Category: Uncategorized

A reflection of 2018, and maybe life before then.

Matthew Little,

I would like to start by saying that this is not my blog post/update/newsletter/ thing/ whatever you want to call it for the latter half of January 2019 and former half of February. This is the result of thinking over the course of a week, and refuting past statements. See my last post. I have also just discovered that putting a slash into italics makes it lean a little further than usual. Putting lean into italics, aren’t I a creative soul. I don’t care if that’s grammatically incorrect. Plus, I have my first deck department evaluation this week, so it gives me an opportunity to think about how  I will respond.

I wanted to do a reflection in a separate blog post.

The things that happened…

So, how did 2018 go for Matthew Philip David Little go? Well, it went ok, I think. As you can imagine for an 18 year old, my life changed a fair bit in 2018. The first ‘BIG’ thing was, well, I turned 18. The age in life in which you become an adult. More on this later. After this, I completed my A-Levels. or High School, I guess, for my international friends that I have made over the past few months. Also, the crazy thing that didn’t occur to me when I started this blogging business On a hospital ship with a voluntary crew from 56 different nations was who this would reach out to. Looking at the stats regarding page views by country has wowed me. From the United States to Indonesia, of all places. I couldn’t even figure who this person could be!
So yeah, I completed my A-Levels. That period of two years were, without a doubt, the two most tense and worrying years I have lived through. I did Film Studies, Geography and Sociology for my A-Levels, plus an EPQ, that after months of consideration and fear, I eventually completed. I didn’t want to do an EPQ, because I just wanted to get through the three subjects I had chosen by themselves, and I thought it would just stress me out to focus on the subjects, and another thing to focus on for a few months. In reality, it did. But in the end, I chose a subject and topic that really interested me: History! History was my favourite subject in school, but I wasn’t able to continue it after GCSEs, because of my grades. I remember that results day well. Driving into school, opening that brown envelope to….. utter disappointment. It was gut-wrenching. It was like someone opened fire on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I passed my Maths though, which I never in a million years thought would happen first time. I still remember driving home, envelope in hand, responding to a joyous message of passes from my friend from another school who was like my closest friend that summer. (We are still friends, there wasn’t a betrayal, if that is how it sounds) I tried to congratulate, but I was too heartbroken by my own results. So what was sent was me trying to force my sadness onto someone else. This was all in 2016, so yes, the title is true.
But my A-Levels in 2018. To cut to the chase, I did much better than I thought would have done after my GCSE results two years ago. I passed Film Studies (Expected). I Passed Geography, like my Maths GCSE, did not expect that, but failed Sociology, which I was confident would be my best result. And I passed my EPQ, which I focused on the ‘Cultural and Political Impacts of the Crusades’. There were many times where I wanted to drop it. In the end, I was incredibly proud and happy with what I had done It didn’t really help by ‘bigging it up’ when it wasn’t necessary, Mother! Don’t call an EPQ a University paper with a smile on your face, expecting a sudden boost of confidence. Neither was “Matthew is graduating too!” She wasn’t talking about finishing High School (We don’t have graduation ceremonies from High School, we just go on our merry way), she was referring to me leaving St John Ambulance Cadets.  Which was just me going on my merry way. No more publicly outting my Mother, because she did encourage me to get through it all, so thanks, Mum! I wasn’t feeling all too confident on A-Level results day, also through that entire final exam period. I just wanted for it to be over. They were the two most confusing and exciting  (Who calls school exciting?) Luckily, thanks to a friend  I had made months before, fitting in was easy, and I mostly enjoyed spending the time with my new friends. Again, if you read this Catherine, thank you for all that, and thanks to the rest of that friendship group, who are either at University, doing apprenticeships or something else. Oh and also to the rest of you acquaintances and old friends who made new friends during Secondary School, I wish you all the best, and hope to see you again when I go back to England for a bit in the summer. after thought After many ups and downs and a few breakdowns, the sad passing of my Grandmother (My dad’s mum) I got through it in the end. And another chapter in my life was over.

As one door closes, another opens…

Of course, I regenerated into my next incarnation, my Mercy Ships life. (Yes, I used three different  metaphorical life markers. What you gonna do about it?) What started from wasting electricity with a documentary on in the background after school to gaming four years ago is finally real. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I finished my A-Levels. I thought about University, but I realized that University isn’t for everyone, my parents  were planning to do Mercy Ships and 2018 was the big year for the family, when we all finished things, Hannah graduated from Cardiff University with Civil Engineering, Zoe finished Child Nursing from University of Surrey and got married to Seth, and me, well read the paragraph above. I am a Deck Hand on the ship, under training to become an AB (Assistant Bosun) I don’t know if I’ll reach that  by the end of this two years, but this is about looking back, to what I know, only One knows the future, and He has it under control. He promises. I have only been serving for three months now, but I am really enjoying my time, and  I am  surprised by how much I am progressing,  and I am doing things that I never would have thought I would done this soon into this chapter. The chances of meeting people from this many different nations in a single community would have been very slim if I had taken a different path. Sure, we may confuse each other with different understanding of time. For example telling a Dutchie that you have to go at Half past Nine to see them get really confused when you leave at half nine (21:30), because they think you are going at half nine(20:30), because half  nine in Dutch is written as follows (20:30), so you should have said half ten (21:30) which to everyone else (Maybe) is written like this (22:30). My point is, I don’t know how to call time anymore. But it is truly amazing to experience these cultures with them, aswell as sharing your own with them. A few weeks ago, the (very small) Asian community onboard invited the rest of the crew to celebrate Chinese New Year with them. One of the hard things about life on the ship is that the culture on the ship is western. It still feels like home, yet step off the gangway, it’s Africa. It feels like another world.
At the end of On Boarding, we have a final project, which is to show that something has stuck out at you from all the things you learn over four weeks. I can’t remember exactly what I said, and my speech I wrote was on the notes section of  my old Tablet. That I left on the flight my Paris to Conakry. oops.  But what I said was along the lines of this. I am only young, and I haven’t had many opportunities to say yes to the right things, and no to the wrong things, but I think that saying yes to Mercy Ships was hopefully the first of many yesses. And who knows how many of these opportunities won’t have come up if I had said ‘No’.

Nearly finished.

Please forgive me for this being a wall of text. Why have I decided to reflect? As many of you maybe aware by now, that this year, Jodie Whittaker had her debut series, taking over from Peter Capaldi as the first female Doctor in Doctor Who. (My all time favourite TV show). And along with that, the show has been revamped (Again) now that Chris Chibnall is in charge. (Please don’t kill the companions off and then keep bringing them back to life. Everything has it’s time) New TARDIS, new Sonic Screwdriver, new friends, new everything. And I particularly related to Ryan Sinclair, one of the three new companions, played by Tosin Cole, because, like me is dyspraxic. I hadn’t related to a companion like this before, and it temporarily gave me a confidence boost and something to add to my defining characteristics. I wrote about this on Facebook, but now, I have gone back to my ways of  “I am dyspraxic. So what. I will ignore it.” because I don’t want to skip out on things because of my hand-eye coordination, but it has made somethings, including tying knots, and important skill required in the training book, difficult. Unfortunately, it is hard to work slowly trying to figure things out and taking my time to do these things, when some of my colleagues like to rush these simple things. Going back five years, to Matt Smith’s regeneration into Peter Capaldi, this was his speech.

We all change. When you think about it, we are all different people; all through our lives. And that’s ok- that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. – 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) The Time of The Doctor.

So that’s why. Looking back on the person I once was, but it’s important that whilst you look back on yourself, but to keep changing as a person, otherwise that’s some pretty rubbish character development, if you ask me.. I have been feeling fairly nostalgic this year. I am not saying I haven’t been nostalgic in the past, but I have found myself wanting to back to my childhood, and wanting things from my childhood, for instance, my 12″ Radio Control Dalek. Which was my first ever Doctor Who toy. That I bought (I say bought, It was probably my mum) from Woolworths, that fossil. Did you know that the first ever Woolworths was opened around the same time that Moses and the Israelites left Egypt? But I know at heart that I am now, as an adult supposed to be responsible, let the new children do what they want to do, play with their toys, read their comics, watch their films, whilst I put my childish things away, as in Corinthians, But that’s hard. With lots of voices trying to tell you how they want you to be, and trying to integrate them into yourself.   So now I don’t want know what to do, but I am happy at where am in life. Confusion and Contentment. (A nice way to end this, right)

Thank you for reading, and goodbye.

And one last reflection, and to clear some confusion. I didn’t break the window.

                   

“We’re leaving on a jet plane”

Ruth,

Back in February 2016 the title of our pre-home assignment newsletter was taken from a John Denver song: “Take me home pot-holed roads”! Three years on and it’s another one of his songs. We are indeed “leaving on a jet plane” after completing our second term in Tanzania. On the morning of 7th March you can expect me (Steve) to be humming JD’s words: “All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go; the taxi’s waiting, he’s blowing his horn”, although I won’t be able to sing along with the words, “I hate to go”, because I’m very much looking forward to heading home! In fact we both are.

In February 2016 I referred to the first home assignment (furlough) of a certain missionary explorer that you may just have heard of! And so it seems fitting to refer to Mr Livingstone as he prepared for his second home assignment! His first stint in Africa lasted a whole 15 years but he decided to take his second home assignment after only 8 years of trudging around Africa! During that time he ‘discovered’ Lake Nyassa in Malawi, buried his wife in Mozambique, encountered the ‘wretchedness’ of the slave trade, and sailed a small boat 2500 miles from Zanzibar to Bombay in 45 days! Having then sold his boat, he got back on another one and headed home for England. He arrived in London to find that not one member of his family had come to meet him, and so he ended up having dinner with the Prime minister instead! It had been an extremely tough term for him. He wrote in his journal: “Due to the failure of our recent mission all my work seems in vain. Am I to be cut off before I can do anything to effect permanent improvement in Africa? I have been unprofitable enough….”

Well, as we prepare for our second home assignment, I can assure you we’re not feeling as low as Livingstone was! Whatever hurdles and hardships we’ve had to deal with can in no way be compared to what DL had to endure, although we both admit that this term seems to have been tougher than our first one. I’ve struggled with illness for the past 10 months (sinusitis and gastritis) and we’ve both had bouts of what they call “culture fatigue”, although which missionary hasn’t experienced this?! Sadly I’ve had to deal with a disciplinary matter concerning a Tanzanian pastor who had been a close friend and, just a few weeks ago our ‘guard’ dog died, a faithful companion who really enabled Ruth to settle here in Tanzania. Ruth has also felt the burden of various responsibilities more this term. All that to say, we’re ready to get on that jet plane and we’re thankful for the fact that we can be home in 12 hours!

However, and it is a big ‘however’, we do have much to praise God for! Many positive things have happened during this second term – so here goes! I’ve driven over 50,000 km without accident or breakdown. We’ve seen the Conference Centre grow to its completion with the facilities being well-used by various groups. I’ve preached or taught over 160 times, mainly to Tanzanian pastors & leaders, and had a go at my first Swahili commentary! Ruth has dealt with over 80 bookings at Sanga with over 2600 people staying there, taught several English courses, and she’s also processed donations for work at Sanga totalling 507 million shillings (£170,000)!

We’ve also had the pleasure of introducing family members to Tanzania, as well as a number of church teams and Oak Hall groups. It was also heartening to hear that a number of those Oak Hall folks have gone on to invest further in mission. So, whilst we travel home with jaded eagerness (!) we’re counting our blessings, and we’re thankful for what God has gifted us to do. As I mentioned in our last newsletter, using the words of Paul in 2 Cor. 3: 5 & 8: “There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work, for the capacity we have comes from God alone”. And one of Ruth’s favourite verses, Isaiah 26:12: “Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us.”

Over the next six months we’ll be spending time with our home church in Corsham, meeting up with family members, some of whom we’ve never met before, and talking to folks about the work we’ve been involved in. I’ll be doing some Bible teaching on a number of Oak Hall trips, and we’re hoping to get away for a few breaks, one of which will hopefully see me celebrate a significant birthday! Among the more routine matters that need attending to will be visits to doctors, dentists and opticians, preparing presentations and sermons, sorting out tax and pension issues, and having a debrief at AIM’s HQ in Nottingham. At some point along the way, we hope to be able to see many of you, so that we can say a personal “THANK YOU” to those who have supported us. Without the financial and prayerful support of many of you, we simply couldn’t do what we’ve done – so “ASANTE SANA” for your backing and for lifting us up to the throne room of the Almighty! A privilege indeed.

The last few months…. As well as dealing with bookings and the finances of Sanga, Ruth has spent a lot of time training up an AIC pastor to look after the accounts. Fortunately, he’s not just a pastor but a qualified accountant! Praise God for this provision. Whilst on the subject of the AIC (Africa Inland Church) we were recently very encouraged to see a clip of the General Secretary addressing the Tanzanian President on TV. Once in a while various church denominations get the opportunity to make requests to the President, and one of the requests that our AIC guy raised was whether it would be possible for missionaries not to have to pay for work permits! At $500 a time, we’re hoping for a positive result!

In terms of recent preaching appointments, I’ve formed firm friendships with a number of local churches. The AIC church at Kihonda meets in a dilapidated school classroom on the edge of town, and for that privilege they get to pay £17 per month in rent! Thankfully there’s no electricity! It means there are no microphones or sound systems to damage the eardrums! The singing is great and it’s from the heart. The décor is also interesting! They decorate the front of the dusty classroom with brightly coloured material and stick a couple of yucca plants in the corner wrapped in plastic bags! They also wrap up the pulpit as if it were a Christmas present! At the end of the service everyone files out whilst singing with the added benefit that you get to shake every sweaty hand along the way! Apart from the dive-bombing sparrows that target the gaudy pulpit, I’m always encouraged when I preach there, because the percentage of note-takers outnumbers those who don’t! They’re keen to study the Word, and that’s always an encouragement to the preacher.

The folks at AICT Kihonda

AICT Kiloka

One of the other churches we sometimes visit is out in the bush at a place called Kiloka, although it could be Kiroka! We never quite know due to the problem many Tanzanians have with their L’s and R’s! The AIC church at Kiloka is led by a man called Francis who is actually one of our trusty workers at Sanga – even though it’s an hour’s journey from Sanga to Kiloka! I’m not sure I’ve ever met such a godly, committed, smiley evangelist during my time in Tanzania. Just a few weeks ago, I was preaching to the small congregation there and was able to give out Bibles thanks to a monetary gift from someone who had read about the church in one of AIM’s publications. Other gifts have also meant that the church had a makeover a few months ago. In fact it was more like a rebuild due to the fact that the cracks in the bowed walls were getting bigger! Whilst it can be a bit of a challenge getting to the church, it’s always well worth it and we come away feeling blessed at their generous welcome, often shown with a big bunch of bananas! The church provides a small glimmer of gospel light in an otherwise dark community where Islam rules, and we pray that this small gathering would be protected and blessed as they witness for Christ there.

20 things we’re looking forward to on HA!
The cold! No mosquitoes! Visiting Israel. Being spiritually fed. Running in cooler climes. Spending quality time with family & friends. Watching Carlisle United get promotion?! Not battling with Swahili! Enjoying long summer evenings. Food variety. Driving on smooth roads where most people adhere to the highway code! Playing golf on greens. Skiing. Climbing a mountain or two. Going to the chippie! Not having ants crawling around the kitchen! Cycling the Hebrides. Not being at the mechanics on a weekly basis! Not being stared at! Being at our home church.

Prayer Points:

  • Please pray for us as we aim to finish well and handover our various responsibilities. Pray in particular for Pastor Heri Ruma who will be looking after the accounts. Pray that our home assignment would be a time of refreshment, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • Please pray for our teammates Matt and Amy Dixon as they will be the only missionaries left at Sanga, at least until May when we have another family joining.
    Please pray for stomach healing for Steve! Recently diagnosed with gastritis and duodenitis.
  • Please pray for the two K churches; Kihonda & Kiloka. Pray that the Kiloka folks would be protected as they live out their faith, and for the Kihonda church which is currently leaderless as their pastor recently went to Bible College!

Every blessing and see you soon!

Steve & Ruth

Yikes!

Found this magnificent critter on Steve’s shoe – a praying mantis.

Notice sheet 17th February 2019

Louise,

Priory Street (Corsham)

9.15am              Eddie Larkman

11.15am             Eddie Larkman

6:00pm             Gathering to Praise

Church on the Green (Rudloe)

10:00am            Rob Durant

Mary Hayes

The Thanksgiving service for the life of Mary Hayes will be held on Wednesday 27th February at CBC, Priory Street at 2pm . Mary died on 25th January at the age of 99 years, had been a regular member of our lunch club and attended many other church activities. All welcome.

Bible Society Event at Priory Street, 2nd March, 7pm

As well as up to date information on Bible Society, there will be the exciting launch of the new book – ‘JONAH AND THE BONY-FINNED ASTEROID FISH’. Publication date – 26th February.  Join us for a fun evening with readings, quiz, book-signing and supper.  If you are thinking of coming, please sign-up at the back so we can cater accordingly!  Thank you.

The Ark

If you’re not still away for half term do join us for the next Ark on Saturday 23rd February and why not bring a friend? It’s about treasure!  It’s aimed at 0-7 year olds but all are welcome with an adult. The puppets will be here, and exciting crafts, as well as the normal children’s service followed by drinks and cake. 

Mission Trips’ Thank Offering – 3rd March 2019

As we seek to play our part in spreading God’s love around the world, on Sunday 3rd March, we will be holding a thank offering to build up a fund to support self-funding adults who volunteer to serve on our future Mission Teams. This year, teams will be going out to support an AIM conference in Uganda and to help with construction work at the AIM Sanga Sanga conference centre in Tanzania.  The money raised will be lodged in our Restricted Mission Trips Fund. Please do pray about how you can contribute towards this offering.  Special yellow envelopes for your Gift Day offering will be available on the table at the back of the building. Please mark the envelope MISSION TRIPS THANK OFFERING, and if you are able to gift aid your donation, please complete the declaration on the envelope.  If you are not able to do this, please just score out the declaration. When the offering is taken on the day, only the contents of the yellow envelopes will be included in the Thank Offering total.  Blue envelopes and loose cash/cheques will be treated as regular giving to the general work of the church.  Please speak to Paul Garcia (Church on the Green), Michael Prior (Priory Street 9.15) or Roger Hammett (Priory Street 11.15) should you wish to clarify these arrangements.

Women’s World Day of Prayer

Corsham Baptist Church is hosting this year. Please join us as we pray for women of SLOVENIA, one of the youngest and smallest countries in Europe.

WHERE: CBC Sanctuary, Priory Street

WHEN: Friday, 1 MARCH, 2019

TIME: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Please see Kathy Larkman as she needs assistance for readers, refreshments, and greeters.  We are never too busy to pray!

Midweek Service

The next midweek service will take place on Wednesday 20th February at 2pm.  The text is Matthew 6.1-18. Eric Seager will be leading and preaching.  All welcome.

Women’s Bible Study

The next women’s bible study will take place on Monday 25th February at 7:30pm.  Notes for the next study – Titus – are on the table at the back.  Please take a copy!

Family service (The Ark)

A family service will take place at Priory Street on 17th March at 3.30pm.  The service will be fairly short and will finish with tea. Please put the date in your diary and start inviting family and friends along. We’ll also be advertising it at the Ark, Toddler group etc.  Many thanks.

Accommodation for summer course 2019

For the last two years, CBC has hosted the WEC MK Staff Training course in July/August.. The course is scheduled to take place again, from Sunday 21st July to Thursday 1st August 2019. Some participants will only stay till Saturday 27th July. If you are able to provide accommodation (including breakfast and most evening meals) for someone for all or part of this time, please contact Steve and Gill Bryant. Thank you so much for your help.

Chippenham Street Pastors

Several of our church members are involved in Chippenham Street Pastors.  There will be a celebration service on 13th March at 7:30pm at St. Paul’s Church, Chippenham.  The night will include worship, testimony and prayer to celebrate this ministry which started in 2011.  Please go along if you are interested in joining or simply wish to encourage those already involved.

Opportunities to Serve the Corsham Community as a Foodbank Trustee

The Corsham Churches Foodbank has been serving the community for around seven years now, and many of the Trustees have served from the outset.  Whilst we have the experience, we are all getting older and are looking for new blood to refresh both us, and our work.  If you would like to find out more about serving as one of our Trustees, we would love to hear from you. For more information contact Roger or Hazel Hammett in the 11.15 or call 01249 715816.

…This week is half term…

Please check with your small group leaders about your group!

Monday: Prayer for mission and the persecuted church, 7:45pm

Wednesday: Midweek service, 2pm

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

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

Saturday: The Ark, 10:00am

Life groups meet in and around Corsham and neighbouring towns and villages during the week.  If you would like more information on any small groups, please speak to your congregational leaders.

… Looking ahead…

25th February: Women’s bible study, 7:30pm

27th February: Mary Hayes’ thanksgiving service, 2pm

1st March: Women’s World Day of Prayer (Slovenia), 7:30pm

2nd March: Craft Club, 10am; Bible Society Event, 7:00pm

3rd March: Gift day

6th March: Midweek service, 2pm

11th March: Fight night, 8pm

18th March: Prayer for mission and the persecuted church, 7:45pm

20th March: Midweek service, 2pm

24th March: Nominations open for Safeguarding Deacon

GOD IS WITH US!

kathylarkman,
Silhouetted women holding hands

 

CS LEWIS

Cathy Photo

CATHERINE DONOVAN 

C.S.Lewis’ words to me mean: “Emmanuel” (God is with us); Fatherhood; Redemption, an Eternal inheritance, Hope and purposed to do great things in Christ Jesus.

JOY TO THE WORLD!

kathylarkman,
Silhouetted women holding hands

 

fcveb

ESTHER KING, CONTRIBUTOR FOR TODAY’S BLOG POST

Ah! My favourite Christmas carol… not because my middle name is ‘Joy’ and not just because I love the stirring musical arrangement. Most importantly the lyrics, rooted in Scripture and written by Isaac Watts, are INCREDIBLE.

Here they are – clear those throats and sing them out with gusto! Or venture onto YouTube and find a recording to listen to (Here’s a modern version which includes the 3rd verse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mnC8zMiwaQ):

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Saviour reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Joy to the WorldNor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Beautiful! Check out John 1.1-18 and Psalm 98 then take a moment to reflect. Are you starting to really feel the joy?

I love the ‘present continuous’ feel of this carol. It celebrates the birth of Jesus – ‘the Lord is come’ – but as well as invoking the nativity story in your mind, it encapsulates the entire significance of what Jesus has done for us.

Why is it we sometimes miss out the third verse when we sing this congregationally? Is it the use of ‘heavy language’ such as ‘sin’, ‘sorrows’, ‘thorns’ and ‘the curse’? Yet look again and here’s the truly amazing news of the Gospel. Because Jesus has defeated sin and death, we’re set free from their power! And there’s no dark, cursed corner where God can’t make his blessings flow!

The Lord reigns and he’s not just our ruler but our saviour! And how does he rule? With ‘truth and grace’ and the way he interacts with us, ‘the nations’, speaks of both his glorious righteousness and wonderful love!

I love the way the carol reminds me that it’s not just us praising the Lord with joyful and thankful hearts but all of creation, everything He has made, the entire universe. Lord open my eyes to see how everything in all creation points to you and your goodness!

Finally, don’t miss key call to action in the carol. To truly experience the joy, the earth first has to receive its king. To truly mean what we sing, we must first prepare room in our hearts, putting Jesus at the centre of our lives and acknowledging him and him alone as our Lord and saviour. Lord, please help us to do this. Amen!

Christmas Thought

kathylarkman,
Silhouetted women holding hands
grace place bio photo christine

Christine Coltman, contributor for today’s Christmas thought 

We usually all get what we seek at Christmas – presents, family time, indigestion – but if we seek Jesus we get him in abundance for ‘The grace of God has been revealed to all men’ at Christmastime. Thank you God!

large

 

 

Christmas Thought

kathylarkman,
Silhouetted women holding hands
grace place bio photo christine

Christine Coltman, contributor for today’s Christmas thought 

We usually all get what we seek at Christmas – presents, family time, indigestion – but if we seek Jesus we get him in abundance for ‘The grace of God has been revealed to all men’ at Christmastime. Thank you God!

large

 

 

Still getting ready

Matthew Little,

Still getting ready

 and I leave (with my parents, Stuart and Lynne) in three weeks, to fly to Texas for the confusedly named  ‘On Boarding’, as we don’t actually get aboard the ship until we fly from Texas  to Conakry, Guinea in November.

We are all still getting ready, which, for me, means tidying-up my bedroom by throwing away useless tat (as my dad would probably call it) that are no longer useful to me or have been left on my desk or shelves for years underneath piles of slightly more useful stuff. Somewhat related, this has also meant buying more stuff. Stuff that I am going to take, that is. However, I both know what I want to take, but at the same time,  I don’t. For the things that I do know what I want to take with me is clothes. (Obviously. Clothes are essential, Clothes are basically the priority), and my few technological devices, which are, my Laptop, my Samsung Galaxy Tab A and my PS Vita (the Xbox is staying at home, but all four of my devices I am taking have the capability to play games. The fourth item being my phone) There are some books that I am yet to read, both fiction and not fiction. Or books that I want to restart, those being The Hobbit, which I think I have restarted twice, but never finished, and a biography on the Knights Templar. (The REAL Templars, not the fictitious Templars from Assassin’s Creed. They are vastly different).

As for the things I don’t know what I want to take are what clothes I want to bring. I have finally started practising packing, which has made my mother happy, which has given me some idea of what of my clothes I will bring. What makes it difficult is thinking about the climate that I will be living in for 10 months, and what will be suitable clothing items. Especially since my two favourite t-shirts are black.

Other things that I have done to get ready are: Put a bunch of movies onto an external hard drive,  set up this blog, set up my YouTube channel to upload vlogs, (Check it out, I have put up a short film I made!) and shifted my payment methods for Playstation and Microsoft from my parents too me. And verified that I am adult with Microsoft. I am starting to think that these things probably shouldn’t have been my priority, but the only time I could really start packing is this week and next week, otherwise I would have been living out of a suitcase for a few weeks.

I guess all I can do now is to actually pack, wait till Friday (21st September) and leave.

(Note the time difference, this one post took three weeks to complete)

Outreach events at St Michael’s Stoke Gifford

Tim Stephenson,
Flyer for events in autumn 2018 at St Michael's Stoke Gifford. Details in the text of the page.

St Michael’s Stoke Gifford (200 mtrs from Parkway station) are launching a series of events designed to make full use of our new 500+seater auditorium.  We commence with Stuart Townsend on the 28th September (tickets down to the last 100 and expected to sell out soon so move quickly!).

The aim is to bring ministry and evangelism on a scale we cannot easily provide in our local churches. So why not think about whether you have friends for whom this might be a good introduction? They have placed a Christmas Comedians and Carols event just before Carol Service season for that reason and hopefully it will then be natural to invite them to a carol service afterwards. Other events include; Riding Lights, Steve Legg, John Archer, and Patrick Egan with more on the horizon.

The loction is a 2 minute walk from Parkway Railway station with easy access from the M32, M5 and M4.  Parking is free in the village after 2.00 pm and there is always the Parkway Station car park.

Telephone 0117 9692486, on Tuesday and Friday mornings in September to pay by card or see http://www.stmichaelsbristol.org/smcevents/.

TITUS: GRACE FOR LIVING THE GOOD LIFE

kathylarkman,
Silhouetted women holding hands
_MG_9161_2015

Sharon Durant, lead teacher for this year’s bible study on Titus and today’s blog post contributor

The good life: Colourful cocktails? A deserted beach? Organic food? A TV series?

This year we’re going to be studying how God’s grace helps us to live the real good life – a life full of good works, done with a thankful, rejoicing, hopeful heart, confident of God’s love and walking in his light. This is the best way to live, the ultimate good life.

Why Titus? Because in the letter to Titus, Paul brings together the two essential ingredients of the good life – grace and good works.

These two might sound like opposites. Don’t we spend ages as Christians reminding ourselves that only God’s grace can save us? That all our good works won’t add anything to Jesus’ completed sacrifice on the cross? If grace is so amazing, why do we try to live a good life?

Well, as one preacher put it, “Jesus did what we can not do, so we could do what we can do.”

I’ve been so blessed by this truth. The grace of God poured on through Jesus did what I can’t do – it paid the price for me and freed me from my sin. But the purpose of this grace was so that I could do what I can – freed up to do good works, to live the good life.

We’re not set free so we can run riot like stray dogs; we’re set free to live purposeful lives that glorify God and bless others.

So, be ready, girls! Over the course of the year, it’s going to get painfully practical. In Titus, Paul applies grace thoroughly to our lives at home, church and in the world.

There’s a lot of momentum already, building on last year’s studies in God’s grace and the (now legendary) weekend away.

Plus this year there are going to be new faces and new voices speaking, sharing from God’s Word about grace for living the good life.

I’m excited. More than I usually am! Because this year the Holy Spirit is leading us forward in living the good life; we’re not being complacent and letting God’s grace go to waste.

I’m praying. I’m praying for you and your study buddy (Don’t have one? Talk to Anne Holmes ASAP so you don’t miss out on the full impact of Titus) that God would prepare your hearts and make you teachable by his grace.

I’m praying for our team of speakers this year as they study and prepare God’s Word.

Please pray with me – for each other, for those preparing the studies and talks… but most of all, please pray that more and more women in Corsham and the surrounding areas would be drawn into God’s grace, begin to live the good life, and study God’s Word together with us.

See you on 24th September!