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LEIGH BAPTIST CHURCH   MESSENGER” DECEMBER 2020     

VERNON ST / CHURCH ST . LEIGH. WN7 1BH        

 

Website :  www.leighbaptistchurch.org.uk            Contact:  admin@leighbaptistchurch.org.uk

Pastoral Leader – Val Hulme ( Days Off Wed and Fridays)

email :   pastoral.leader@leighbaptistchurch.org.uk          TEL  07817142192

Check LBC website for updates and info also LBC FACEBOOK page

 

ADVENT

This is usually an exciting and joyous time of the year; a time of preparation for celebrating our Saviour’s birth; a time when on dull winter days our houses, streets, towns and cities begin to be lit up with colourful Christmas lights. We often hear carol singers going around the streets and favourite carols are sung at numerous carol services, some of which are broadcast into our homes. Some of these things will still happen this year, but often in a different way.

 

If we were worshipping normally in Church this Advent, we would light a candle each week. Although they each have a different theme, they all remind us of the Coming of Jesus as the Light of the World.

 

The 1st candle reminds us of the Advent Hope – Jesus is coming again.

Advent is a time of preparation as we look forward to Christmas Day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus as He came to bring light into the darkness of this World. But we should not forget that it is a time to remember that Jesus will come again as He promised to. This year has made people think more about the Second Coming and  what the Resurrection is all about. Jesus spoke to his Disciples about the fact that He was going back to be with His Father, but that He would come again. Matthew 24: 27 & 30 – 31 say, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.” “The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory and He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (NIV)

The Disciples thought Jesus would return in their lifetime, but here we are in the 21st century and he has still not returned. Over the years there have been predictions of dates when this would happen, but we have been warned by Jesus in Matthew 24: 36 that no-one knows about that day or hour, not even the Son, only God the Father., but we have always to be ready for that day. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (v42)

In Romans13:11&12 (NKJV) we are told that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed, so we are to stop doing the things that belong to the dark and to put on the armour of light, which, as v14 says, is the Lord Jesus Christ, so let us put Him at the centre of our lives and put all our trust in Him.

 

How can we be ready for when Jesus comes again or calls us home?

The 2nd candle reminds us of God’s gift of the Bible, which, in both Old and New Testaments, points us to Jesus, the Light of the World. We need to read it, for we need to know what it says so that we can draw closer to God and understand how to live out the Christian life. The Apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1: 16-19 (NKJV) that what the Prophets had predicted all those years ago had been fulfilled in their hearing when, after Jesus’ baptism, they heard a voice from heaven say, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”, and again on the mountain at the time of the Transfiguration, “This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” Peter tells us to pay attention to the message of the prophets which he likens to a lamp shining in a dark place. Many prophecies have already been fulfilled, not least those about Our Lord’s birth, death and resurrection. Some have taken place in more recent times. Still others are for the future. They all prove that the words of the Bible are true, so we need to know what is written in it. This we can learn by reading and studying it on our own, but it is also a great help to meet with others in a group, such as the Advent Bible Studies which, this year, are on Zoom. In that way we can help each other to understand what we read.

 

The 3rd candle brings to mind the place of John the Baptist in preparing the way for the Saviour who was to come, namely Jesus. John 1:6-8 (GNB) tells us that “God sent his messenger, a man named John, who came to tell people about the Light --- the real Light -- that comes into the world and shines on all mankind.” He also urged people to repent of their sins. He would then baptise them, but pointed out that he was not the true Light; but that one would come whose sandals he was not good enough to untie.

 

The 4th candle presents a challenge, for it is to remind us of our calling when we have put our trust in Jesus as our Saviour; that is, to reflect the Light of Jesus in our lives in the world. Jesus said, “You are the light of the whole world. Your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5: 14, 16. (GNB). May we know the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to enable us to be that light in the world.

 

Finally we come to the candle for Christmas Day which points to the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. Even in these difficult times may we be able to celebrate His coming into the world to show us all the way of love, joy and peace. I love to read and sing about the angels announcing the Good News to the shepherds, and how they appeared in a glorious blaze of light which seems so appropriate for announcing the birth of the one who is the Light of the World. Let us join in the words of the angels’ chorus :-

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke 2:14 (NKJV

 

Happy Christmas to everyone, Kathie.

 

                                             

PASTORAL LEADER’S NOTES


To help focus our minds now that the season of Advent is upon us, we will be holding a Zoom Bible Study at 7:30pm each Tuesday in December- 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd. I will email the link each week. If you're not on our weekly email list, but would like to join us, please contact me. (Val

We are also joining with Wigan and Leyland Baptist Churches for daily Advent Prayer (except Sundays) again on Zoom at 12:00 for approximately 15 minutes, starting on Monday November 30th. Join us as and when you can. Again I will email the link to those on our weekly email list. If you do not receive it, but want to join with us, please contact me. (Val)

 

As we approach Christmas we are aware that finances are difficult for many people, so on Saturday December 5th, I will be in church to receive donations for Foodbank, between 10 - 12. As last time, it will just be an occasion to drop items off at the door. They are particularly short of tinned rice pudding, tinned fruit, tinned custard, instant mash, packet noodles, snacks, deodorant.  Christmas treats would be useful, but they have enough selection boxes.  

 

Now that  we're  coming out of lockdown, and, at the time of writing, guidelines are unclear,  the Leadership Team have taken the decision not to reopen the building for worship. Experts are predicting another spike in January, but our aim is to reopen on Sunday 24th January 2021. This would be our Covenant Communion Service, so we felt it appropriate. However, we will be keeping an eye on the situation and adhering to whatever restrictions are in place at that time. 

We will continue to meet via Zoom for the Coffee Morning on Saturday 12th December, and post services on You Tube and Facebook on 6th and 20th December.  We are also planning to post a Carols by Candlelight service on You Tube and Facebook at 6:30 pm on Christmas Eve.  Scattered Church Musings will also continue.

 

As we come to the end of what has been a strange and  difficult year for everyone, may I take this opportunity on behalf of Leigh Baptist Church to wish you all a Happy Christmas. May you truly know the peace and comfort that only God can give. 

Keep well, stay safe and God bless you all.    VAL

 

Polite Reminder:  Our Pastoral Leader's days off are Wednesday and Friday. Please could you avoid contacting her on these days, unless it is an emergencyShe will also be on annual leave from Dec 26th to Jan 11th. During this period a deacon will hold the pastoral telephone should you need to contact the church.


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