The secret of humility

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is here, at the foot of the cross that we shrink to our true size.

John Stott

A Prayer About My Plank-Filled Eye

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3).

Heavenly Father, when I rubbed my irritated eyes this morning, I soon realized it was not a speck of dust but a rough-hewn board stuck there. I didn’t realize it till now, but I went to bed last night having made myself the chief prosecuting attorney in the supreme court – the judge and jury and executioner. Just because I don’t throw things or scream and yell doesn’t mean I’m not a critical person. Condescending smugness is just a synonym for “clanging symbols” (1Corinthians 13:1).

Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus. You are so forbearing, kind and gracious. Have mercy on me, the self-righteous sinner.

(Scotty Smith)

The way to joy

Back from holiday, and back to Paul Miller’s book, “A Praying Life.” Here’s something I read a few minutes ago on p.215:

If we stop fighting and embrace the gospel story God is weaving in our lives, we discover joy. Paul bubbles over with joy as he writes the book of Philippians, chained between two Roman soldiers. He even prays with joy: “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy” (Philippians 1:4). If we pursue joy directly, it slips from our grasp. But if we begin with Jesus and learn to love, we end up with joy.

Stop fighting, and embrace the gospel story God is weaving in your life.

Notice sheet for 22nd November 2015

Men’s Traditional Christmas Chilli Night!

The men of CBC will meet for their Christmas meal (chilli !) on Tuesday 24th November at 7.00pm at Priory Street. Please let Ian Holmes know if you would like to attend.

Steve Bryant’s Thailand trip

Thank you to those who prayed for Steve during his recent trip to Thailand and participation in WEC’s regional conference for Asia.  On Sunday evening 29th he will be sharing about his time there, including information about how God is at work in different Asian countries, and an update on Grace International School, where the Spruijts served for one year.

Calling all musicians!!

Since we multiplied the morning services back in September, we obviously have less folks available to help lead worship in each service. So if you are part of the 11.15am congregation, if you love to worship God and if you have some musical ability, David Morrell would love to hear from you! In particular, we’re a bit short of guitarists, bass players and drummers; and we’re looking for younger people to join the team! You may have noticed that some of our younger musicians and worship leaders are now in the 9.15 service, so we’re keen to reduce the average age of our 11.15 team so we get a balance of old and new worship leaders and worship songs!!

The other plea relates to the evening carol service on December 20th. We’re aiming to put together an ensemble of acoustic musicians to accompany the Christmas carols (most of them are horrible to play on guitar!). So if you play fiddle, cello, flute, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone or almost anything else …. please let us know, and we’ll start making plans.

If you want to respond to either of these invitations, please get back to David Morrell, either in person or by email. Alternatively you can contact Nancy.  Many thanks.

Hawks, Falcons, Kestrels and Owls junior church teachers at 11.15 service

There will be a meeting for the teachers of these groups on Sunday 29th November at 4.30 in the main hall at church.  If you are unable to attend please let Rhiannon know. Thank you.

Tree decorating invitation

We are decorating the church Christmas tree on Saturday Dec 5th, 3-5pm.  Come along for some Christmas activities, carols, stories and snacks.  Invitations are at the back of church so take some for friends and neighbours, all ages welcome.  If you are able to help out at this event please let Rhiannon know.  In the past, this has been a great opportunity to invite non church children to hear what Christmas is really about.  If your children are planning on coming please could you let Rhiannon know so that we have an idea of numbers to cater for. Thank you.

Rudloe Carol Service

The Rudloe congregation is having their carol service on the 19th December. Does anyone have any outdoor lanterns/lights that can be borrowed for this event? Please contact Louise in the office or Rob.

Free Christmas Stickers from the Bible Society

This year the Bible Society’s free Christmas stickers have been designed by Emma Skerratt who used to attend Corsham Baptist Church.  The stickers show the names of Jesus and are designed to be used to spread the real meaning of Christmas eg. on your Christmas card envelopes.  You can find details about them at biblesociety.org.uk/stickers2015. If you don’t have access to the internet or prefer talking to a person, please ask Heather or Steve Chilcott!

The Ark

Another Ark event will take place this coming Saturday, 28th November, at 10am. Please contact Alexa Simm or Heather Chilcott if you would like to know more about this event for families with young children.

Connected

The next Connected get-together will be on Saturday 19th December from 8-10pm at Priory Street. Please speak to Beth Mills for more information.

Corsham Churches Foodbank

If you would like to donate to support the Foodbank Christmas Hamper project, the following items would be particularly welcome:

  • Boxes of Chocolate Fingers;
  • Selection Boxes to bless children;
  • Boxes of Mince Pies;
  • Treats (jam, honey and savoury spreads)

Please ensure that the festive treats have a post-Christmas best-before date, and are left in or alongside the collection bin in the porch, ideally before 30 November.

The Foodbank Nectar card scheme continues to work well and in previous years has funded many of the other seasonal treats that are included in our Christmas hampers.  We have plenty of these cards available if anyone else would like to join the scheme.

In addition, we are actively looking for new volunteers to serve, particularly to help with making issues to our clients on a Saturday morning, and also for one or perhaps two individuals to take on the co-ordination of the Hamper Projects at Christmas, Easter and just prior to the summer holiday period.

If you would like to know more about the work of the Foodbank or are thinking about volunteering or would like to consider joining the Foodbank Nectar card scheme, please speak to Roger or Hazel Hammett (01249 715816).

Walking on Sundays

Natalie Ovens is organising a very informal ad hoc Sunday afternoon walking group for walks in and around Corsham, the idea being to meet after lunch, at around 3pm. If you are interested in doing this, please contact Natalie who will draw up a list of potential walkers!

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 9.30am in the Hut;

Tuesday: Men’s chilli night, 7.00pm

Wednesday: Morning prayer meeting 7.15am

Thursday: Toddler Group 10.00am; Debt Advice Centre 7pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9.30am

Saturday: Morning prayer, 8.30am; the Ark, 10.00am

…Coming up…

29th November: Meeting for 11.15am Junior Church teachers, 4.30pm

30th November: Ladies’ Bible Study, 7.30pm

2nd December: Midweek service, 2pm

5th December: Craft Group, 10am; decorating Christmas tree 3pm

8th December: TLC, 12 o’clock

13th December: 2 x Nativity services, 9.15am and 11.15am

14th December: Ladies’ bible study, 7.30pm

16th December: Midweek service, 2pm

20th December: Carols by candlelight, 6pm

22nd December: Corsham town carol service in the High Street, 6.45pm

24th December: Christmas eve service, 6pm

25th December: Christmas day, 10am family service

 PLEASE NOTE

**27th December: One service at Priory Street at 10am and no evening service on that day!**

 

Report on Steve Bryant’s recent visit to Thailand (7th – 29th October)

Thanks to all who were praying for us during Steve’s time in Thailand which went very well. He started with a 2-day course teaching our local child protection officers what to do where there are no social services or specialised police units to report to (true for around ¾ of the countries we work in). Although modelled on other training and experience, teaching this was new. There was a really positive response from the group of 25 delegates and it was a great help to draw on the experiences of some of them in counselling, social work, and working in law.

The next stage was our WEC Asia-Pacific Region Conference with around 130 team leaders from over 20 different countries. It was great to be part of the praise and teaching, meet up with some of our first new members from NE India, see how we can help fulfil the big vision for world mission in the Philippines, hear about the growth of the church in many countries through our drug and alcohol rehab work called Betel, and much more. Of course there are many challenges to face, not least of which is the slow down in mission recruitment from Western countries and now even from Korea.
Steve spoke to the whole conference about internet safety, and supporting children through the stresses of international moves. Most of the work though was in smaller groups or one to one discussion.

Immediately after the conference there were meetings with our staff at Grace International School and at our boarding home for teenage students. The school supports the mission work of hundreds of families from dozens of different agencies in Thailand and the surrounding countries and is a vital part of spreading the Gospel in East and SE Asia.

News for those concerned about and praying for Grace International School –
Because of the court case contesting the current main school building the plan is still to build on a brand new site. The school’s final court appeal was made some years ago, but there is still no indication when a decision will be made. Should the case be lost there could be the need to move out at short notice but there are emergency plans in place before the new site is built.

Notice sheet 15th November 2015

 

 

“Grace Place”

Check out our new blog, GRACE PLACE, which is geared to women of all ages in our CBC and Rudloe communities and beyond. Look to see what books are recommended so far. Have you read any of them? Great stuff. We always appreciate feedback! www.cbcgraceplace.wordpress.com

New Wine

The Everetts are going to New Wine 31 July – 6th August 2016 and would love you to join them! Information at www.new-wine.org or ask the Everetts. If you book before 30th November you will get the best rates!

Men’s Traditional Christmas Chilli Night!

The men of CBC will meet for their Christmas meal (chilli !) on Tuesday 24th November at 7.00pm at Priory Street. Please let Ian Holmes know if you would like to attend.

Mission Update

Welcome back to Steve Bryant.  We are pleased to see him home safely and look forward to hearing his news. Steph Grylls is going to Uganda for two weeks at the beginning of December.  Please pray for her as she prepares to leave. She will be working in a baby clinic and helping in the church.

Calling all musicians!!

Since we multiplied the morning services back in September, we obviously have less folks available to help lead worship in each service. So if you are part of the 11.15am congregation, if you love to worship God and if you have some musical ability, David Morrell would love to hear from you! In particular, we’re a bit short of guitarists, bass players and drummers; and we’re looking for younger people to join the team! You may have noticed that some of our younger musicians and worship leaders are now in the 9.15 service, so we’re keen to reduce the average age of our 11.15 team so we get a balance of old and new worship leaders and worship songs!!

The other plea relates to the evening carol service on December 20th. We’re aiming to put together an ensemble of acoustic musicians to accompany the Christmas carols (most of them are horrible to play on guitar!). So if you play fiddle, cello, flute, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone or almost anything else …. please let us know, and we’ll start making plans.

If you want to respond to either of these invitations, please get back to David Morrell or Nancy. Many thanks.

Free Christmas Stickers from the Bible Society

This year the Bible Society’s free Christmas stickers have been designed by Emma Skerratt who used to attend Corsham Baptist Church.  The stickers show the names of Jesus and are designed to be used to spread the real meaning of Christmas eg. on your Christmas card envelopes.  You can find details about them at biblesociety.org.uk/stickers2015. If you don’t have access to the internet or prefer talking to a person, please ask Heather or Steve Chilcott!

Midweek Service

The text for 18th November is Luke 16.1-15. Eric will be leading and David Morrell preaching.

Rudloe Carol Service

The Rudloe congregation is having their carol service on the 19th December. Does anyone have any outdoor lanterns/lights that can be borrowed for this event? Please contact Louise in the office or Rob. Thank you.

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 10am

Wednesday: Morning prayer meeting 7.15am; midweek service, 2pm

Thursday: Toddler Group 10am; Debt Advice Centre 7pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9.30am

Saturday: Morning prayer, 8.30am

…Coming up…

24th November: Men’s Christmas chilli night, 7pm

28th November: The Ark, 10am

30th November: Ladies’ Bible Study, 7.30pm

2nd December: Midweek service, 2pm

5th December: Craft Group, 10am

8th December: TLC, 12 o’clock

13th December: 2 x Nativity services, 9.15am and 11.15am

14th December: Ladies’ bible study, 7.30pm

16th December: Midweek service, 2pm

20th December: Carols by candlelight, 6pm

22nd December: Corsham town carol service in the High Street, 6.45pm

24th December: Christmas eve service, 6pm

25th December: Christmas day, 10am family service

PLEASE NOTE

**27th December: One service at Priory Street at 10am and no evening service on that day!**

Modern tragedy, ancient remedy

Nothing can be farther from and more foreign to the whole temper of modern man than the anguished cry of David: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Modern man recognizes no such rock, and that is the source of all estrangement and all tragedy.

Charles Malik, cited by Paul  E Miller in “A Praying Life” pp.107-8.

A psalm that helped me following the Paris atrocity

Having read the BBC account of last night’s terrorist attacks in Paris, I turned to my Bible and read my morning psalm, which happened to be Psalm 55. Here is a part of that Scripture:

Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”

Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you; he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.

Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy.

Living wisely, living well

This space will chiefly be used for sharing the fruits of my reading. I’m blessed to be able to read God’s word, the Bible, daily, and most days I also find time to read from other books too. So I’ll be offering you words that have helped, encouraged and challenged me, in the hope that you’ll find them rich food for your soul.

To start off, here’s a classic line that helped shape my thinking as a young Christian, and has guided my course through the years. It comes from Jim Elliot, an American missionary who was martyred aged 28:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Live wisely, live well.

Pastor Eddie

 

Changing seasons

This post by Steve and Ruth Lancaster was originally published at Life in the Lancs Lane

In the last week the short rains have arrived.  We’re enjoying the cloudy skies and the vegetation that’s springing to life again after several months of no rain. When the rains finish in a few short weeks temperatures will rise again as the hot season arrives.

These changing seasons are reflected a little in our ministry lives too.  We have now completed all of the Institute of Bible & Ministry’s regional conferences, meaning that Steve has completed his teaching on the Holy Spirit that he began preparing for in January, and we won’t be travelling as much now.  Of course, there is always administration and finance work to do so Ruth will still be busy!
 

On the road to Magambua, among
the towering baobabs

The last regional conference was held in September in Magambua, a village in a rural part of Tanzania.  Steve taught three sessions and guest speaker Cliff Boone from the USA spoke on the principles of church planting in different cultures.  As well as getting to know the pastors who attended, we enjoyed catching up with the other AIM missionaries in Magambua who are involved in medical and translation work there.  We had a memorable evening being regaled with Cliff’s story of how he once shot a lion that wandered past his house when he was a missionary in Magambua many years ago!  (FYI, he didn’t kill the lion, although it was killed by villagers a few days later to stop it taking their livestock.)

This last week the Institute of Bible & Ministry held a conference for AICT evangelists and their wives at Sanga Sanga.  Around 70 people attended, many of whom we met during the regional conferences over the last few months.  Phil Morrison, our AIM colleague and Director of the Multi-Church Pastor Institute in Kenya, was guest speaker together with the Bishop of the AICT’s Coastal Diocese.  There was a great vibe around the place and during breaks you could see small groups of people sitting together chatting and catching up, sheltering from the hot sun.  The sound of 70 people raising their voices in worship (no instruments!) was truly wonderful.

The queue for lunch was pretty long!

Last month the AIM Tanzania Conference took place in Dar es Salaam.  Steve and I and another couple were the main organisers so, as you can imagine, we have been rather busy lately!  It was a lovely time of catching up with friends, getting to know others better, receiving good teaching, enjoying lively worship in English and taking the opportunity to rest and relax.  It was wonderful to hear of how God is working in the places in which AIM members serve and of how Tanzanian believers are ministering to their countrymen and women.  Our pastor, Eddie Larkman, from our home church, was the main speaker and it was so good to be under his teaching again and to spend time with him, Kathy his wife, and the team from Corsham Baptist who came to run the children’s programme.  The team was a huge hit with the kids who were often seen queuing up early during breaks in their eagerness to get back into the children’s room.
 

Eddie & Kathy at home
with us in Morogoro

After conference Eddie and Kathy spent a couple of days with us in Morogoro. We enjoyed showing them round ‘our’ town and taking them to visit Bibi.  Bibi

(‘grandmother’ in Kiswahili) is a Christian lady (from a Muslim background) who attends our church.  She is raising 5 grandchildren on her own, lives in a couple of mud-walled rooms, is 80 years old and weighs 29kg.  We suspect the food she can afford to buy goes largely to the children.  We took her a bag of rice but I think she was mostly blessed to receive guests.  How unlike our western culture in which we prefer to have visitors ring in advance rather than turn up unannounced.   

Election fever!  Sunday 25th October was a significant day here in Tanzania and our first taste of an election in Africa.  For the past few months the country has been awash with the colours of the various political parties with flags and huge posters appearing all over.  For the first time in 54 years there was a serious challenge to the reign of the ruling party with the opposition of four coalition parties.  Thankfully election day passed off fairly peacefully, although there were outbreaks of violence in a few places (not Morogoro) and protests about irregularities in the voting process.  Our team kept a low profile during this time, mostly staying at home.  We pray that God’s chosen leaders for this country will lead with justice and compassion.
 

The columns are rising at Sanga Sanga

The construction work on the conference centre at Sanga Sanga is progressing speedily, thanks to Matt Dixon’s good management.  Recently the cement slab was laid—all done with manual labour (no cement trucks here!).  Dozens of fundis went to and fro carrying buckets of cement on their heads, all in the blazing sun.  We are in awe of their strength and capacity to cope with the heat!  As you can see in the picture, the cement columns are going up too.  If you’re on Facebook you can keep up-to-date with progress—just look for Sanga Sanga Retreat Centre and Campsite.

We are happy to have our teammates Tony & Cath Swanson back with us having returned from their home assignment a few weeks ago.  Our thoughts are inevitably turning to our own home assignment which begins in March next year.  It seems amazing to me that we are nearing the end of our first term in Tanzania.  Where has that time gone?!  We are so grateful to God for helping us reach this point, feeling settled, coping with a new language, new culture and a new climate, and being useful in the work we came to do.

Our plans for home assignment are far from fixed at present but we will be spending time with family and friends, taking some holiday, and visiting various churches that are supporting us.  We intend, God willing, to return to Morogoro in September, if our teammates will have us back!!

Thank you, as always, for your support, prayers and encouragement.

Many blessings,

Steve and Ruth


Prayer and Praise:

  • Praise God for the AIM Tanzania conference, for refreshment, good teaching and renewed relationships.
  • Pray for Tanzania’s new president and government.
  • Pray that the evangelists who attended the recent conference will be refreshed and equipped for their ministries.
  • Pray that God will guide us as we make plans for home assignment.


Random photos of the month:


 


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