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Verse for the Year: Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

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Our Sunday services will resume on Sunday 8th November. 

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During March 2020 all of our services and meetings were suspended due to the impact of and Governement response to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of my keeping in touch with everyone I began to write weekly letters. These blog posts are simply extracts from those letters.

By bridcf, Oct 11 2020 10:33AM

On Friday 9th November there were many celebrations on what would have been the 80th birthday of John Lennon. Lennon was, of course, famously part of the Beatles and formed their core song writing duo with Paul McCartney. He also wrote and performed as a solo artist and probably the most important of these songs is Imagine.


Part of what the song is about is to say that: 'Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky.' He also challenges us to imagine that there is no religion so that 'the world will be as one'.


In a way what John Lennon wants is absolutely right. He wants peace, love and unity between all men and women right across the world, but there are big questions about how he wants to turn his imagination into a reality.


Historian Tom Holland says of Imagine that: 'the lyrics were religious through and through'. In fact, despite the song being known as an ‘atheist anthem’ the picture Lennon paints in the song is entirely Christian as he adapts for his own uses what God has promised will happen to those who trust in Him.


The problem is that there is no way that the world will be as one in our current world. The Bible tells us that what gets in the way of having peace, love and unity with one another is that we have no relationship with God in the first place. Our sin, which is revealed through selfishness, wants only the best for ourselves and not for others.


But God sent Jesus so that our relationship with Him could be made right. All those who trust in Him know their hearts transformed to serve God and, in Him, one another as well as having the sure and certain hope of the promise being fulfilled of a place with God forever.


It is under the direct rule of God our King that the peace, love and unity John Lennon so much wanted will finally be realised. This is what the Bible promises and is what God’s people are looking forward to: 'I heard a loud voice from the throne [of heaven] saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away"' (Revelation 21:3-4).


There is peace in God’s presence because He is King. He has done away with sin forever and we will know the true peace and joy that only He can give to men and women.


John Lennon could only imagine what a transformed world might look like. We don’t have to imagine: we have a sure and certain hope that what the Bible shows us is going to be realised in Jesus.


May we be encouraged by this certain hope and keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him as He leads us towards the place of peace that He has personally prepared for us and wants us to enjoy forever.


By bridcf, Oct 4 2020 11:50AM

A few days ago I went to the Delivery Office to collect a parcel for my eldest son. It was from ‘Rails of Sheffield’ and was large enough to contain a model locomotive. So what was inside? The answer is that when you took the outer plastic wrapping off there was a sturdy box. In the box was a lot of inflatable packing and, at the centre of this, was one small packet of parts to be fixed to a model railway carriage so that it could connect to other carriages.


People also come in packages. So very often we like to present ourselves in different ways. There are those who like to present a superb image on the outside, there are others who may want us to see that they have a strong and sturdy character, whilst other folk like to talk a good talk although we are often left wondering what we have learned from them. All of these people have something in common. What they are really like is hidden from view and the same can be true of us, too. In fact there are times when we are afraid that if people knew what we were really like or what our thoughts were then they would reject us and want nothing more to do with us.


But yet there is Someone who really does know what is right at the heart of our being and this is Someone whose opinion of us matters more than anything. This is God.


The truth is that nothing is hidden before God: He has unlimited access to those things we would rather others didn’t know about. He goes right to the heart of the package that is ‘us’ and knows exactly what is in there. As we know only too well what lies at the heart of our package is not good and God says: ‘I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.’ (Jeremiah 17:10) So will God be like so many others and reject us out of hand.


The answer to this is that if we are truly open and honest with God about what we are really like and seek His forgiveness through Jesus then we will not be rejected. Instead, Jesus will strengthen and encourage us as we follow God. The truly wonderful thing about what God has done for us through His Son is the very way in which Jesus takes hearts that were rotten with sin and transforms them to His glory.


The Bible shows us how this transformation is revealed. The Bible says that those who follow Jesus are to be ‘like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.’ (Ephesians 6:6-7) From hiding the reality of the sin in our hearts under our packaging Jesus has changed us so that our hearts, transformed by His grace and power, now shine out from our lives with His glory as we become the people He wants us to be and our personalities are fulfilled in Him.


May we continue to focus firmly on Jesus so that our lives may continue to reveal His glory and bear eloquent witness to what He has done for us and can also do in the lives of those who trust in Him. Amen.


By bridcf, Sep 27 2020 09:49AM

On Tuesday 22nd September the season officially changed from Summer into Autumn as we passed the equinox. We have certainly been able to tell the change has happened through the weather: the air has become colder, there have been strong winds and we have experienced plenty of rain.


Also at this time of year, many of us will be remembering to thank God for meeting our needs in our Harvest Services. We thank Him for the fruit of the earth as well as the fruit of the sea and for other good things that He provides us with.


All these form part of a promise from God which He made to His servant Noah in the Book of Genesis. God says: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:22). They are signs of God’s faithfulness to us.


There are times when we worry about what is going on in our world. This is not just everything that is happening with COVID-19, but there is all sorts of tumult in the society we live in and we wonder where this is all going to end and how these things will affect us.


The seasonal changes we are seeing remind us that we are not in control of this world: God is. His world, in the way in which He has established it to run, will endure until His timing is perfect. Jesus is at the heart of these plans. We know that Jesus died on the cross so that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). At the end of history, Jesus is coming again as earth’s King and Judge to claim His people and take them to be with Him forever. As those who trust in Him we are called to be ready and waiting for His return.


The changing seasons should be a sign of encouragement for us. God is keeping His promises year after year as He has done for millennia. The encouragement is that if He can keep these promises then He will certainly keep His promises of salvation to us. Whatever happens in our world and our society we know we can trust the One whose promises remain unchanging and who remains the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).


May our hope and our trust be firmly put in our unchanging God.


By bridcf, Sep 6 2020 09:05AM

Over our summer holidays and going on into the Autumn our ‘home improvement’ project is to clear the garden and to re-plant it to make it ‘wildlife friendly’.


One of the first things we did when we had cleared a patch of ground was to put up a bird feeding station. This is currently being colonised by a flock of sparrows and a rather large pigeon who eats the food from the floor that the sparrows have thrown down from the bird feeders above.


All of these birds are being given free food, which they are happily consuming. Everything is being provided for them.


In Matthew 6:26 Jesus says: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Here, Jesus is reminding us that although birds do not sow, reap or store away food God still provides for them.


The point Jesus is making to us is one about priorities. He is telling us that the priority in life for God’s people is not to be food and drink, or the clothes we wear. Instead, our priority is to be in trusting and serving Him. If we obey God’s will for our lives then He will provide for us.


Jesus goes on to say that there is no use in worrying about these things or other things that we cannot control. We must give these to God rather than making ourselves anxious. Instead, we are to obey His call to seek first his [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).


Just as God provides for the sparrows, as we trust and follow Jesus day by day then God will bless us and provide us with everything we need to live life for His glory. We also have the extra blessing of a treasure in heaven to enjoy at the end of life’s journey.


May each of us be encouraged to trust Jesus and see all our needs met in Him.


By bridcf, Aug 30 2020 01:30PM

Whilst we were on our holiday break we paid our annual visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster. On display are a wide variety of animals from around the world. You can see lions, tigers, hyenas, giraffes, okapi, red pandas, Gelada monkeys and polar bears. There are even areas where some British wildlife is in evidence!


These things are a reminder to us that it is God alone whose creative power provides us with such a rich variety of creatures to enjoy as part of His creation.


Psalm 24 (verses 1-2) takes up this theme as it says: The world is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Creation, in all its vastness, variety and splendour belongs entirely to God and it is a vital pointer to His greatness, glory and power.


If God is the King of Creation, then the Psalm shows us that He is powerful, majestic, mighty and worthy of our praise. However, our Creator is not a King who wants to be held at a distance: the great and glorious God wants us to come to Him. Those who have clean hands and a pure heart (verse 4), who trust in Him and live according to His Word, are those who can come.


Of course, in ourselves, it is impossible to meet these standards, but through Jesus, God’s great and mighty King and warrior, sin and death have been defeated and if we trust in Him we will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God our Saviour (verse 5). If we trust in Jesus we may follow the King of glory (verse 7) into heaven as part of His victory parade.


The psalm’s wonderful message for us is that the Creator and King of the Universe, in all of its splendour and diversity, wants a relationship with us, His created beings, and He has made this possible through Jesus. As we rejoice in the splendour of God’s creation may we also rejoice in what our Creator has done for us so that we may have a real relationship with Him which will last forever.


(Photographs taken on this and previous visits to YWP)


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