Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Lovely Video

It's half term and I will be on holiday for a couple of days, so just a brief blog today.

Can I draw your attention to this lovely, tear-jerker?

A shoebox of gifts for an underprivileged child that may have nothing else for Christmas this year. You can't argue with that that.

We will be collecting Operation Christmas Child gift boxes at our church again this year, get in touch if you want a leaflet. The list of what to buy can be found here: http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/what-to-pack Anyone who wants to make one up from in or outside the church is most welcome.

They need to be with us at the latest November 18th.

Have a blessed half-term week, especially if you are enjoying family time or a break.


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Do you ever worry that you are spending your time distracting yourself and maybe life is passing you by? I heard someone on the radio this week theorising that we spend so much time distracting ourselves that we never really live. Facebook, TV, chores, 'keeping busy' is an art we seem to be perfecting in this country.

In a lecture I was watching this week on Genesis the teacher was talking about the moment when the serpent said to Eve "You will not surely die" if you eat from the forbidden tree. God had told Adam and Eve that they would surely die if they ate of it, but the serpent, knowing this effect would not be immediate, chose to deceive them. 

Those fatal words are whispered into our ears all the time by today's distraction culture, aren't they? Why worry about the consequences of your living? You will not surely die! And if you do, well, it's too far off to concern yourself with now. And what good does it do to think about it anyway?

And slowly but surely, to support our distraction from it, we try to eradicate the reality of death from our radar. Celebrities in the public eye hide signs of aging any way they can. TV and film directors choose not to use aging female actors or presenters for substantial roles. Emergency services and funeral directors deal with our dead and we need never even come into contact with them unless we choose to. We don't talk about it.

And yet, spending our lives denying the passing of time can prevent us from engaging with real issues and living purposefully. Do you have enough space in all the 'keeping busy' to consider your impact on the world? To consider whether you'll be happy with what you achieved when you look back? Did you do some good while you were here?
Do you have time to consider if God actually exists? Or in general what life might actually be about?

Nobody has time to waste, but we each can make time for a little contemplation. Reviewing your life, your priorities, and taking some time to search for purpose, could well be a good investment... 


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Emotional Rollercoaster

What does it take to knock you off your perch? I mean, if you're having a good day and you're getting along contentedly, how much does it take to bring you down and start making you feel anxious or tense?

Sometimes I think it doesn't take us very much. A careless remark from somebody, a bad decision that we feel guilty about afterwards, a bit of negativity of one sort or another. It's not that people set out to bring us down, or that we intend to do silly things and stew over them, but sometimes we can find our mood and our outlook has changed very suddenly and it's hard to get it back.

They say a good percentage of the things we worry about are unnecessary. When people say "Smile, it may never happen!" they're probably right. We show a lack of perspective when we let little upsets get us down. We need to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and we also need to understand that we can't do everything and we're not called to. When we try to do everything, and do it perfectly, we're bound to experience, in with our moments of triumph, a lot of disillusionment.

If you are feeling guilty about some minor grievance, or some good work you didn't do, maybe you need to give yourself a break. Jesus is perfect, you're not. It's not your job to display every virtue at every opportunity, or to solve every issue that arises. You need to ask God what He is expecting of you, and you can bet on it being more reasonable than your own or anyone else's expectations!

Of course, as I said on Sunday, what God asks won't always look reasonable (think Jesus telling Peter to get out of the boat to walk on the water with Him), and it can be extremely challenging. How much more important is it then, that we are not sidetracked with unnecessary worries and agendas that we've put on ourselves?

Look at these verses from James. Is there doubt in your life which is causing you to be unstable? Maybe you need to ask God to develop wise perspective and steadfastness in you. Ask and trust Him. Trust and do not worry.

"2 Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness . . .
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

1 James: 2-8 (ESV)


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

When you don't feel like a champion!

I hope you won't mind if I use my blog this week to ask for prayer.

As I think about my congregation today, particularly those who serve a lot in the church, I can think of a lot of people who could use a bit of extra strength at this time, something to cheer them and help them along.

God can refresh people in a way that nothing else can so if you could take a moment to pray for His help for the attendees of Bures Baptist Church that would be great.

I have spoken to various people recently who are either exhausted, grieving, ill, in difficult practical circumstances, feeling worn down, stressed at work, lacking direction or any combination of the above.

It does make me sad to see people like that, especially when those people are my church family, people I care about, serve alongside and see week in week out.

I've said it so much that I think it's probably a cliché in my sermons now, but being a Christian is not about having an easy life. I thought this the other day, as I was driving my car and singing along to "We Are The Champions" at the top of my voice! While it is a very gleefully arrogant song, there is something quite profound about it. Life is hard, and a little defiance in the face of it is probably quite helpful sometimes. So try belting out, "We'll keep on fiiiiighting to the eeeeeend," when you have the opportunity!

Christians believe that life is a fight. A fight with forces of darkness to help bring about the goodness of God's plans on this Earth. And sometimes it can really feel like it too.

You can spend all your time trying to keep up with your commitments and being a good employee/family member/Christian etc, and find that life is getting you down.

You are in a fight.

Your strength is in God. Not in effort or busyness. Take time out to focus on Him and ask for refreshing, He will be there for you. Things won't always feel this way, but you will need to go back to Him time and again to ask for His help.  And as you do that, remember that I'm praying for you, and so are other readers of my blog now!  


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


With all the Harvest events in Bures this week (the school visiting the church to present their gifts, the Harvest supper, Harvest lunch for the elderly [which Chris and I get to go to – yum!], and the Harvest Festival on Sunday), it makes me wonder what there is for us to learn from harvest.

Like Christmas, it is a good time to remember all the blessings we have, and to seek to bless others - particularly those who need food. But harvest is specifically about the end of a growing process – and I think it can teach us a lesson about appreciating growth.

In anybody’s life, the end of a growing process is worth celebrating. God often allows us to go through challenging times because they are part of a growing process and getting to the end of that process is often a real achievement. I wonder how many people are in the midst of a ‘growing process’ right now. It could be trying to get to the end of a course, or an illness, persisting through a period of grief or unemployment or stress at work. I expect in one way or another most of us are in the middle of some sort of process we are working through. If you feel you are coming to the end of one, well done! Don’t forget to celebrate what you’ve achieved and learnt through that time of growth. You might also want to thank God for standing by you in it.

In the farming world, the whole point of the growing process is the fruit that is harvested in the end. What fruit has been developed in you by the growing process you’ve been going through? What is developing in you now? Perhaps it’s one of the fruits of the spirit, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). If the process is developing any of those in you, it is helping you to become more like Jesus! And if that is the case, both for you and the people around you, it is growth worth having and will yield a harvest worth celebrating.