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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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we will continue to upload sermons to the BCF YouTube channel.

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To find out about HOPE BEYOND CORONAVIRUS go to https://youtu.be/KoQMg4-u-wU


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, Jul 26 2020 11:11AM

A while ago I found a card in an RNLI gift shop with words on it attributed to the French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire. It said:

In other words: life is grim but we are to make the best of it while we can. I’m sure we can all relate to the idea of ‘making the best of a bad job’, but is that really how we should see life?

The Bible does not see life as a disaster we just have to make the best of. When it looks at life it sees it as a precious gift from God; something that God has known all about, even from before we were born. It says: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16b).

God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us; a plan that should see us living in the way He wants us to so that we can have a relationship with Him that lasts forever. But the Bible also shows us that we have all rejected God’s plan and purpose for our lives; we have all turned away from Him to do what pleases us. In a very real sense, that is what can make our lives seem like the shipwreck. We can go on with things so far and then so often we hit hard times and suddenly sit up and think, ‘Is that all there really is?’ But as long as we make the best of it; as long as we ‘sing in the lifeboats’ we’ll be OK, won’t we?

There is, though, an alternative; an alternative that Jesus Himself provides for us. He declares that for those who follow Him: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10b).

We may still struggle with the storms of life and God never promises that His way will be easy. But if our trust is in Jesus then we will not be left with just singing in the lifeboat. Instead we will be on the ship captained by Him and if we make sure that on life’s voyage we know Jesus as our captain and obey His commands we will reach the safe harbour of heaven.

Life doesn’t have to be a shipwreck when we know Jesus as Saviour and follow Him. The best life we can have is following Him – a new life that is going to last forever. Now that is a real reason for singing!

By bridcf, Jul 19 2020 12:48PM

This week Aileen treated me to some new shoes, but she was being generous for a reason. I had worn my old shoes for a number of years and they were no longer fit for purpose. In fact, things had become so bad that they were causing me pain and discomfort. I needed to be properly equipped with shoes that would support my feet and legs so that I could walk and exercise to stay healthy without issue.

Just as we need to be properly equipped for day-to-day life with such things as good shoes, so Christians need to have the right equipment to deal with their day-to-day spiritual lives. In Ephesians 6 the Apostle Paul reminds us of the important truth that we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. Reliable footwear is a vital component of the equipment God gives us to face it, as verse 15 says: 'with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.'

Paul lived in the Roman Empire and their soldiers wore footwear that was fit for the purpose of warfare; strong, supportive and supple as well as having big studs (hobnails) in the soles so to give an excellent grip. So why is this footwear such a good picture of readiness in the gospel? How is it fit for purpose? Here are two reasons:

First of all, as we keep ourselves regularly reminded of what God has done for us in Jesus then when we are attacked by God’s enemy we have made sure that we have a firm grip of the gospel ground underneath us and can stand firm in Him.

Secondly, being ready in the gospel means that we need to be ready to advance as well as to defend. We need to be certain of God’s gospel in our own lives so that we can obey Jesus’ command to ‘go’ and share it with others.

Just as Aileen bought me good shoes that were fit for purpose in helping me to do the exercise I need, so we need spiritual footwear that is fit for purpose for the work that God wants to lead us to do. It is only as we rely on the gospel’s good news of Jesus that our lives can be fit for God’s purposes for them. May we take care to be rooted in that ‘gospel of peace’ so that we are ready and equipped to obey His commands.

By bridcf, Jul 12 2020 04:37PM

I have recently finished reading the book Tommy by British military historian Richard Holmes. This looks at the First World War through the eyes of the soldiers who were fighting in it and what they said at the time.

One part of the book was about the role of military chaplains. They were ministering to young men who regularly faced death and had a real spiritual need but sadly spiritual realities were not often addressed.

Many chaplains ministered from places of safety and did not join the troops in the hardships they faced in the trenches. One chaplain said this: ‘And now God go with you,’ he told a group of men bound for the front. ‘I will go with you as far as the station’.

The Bible tells us that when we were in our time of greatest spiritual need, the need for our sin to be dealt with, Jesus came into the world to save us. Here, He did far more than just standing in the trenches to fight the battle with us. He personally fought the battle of sin for us when He died on the cross. He was the only One who could do this and defeat sin once and for all time so that as we trust and follow Him we are made right with God.

Following Jesus does not mean an easy life, though. In fact there are new spiritual battles for us to face. But through His Holy Spirit Jesus’ personal presence remains with us in the trenches and as we fight these battles we are given this encouragement. The Bible says of Jesus: we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Our time of need is now as we fight daily spiritual battles, but we have the encouragement and assurance that we can call on Jesus in prayer. Jesus understands exactly what we are going through because He has lived a life as we live and experienced the spiritual battle from our perspective. So as we bring our prayers to Him we can have every confidence that He is fully understands what we are going through and that He is acceptable to God to present our prayers to Him because He pleased God His Father in every way.

Jesus does not abandon us to stand alone in the trenches to fight spiritual battles. He is personally present with us, leading, guiding and protecting us through them. He personally brings our prayers and petitions to God His Father knowing exactly what we are going through.

May we be encouraged in our walk with Him by His personal presence with us and may we be challenged to stand with others in the trenches of their trials, bearing testimony to what God has done for us in Jesus so that they may turn to Him, too.

By bridcf, Jul 5 2020 09:04AM

During these past few months we have all been on something of a ‘lockdown journey’. Thankfully there are signs that things are improving as lockdown is being gradually eased across the country. For us, though, the journey is not yet finished and we need God’s continued encouragement as we face the path ahead of us.

This is where Psalm 121 can help us. It is one of a number of psalms called the Songs of Ascent which are psalms that pilgrims would have sung on their way to one of the great festivals in Jerusalem, as they ascended up to the city. In the Book of Psalms the Songs of Ascent are grouped in threes with a beginning, middle and end to the journey.

Psalm 121 is one of the ‘middle’ psalms, when the pilgrims are engaged in the struggles of the journey. In difficult days, the pilgrims ask, where does our help and hope come from? The psalm’s writer answers in verses 2-4:

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip –

he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

As we read these verses we need to be as encouraged by them as those who first sang them were. They are as much a picture of how God fulfils His salvation as it is about the journey to Jerusalem. We know how God has saved us through Jesus and, because of this, we have confidence that as we continue with life’s journey, with all its difficulties, He is personally walking with us day by day. He is with us, leading and guiding us to the presence of God His Father in heaven, where we will be with Him forever.

Until that time, as we continue on in our ‘lockdown journey’ and, indeed on life’s journey itself, may we be encouraged to ever more trust and depend on Jesus alone and find our help and our hope in Him.

By bridcf, Jun 28 2020 08:52AM

On Friday evening Liverpool Football Club again became Champions of the English Premier League for the first time in thirty years. They had been well ahead of any contenders before coronavirus struck and the results from other teams means they have won the title comfortably.

Although the football season was suspended because of lockdown the work behind the scenes never stopped. It was important that players maintained high levels of physical fitness so that when the season restarted they would be match-ready and feel physically on top of their game.

There is a vital lesson for Christians here, too. Just because we are not ‘in church’ at the moment doesn’t mean that the work God has called us to has stopped. Even in the current lockdown situation, we must be prepared for opportunities to point others to Jesus.

The Apostle Paul encourages Christians to keep on working at their faith as he says: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25) Paul is calling us, here, to make sure that our lives are in order so that we are able to work hard for God and provide a consistent witness, whatever the situation is that we face.

We do this because we have the blessing of a tremendous salvation to enjoy. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is a Christian and he explained to an interviewer from his native Germany that Jesus’ death on the cross “was the greatest act that has ever been achieved, because it changed everything. We don’t have to do it [paying for our sins] and this is a huge comfort”.

Jürgen Klopp also said of his response to what Jesus had done for him: “To be a believer, but not to want to talk about it - I do not know how it would work!” Sharing with others what God has done for us is a vital part of our work for Him.

May we be encouraged to keep training and to keep on running to win day by day. Our reward is not the cup for winning the English Premier League but it is the crown of life from God which means being in His presence for an eternity because of what Jesus has done for us. May we continue to keep our eyes on Him as we head for heaven.