"Messenger" newsletter APRIL

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LEIGH BAPTIST CHURCH     “MESSENGER”  April 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      07817142192

 

This month sees a different look Messenger. For the first time, it will not contain details of meetings and services for the coming month, as these have all been temporarily suspended. How long for is unknown.

However, it does not mean that we stop being the church.  The church is not the building -  that just facilitates our meeting and provides us with a warm, safe space in which to meet. We are the church. We will continue to be the church. 

We have been thinking recently about making the difference on our frontlines, the times when we are scattered.  Well, we are certainly scattered at the moment. Our frontlines may even have changed this week.  We may be spending more time at home than we did previously.

How we respond to the ever - changing situation will be key to how people view our faith. Yes, it is a worrying time and we cannot hide from that. We are not ostriches burying our heads in the sand. But we have a sure and certain hope.  As we will be remembering in a few weeks time, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died and rose again to take away the sin of the world - my sin, your sin - so that we could have a relationship with God.

John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its Saviour.” 

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised his disciples that he would not leave them alone, that he would send the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, to guide them. They weren’t promised exemption from trouble, illness or persecution, but they were promised that the Holy Spirit would bring them peace and an assurance of God’s presence with them. One of the names given to Jesus is Emmanuel, which means God with us.

During the service broadcast by the NWBA on Mothers’ Day, the Rev. Phil Jump spoke on Psalm 23.  The psalmist begins by describing peaceful times, times when the pastures are green. We can liken this to life pre the Covid 19 outbreak.  We may wish that we could return to those times and places. But we can’t. The psalmist doesn’t promise that God will be waiting for us on the other side of our troubles either.  What he does say is, “Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.”

Whatever we may face in the next few weeks and months, God will be with us. We need not give in to fear.  We can rest in the peace of God. God is with us now and will be with us tomorrow. Our hope is eternal – now and forever.

In Colossians, Paul urges the early Christians to be persistent in prayer, and to keep alert as we pray. It is important that we follow his instruction.

At this time, we pray particularly for the stop of the spread of the virus; the recovery of those already infected; peace and comfort for the families who have lost loved ones; wisdom for the governments who have to manage the outbreak; for all those working in challenging circumstances – doctors, nurses, teachers, those on the frontline of supermarkets and shops etc. and for the restoration of the economics of the world.

2 Thessalonians 3: 16, “May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with you all.”

For those of us with access to the internet, there are ways of joining with others to worship, albeit remotely via a computer screen.

The NWBA are offering a Sunday service each week via You Tube, starting on Sunday 22nd March at 10:30am.  The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uhcXmBfwUw    As this is a new area for them, they ask you to bear with them. I think we can all relate to this with our dealings with technology.

If you go onto the NWBA website  www.nwba.org.uk , you can access a recording of the service and  a podcast for the 3rd Sunday in Lent from the regional Minister, Rev. Phil Jump. 

The Baptist Union are broadcasting times of prayer, which can be accessed live or as a recording.  If you go to the website, www.baptist.org.uk   - search for prayer broadcasts and you should be able to find them.

Baptists Together are now producing a daily Bible verse at 2pm on their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

If you search for Nick Fawcett (Devotional and Reflective Writer) you can sign up for his daily prayers and reflections.  I’m sure that most of you will know that Nick is one of our former ministers.

If you’re not able to access these, then I believe that the BBC will be broadcasting services on Sundays, although I’m not sure of the time.

2 Thessalonians 1: 16 – 17: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us unfailing courage and a firm hope, encourage you and strengthen you to always do and say what is good.”

Val

All Scripture verses are taken from the Good News Translation.

 

The Prayer of Faith

In life there are many times of crisis of differing types and severity. So far in this century, throughout the world, we seem to have had more than ever, and now we are faced with this global crisis of the coronavirus. How should we react as Christians now that we cannot meet together for worship, or with friends?

I accidentally turned in Word for Today to the middle of February instead of March. What did I find? The title for each day was ”How to win life’s battles”. The verses for each day were from 2 Chronicles chapter 20, and tell of King Jehoshaphat’s reaction when he heard that three neighbouring armies had joined together to attack Judah. The King was frightened, but notice what he did. He turned in prayer to the Lord for help and guidance (v3 GNB), and ordered the people to fast. People from all over the country met in Jerusalem in the Temple courtyard to be led in prayer to God. They acknowledged how powerful and mighty He was, and how he had helped them and saved them from their enemies throughout their history, concluding,     “We do not know what to do, but we look to you for help.” (v12 GNB).

A Levite, named Jehaziel, told the people they must not be discouraged or afraid, for         “the battle depends on God, not on you.” (v15 NIV)

The next morning, the king told the people, “Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will stand firm.” (v20 GNB)  He ordered musicians to march ahead of the army, singing “Praise the Lord! His love is eternal!” (v21 GNB). The sound of the music threw the invading armies into panic so that they attacked each other until they were all killed. God had won the battle for Judah. In these difficult times of separation from friends and family, or of isolation which can make most of us feel very vulnerable, the Lord can win our personal battles when we turn to Him in prayer with faith.

As we come to celebrate Easter in the best way we can this year, we are also reminded that Jesus always spent time praying to his Father in Heaven. As the time of His crucifixion drew near He poured out His fears in the words, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJV)                               The victory came when Jesus was prepared to go all the way to the cross, so that God was able to bring about victory over sin and death as Jesus sacrificed his life so that all who would believe in Him would have their sins forgiven, and because of His Resurrection, have the promise of Eternal Life.

As we celebrate that victory this Easter, in a time of difficulty and uncertainty, may we praise God for His help in the past and in faith pray for His continued help for the future, remembering that the battle is not ours, but God’s. May His will be done.    Kathie Williams


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