Latest news and 'Thought for the day'
Thought for the Day by Catharine Currell (Families Minister)
”In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:26-29
In a time of global and personal crisis it’s hard to know what to pray. With so much need, so many suffering and a growing list of daily difficulties and anxieties, what do we say to our heavenly Father? What is it that we want him to do for us, for our loved ones, for the world?
The verses above give us great comfort in times of crisis and anxiety. They reassure us that we don’t need to find the exact right formula of words for prayers to ‘work’. When we come near to God his Spirit helps us. We can tell him our fears, our longings and our heartfelt desires. We do not have a heavenly Father who is waiting to catch us out because we asked for the wrong thing.
At the same time we do know what God’s will is for his people. We know that we and our Christian brothers and sisters have been ‘predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son’. God is at work making us more like Jesus. This is how he is at work for good in our lives. This is what God has been working on since before we were born.
So as we pray for ourselves, for our children, for our country and for our world let’s align our hopes with those of our Sovereign God. Let’s pray that in the midst of suffering or grief or frustration or anxiety that we would be made more like Jesus. Let’s ask our Father to use the difficulties we face for our good, for our transformation. And when we run out of words to express what we want to say, let’s allow ourselves to spend time in God’s presence, trusting His Spirit to articulate what we cannot.
Some further thoughts on Luke 24 by Rich Arnold (Holy Cross Youth & Families Minister)
Luke has written his gospel so that we can be certain (see 1:1-4) and in chapter 24 he especially wants us to be certain that Jesus is risen. He tells us that:
1. The tomb is empty (v3)
2. Jesus always promised he'd rise again (v7)
3. Peter saw the strips of linen on the floor of the tomb (v12)
4. Jesus himself appeared to some disciples on the road to Emmaus (v15)
5. Jesus appeared to all of the disciples proving he wasn't a ghost by showing them his body (v39) and eating some food (v43)
6. Jesus then explains that the whole bible points to the reality of him and his resurrection (v44).
Believing in the resurrection is not the same thing as believing in fairy tales! It's not wishful thinking or pie in the sky. We CAN be certain- just look a the evidence!
But what I find striking is that despite Luke's careful writing and laying out the evidence so methodically, he also includes v45: 'Then he opened their minds, so they could understand the Scriptures' (something similar happens in v31). It's only once that happens, do the disicples truly understand that the gospel is good news which brings forgiveness and is worth sharing (v46-48). The evidence alone will not convince us. Luke's carefully laid out account, on it's own, will not convince us. We can read any of the gospels again and again and again but that alone will not convince us. We need Jesus himself to be at work to open our minds to the reality of his resurrection.
That means we must pray. Yes, we pray for people to do a Peter and go and look for themselves (v12). Luke has written so that people can be certain- we must pray people would be as they carefully investigate. But we also pray that Jesus would be at work. That he would open their minds. That he would do a supernatural thing in them to bring belief. Certainty only comes when Jesus himself gives it. Please pray for those that need to be certain. Please pray for Jesus to open minds this Easter time.
Tim and Clare are leaving
Tim and Clare and the boys are leaving on Sunday. Tim's last service at BH will be this Sunday 19 April where he will speak at the morning service.
If you would like to contribute to their leaving gift it is not too late. You can drop cheque into the office, payable to Bishop Hannington Church and labeled for Tim & Clare, or make an online payment, saying who it's for, to Bishop Hannington Church, Sort Code 40-52-40 Account Number 00016162.
Do you have time on your hands? Do you want to know your bible better? If so read on.
This course is highly recommended by Phil Moon and he would encourage anyone with time on their hands to do it.
Maybe you are overstretched and incredibly busy at this time in which case feel free to stop reading this and get on with your responsibilities. But maybe you suddenly have time on your hands because you have been furloughed from work or many of your normal activities have been suspended.
If you are in the latter category, we would like to offer you the opportunity for a day-a-week of study on the Sussex Ministry Training Course during this Summer term. For you, this might be a great way to redeem some of the time you suddenly have on your hands getting to know the Bible better and being equipped for present and future Bible-centred ministry. The training courses are continuing using the Zoom video-conferencing application. All you need to participate is a smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC with a camera and connection to the internet.
The course starts next week and sessions will run live on the Tuesdays listed below with four 1-hour sessions between 10.30am and 4.15pm. For those who miss the first week or are not able to join the live sessions, video and audio recordings will normally be available for catch-up at another time. The programme of study for this term includes sessions on understanding the gospels with an in-depth look at Matthew’s gospel, together with sessions on the Book of Acts and Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy. The full programme is available to view here and you can find out more about the course by looking at our regular course brochure. (Of course, we are not physically gathering at this time).
The normal fees for a term are £210 payable at the start of the term and we use the income to run the courses. However, if finances are difficult for you at this time, we can offer a 50% reduction. Or, if you are on a very low income, we will offer access to the course for this term free of charge to anyone who is committed to completing the term of study. Please let us know if you need a reduced fee level. We are also aware that your circumstances may change and you may not be able to complete the term. If this happens, we will refund the appropriate portion of your fees.
The dates for this term are as follows:
21/04/20, 28/04/20, 05/05/20, 12/05/20, 19/05/20
Two-week half-term break
09/06/20, 16/06/20, 23/06/20, 30/06/20, 07/07/20
To apply to join the course, please complete this on-line form.
If you want to sample a day before committing to the course for the whole term or have any questions, please send me an email or give me a ring (07722 295340).
Yours in Christ,
Nick McQuaker (SGP Director of Training and Development)
Mental Health Awareness 2020
Please follow the link below to our Resources page for more information.