Latest news and 'Thought for the day'
Thought for the Day by Chris Dalton (BH Member)
I have been struck by things I’ve read and sermons I’ve heard lately about mission. Sometimes just the word ‘mission’ and also ‘evangelism’ can seem a bit threatening and so what I’ve discovered recently has made the word more exciting than daunting!
Basically the 2 following Scriptures sum up what I’ve been learning:
“So, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” John 5:19
“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21
As I look at these verses what I see is that Jesus did what He saw His Father doing and He wants us to do the same...and I understand that to mean I should be on the look out for what God is doing in people and situations around me and recognise that I have the great privilege of joining in. This takes such a lot of pressure off me trying to shoehorn mini-sermons into every conversation I have and feeling stressed because I didn’t get to mention Jesus to the postman who was dropping off a parcel. I may of course have the opportunity to do so but I don’t have to feel bad if I didn’t get to do it today!
The really exciting bit is that we know God IS at work because He loves all people and wants them to be in relationship with Him and also, He wants us all to be involved. So, firstly we need to keep our eyes and ears open for what God is doing around us and then secondly, see where He gives us the opportunity and privilege of joining in. So... what is God doing in your neighbourhood today, with your friends and family or work colleagues or even the postman? If you spot Him working, join in and that will be your mission should you choose to accept it, and it’s not an impossible one because God’s Holy Spirit is in every believer equipping us for the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do.
SGP Annual Conference
As you know, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we are not holding an Annual Conference this year but promoting an SGP Week of Prayer instead, praying for one another, for our region and for our nation.
We have now fixed the dates and the Week of Prayer will run from Sunday 22 November to the following Saturday.
We are still working on the details, but hope that many of you will be able to join with us in prayer during this week - do write the Zoom meeting times in your diaries now.
Thought for the Day by Phil Washington (BH Member)
Watch your step!
Be careful that you don’t fall – 1 Corinthians 10:12
Here in 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul is writing to a group of Christian people who were unaware that their lifestyles were displeasing to God. Chapter 10 is a warning chapter. Paul takes examples from the long history of Israel to point out that rather than ‘standing firm’, as they presumptuously believed, they were in danger of falling over the cliff edge! So what were they overlooking? What were the things that could cause them to fall so badly?
Paul spells some of them out in verses 7-10. Firstly was the danger of too much partying (v7), then sexual immorality (v8) in all it’s Spirit grieving forms. After that comes pushing the boundaries – walking in the grey areas, rather than the light (testing Christ v9). Then, finally.... wait for it..... Grumbling! Is grumbling such a sin? Yes it is (v10). All these (and more) are stumbling blocks – deadly ones! So, watch your step and be careful how you walk in the Christian Life. These are not idle warnings, but serious ones. Paul is deeply concerned for the well being of his flock. Don’t play with sin – it’s lethal!
Best, and safest to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (Gal 5:25). That means keeping close, really close to God, in joyful obedience and willing service.
Alpha Prayer Meeting
The next Alpha Prayer meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday 27 October at 19:30. Please join with others to pray for the up coming Alpha Course. You can join via Churchsuite or the website.
Thought for the Day by Alex Forrest (Voluntary Staff Worker)
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Whenever I read Genesis 1 in all its majesty and beauty (which I highly recommend doing by the seafront at sunset!), I always get to this section of God’s creation and have to pause and sit in awe of God. The sun and the moon have for so much of human history been the ultimate expression of unchanging power and beauty in the universe, so much so that many primitive cultures used to worship them. And yet, our gloriously powerful God, who was around long before they were, simply spoke and they were there.
I’d never been one for stargazing in my life, growing up in a city where they are rarely particularly visible, until I went to Zimbabwe and Uganda on mission trips. It’s saddening that the air and light pollution we pump into our atmosphere hides most of them from our eyes, but in rural African landscapes with less industry, the beauty of God’s starry landscape is there for all to see. It’s well documented that “he also made the stars” is probably the most understated claim in all of scripture. The majesty of the night sky is reduced to one sentence in the almighty glory of God’s creative powers.
Whenever I read this, I think ‘surely this is the pinnacle of God’s creation. This is the sun, moon, and stars! How much better can creation get?!’ But we know what God created on the final day of his creation, before resting. He made us. The stars weren’t the pinnacle, the sky wasn’t the pinnacle, the oceans weren’t the pinnacle, the sun & moon weren’t the pinnacle. We were. We were the end result of his creation, he made it all for us to live in. He made the sun and moon so we could have an understanding of time, days, and years. He gave us light in the sky to guide our paths. He made the stars to signify his beauty and how he reigns in his heavens above them. If you ever doubt God’s love for you, remember that he made all these things out of love for us, so that we could give love back to him.
Thought for the Day by Matt Jones (Associate Minister for Music)
I encourage you to read the Psalm a number of times. Each time, try to read it slower than the first. Then continue below:
Normally we turn to the Psalms to find something uplifting, when we want to remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord and the things that He has done.
And so we can read a Psalm like 88 and think ‘well that has left me feeling a little depressed’. And the truth is….mostly yes! Because the Psalms are filled with the range of human emotions and experiences of life. Not all life is high praise on top of a mountain. Sometimes we walk through a valley of despair where life feels like a flaming trash heap.
I don’t know what Heman the Ezrahite, the writer of this Psalm, was experiencing at the time. But the strong emotive language of ‘being overwhelmed’ (v.3), grief (v.9), doubt (~v10-12), despair (v.14) are real, they are not invalid and things to hide away or suppress.
Maybe this is something you are wrestling with right now. Maybe you’ve never experienced any of this and question how that can be the response of others. Regardless, I would like us to ponder a couple of things, some of which can be turned into personal prayer:
To finish, there is hope. Heman starts this psalm with a declaration of truth that doesn’t change according to human emotion: ‘Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you’.
Rest in the knowledge of that today
Thought for the Day by Phil Washington (BH Member)
The second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ is the hope, desire and deepest longing of every true believer. There’s something within our souls that aches for that day, even though it will be a day of wrath and destruction upon our ungodly world and it’s people. Did you know that the last recorded words of Jesus were ‘I am coming soon’? They are to be found right at the end of our bibles in Revelation 22:20. ‘Amen, come Lord Jesus’ responds the Apostle John.
Amos warned the ancient people of Israel to ‘Prepare to meet your God’ (Amos 4:12). The days of verbal and written warnings were over. God Himself was coming in judgement and wrath! How can we prepare to meet with God? How can we escape the coming Day of Destruction and Judgement? Our only hope of salvation is to ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 16:31). For He is the saviour who ‘rescues us from the coming wrath’ (1 Thess 1:10). Having been ‘saved’ how should we, as believers, prepare for His coming?
Hold Lightly – to the things and accolades of this world, for they are passing and temporary.
Hold Tightly – to the things of God, for they are eternal and lasting. Hold tight to His promises, word, people, service and kingdom.
Are you prepared to meet your God? He’s coming soon, of that we can be sure – because He says so.
Martin and Fran Russell prayer news
Thought for the Day by Phil Moon (Vicar)
Ephesians 1:22 "And God placed all things under Jesus' feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church..."
You may have come across this earlier this week if you use the Explore Bible notes. It's magnificent. You could read from v19 to v23 to catch more of mind bendingly extraordinary Saviour in whom we have placed our trust.
But just look at v22 again. "Jesus is head over everything." That is head over all authority on this earth. Trump, Johnson, Putin, Merkel, Macron... - they all have a head who is called Jesus. But it's not just political power. Jesus is head over everything. That is, everything. Everywhere. For all time. Head over Satan, who rages at us and wills us huge harm. But Jesus is head over all rebellion, all evil, even Satan. Then on a clear evening, stop and stare up at the stars. Or on a walk up on the Downs, stop and admire the view. Take time. Meditate on the supreme fact that Jesus, our Jesus, our Lord Jesus is simply, head over everything.
Look at the last 3 words of v22 "...for the church". For you, for me, for his people of all time, for all time. Extraordinary.
Would you take a few moments right now, to stop and worship our Lord Jesus Christ, who is, quite simply and without qualification, "head over everything for the church".
Thought for the Day by Alex Forrest (Voluntary Staff Worker)
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I vividly remember the first time I became aware of this verse in scripture. It was my second year of Foremarke (our church ventures camp) and I was having a one-to-one with one of my dorm leaders. Throughout the week the big thing that had been playing on my mind was my own sinfulness. There were a couple of sins I had been falling into before I went on camp and started the week with the mentality of “how can God love me when I do these things?” As an extension of that I was thinking “God must be angry at me, God cannot love me, God will look angrily on me for the rest of my life and into judgment, God will punish me in this life for the bad things I’m doing now”. Probably the Bible verse I most needed to hear was 1 John 4:17-18, and thankfully God had provided me a dorm leader to have a one-to-one with who had that verse tattooed on his arm.
As we were chatting, he explained to me how this verse means that we do not need to live in constant despair of our own sinfulness. Speaking from my experience, I despair in my sin. When I fall into sinful behaviour, I despair in myself and await just punishment from God later on. It’s true our sin should make us sorrowful, but that should force us to look to a great Father whose love for us is so perfect that it takes away all fear, so that on the day of judgment we can come humbly before the feet of God and have confidence that the cross of Christ has paid the punishment for us.
We do not need to be living in constant worry of how God will punish us for our evil actions. We do not need to live in fear. Why? Because in this world we are like Jesus. God looks at us and sees his perfect children because of his love poured out for us in Christ Jesus.
God’s love is greater than any sin we could ever commit and drives out our fear of both that sin and the guilt and punishment that comes with it. If ever we look to God and see a ruthless punisher who cannot love us in our sinfulness, we are not living in the reality of being “made perfect in his love”.
I remember hearing a talk from a man called Adrian Holloway in which he painted the picture of a courtroom. God the Father is sat as the judge, Jesus as the defendant, and us as the accused. We often think that when we sin, Christ defends us before the Father by saying things like “oh really sorry, but they’ve done it again. They’ve messed up again! But please forgive them, let them off one more time”. That is such a wrong picture. Really Christ says “The crime has been paid for. You cannot punish this person. The payment is done. They are saved. Fully and eternally”.
Our bereavement service takes place on Sunday, 15 November at 15:00. During the service we will read out the names of loved ones who have gone before us.
Please inform the Church Office if you would like a friend or family member to be included in this act of remembrance.
Things will be different this year due to the current pandemic and further details will be available in the next couple of weeks.
Thought for the Day by Gill Cook (BH Member)
Taken from an article about the Days of Awe before the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles
In many synagogues round the world, you will find inscribed on the walls the words:
Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omed
It means in Hebrew: Know before Whom you stand.
Perhaps one of the greatest needs in the Church around the world is to recover an awe and fear of God’s Presence such as these words suggest and to respond appropriately, not just with praise and worship, but also by pursuing holiness.
In Ezekiel Chapter 7, in his vison of the Valley of Dry Bones, the prophet, in exile with Israel in Babylon, presents a scene that, from a purely human perspective, depicts the end – a scene of devoid of hope. Into this lifeless landscape comes the very voice of God: “Son of man, can these bones live?”
Without awe, the answer to the divine question would have been, “No! Their life is over and they are without hope of revival.”
Ezekiel’s experience as a prophet had taught him that, despite the seemingly hopeless situation that exile presented, nothing is impossible with the Lord and so he answers:
“O Lord God, You know”
Being in an attitude of awe invites us into a life of possibilities beyond our comprehension.
Awe opens us to the divine dimension of ordinary life. It gives us perspective and enables us to identify what is truly valuable. Awe gives our lives meaning beyond our private worlds and awe gives our actions an eternal significance.
Awe inspires the desire for transformation and encourages perseverance in our walk with God.
The Jewish philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, wrote:
“Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me.”
In these days when hope is being crushed, may we know before Whom we stand and speak hope and encouragement into the world around us.
The Prayer Meeting Wednesday 7:30pm
This is a great chance for us to get together as a church to pray. To join the Zoom meeting please go to MyChurchSuite or the church website.
World Mission Awareness Month
To read an update about Mission Awareness Month on the Mission Blog please click here
It’s great to hear that so many people are already inviting folk to Alpha for November 3rd! We’ve heard stories of dinner party conversations, and asking old friends and family members. Already it’s clear that doing Alpha on line is a great new opportunity to ask people who are not local – we’ve heard of one guest who is in a different country! So let’s keep inviting...neighbours, work colleagues, family, wherever they are – to the ends of the earth!
You can sign up for Alpha here
Sign up for Alpha
And don’t forget, we can get together to pray Tuesday 7.30.
Thought for the Day by Chris Dalton (BH Member)
This is a picture of Thwaites glacier.
Apparently, the ice is melting far more quickly than before. It was on the BBC news and they reported that a UK-US team had surveyed the deep seafloor channels in front of the glacier which almost certainly provide the access for warm water to infiltrate and attack the underside of the glacier.
"These channels had not been mapped before in this kind of detail, and what we've discovered is that they're actually much bigger than anyone thought - up to 600m deep. Think of six football pitches back to back," said Dr Kelly Hogan from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
It caught my attention, rightly or wrongly, not so much because of an interest or concern in the future of the glacier and all that involves for the planet but because currently I’m trying to learn my favourite Psalm  off by heart and verses 15 & 16 read,
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16 He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
Geography isn’t my thing so I had assumed that ‘channels of the sea’ was just a poetic way of saying things...apparently that’s not so!! But why were they seen and why were the world’s foundations laid bare? The Psalm says it was at God’s rebuke...earlier it says He was angry. God was angry because David was under attack. David says God was not angry AT him but FOR him. Isn’t that something? When we are under attack; struggling in the battle, God is angry on our behalf. God doesn’t think lightly of our difficulties – He cares and He acts. He taught David how to fight his enemies and provided him with strength and support. He delighted in David – He delights in all His people. He has acted decisively on our behalf and not only rescued us through His beloved Son, Jesus, but He’s also provided us with spiritual armour and strength and His Holy Spirit as our constant support.
I don’t know how long it will take me to learn this Psalm but reading it daily is a source of real joy as I focus on who God is and what He thinks of me and remember that He is my eternal rock and refuge. That’s true for every believer.
Thought for the Day by Matt Jones
Mental Health Awareness 2020
Please follow the link below to our Resources page for more information.