Compassion – Jan 2021

Periodically, we have guest speakers from our various mission partners and this week it is time to hear from Paul Wagstaff of Compassion, who has recorded a specific video for CBC where he reports back on the impact of donations from people in our church.

Paul also speaks of storms he has experienced as we do too and asks what we seek to anchor ourselves to in order to weather them.

The disciples in Matt 8:23-27 knew they were in a storm but they were oblivious to where their hope came from even as Jesus lay in the boat with them. Watch Paul’s full message below.

The link Paul mentions at the end is: https://compassionuk.org/hope/CORSHAMBC.

Next Sunday evening at 6pm we will have the opportunity to pray for these children and the work of Compassion in our monthly prayer meeting.

January Ark 2021

Welcome to the January Ark. This month we are focusing on Jesus growing up and an incident from when he was 12.

In the video below try to spot:

– as many Ark helpers as you can
– a cat and a badger (you’ll have to watch to the end for one of them)
– 2 of our young members. (Clip sent in with parental permission to use).

Try to play the hot and cold game too.

Also try your hand at the baking and craft videos below.

Scroll Craft video

Cheese Straw Temple Craft video

You can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/726702974088284

Notices for 31 Jan 2021

This week

Just to remind you there are no in-person meetings at the moment.

Church update and Q&A

You’re probably aware that we would typically hold a church meeting in January but that is not possible at the moment. More than ever the Leadership want all of you to feel involved and connected even if it must be at a distance.

So on Monday 25th Jan we’ll be releasing a video update here. Please try to watch at some time during the week and join us at a live follow up on Monday 1st Feb at 8pm.

Compassion

Join us to listen to Paul Wagstaff of Compassion, this Sunday evening @6pm.
https://corshambaptists.org/mission-and-ministries/compassion-jan-2021/

Souper Friday making an impact

If you missed this, you can listen to the Souper Friday interview on BBC Radio Wiltshire below:

The Ark Sat 30th Jan 10 am

Pray for the team as they lead the Ark activities on Saturday morning.

Lots of family fun : puppets; songs; things to make and a powerful story of Jesus’ parents searching for him after they became separated in the crowd in Jerusalem. All details here: https://corshambaptists.org/children/january-ark-2021/

Mission Prayer During February

Please note this will take place on Tuesday 9th Feb 7:45pm.

Contact Wendy Rowe for details

Happy Birthday

Paul Lobley is celebrating a very special birthday on Wednesday.

Happy Birthday Paul!

Birthday cake with candles

Call for Volunteers from LINK

Are you able to drive people to their Covid vaccination appointments? If so, please contact the local Chippenham Link transport scheme chippenhamlinktransport@gmail.com  or the national Community First number: 01380 722241 linkproject@communityfirst.org.uk

Activities during lockdown

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours ;
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.

HOWTO publish notices

In summary:

  1. Open this website and click the Login button top right
  2. Click on ‘Corsham Baptist Church’ in the top (black) bar and select ‘Dashboard’
  3. Select ‘Posts’ in the left sidebar
  4. Find the most recent notices and mouse-over it to see several options including ‘Copy’ appear. Click ‘Copy’.
  5. This will place you in the a new Post filled with last week’s info. This can be dangerous but I prefer it to starting completely from scratch.
  6. Edit as necessary
  7. When you’re done, click ‘Preview’ top right and then ‘Preview in new tab’
  8. Proof-read and check you’re happy.
  9. Return to the first tab and click Publish.
  10. Return to the Posts list, select the Quick Edit for last week’s notices and remove the ‘Make this post sticky’. Finally, turn it on for this week’s.

Emailing the Notices

This is now handled automatically by the Email Subscribers plugin. This plugin contains:

  • Audience: Email addresses of all those subscribed to any list.
    • Currently we have an ‘All‘ list and a ‘Test‘ list. All is everyone we know of who has consented to receive notices, including some who have not consented to be in the Church Directory. Test is a very narrow list as it sounds.
  • Campaigns: Rules for what to send to whom.
    • Principally at the moment this sends any post in the ‘Notices’ category to the ‘All’ list.
    • However, Broadcast campaigns are also possible that send specific emails to specific lists (i.e. similar to service like MailChimp)

THE MEDIATOR – CLOSING PRAYER FROM BIBLE STUDY

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Everlasting Creator-Father,

I have destroyed myself,
my nature is defiled,
the powers of my soul are degraded;
I am vile, miserable, strengthless,
but my hope is in thee.

If ever I am saved it will be by goodness undeserved and astonishing,
not by mercy alone but by abundant mercy,
not by grace but by exceeding riches of grace;
And such thou hast revealed, promised, exemplified in thoughts of peace, not of evil.

Thou hast devised means

to rescue me from sin’s perdition,
to restore me to happiness, honour, safety.
I bless thee for the everlasting covenant,
for the appointment of a Mediator.

I rejoice that he failed not, nor was discouraged,
but accomplished the work thou gavest him to do;
and said on the cross, ‘It is finished.’
I exult in the thought that
thy justice is satisfied,
thy truth established,
thy law magnified,
and a foundation is laid for my hope.

I look to a present and personal interest in Christ and say,
Surely he hast borne my griefs,
carried my sorrows,
won my peace,
healed my soul.
Justified by his blood I am saved by his life,

Glorifying in his cross I bow to his sceptre,

Having his Spirit I possess his mind.

Lord, grant that my religion may not be occasional and partial,
but universal, influential, effective,
and may I always continue in thy words as well as thy works,
so that I reach my end in peace.

From: The Valley of Vision – A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Leadership in the Wilderness: Am I willing to pay attention to what I’ve previously avoided?

This post by Nigel Coles was originally published at Seventy Two

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” Exodus 3:1-3

These are the verses which stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been dwelling in the Bible passages which relate the story of Moses for a few weeks and I’ve become captivated by the need to pay attention to whatever and wherever it is, where the presence of God is (just as in this episode of Moses’s life) ‘on fire’. That’s what I want to put my best energies into because as Moses recognised, ‘the bush does not burn up’.

When we entered the first lockdown of 2020 my primary question was ‘Lord, what is it I need to see and hear from you?’ Well, the Lord has spoken and revealed himself above and beyond my prayer on the global stage. It’s not been so loud and clear for everyone to hear and see, but as in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation: whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The virus has revealed the reality. The reality of the nature of my/our relationship with the Lord either as churches, leadership teams or individual leaders. The curtain has been pulled back. From my perspective the church in the UK was deep in crisis before we’d heard of Covid-19, in terms of Christ-like leadership, authentic discipleship as well as fruitful mission. At the beginning of 2020, the beginning of a new decade, I wrote:

My sense, at the beginning of this decade, is we’re headed for some significant challenges. As Baptists our faithfulness to Jesus Christ as Lord will be tested in ways we have not seen for a long time. We face a crisis. This is not a warning we shall, but a recognition we are in crisis.

  • A crisis of leadership: we are not developing sufficient numbers of missional leaders to meet the need
  • A crisis of discipleship: the shallowness of our distinctiveness as followers of Jesus Christ is a deep concern
  • A crisis of mission: our confidence in the gospel is a reflection of our confidence in God and it doesn’t appear to be very high

To be perfectly honest, most people didn’t want to hear. I don’t recall anyone disputing any of my three areas of concern, but that’s not the same as hearing is it? That’s being polite, simply waiting for the next, hopefully more positive conversation. Those who did hear or could see clearly with their own eyes, were mostly similar to me, feeling paralysed, wondering what on earth could I do about it? But what about now? The pandemic has thrust us into a place where I tend to think the reality of all three are in plain sight, or are they?

At the turn of this year, I found myself reading the story of Moses again. Honestly, I felt I’d read/experienced enough about ‘wilderness’ during 2020, so I was either a sucker for punishment or desperate!

I also read alongside my Bible, ‘Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership. Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry’ by Ruth Haley Barton. She uses aspects of the life of Moses to illustrate what she describes as a book ‘about the soul – your soul, my soul and the soul of our leadership’. She quotes Gordon Cosby, who said, ‘when a local church loses its soul it begins to slip into mediocrity and is unable to give life’. [1]

The pandemic has revealed what deep down we already knew – there are too many mediocre churches out there. The deep, nagging concern is whether this is a symptom of too many mediocre Ministers, whether they be, like me ‘regional’, or ‘local’.

Looking closer at Moses has given me a growing list of questions. Top of the list is:  Am I willing to pay attention to what I’ve previously avoided?

I thought I’d already answered this one, but it turned out I’d not looked carefully or sufficiently enough. What was it I particularly needed to pay attention to? The One, True, Living, God grabbed Moses’s attention with a burning bush. With me, it was the state of the church. What is it for you?

Moses didn’t simply glance, he stopped and went over to examine what he had seen. Moses was willing to be changed by God and allow his life to be re-aligned by Him.

The ‘strange sight’, Moses was confronted with was outside his experience: how can a bush on fire not burn up? What’s your experience? My sense is too much of what I’m seeing in the church contains too much of the world. I’m all for being contextually relevant in terms of style and presentation, but the cultures of this world are often in conflict with the culture of the kingdom of God. Mark Sayers puts it like this:

‘Post-Christianity is not pre-Christianity; rather post-Christianity attempts to move beyond Christianity, whilst simultaneously feasting upon its fruit. Post-Christian culture attempts to retain the solace of faith, whilst gutting it of the costs, commitments, and restraints that the gospel places upon the individual will. Post-Christianity intuitively yearns for the justice and shalom of the kingdom, whilst defending the reign of the individual will. Post-Christianity is Christianity emptied of its content’. [2]

I’ve had to come face-to-face with something I’ve always known since I first encountered Jesus Christ, but had shoved closer to theory/theology, pushed away from practice/rootedness: without God, I am nothing. The big priority for my prayers right now is Lord without you, we’re done for. What will still be standing after the shaking? We are being shaken and my sense is the Lord is in the shaking and looking for our response. We have shifted authority to a gospel of self, in which the individual seeks to power their own development and salvation. That fits the government’s agenda, but it’s not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What about you? When God pressed the pause button what did you do?

No time to stop and think? It felt like that was the response I was being given by most leaders I talked with during the first phase, following the pandemic hitting our shores. Many of us felt everyone was looking to us to lead them through the crisis. And what do we do in that situation? We perform. Generally speaking, we’re all able to perform under pressure. I used to smile (only inwardly) when listening to a colleague leading a church who was ‘struggling with a couple whose marriage is in crisis’. What I wanted to say was ‘only one! That sounds more like you’re leading a holiday camp’! What if it is just that, however, a performance without substance?

During our experience of the pandemic here in the UK, I’ve seen many wonderful examples of heroic servanthood and I don’t want to ignore the green shoots of the kingdom I see springing up in the most unlikely of places. Yet I also see a handing over of God’s agenda into the hands of the government, the NHS, or social services.

The big themes of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic have been: the environment (remember March-April when people heard birdsong, which had always been around, again?); mental wellbeing (I’m all for it, yet ‘the peace of Christ, which passes all human understanding’ has the biggest impact on anyone’s life); human relationships (isolation, touch, proximity, support, an endless list of news and TV hours have been devoted to this). These are all vitally important, don’t get me wrong; they are potential signposts towards the kingdom of God, but they are not the kingdom itself. The biggest challenge of the pandemic remains the reality of death. For the first and only time in our lifetimes a subject, which the church of Jesus Christ has the answer to, has been the top item of news for almost a year now. It’s churches who don’t burn up, in-spite of everything, which reveal the presence of God. It’s leaders, like you, who create the culture which makes churches like that.

“Leaders create culture. Culture drives behaviour. Behaviour produces results.” (Edgar Schein). Edgar Schein is an expert in organisational management, but Damien Hughes, the Sports Psychologist who wrote The Barcelona Way about the winning culture of Barcelona Football Club, says the same thing. Damien Hughes talks about a ‘commitment culture’ being the essence of Barca’s success and ‘commitment’ is a word we’re danger of losing from the UK church. Whatever else disciples of Jesus are however, they are committed to pursuing him, whatever.

I see the need for the renewal of the Church, but I need to be willing to offer myself, wholly and sacrificially. Pay attention! Unless I’m aligned with the purposes of God, I cannot continue to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God and anticipate fruitful responses, which look like the life of Jesus. Jesus didn’t do or say anything which he wasn’t wanting to see reproduced in the life of the person in front of him.

 

[1] Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton, p13.

[2] Disappearing Church: From Cultural relevance to Gospel Resilience’, Mark Sayers, p15.

 

The post Leadership in the Wilderness: Am I willing to pay attention to what I’ve previously avoided? appeared first on Seventy Two.

Notices for 24 Jan 2021

This week

Just to remind you there are no in-person meetings at the moment.

Church update and Q&A

You’re probably aware that we would typically hold a church meeting in January but that is not possible at the moment. More than ever the Leadership want all of you to feel involved and connected even if it must be at a distance.

So on Monday 25th Jan we’ll be releasing a video update here. Please try to watch at some time during the week and join us at a live follow up on Monday 1st Feb at 8pm.

Be inspired

If you did not have a chance yet to join in with Gathered to praise that Rob once again compiled and in particular to hear Dave share his testimony it remains available here.

Similarly, if you missed the Webnet prayer gathering that is also available and includes a compelling testimony of conversion during lockdown. Watch here.

Activities during lockdown

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours ;
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • We hope to have a presentation on the work of Compassion soon ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.