Daily Bible readings from Matthew, week commencing 26 Feb

Eddie,

As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:

  • What does God reveal about Himself?
  • How is your own heart revealed?
  • How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
  • Turn these truths into prayer and praise.

26 February Mt 19:13-15

The disciples’ hesitation about the commitment of marriage (v.10) is now matched by their attitude to children whom they seem to regard as an intrusion and an inconvenience vv.13-15). Just like the Pharisees, the disciples need God to change their hearts. They have not yet grasped that denying our selfishness and laying down our life for others – essential in both marriage and parenting – are at the heart of God’s kingdom. The one who loses His life for Jesus’ sake will find it. Are you learning this?

27 February Mt 19:16-30

The rich young man saw himself as a commandment keeper, but he had not begun to keep the first commandment (Ex 20:3). His heart was enslaved by his love of money, which far exceeded his love for God (vv.21-22). Jesus exposed the man’s inability to change his own heart. Thankfully, God can change us (v.26), as the disciples had begun to experience (v.27). Every sacrifice made for God will be rewarded, for in His kingdom the world judges as “last” will indeed be first (vv.28-30).

28 February Mt 20:1-16

This parable is not meant to be a business model! Jesus is not teaching us about pay-scales. His point is that the kingdom of God does not operate on the basis of merit at all. If it did, we would all be lost, for our sin merits judgement. But Jesus compares God to a landowner who is generous to a fault, lavish in His kindness. We must not despise His grace when we see it given to others, as though we are more deserving of it than them. We have no cause for complaint, only for gratitude. Do your life show it?

1 March Mt 20:17-28

Jesus sees a terrible death before Him (vv.17-19). He will not die as others do, not even as other crucified men do, but uniquely He will die bearing the price of our sin in order to save us (v.28). And the disciples? Their mind is set on self-promotion and honours (vv.20-24). That may be the world’s style of leadership, but Jesus’ followers are to have nothing to do with it (vv.25-27). “This is our God, the Servant King; He calls us now to follow Him …” Will you?

2 March Mt 20:29-34

The crowds are enjoying Jesus but do not share His compassion. Hence they try to silence the blind men (v.31), but these desperate men shout louder, and Jesus heals them (v.34). Are we desperate enough to do serious business with God? That’s often the missing link. There’s no other basis for coming to Jesus except our need and His unique ability to meet it. Jesus opened their eyes not just to the trees and flowers, but to the God who had come to save them. They followed Him (v.34) – you too?

3 March Mt 21:1-11

At last Jesus makes an open and deliberate statement of His identity as the Messiah. He does this by arranging His entry to Jerusalem in line with the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 (vv.4-5): let everyone know that He is the King of whom the prophet spoke! Yet He comes in gentleness, not with the stern vengeance on God’s enemies that so many expected when Messiah came. This does not mean that God will fail to judge wickedness. But before that day arrives, God offers us His peace and reconciliation.

4 March Mt 21:12-17

Jesus was appalled to find commerce driving prayer out of the temple (vv.12-13). He interrupted the trading and replaced it with healing grace (v.14). The religious leaders were furious, and more so when children praised Jesus in messianic terms (v.15). Jesus’ quotation from Ps 8:2 (v.16) is a devastating reply, as Jesus accepts for Himself the praise which, in the psalm, is offered to God. How dare He? Because He is God with us (Mt 1:23), with the right to judge what happens in His house (v.13).

Notice sheet for 26th February 2017

Louise,

9.15am             Eddie Larkman

11.15am           Eddie Larkman – dedication

6:00pm             James King

 

Infant Dedication

At the 11:15am service today Emmeline Street (daughter of Jonny and Amy) will be dedicated. We welcome their family and friends to this special occasion.

Ladies’ Bible Study

Notes for the next study, tomorrow evening, 27th February are on the table at the back. Please take a sheet in preparation. If you have any questions about these meetings, or would like a “study buddy”, speak to Kathy or Anne.

Grace Place

Ladies, please remember to visit our Grace Place blog which has articles and insights which will encourage and bless you… https://cbcgraceplace.wordpress.com/

Prayer and Fasting Week

Monday 27th March to Sunday 2nd April

It will be for those individuals who feel called to pray and fast in this way. We aim to lift to God in prayer different things each day of the week and these will be provided to those who wish to be involved in a prayer diary format. More detailed information will be available next week.

Craft Club

Please note the craft club in March will be held on the second Saturday of the month ie. 11th. Chat to Kathy Ewins or Pam for details.

Midweek Service

The text for the midweek service on March 1st is Genesis 18 and 19. Eric Seager will be leading and preaching and there will be communion. The service starts at 2:00pm.

Open Meeting

There will be another open meeting for the 9.15am congregation on Sunday 9th April at 4.30pm.

Women’s World Day of Prayer

This is taking place next Friday, 3rd March, at St. Bart’s Church, Corsham at 2pm. All women welcome to attend.

Deacon Elections

Nominations for elections of Deacon at Church on the Green, and Deacon (Church Secretary) will open on Sunday 12th March. Paul Garcia and Alan Kember, have stated their willingness to be re-nominated for these positions respectively. Elections will take place at the ACM on 10th April.

Ministry Booklet

If you are a ministry leader, you should have received an email about writing and submitting your ministry report for 2016. Please email it to Louise by 24th March.

Safeguarding Training

For anyone involved in any children or youth ministries at CBC (Priory Street or Rudloe) – if you have not received safeguarding training, please make every effort to attend the session being held on 1st April, 9am-12:30pm at Priory Street. Contact Louise or Dan Ovens to confirm your attendance.

Men’s Curry Night – Tuesday 14th March, 7:30pm.

All men should have received an email about this event being held at CBC Priory Street. Please respond if you wish to attend so we have a clear idea for catering purposes.

Toddler Group

We are still looking for someone to take on the leadership of the Toddler Group on Thursday mornings. Please speak to Kathy Larkman if you feel this is a role which you could take on.

Traidcraft

We are also looking for someone to run the Traidcraft ministry at Priory Street. Please speak to Julie King if you feel this is something in which you would like to be involved.

 

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 9:30am; ladies’ bible study, 7:30pm

Tuesday: Rudloe Tots, 10:00am

Wednesday: Early morning prayer, 7:15am; midweek service 2pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10:00am; Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am; Women’s World Day of Prayer, 2pm @ St. Bart’s Church; Encounter, 3.45pm; Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

Saturday: Prayer for gospel expansion 8.30am; Café on the Green, Rudloe, 2:30pm

 

….Looking ahead….

3rd March: Women’s World Day of Prayer, 2pm @ St. Bart’s Church, Corsham

11th March: Craft Club (note… second Saturday!)

14th March: Men’s curry night, 7:15pm

15th March: Midweek service, 2pm

20th March: Missions and Persecuted Church prayer meeting, 7:45pm

25th March: The Ark, 10:00am

27th March: Ladies’ bible study, 7:30pm

27th March – 2nd April: Prayer/fasting week

29th March: Midweek service, 2pm

1st April: Craft Club, 10:00am

9th April: Open meeting for 9:15am service, 4:30pm

10th April: ACM time to be confirmed

12th April: Midweek service, 2pm

14th-17th April: Easter Weekend

LISTENING: THOUGHT FOR TODAY

kathylarkman,

listening-det-bonListening is one aspect of carrying one another’s burdens. James 1:19 says this:  “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

I came across a thought provoking article on Good Listening by David Mathis-Desiring God.”Sustained, active listening is a great act of faith, and a great means of grace, both for ourselves and for others in the fellowship.” He goes on to say, “Good listening goes hand in hand with the mindset of Christ (Philippians 2:5). It flows from a humble heart that counts others more significant than ourselves. It looks not only to its own interests, but also the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4) It is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)” (To read the whole article, go to:http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/six-lessons-in-good-listening)

I know that this is one area of carrying the burdens of one another which can be practiced and improved in my life to please God and love my sisters in Christ.

How about you?

Next Monday is our bible study in the church hall at 7:30. Hope your study buddy together time is going well!
Kathy xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew daily Bible readings w/c 19 Feb

Eddie,
Bana peel under foot

As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:

  • What does God reveal about Himself?
  • How is your own heart revealed?
  • How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
  • Turn these truths into prayer and praise.

19 February Mt 17:22-27

Even though Jesus had been glorified on the mountain (17:2-5), the disciples continued to misunderstand Him and His mission. He speaks of His death and resurrection, but their grief suggests they heard only the first part (v.23). Nor has Peter grasped that Jesus is the Son of the God of the temple in a unique sense, and therefore exempt from the temple tax (vv.24-26). Yet despite their failures of faith – and ours – Jesus continues to supply every need (v.27). Such is His grace!

20 February Mt 18:1-5

Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask the question in v.1? How embarrassing it now seems. Plainly the disciples were motivated by more than just theological curiosity. They were arguing about their own importance – something that’s destructive in any family, including the church. So Jesus reminds us that the rule of His new family is humility (vv.2-5). To enter His kingdom we must stoop low (Mt 5:3). The one God counts great is the one who willingly accepts the lowly position (v.4) – as Jesus did (Php 2:8).

21 February Mt 18:6-9

Jesus continues to show us how to treat those who become like little children by believing in Him (vv.3,6). We are to understand that other Christians, so precious to the Lord, are vulnerable, and we are to protect them. Our life influences others, for better or for worse. If we turn others away from Christ, His judgement on us will be terrible indeed (vv.6-7). So let us take drastic action before we cause others to sin and are ourselves condemned (vv.8-9). Act now!

22 February Mt 18:10-14

Jesus underlines how precious every one of His followers is to Him, and how they must be dear to us too. They have great importance to God (v.10), so much so that no matter how many sheep in His flock, He goes after the one that strays (vv.12-14). How, then, can we be carelessly indifferent when another Christian falls into sin and wanders from the church? Surely we must seek to bring them back, not simply write them off. Whom is Jesus asking you to help restore?

23 February Mt 18:15-20

Jesus tells us how to restore one who strays (vv.15-17), beginning privately but ending publicly in excommunication by the church if the warning is not heeded. Church discipline is not alien to the spirit of Jesus, for it is He who commands it in love. The goal is not punishment, but restoration, and as we work to this end Jesus is with us and working through us (vv.18-20). Do we practice what our Lord teaches here? A church with no discipline does not care for the flock as Jesus does.

24 February Mt 18:21-35

But what do we do if the straying one repents? We forgive! And if it happens time and again? More forgiveness! Peter’s attempt to put a limit on forgiveness (v.21) is embarrassing in the light of how much God has forgiven us (v.24). Jesus’ parable makes one big point: since God has forgiven us so much, we must be ready to forgive one another. Forgiving grace transforms us, so that we can and must forgive others. An unforgiving spirit warns us of our own need to repent and seek grace.

25 February Mt 19:1-12

The Pharisees’ question about divorce reflects their whole difficulty with Jesus: they are not truly seeking God’s purposes. Grounds for divorce were much debated in Jesus’ day. However, Jesus rejects their starting point (“How much freedom do we have to divorce?” v.3) and speaks instead about God’s purpose in marriage (lifelong union vv.4-6). Consider this carefully, if you are not yet married (vv.10-12); commit yourself fully, if you are. Remember: Jesus, not our broken culture, is Lord.

Notice sheet for 19th February 2017

Louise,

Open Discussion for 9:15am service

At 4pm this afternoon, there will be an open discussion regarding the 9:15am service so if you are part of this congregation you are welcome to come along and be part of the discussion. Speak to Eddie for more details.

Missions and Persecuted Church Prayer

There will be a prayer meeting for the above tomorrow evening, 20th February, at Priory Street at 7:45pm. The country for February which we will pray for is Afghanistan. For details and other topics please see the board -or come on Monday night! Please contact Wendy or Vanessa for further details.

Infant Dedication

Please note next Sunday at the 11:15am service, Emmeline Street (daughter of Jonny and Amy) will be dedicated. We look forward to welcoming their family and friends.

The Ark

This will take place on Saturday 25th Feb at 10am for 0-7 year olds. Speak to Heather Chilcott or Alexa Simm for more details.

Ladies’ Bible Study

Notes for the next study on the 27th February are on the table at the back. Please take a sheet in preparation. If you have any questions about these meetings, or would like a “study buddy”, speak to Kathy or Anne.

Grace Place

Ladies, please remember to visit our Grace Place blog which has articles and insights which will encourage and bless you… https://cbcgraceplace.wordpress.com/

Prayer and Fasting Week – Monday 27th March to Sunday 2nd April

It will be for those individuals who feel called to pray and fast in this way. More information to follow in the coming weeks.

Toddler Group

We are still looking for someone to take on the leadership of the Toddler Group on Thursday mornings. Please speak to Kathy Larkman if you feel this is a role which you could take on.

Deacon Elections

Nominations for elections of Deacon at Church on the Green, and Deacon (Church Secretary) will open on Sunday 12th March. Paul Garcia and Alan Kember, have stated their willingness to be re-nominated for these positions respectively. Elections will take place at the ACM.

Safeguarding Training

For anyone involved in any children or youth ministries at CBC (Priory Street or Rudloe) – if you have not received safeguarding training, please make every effort to attend the session being held on 1st April, 9am-12:30pm at Priory Street. Contact Louise or Dan Ovens to confirm your attendance. Thank you.

Craft Club

Please note the craft club in March will be held on the second Saturday of the month ie. 11th. Please speak to Kathy Ewins or Pam Mitchell for details.

Ministry Booklet

If you are a ministry leader, you should have received an email about writing and submitting your ministry report for 2016. Please email it to Louise by 24th March.

 

This week:

Monday: Prayer for Mission and the Persecuted Church, 7:45pm

Tuesday: Rudloe Tots, 10:00am

Wednesday: Early morning prayer, 7:15am; Midweek service, 2pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10:00am; Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am; Encounter, 3.45pm; Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

Saturday: Prayer for gospel expansion 8.30am; Ark, 10am; Café on the Green, Rudloe, 2:30pm

 

If you are unsure, please contact your life group leader to see whether you are meeting this week

 

….Looking ahead….

26th Feb: Infant Dedication, 11:15am

27th Feb: Ladies’ bible study, 7:30pm

1st March: Midweek service, 2pm

11th March: Craft Club (note… second Saturday!)

14th March: Men’s curry night, 7:15pm

15th March: Midweek service, 2pm

20th March: Missions and Persecuted Church prayer meeting, 7:45pm

25th March: The Ark, 10:00am

27th March: Ladies’ bible study, 7:30pm

27th March – 2nd April: Prayer/fasting week

29th March: Midweek service, 2pm

1st April: Craft Club, 10:00am

12th April: Midweek service, 2pm

14th-17th April: Easter Weekend

BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS

kathylarkman,

Vicky Stephenson, contributor for today’s blog post

When I first heard this month’s topic, I thought “That’s very straight-forward, I’m always happy to help others out. Bake a cake for an occasion, give someone a lift, pick something up from a shop. No problem!”

However, as time went on the penny dropped. Through the Holy Spirit’s prompting, God gave me a hard prod. “Bear one another’s burdens,” goes both ways was the message I was getting. That sent my thoughts into a spin “What?!? But I’m fine, I don’t need any help, I’ve got it all under control.”

This was of course exactly God’s point. Of course I don’t have it all sorted. My life is as crazy and messy as everyone else’s but let anyone help me, never mind ask for help? Now there is a challenge.

It is an issue that we face every day: how I can share my life and grow deeper in fellowship if I don’t let anyone close enough to help me?

Worse, if I act like this to people, how much more do I show this in my relationship to God?  So that is me – total control freak – and that is totally unbiblical. Is living life this way saying “Not my will but Yours Lord be done?” Is it a life of depending on God and resting in his love and peace? NO!

So when I know it is wrong and it is an exhausting way to live why do I continue with it? On reflection, I think the answers are fear and pride.

Fear that if I’m not doing everything and getting it right then God won’t accept me. Let alone anyone else. And pride/shame of what people will think if I’m not coping.

You see, I know I am an unworthy sinner who will forever fall short of God’s standards but do I also know that through Christ. As the song goes, “I am forgiven and there is nothing to pay” (Sam Bailey Forgiven). I do know it, but I don’t live it as I need to. I need to trust that God loves me just as I am and nothing I do makes him love me any more or any less and trust He will help me by his Spirit or through his people the church.

So let’s make a start on this challenge shall we? Start with just really hearing one another. Bearing one another’s burdens can be as simple as just actively listening to where people are honestly at.

So next time I tell you I’m fine, poke me! Remind me that you know I’m only just clinging on with my finger tips like everyone else. Point out that being honest for 5 minutes and letting you see where I really am won’t bring the sky crashing down and then accept the challenge and be ready to be open back!!

 

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‘Deluxe’ to Dar, sheds to warehouses, and light into darkness

Ruth,

Welcome to the Warehouse Church – started 18 months ago!

From “The Shed” to “The Warehouse”!  Last Sunday Ruth and I returned to AICT Dakawa – the ‘Shed’ Church – for the first time since last February.  However, there wasn’t much activity in the lean-to shed adjacent to the church leader’s house because the new partly-finished church building, just 100 yards away, is now in use.  Compared to the shed it feels like a cavernous warehouse, especially when there are only 30 people sitting inside!  There’s still work to be done (cementing the earthen floor, fitting the remaining window grilles and doors) but it’s testament to the dedication of the members that they are even at this stage, having only begun eighteen months ago!  Listening to the notices I worked out that their average weekly collection is about £5.50, so goodness knows how they’ve managed it!

How’s that for a central aisle?! Men on one side – women on the other!

The choir danced and sung, the generator spluttered outside, the microphone hummed, and the boy on the keyboard insisted on playing sound effects whenever the leader finished a sentence!  It was amusing at first but after 2.5 hours not so much!  From a preaching point of view there were certainly fewer distractions, although I might just miss those pesky cockerels which used to hang around ‘the shed’!  I preached in Swahili on the letter to the church at Ephesus from Revelation 2 where Jesus rebukes the church for having lost their first love – and so the focus turned to our love for the Lord, and for each other.  Putting it into practice is always the hard part but I did manage to shake hands with the boy on the keyboard afterwards!!

All 20 carriages of the Deluxe Kigoma-Dar train going at break-neck speed round a bend!

An adventure by rail!  I attended Unit Leader meetings in Nairobi in January and decided to do the first leg of my journey using a different mode of transport!  Despite a couple of raised eyebrows from colleagues here, I chose to travel from Morogoro to Dar by rail.  You may well question the raising of eyebrows at such a choice but when there’s only one ‘deluxe’ train a week that doesn’t guarantee delivering you to your destination on the same day, it becomes a bit more understandable.  It took me 6.5 hours, sitting in a surprisingly new and comfortable carriage, to travel 115 miles.  That means that the average speed was 18 mph!!  I had ample time to watch the Tanzanian world go by, even though it was accompanied by the monotonous drone of African rap music echoing down the carriage!  Still, it was much preferred to the alternative coach journey and it did take out the risk of getting stopped by the traffic police had I gone by car!

Two weeks later and the Deluxe derailed!

That being said, having mentioned the word ‘risk’, imagine my surprise just two weeks later to read in the newspaper that the very same train had derailed on its way to Dar!  Apparently the intense sun had buckled the rails and the driver, despite maxing out at 18 mph, hadn’t been able to stop in time!  So maybe there was some justification in those raised eyebrows after all!

An African Puff Adder, much like the one we nearly stepped on!

Anyone for a stroll?!  For those who tend to get a bit wobbly when the word ‘snake’ is mentioned, avoid this paragraph!  During our New Year team retreat in the idyllic surrounds of Masumbo Camp, Iringa, the suggestion of a stroll to the river rapids sounded very non-threatening.  But this is Africa!  We enjoyed some bouldering as we clambered over the rocks near the half-empty river, but not before encountering a rather fattened Puff Adder!  We were walking single-file through the bush when, suddenly, I froze mid-stride because a few feet away, lying right next to the path, was a 3ft snake.  This is how Wikipedia describes it: “The African Puff Adder is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa.  It’s normally a sluggish species and relies on camouflage for protection, but as its Latin name implies, it can strike violently.  If disturbed they will hiss or puff loudly, adopting a tightly coiled defensive posture.  They may strike suddenly and at a high speed, to the side as easily as forwards.”  Well, it was indeed sluggish and camouflaged, but we were mighty thankful that we didn’t experience the rest of the description!  In fact, it didn’t move a muscle, except for its tongue which was busy sensing our whereabouts!  We backed up rather slowly, gave it a wide birth, and continued on our merry way, mindful of the fact that for many a rural African, such encounters don’t end as well as ours did.  The remainder of our retreat was spent talking and praying through team issues, relaxing in our little hobbit holes, and playing pickleball!  Ruth organized our New Year’s Eve celebration with party games, poetry and sparklers!  We closed our time together with a communion service, sitting around a campfire under the African stars accompanied by a gaggle of glow worms!

An African Hobbit Hut at Masumbo!

Some of the team, relieved to have survived the snake encounter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Encounters: One of the joys of being unit leader is that I hear about what happens in other ministries and locations around Tanzania.  Whilst I sometimes hear stories that make it seem that there’s not much visible fruit, I also hear stories that thrill the heart and reassure me that what we’re doing is certainly not in vain!  Over the last few months it does seem as though a few exciting things are beginning to happen in places considered to be ‘unreached’ with the gospel.  One particular team is rejoicing over a number of healings, a baptism in the sea, and a neighbour who came to Christ.  Another small team in a rural village is rejoicing that a guy, who asked them for a copy of the New Testament so that he could compare it with the writings of his religion, has now decided to give his life to Christ.  He’s since been baptised and has changed his name to reflect this!

Just a few weeks ago, I heard from another small team where ‘the light of the Gospel is beginning to shine and the Holy Spirit is at work.’  The team had only been in situ for a few weeks and was looking at ways to reach out into the community.  A number of students at a local primary school had been experiencing demonic attacks and their religious leaders had already ‘prayed’ for them, but with no result.  The team offered to pray for the students and, somewhat surprisingly, their offer was accepted!  When they arrived to pray there were 26 children in the classroom who had been suffering from these attacks!  The team was able to share the gospel and, during a mammoth three-hour prayer session, some of the students were delivered from demons!  God provided this incredible opportunity for this team and already there are signs that a number of people are keen to know more about Jesus.  Please pray for this ongoing situation and for the protection of the team as they continue to shine their light into what has been a very dark community.

Stories like these warm the heart don’t they?  They open our eyes, broaden the mind, deepen and refresh our faith, and even challenge some of our beliefs!  They encourage us to pray and they cause us to rejoice in a God who is still in the business of changing lives and moving powerfully against the enemy.  Despite the hiccups that we sometimes experience within the Church, it’s great to know that people are being introduced to the gospel, lives are being changed, disciples are being made, and His Church is being built and strengthened through a whole range of ministries.

Points for Prayer & Praise:

The conference centre at Sanga has certainly entered the final phase. Whilst there is still a lot of work to be done, most of the walls are now up and the place is a hive of activity as fundis work on the plastering and begin work on the interior. Building supervisor Matt and his family head off on home assignment in April, whilst Tony holds the reigns!

Ruth has been immersed in Sanga administration and end-of-year accounts and is also busy preparing to teach two English courses at Sanga in February and March.

Motorbike helmet: Why throw it away when you can sew it up!

I’m trying to keep the travelling to a minimum during February and March so that I can concentrate on preparing teaching material for the IBM conferences which start in early May. The subject this year will be something along the lines of ‘Show me a leader with moral integrity’, and my hope is that much of that prep will be done before I head off to lead an Oak Hall Israel trip in April.

For those who also like to pray through our itinerary we’ve included some dates below.  Many, many thanks for your support and your prayers.

19th Feb:        Preaching at Morogoro AICT
20-24 Feb:      Ruth teaching English at Sanga
7-8 Mar:          Steve travels to Dar for UL meetings
27th-31st:       Ruth teaching English for beginners, at Sanga
2nd Apr:         AICT diocese-wide fundraising day for the conference centre at Sanga
3rd-13th Apr:  Steve to Israel
5th-8th May:   Ruth attending Tz Ladies Retreat (speaker: Kathy Larkman)

The Bottle Boys of Africa! These guys walk the streets collecting plastic bottles and in return they get the equivalent of 13p for every KG collected!

Bird of the month – notice the pink eyelids! It’s an owl, but what sort?

‘Deluxe’ to Dar, sheds to warehouses, and light into darkness

Ruth,

Welcome to the Warehouse Church – started 18 months ago!

From “The Shed” to “The Warehouse”!  Last Sunday Ruth and I returned to AICT Dakawa – the ‘Shed’ Church – for the first time since last February.  However, there wasn’t much activity in the lean-to shed adjacent to the church leader’s house because the new partly-finished church building, just 100 yards away, is now in use.  Compared to the shed it feels like a cavernous warehouse, especially when there are only 30 people sitting inside!  There’s still work to be done (cementing the earthen floor, fitting the remaining window grilles and doors) but it’s testament to the dedication of the members that they are even at this stage, having only begun eighteen months ago!  Listening to the notices I worked out that their average weekly collection is about £5.50, so goodness knows how they’ve managed it!

How’s that for a central aisle?! Men on one side – women on the other!

The choir danced and sung, the generator spluttered outside, the microphone hummed, and the boy on the keyboard insisted on playing sound effects whenever the leader finished a sentence!  It was amusing at first but after 2.5 hours not so much!  From a preaching point of view there were certainly fewer distractions, although I might just miss those pesky cockerels which used to hang around ‘the shed’!  I preached in Swahili on the letter to the church at Ephhttps://corshambaptists.org/mission-and-ministries/deluxe-to-dar-sheds-to-warehouses-and-light-into-darkness/esus from Revelation 2 where Jesus rebukes the church for having lost their first love – and so the focus turned to our love for the Lord, and for each other.  Putting it into practice is always the hard part but I did manage to shake hands with the boy on the keyboard afterwards!!

All 20 carriages of the Deluxe Kigoma-Dar train going at break-neck speed round a bend!

An adventure by rail!  I attended Unit Leader meetings in Nairobi in January and decided to do the first leg of my journey using a different mode of transport!  Despite a couple of raised eyebrows from colleagues here, I chose to travel from Morogoro to Dar by rail.  You may well question the raising of eyebrows at such a choice but when there’s only one ‘deluxe’ train a week that doesn’t guarantee delivering you to your destination on the same day, it becomes a bit more understandable.  It took me 6.5 hours, sitting in a surprisingly new and comfortable carriage, to travel 115 miles.  That means that the average speed was 18 mph!!  I had ample time to watch the Tanzanian world go by, even though it was accompanied by the monotonous drone of African rap music echoing down the carriage!  Still, it was much preferred to the alternative coach journey and it did take out the risk of getting stopped by the traffic police had I gone by car!

Two weeks later and the Deluxe derailed!

That being said, having mentioned the word ‘risk’, imagine my surprise just two weeks later to read in the newspaper that the very same train had derailed on its way to Dar!  Apparently the intense sun had buckled the rails and the driver, despite maxing out at 18 mph, hadn’t been able to stop in time!  So maybe there was some justification in those raised eyebrows after all!

An African Puff Adder, much like the one we nearly stepped on!

Anyone for a stroll?!  For those who tend to get a bit wobbly when the word ‘snake’ is mentioned, avoid this paragraph!  During our New Year team retreat in the idyllic surrounds of Masumbo Camp, Iringa, the suggestion of a stroll to the river rapids sounded very non-threatening.  But this is Africa!  We enjoyed some bouldering as we clambered over the rocks near the half-empty river, but not before encountering a rather fattened Puff Adder!  We were walking single-file through the bush when, suddenly, I froze mid-stride because a few feet away, lying right next to the path, was a 3ft snake.  This is how Wikipedia describes it: “The African Puff Adder is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa.  It’s normally a sluggish species and relies on camouflage for protection, but as its Latin name implies, it can strike violently.  If disturbed they will hiss or puff loudly, adopting a tightly coiled defensive posture.  They may strike suddenly and at a high speed, to the side as easily as forwards.”  Well, it was indeed sluggish and camouflaged, but we were mighty thankful that we didn’t experience the rest of the description!  In fact, it didn’t move a muscle, except for its tongue which was busy sensing our whereabouts!  We backed up rather slowly, gave it a wide birth, and continued on our merry way, mindful of the fact that for many a rural African, such encounters don’t end as well as ours did.  The remainder of our retreat was spent talking and praying through team issues, relaxing in our little hobbit holes, and playing pickleball!  Ruth organized our New Year’s Eve celebration with party games, poetry and sparklers!  We closed our time together with a communion service, sitting around a campfire under the African stars accompanied by a gaggle of glow worms!

An African Hobbit Hut at Masumbo!

Some of the team, relieved to have survived the snake encounter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Encounters: One of the joys of being unit leader is that I hear about what happens in other ministries and locations around Tanzania.  Whilst I sometimes hear stories that make it seem that there’s not much visible fruit, I also hear stories that thrill the heart and reassure me that what we’re doing is certainly not in vain!  Over the last few months it does seem as though a few exciting things are beginning to happen in places considered to be ‘unreached’ with the gospel.  One particular team is rejoicing over a number of healings, a baptism in the sea, and a neighbour who came to Christ.  Another small team in a rural village is rejoicing that a guy, who asked them for a copy of the New Testament so that he could compare it with the writings of his religion, has now decided to give his life to Christ.  He’s since been baptised and has changed his name to reflect this!

Just a few weeks ago, I heard from another small team where ‘the light of the Gospel is beginning to shine and the Holy Spirit is at work.’  The team had only been in situ for a few weeks and was looking at ways to reach out into the community.  A number of students at a local primary school had been experiencing demonic attacks and their religious leaders had already ‘prayed’ for them, but with no result.  The team offered to pray for the students and, somewhat surprisingly, their offer was accepted!  When they arrived to pray there were 26 children in the classroom who had been suffering from these attacks!  The team was able to share the gospel and, during a mammoth three-hour prayer session, some of the students were delivered from demons!  God provided this incredible opportunity for this team and already there are signs that a number of people are keen to know more about Jesus.  Please pray for this ongoing situation and for the protection of the team as they continue to shine their light into what has been a very dark community.

Stories like these warm the heart don’t they?  They open our eyes, broaden the mind, deepen and refresh our faith, and even challenge some of our beliefs!  They encourage us to pray and they cause us to rejoice in a God who is still in the business of changing lives and moving powerfully against the enemy.  Despite the hiccups that we sometimes experience within the Church, it’s great to know that people are being introduced to the gospel, lives are being changed, disciples are being made, and His Church is being built and strengthened through a whole range of ministries.

Points for Prayer & Praise:

The conference centre at Sanga has certainly entered the final phase. Whilst there is still a lot of work to be done, most of the walls are now up and the place is a hive of activity as fundis work on the plastering and begin work on the interior. Building supervisor Matt and his family head off on home assignment in April, whilst Tony holds the reigns!

Ruth has been immersed in Sanga administration and end-of-year accounts and is also busy preparing to teach two English courses at Sanga in February and March.

Motorbike helmet: Why throw it away when you can sew it up!

I’m trying to keep the travelling to a minimum during February and March so that I can concentrate on preparing teaching material for the IBM conferences which start in early May. The subject this year will be something along the lines of ‘Show me a leader with moral integrity’, and my hope is that much of that prep will be done before I head off to lead an Oak Hall Israel trip in April.

For those who also like to pray through our itinerary we’ve included some dates below.  Many, many thanks for your support and your prayers.

19th Feb:        Preaching at Morogoro AICT
20-24 Feb:      Ruth teaching English at Sanga
7-8 Mar:          Steve travels to Dar for UL meetings
27th-31st:       Ruth teaching English for beginners, at Sanga
2nd Apr:         AICT diocese-wide fundraising day for the conference centre at Sanga
3rd-13th Apr:  Steve to Israel
5th-8th May:   Ruth attending Tz Ladies Retreat (speaker: Kathy Larkman)

The Bottle Boys of Africa! These guys walk the streets collecting plastic bottles and in return they get the equivalent of 13p for every KG collected!

The Bottle Boys of Africa! These guys walk the streets collecting plastic bottles and in return they get the equivalent of 13p for every KG collected!

Bird of the month – notice the pink eyelids! It’s an owl, but what sort?

Matthew daily Bible readings w/c 12 Feb

Eddie,

As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:

  • What does God reveal about Himself?
  • How is your own heart revealed?
  • How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
  • Turn these truths into prayer and praise.

12 February Mt 15:32-39

Matthew has already shown us Jesus feeding a great crowd in the wilderness, so that all ate and were satisfied (14:13-21). We noted then the echoes of the Exodus story: the God who delivered the Jews from Pharaoh is now present in Jesus. But in this second wilderness feeding (15:32-39) the hungry people are mostly gentiles (15:31). So we learn that the Exodus was a picture of the much greater salvation Jesus would accomplish for people from every nation – including us.

13 February Mt 16:1-4

The Pharisees and Sadducees were like many people today: skilled in everyday affairs, yet woefully blind in the things of God (vv.2-3). Their demand for a sign (v.1) rings hollow, because Jesus has performed so many signs which they have ignored. Only “the sign of Jonah” (v.4) will be given, namely Jesus’ resurrection (see Mt 12:40), which Peter pointed to on the day of Pentecost as the decisive proof that Jesus is the Christ (Ac 2:32-36). Beware of being worldly-wise yet spiritually foolish.

14 February Mt 16:5-12

The Pharisees and Sadducees had many differences, but Jesus sees they have a common fault. He calls it their “yeast” and twice warns His disciples against it (vv.6,11). The context shows he is referring to their unbelief, despite all the evidence (16:1-4). This, says Jesus, is our great problem: not a lack of bread, but a lack of trust in Him. Despite the feeding miracles, the disciples still show little faith or understanding (vv.7-10). Have we grasped that our greatest danger is unbelief?

15 February Mt 16:13-20

In response to Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, our Lord announces that Peter will have a foundational role in the church. This was dramatically demonstrated when 3000 responded to Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost. It was by the preaching of the gospel that the keys of the kingdom were exercised (Ac 2:36-41). All subsequent church growth takes place on this foundation (Eph 2:20); a church that is not true to the apostolic gospel is certainly no church of Christ.

16 February Mt 16:21-28

Immediately we see that despite his high calling, Peter is no infallible Pope. He has given Jesus the correct title (v.16), but he doesn’t understand what it means. Jesus will suffer and die (v.21), and we must learn, as Peter had to, that all our attempts to avoid the cross are satanic (vv.22-23). There is a cross for Jesus, and for every disciple too (vv.24-28): a death to self. “When Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Are you ready for this?

17 February Mt 17:1-13

Jesus appears with Moses and Elijah and is transfigured (transformed) so that His glory outshines even these two great prophets from Israel’s history (v.8). If the Israelites needed to obey the words of Moses and Elijah, how much more then should we listen to God’s beloved Son (v.5) – even when He calls us to take up the cross (16:24-26)? But just as John the Baptist was misunderstood and suffered, so Jesus will suffer, and His mission will not be understood till after His resurrection (vv.9-13).

18 February Mt 17:14-21

As Moses descended from Mt Sinai to the chaos and unbelief of the golden calf (Ex 32), so Jesus leaves the mountain for a scene of spiritual turmoil. His remaining disciples seem to have gone backwards in His absence, unable to help a demon-possessed boy despite their earlier authority (Mt 10:1). Were they now looking to their own gifting rather than to God? That’s not faith – it’s folly. True faith, even as small as a mustard seed, always keeps the focus on God’s power, not on our ability.

Notices for 12th February, 2017

Louise,

Open Discussion for 9:15am service

On 19th February at 4pm, there will be an open discussion regarding the 9:15am service so if you are part of this congregation you are welcome to come along and be part of the discussion. Speak to Eddie for more details.

Missions and Persecuted Church Prayer

There will be a prayer meeting for the above on Monday 20th February at Priory Street at 7:45pm. Everyone is welcome. Please contact Wendy Rowe or Vanessa Naish for further details of these meetings.

Ladies’ Bible Study

Notes for the next study on the 27th February are on the table at the back. Please take a sheet in preparation. If you have any questions about these meetings, or would like a “study buddy”, please chat to Kathy Larkman or Anne Holmes.

Grace Place

Ladies, please remember to visit our Grace Place blog which has articles and insights which will encourage and bless you… https://cbcgraceplace.wordpress.com/

Midweek Service

The next midweek service will take place this Wednesday at 2pm. The service lasts for one hour and is followed by tea/coffee and home-made cakes. Please speak to Eric Seager for more information.

Prayer and Fasting Week : Monday 27th March to Sunday 2nd April

It will be for those individuals who feel called to pray and fast in this way. More information to follow in the coming weeks.

The Ark

This will take place on Saturday 25th Feb at 10am for 0-7 year olds. Speak to Heather Chilcott or Alexa Simm for more details.

Lost Property

There is a lost property table and box in the coffee hall next door. There are a large number of items that have been left in the building, ranging from clothing to kitchen items to books and bibles. Please go through the items and see if anything belongs to you. Unclaimed belongings will be disposed of after a few weeks! Many thanks.

Toddler Group

We are still looking for someone to take on the leadership of the Toddler Group on Thursday mornings. Please speak to Kathy Larkman if you feel this is a role which you could take on.

Opportunities for Regular Giving

If you would like to give to the work of the church on a regular basis, you might wish to consider setting up a standing order through your bank. Alternatively, some people find it helpful to use a weekly numbered blue donation envelope for their offering. And of course, if you are a UK tax payer, then the value of your gift can be increased by 25%, at no extra cost to yourself, if you complete a Gift Aid Declaration.

If you would like to enrol on the blue envelope scheme for 2017, or would like to set up a standing order or make a Gift Aid Declaration, do please speak to one of the Treasury Team: Roger Hammett (Priory Street 11.15 Service); Lynne Little (Church on the Green, Rudloe) or Michael Prior (Priory Street 9.15 Service).

 

This week is half term so some groups will not meet. Please contact your life group leader to see whether you are meeting

 

Wednesday: Early morning prayer, 7:15am; Midweek service, 2pm

Thursday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am

Saturday: Prayer for gospel expansion 8.30am; Café on the Green, Rudloe, 2:30pm

 

….Looking ahead….

19th Feb: “open discussion” regarding 9:15am service, 4pm

20th Feb: Prayer for Missions and Persecuted Church, 7:45pm

25th Feb: The Ark, 10am

26th Feb: Infant Dedication, 11:15am Emmeline Street

27th Feb: Ladies’ bible study, 7:30pm

1st March: Midweek service, 2pm

11th March: Craft Club (note… second Saturday!)

14th March: Men’s curry night, 7:15pm

15th March: Midweek service, 2pm

20th March: Missions and Persecuted Church prayer meeting, 7:45pm

25th March: The Ark, 10:00am

27th March: Ladies’ bible study, 7:30pm

27th March – 2nd April: Lent prayer/fasting week

29th March: Midweek service, 2pm

1st April: Craft Club, 10:00am

10th April: Church Meeting, 8pm; Annual Church Meeting, 9pm;

12th April: Midweek service, 2pm

14th-17th April: Easter Weekend