Message from Chris - Epiphany 3 - The Blessing of Unity.
The psalmist David writes - Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! For there the Lord commanded the blessing - Life for evermore (Psalm 133: 1;3 NKJ). It has become apparent that in the not too distant past the Church has caused offence through its action or inaction within the parish. Unfortunately, this has led to a strained relationship between the church and community. This is obviously not a good position to be in when we would like to see the Church grow and be in greater harmony with its neighbours.
In these situations there are usually two courses of action. Firstly, pretend nothing really happened and ignore it, or secondly acknowledge what has gone on and ask for forgiveness. Biblically, God commands us to do the latter.
Prior to the service on the 24th Feb and as the people of God we also need to have our house in order if we are to be truly blessed by God in the future.
Next weeks Parish Communion service will include the reading from 1 Corinthians 1: 10-18 which addresses divisions within the church. Again when problems arise within a church family there can be a breakdown of relationships if the situation is not dealt with in a timely manner. One person's offence can quickly gather negative support. The writer of Hebrews says 'Make every effort to live in peace with all men... see to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (paraphrase Heb 12:14-15).
If there is anything of a negative nature that anyone has said or done toward another brother or sister within the church family then it is right to admit it face-to-face and ask for forgiveness. Anything of an unspoken nature that has left one feeling offended or bitter should generally be confessed only to God. Next week's confession will include the opportunity to leave written confessions on the altar. They will not be read by anyone and they will be burnt after the service.
Message from Chris - Epiphany 2 - The Baptism of Jesus. (Matt 4:13-17)
Today's passage from Matthews Gospel, which gives the account of Jesus' baptism, has much to teach us about God, His relationship with humanity and the power of the Holy Spirit. Firstly, some unnecessarily worry about the fact that Jesus asks John to baptise him. Baptism has to do with the washing away of sin, yet Jesus was sinless and John was clearly aware of this. John only agrees after Jesus says that "it is proper for us to do
this to fulfil all righteousness." Righteousness in this context is a synonym for the Christian life, viewed as a relationship with God focused on obedience. It was this relationship, which
John's baptism demanded so that Jesus could identify himself
with the penitent people of God in order to fulfil his mission. Secondly, we see the completeness of God in these few verses. God the Son, God the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and
the God the Father speaking "this is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased."
If our Christian lives and ministry appear to be struggling then it is probably time for a refilling of the Holy Spirit. We can never go very far or extraordinary things with God when we are running on empty!
Message from Chris - Epiphany
An appeal from Bishop John
Message from Chris - Advent 4
Today’s Crib Service talk is certainly different; the Christmas story told via chocolate! When I first saw the script I thought it was rather cheesy (if you will excuse the pun!)
Message from Chris - Advent 3
As the 'New Boy' in the church I have been very encouraged that many families have either been coming to the church or returning (perhaps to see if things have changed?). Either way the church family should embrace all age groups. It probably goes without saying that the church should be offering something 'life-giving' and positive in whichever age group we find ourselves in. This is particularly important for our youngest members during their formative years so that they can enter adulthood with confidence to cope and thrive within the challenges of modern living.
Message from Chris - Advent 2
Today is the second Sunday of Advent where we celebrate the ministry of John the Baptist.; the one who prepared the way for Jesus.
Message from Chris - Advent 1
This Sunday's Evening Healing Service is a new start in an area of ministry that is either greeted with open arms or widely misunderstood and therefore treated with scepticism. The ministry of healing encompasses many facets from the largely unseen healing of spiritual/mental burdens to the more obvious in the healing of physical ailments and diseases. However when the need arises I am often amazed how many people soldier-on without seeking God for a solution – despite His numerous promises. Often elderly folk struggle and when asked would they like to be prayed for, refuse! As if God was too busy or if He answered their prayer someone else would go without. When you think about it both scenarios are equally ridiculous.
Do we hurt God’s feelings when we know that he can make our situation much better but then refuse His love? In reality, God is more than pleased that we come to Him and He always gives more that we can ask or imagine. So if you or one of your loved ones is in need of prayer come along this evening and ‘see that the Lord is good’. After all, what have you got to lose?
Blessings - Chris
Message from Chris - Sunday before Advent
On behalf of Sarah, myself and our daughters Lois, Phoebe, Isobel and Olivia, may we all thank you for making us so welcome. The Licensing Service on Tuesday was very enjoyable and it was a pleasure to share the evening with so many of you. A personal vote of thanks for the kind and encouraging words of welcome from the parish and schools during the service. Many thanks to everyone involved in the planning, service and post service refreshments, also to Frances and Delia and their team of helpers - all of our visitors were singing your praises!
Blessings - Chris