the wisest man of his time and still fêted for his wisdom, at the end of his life turned away from God, “For when Solomon was old...Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and...Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites...” 1 Kings 11:4 – 8
Asa and Joash were both good kings at the beginning of their reigns following God but they ended up putting their trust in other things and Demas is spoken of by Paul when he wrote to Timothy [2 Timothy 4:9] as a deserter who was ‘in love with this present world’.
It’s so sad when we hear about those who have been obeying God that they’ve turned away from Him. We probably all know people who have backslidden or wandered away from God. I’m not going to go into a discussion about whether those who are saved can ever be lost because that’s not my purpose in writing this...I just want to remind us all of the need to keep going!!
The Bible does also give us examples of godly men and women who did persevere. Hurrah!! My favourite is Caleb – one of the spies Moses sent into Canaan when he was about 40, who even at 85 was still wholeheartedly following God, trusting Him and eager to claim all God had promised him. Do read about him in Numbers 14:6 – 14 and be encouraged.
The finish line is just ahead and although we don’t know how long our individual race will be we do know the end point and the prize – heaven!
Let’s finish well😊
Sussex Gospel Partnership
Thought for the Day by Dave Howarth
Mental Health Awareness 2021
Please follow the link below to our Resources page for more information.
We have church services on a Sunday at 8.00am, 10.00am and 6.30pm services. Numbers for services are limited. Places for the 10:00am service must be booked in advance via the website.