Praise Day 2012

“This is the Word of the Lord”

using Nehemiah 8 for our inspiration

to be held on

Saturday February 4th 2012

God willing
in the Main Hall of
Oakwood School
Balcombe Road
Horley, Surrey RH6 9AE

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” Ephesians 3:16, NIV.

Using the wonderful example set out for us in Nehemiah 8 as our inspiration:
we will read the Letter to the Ephesians …
… and try to respond as they did to God’s Word …
… after tea we will celebrate too, as they did.

Praise Day 2012

Programme
Greetings from: 1.30 pm
‘This is the Word of the Lord’
starts: 2.30 pm
Tea: 4.30 pm
Celebration starts: 6.00 pm
Finish: 7.30 pm

We are really looking forward to seeing you and sharing the things that bind us together. Reading God’s Word and joining together in praise of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ enables us all to go on in the strength of the Lord.

You can download a programme here

 


Communication letting you down?

Is God near you, here, now? Do you yearn for a closer connection? Are you desperate to hear something, anything, from Him, asked Charles last Sunday.

Absent communication can fill us with uncertainty, pain, anguish, as David grapples with in Psalms 39 + 40. He is desperate. Like Job, he asks, why does God so brutally discipline a creature so frail and fleeting as man? We can feel this too, acknowledging our sins, but also wondering why life is so tough. Is God even there?

Like us, David, wracked with anguish, tries to sort it out in his own strength. But internalizing his problems is doomed to failure. The outcome? At the end of Verse 2: “My anguish increased.”

In verse 3 he reflects: “As I meditated, the fire burned.” What fire? Is it the fire of anguish, that God was not delivering his life as he expected. Or is it the fire of faith, and the realization that it was not down to him to resolve these issues. David seems to feel both, warring within him.

He goes on to realize the true context of his fleeting life. Ironic, isn’t it, that so many people spend so much time organizing their life on earth, fleeting as it is, but spend so little time on their role in eternity!

David sees his error. He has to open up, and talk to God. He has to communicate, explain the problem, and listen for an answer. He has to patiently pray, and hear things from God’s perspective. We need to do the same, trusting in God, and waiting patiently, confidently.

And God responds. Ps 40, Verse 1&2: “He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock.” What rock? Jesus. Our saviour, the only one who can hold us up.

It is a Christian paradox. Sometimes we must go to the bottom of the pit, before we stop, let go of ourselves, and listen to God. When there is nowhere else to turn, there is God! Amazing! And we’re supposed to be intelligent beings! God is not averse to wielding humiliation, pain, suffering and defeat to help us change our areas of hardness that are so displeasing to Him.

Then we see afresh the loving hand of Jesus, held out to help us up: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matt 11:28-30
Christ is the Rock on which we stand – the only rock on which we can stand fast.


Salvation In Action

It snowed in Latvia’s capital city, Riga, last weekend, bringing fresh problems for people already struggling to keep warm and fed.

Bro Slavik and Sis Tanya were living in an uninsulated shed, with no identity documents and only occasional work. Now they are sharing a Christadelphian-funded flat for the winter with Bro Ivan and Sis Judite.

Tanya, who is three months pregnant, recently lost her job washing dishes in a shopping centre. She is painfully thin. Slavik has open sores on both legs, causing him a lot of pain. Visiting a doctor is costly, as is medicine. Neither work and there is no state aid for those without proper papers. Their main food is milled oats from a city charity, supplemented with what they can find, even from bins.

But on Sunday and Monday they get good meals when they travel across the city to the Riga Christadelphian Bible Centre, for Bible reading, breaking of bread and hot food.

Ivan and Judite don’t have work either. But their faith is strong. There is humour in the room, and a strong sense of conviction, that no matter what, God is with them. Slavik and Ivan speak movingly of how they have tried to share their faith with the people they meet.

At the Bible Centre Bro Warren and Sis Jeannie Barton, Christadelphians from Australia, are installing equipment for a children’s play area. It attracts plenty of local mums and toddlers – there is nothing like it in the city. Sis Irma, a long-time member of Riga ecclesia, speaks passionately about God’s hand at work in the city, bringing more people to the centre.

In the afternoon Jeannie delivers fresh vegetables to Bro Gennady in his small apartment. Gennady is delighted, as he clearly is with his new glasses and the new mattress that sits on top of stacked technical books that serve as his bed. This 72-yearold former professional metallurgist is determined to give his 14-yearold son Adrian a firm foundation in the Truth.

Two hundred kilometers towards the Russian border Sis Nina’s isolated small-holding is approached down a long snowy track. Donated clothes are hugely appreciated, as are seeds for the spring and plans for a chicken run. Nina values this friendship, to know she is not forgotten, to share fellowship in Jesus. Her contentment, even joy, amidst hardship, is inspiring.

God is working in Latvia. People want the Truth. But the workers are few.


Review and reflect on a new year

Another year, and still Jesus hasn’t come! Do we feel disappointed, depressed, disillusioned, because we felt sure he would come in 2011? Or do we feel one year nearer to his glorious return.

New Year is a time to review and reflect: did we achieve what we wanted. Maybe for 2012 our motto could be to focus, on what really matters, and avoid the distractions, Stuart Walker exhorted us last Sunday.

As Paul urges us in Philippians 4, fix your thoughts on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. We should put those verses before all we do.

Becoming effective, for God, by being selective, about what we do, will help. Rather than being busy getting nowhere, we can change, and Focus on God, our Growth and His Grace.

Maybe a month of reading about Christ in Matthew will help us Focus? Seek ye first the kingdom of God, live righteously, don’t worry about tomorrow, today has trouble enough of its own. We need to put things in God’s hands and Focus on His will. To do that we need to read His word. We need to prioritise our service to Him. If we picked up the Bible whenever we needed to answer a text, e-mail or phone call, would that help us Focus?

We need to Focus on people and friends who will help us Grow spiritually. Are they:

  • Refreshers – spiritual mentors, who help us Grow
  • Refiners – who sharpen and clarify our vision, maybe challenging us
  • Reflectors – who mirror our energy, enthusiasm and passion for Christ
  • Reducers – who diminish our goals, don’t accept our aspirations and efforts, want to bring us down to their level. Drifting through life, they think they are right. They are unwilling to step out of their comfort zone. They are too busy.
  • Rejecters – who just don’t understand. They don’t know what they want, but they are going all out to get it.
  • We need to choose our friends carefully, as we seek to Grow in Christ. We need to monitor our own performance, maybe keeping a spiritual diary.

Without God’s Grace salvation is impossible. We can’t earn it, or buy it. By God’s Grace we are given what we don’t deserve, by God’s mercy we are not given what we do deserve. Thus leaves no room for self-righteousness. We must see how kind, tolerant and patient God is with us. His kindness is meant to turn us from our sin. As Andy added in the evening: Grace makes us alive in Christ. Let’s ensure 2012 sees us Focus on our own Growth through God’s Grace.