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Verse for the Year: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

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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, Mar 21 2021 09:35AM

I was talking to someone the other day who said to me ‘I’m very worried about the news. There seems to be so many bad things happening on top of everything to do with COVID’.


When we look at the news it is quite easy to become discouraged and even miss out on any good news there is because we worry so much about the bad.


But, as Christians, we have a real hope in the best news of all and, as we go through the month of March, we are getting ever-closer to Easter: the time when we particularly remember how Jesus suffered and died on the first Good Friday and then triumphantly rose from the dead on the first Easter Sunday morning.


It is in this Good News that our hopes are built on as Christians and they are a real reason for rejoicing. The Apostle Peter puts it like this: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4).


This is tremendous news, for all people at all times throughout history. It is good news for our own community at this time as we struggle with COVID, the impact lockdown has had and all the other bad news that we hear.


It reminds us that there is a bigger picture and that, in Jesus, God has won the victory for all time so that we can know our sin against Him forgiven and be reconciled to Him.


May this Good News not only bring us real and lasting encouragement in these difficult days, but also be something that we willingly share because we want everyone to know that this can be their Good News story too.


By bridcf, Mar 21 2021 09:34AM

This is my monthly thought for February 2021.


I hope that you have been encouraged by our current sermon series on prayer.


To give us further encouragement to pray thought it would be helpful to look at a particular example of the impact prayer can have on a community.


The book Sounds from Heaven by Colin and Mary Peckham (published by Christian Focus) is a book well worth reading. It tells the story of the spiritual revival on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland from 1949-1952 and its particular feature is that it uses the testimonies of a number of people who were there to show how God worked.


Although God greatly used an evangelist called Duncan Campbell, at the heart of what happened on Lewis was that God had moved people to pray. I have quoted some of the testimonies about prayer from Sounds from Heaven below, so that we can be encouraged that God used (and still uses) the prayers of real people in real communities to have a real, transforming effect on the hearts and lives of many.


There had been a previous revival on the island in 1939 and something of that still remained:


Catherine Campbell recalls, ‘The 1939 revival was still fresh in the memories of my parents and their friends and they were very burdened for the lost – always! The 1939 revival was born in prayer and that spirit of prayer continued, eventually increasing until the 1949 revival broke out.’


It is also worth including this quote about the 1939 revival and the spirit of prayer that went through the community as it led to the events of 1949:


Annie MacKinnon (Kintyre) says of the 1939 revival: ‘A minister who visited there stated at the time the very fields were hallowed. The sea was hallowed. Wherever people worked, they prayed. The place of solitude was precious to them. Out on the moor, caring for the cattle, they prayed. Prayer was not a burden to them but a delight. They loved to pray; they were constrained to pray.’


Others recall the events of the 1949 revival itself:


Donald John Smith recalls of the 1949 revival that ‘there was a great spirit of prayer everywhere, and that was actually the beginning of the revival’. He tells how that in the mornings when he would go to the smithy, he would often find his father on his knees at the anvil.


John Murdo Smith says, ‘There were watchmen on the walls of Zion who resorted to prayer and would not accept things as they were. Prayer meetings for revival were held in various Christian homes. The cry that went up from many hearts was ‘O! that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and that Thou wouldst come down’ [Isaiah 64:1] . . . Those who engaged in prayer and believed that God would answer, continued to pray until the power of God came.’


May God encourage us more and more to pray. Pray that He would revive our hearts and the hearts of other Christians and pray that He would awaken those who are lost in our own community to their great need of Him. May we pray that He would work amongst us in power so that His Name is glorified in our church, amongst Christians in our town and in our community as a whole.


By bridcf, Nov 22 2020 12:26PM

I like to try and keep up-to-date with new songs and hymns that are written. I recently came across one called ‘Christ, the sure and steady anchor’ written by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. It is based on the well-known words of Hebrews 6:19.




I trust that the words will both encourage and strengthen you as we cope with the on-going pressures and problems of lockdown.


Christ, the sure and steady anchor

in the fury of the storm,

when the winds of doubt blow through me

and my sails have all been torn;

in the suffering, in the sorrow,

when my sinking hopes are few,

I will hold fast to the anchor;

it shall never be removed.


Christ, the sure and steady anchor

while the tempest rages on,

when temptation claims the battle

and it seems the night has won;

deeper still then goes the anchor,

though I justly stand accused;

I will hold fast to the anchor;

it shall never be removed.


Christ, the sure and steady anchor

through the floods of unbelief;

hopeless somehow, O my soul, now

lift your eyes to Calvary.

This, my ballast of assurance;

see his love forever proved;

I will hold fast to the anchor;

it shall never be removed.


Christ, the sure and steady anchor

as we face the wave of death,

when these trials give way to glory,

as we draw our final breath;

we will cross that great horizon,

clouds behind and life secure,

and the calm will be the better

for the storms that we endure.


Christ, the shore of our salvation,

ever faithful, ever true;

we will hold fast to the anchor;

it shall never be removed.


Music and words by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa © 2014 Messenger Hymns








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.


THE PASTOR'S 

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