On Sunday 8th November it was great to be preaching at Culcheth Christian Fellowship (I.M.) and also leading a service of induction for two new elders in the fellowship – Graham Edmundson and Geoff Bates. My presence there took me back some 30 years to a Connexional prayer meeting held in the same building (then Sunday School Rooms), when Geoff Mort shared the call of Isaiah in Isaiah Chapter 6 – "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” – That day I responded, admittedly only after the meeting had closed, and Geoff prayed with me as I said "Here am I, send me”. These rooms now form a modern chapel and it was good to be able to reflect on God’s faithfulness over the years.
The second Friday was our regular Admin Meeting in Wigan with some nutty issues to deal with and the rest of my weekend was lost as I succumbed to a migraine – thankfully a rare event these days – My thanks to those who stepped in to take my duties at Friars Green on the Saturday and the Sunday.
On Sunday 22nd November I was representing the Connexion at our Grappenhall Church which was celebrating its 160th Anniversary with the choir giving a presentation of "Greater Than Gold”, the story of Mary Jones
(Pictures 8 & 9). The whole presentation was excellent and the choir did amazingly, not least thanks to their hard work and that of Gill Brooks in orchestrating it and of Frank Pemberton who acted as narrator. At the beginning of the celebration, special guest Harry Hutchinson (a past President of the church), led a short service of rededication for the buildings as a whole – the chapel has undergone some extensive alteration and refurbishment. At the close of the service we enjoyed a beautiful buffet lunch in the newly finished Fellowship Room. It strikes me that the rooms are fit for purpose and our buildings are there to serve a purpose for the Kingdom… we are not there to serve our buildings.
November Reflection – Paris Attack
On the evening of Friday 13th November, we were brutally reminded of the brokenness of our world. The atrocity of the Paris terrorist attack left us reeling, driven to prayer, and we know it wasn’t just Paris that was suffering - Less reported was a serious attack in Beirut on the same day and, the day before, there was a bombing in Baghdad. Furthermore, we now know that the downing of the Russian airliner, which resulted in the death of 224 holiday makers, was also the result of a bomb. Then, just a week to the day later, we heard of the Mali attack. Do we not find ourselves echoing the words of Paul speaking to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” (NIV).
At times such as this our faith can be shaken. We pray for the families that are suffering loss and for the many that are frightened. We pray against evil in this world - but how do we face such an uncertain future?
Even through these dark days:
We can know that God is with us, for nothing can separate us from His love (Rm 8:38-39).
We can pray without ceasing for our world - that the Father would send the Holy Spirit for Christ’s sake and for ours!
We can resolve not to allow ourselves to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. (Rm 12:21)
And, maybe most of all, we can heed the words of Jesus who, when speaking of the last days, says "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” (Mk 13:33).
In a troubled world I pray that we may be instrumental in bringing hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless and His light to those living in darkness – to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
God bless and keep you in these days.