Being Humble during Lent – Vicar’s Comment

The period leading up to Easter which we call Lent reminds us of Jesus’ time in the wilderness, and can also remind us of the need for self-sacrifice – as we seek to follow in his footsteps.

However, if we’re not careful it can also be a contradictory time. For example, in Matthew 6 Jesus describes fasting as something which is ‘done in secret’ by his followers (6:18, NIV), and yet perhaps we’ve not always been shy about telling others we’ve given up chocolate or whatever for Lent!

We don’t have to fast during Lent (in fact we’re not commanded to fast on any particular day of the year), but Jesus’ teaching for when we do fast should remind us that such things should always come out of our relationship with God, not out of a desire to be seen as holy by others, or out of merely following a tradition, or as a way of ‘earning’ God’s favour (as if that were possible!).

In our walk with Jesus, let’s remember those words we often use in confession, which remind us of how personal and humble our faith should be: ‘To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:8, NIV)

And that humble walking with our God – whether during Lent or not – is of course only possible because of the Easter story: Christ’s death for sins and resurrection.

In Jesus’ name
Chris

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March 2020 Newsletter

Below are the 2 parts of the March 2020 Newsletter.

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March 2020 inside

March outside 2020

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‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ – Vicar’s Comment Feb 2020

‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’. So says Nehemiah to the returnee Jews in 8:10 (NIV) of the book which bears his name.

Where do you draw strength from?

The temptation might be to think that the simple pattern of rest / work / rest / work is applicable to the life of following Jesus, but when you think that ALL of life – including our rest – is part of the Christian life, you can sense it’s not that straightforward!

Instead, maybe think of this: have you experienced that sense that when something excites you, it energises you?

You could be feeling a bit tired, but a kick-about in the park might well ‘pick you up’ for the rest of the day.

Nehemiah tells us here that our strength for serving God comes out of our joy in Him.

So, if you feel like you’re flagging following Jesus this year, don’t think that stopping following for a little while is the answer – instead pursue Him, ask Him to give you joy through his Holy Spirit, ask Him to excite you, so that you can be energised for his work!!!!

Yours in Jesus’ name
Chris

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Newsletter Feb 2020

Below are the 2 parts of the February 2020 Church Newsletter.

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February outside 2020

February 2020 inside

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God is big enough – Vicar’s Comment

I wonder how you view a New Year. Perhaps it depends on whether you are naturally more of a planner or a ‘live in the moment’ sort of person?

If you’re the former, perhaps it’s tempting to think of new seasons of life such as a new year as opportunities to clear all the rubble away and build from scratch again – this, that or the other will change this year, this year’s it’s going to be different!!

As Christians, we are called to seek God and His perfect ways day after day, month after month and year after year; this is a good and godly thing to do.

But if things don’t go to plan, if your attempts to build from scratch don’t turn out as you hoped, remember that God is big enough to handle any unexpected challenges which come your way as you seek to follow Jesus.

As Romans 8:28 says, ‘ in all things God works for the good of those who love Him’ (Romans 8:28 NIV). So pursue God in 2020 and remember – He is big enough for anything coming your way.

Yours in Jesus,
Chris

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January 2020 Newsletter

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January outside 2020

January 2020 inside

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Jesus of the Nativity (and the Resurrection) – Vicar’s comment

One person I know read Mark’s gospel not so long ago, and was struck by the fact that Jesus knew He was going to die.¬† It wasn’t just something out of control that happened to Him.

Perhaps that’s a telling observation.

At Christmas we recite that first nativity story, of our Lord being born.

However, for so many people they never really get beyond the first part of the story…..almost as if for them Jesus never really gets out of the manger!

But the Jesus of the nativity, is the Jesus of the cross, is the Jesus of the resurrection and is the Jesus who will one day return.

All of it happened, and all of it holds true for us……all of the time.

Why not pray for someone this Christmas that they come to understand more of the whole Jesus of the whole gospel?

Yours in Jesus,
Chris

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December 2019 Newsletter

Here are the 2 parts of the December 2019 Newsletter.

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December 2019 inside

December outside 2019

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Be still and know – Vicar’s comment

I wonder how often you ask someone to give you their perspective on something about you or your life?

I’ve been struck recently by the fact that even when by God’s grace I think I sense where we’re heading, it’s possible to feel a bit ‘foggy’, like when you feel you see the day-to-day detail but not so much the bigger picture.

And so it’s worth remembering that God can use other Christians to help us gain godly perspective on things.

In Proverbs we read that ‘plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed‘ (Proverbs 15:22, NIV).

Modern life can be very ‘me, me, me’, but let’s make sure we are humbly open to godly, biblical counsel from others where it is to be found…even when it means admitting we might have blind spots!!

And of course, let’s be humble and honest before the Lord Jesus and seek his will in everything we are and everything we do.

Creator of everything is the most sensible approach we can have.

That’s why it’s been so good to focus on prayer at this time of year through the Thy Kingdom Come initiative.

So, whatever your circumstances at the minute, whether in busyness or rest, ‘Be still and know that I am God’, as well.

Yours in Jesus
Chris

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November 2019 Newsletter

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November outside 2019 November 2019 inside b

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