Category Archives: Blog

Who is God?

In an ancient village, a parable tells, all the people were blind. One day while walking on the road, six men from that village came upon a man riding an elephant. The six men, who had heard about elephants but had never been close to one, asked the rider to allow them to touch the great beast. They wanted to go back to their village to tell the other villagers what an elephant looked like.

The rider agreed and led each of the six men to a different part of the elephant. All the blind men touched and stroked the elephant until they were certain they knew what the animal looked like.

In great anticipation they returned to their village to report their experience. The villagers gathered around to hear about the elephant. The first man, who had felt the animal’s side, said, “An elephant is like a great thick wall.”

“Nonsense,” said the second man, who had felt the elephant’s tusk. “He is rather short, round, and smooth, but very sharp. I would compare an elephant not with a wall but with a spear!”

The third man, who had touched the ear, took exception. “It is nothing at all like a wall or a spear,” he said. “It is like a gigantic leaf made of thick wool carpet. It moves when you touch it.”

“I disagree,” said the fourth man, who had handled the trunk. “I can tell you that an elephant is like a giant snake.”

The fifth man shouted his disapproval. He had touched one of the elephant’s legs and concluded, “An elephant is round and thick, like a tree.”

The sixth man had been allowed to ride on the elephant’s back, and he protested, “Can none of you accurately describe an elephant? Clearly he is like a gigantic moving mountain!”

To this day, the men continue to argue, and no one in the village has any idea what an elephant looks like.

The Bible describes God in many different ways because He is experienced in many different ways. He is the Creator of the Universe, but He is also the faithful friend. He is the righteous judge, but He is also the forgiving Father. For us to understand God, or for us to understand the Bible, we must carefully study the Word of God in its entirety. Whenever we perceive only one view of God, or one view of the truth, we are likely to be misled.

One of the reasons that so many people still don’t understand the Gospel is because Christians can’t agree on what it is. As Christians, we must strive to find the common ground between us and to present a united front to the world. Jesus prayed that all of us may be one: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23b).

Blessings,

Rae

Being Disciples of Christ

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ means a total commitment to our Lord. And commitment to the Lord always means commitment to his Church. I read a quote, this month, from the Word for Today that emphasises this point.

“Your God-given potential will never be realised until you commit wholeheartedly to a local fellowship and invest yourself in serving God’s vision for that Church.”

There is a great story told by Kierkegaard that illustrates this truth:

There was a congenial man who led the fire brigade in a local town. Everyone thought of the fire chief as a gentleman of the highest order. Children loved to visit the firehouse and look at the fire engines. Everyone loved the Fire Chief.

But one day there was a fire! The fire chief rounded up his brigade, and they rushed to the building that had flames pouring from its windows. Much to his surprise, the fire chief couldn’t get to the fire because between him and the burning building were several hundred townspeople. Each of them was holding a water pistol, and from time to time the people would smile at one another and squirt their pistols at the raging inferno.

“What does the fire chief say?”

The fire chief yells, “What are you doing here? Why do you have water pistols? What are you trying to accomplish?”

The spokesman for the group answers, “We’ve all gathered here to support your efforts, sir! We all believe in the good work you do in this community, and each of us has come to make a humble contribution.” With that the people in the crowd smile at each other, aim their water pistols at the fire, squeeze the triggers, and squirt some water at the flames.

“We all could be doing more,” says the spokesman (Squirt! Squirt). Couldn’t we, folks? (Squirt, Squirt). But, the little that each contribute we gladly give, just to show that we are with you.” (Squirt,Squirt)

How does the fire chief respond? The fire chief says, “Get out of here! Fires like this are not for well-meaning people who want to make limited contributions! Such situations demand fireman who are ready to risk their lives in putting out the flames!”

Kierkegaard makes the point that going to Church and making our small contributions to the work of ministry from time to time might be nice, but so much more required of us if we are to be truly committed disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was reading the roles and responsibilities that every member of LBC commits to:

  • Christian fellowship – All members are expected to attend at services, small groups etc.
  • Christian giving – All members are expected to tithe.
  • Christian service – All members are expected to engage in some form of Christian service.
  • Christian witness – All members are expected to bear witness for Christ.
  • Christian business – All members are expected to attend business meetings.

As pastor of LBC I am so thankful to God for the many disciples of Jesus who are totally committed to the local Church that God has called us to. May we strive to always seek to work for the glory of Christ and His bride.

May God bless you over the summer break.

Rae

Easter People

There is one song that we regularly sing which encapsulates from me what Easter is all about. The song is “In Christ Alone My Hope is Found.”
As Augustine said: “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.”
Easter tells us that we are a people of hope and that whatever we face in life everything will be all right in the end.
This Easter I want to share with you some thoughts from Martin Hodson, one of Core leaders of the Baptist Union of Scotland:
Everything Will Be All Right In The End
Many times I’ve been watching a film and the characters seem to be lurching from crisis to crisis. But in the back of my mind I know everything is going to be all right in the end. The problems will finally be resolved, there will be a twist in the tale or a turn of events that brings the plot to a satisfactory, even joyful, conclusion.
It can sound simplistic to say to a friend in a crisis, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be all right in the end,’ because often that’s not what happens. In life things can go from bad to worse with signs of hope nowhere to be found.
Well, almost nowhere. The events of Easter, culminating in the Resurrection of Jesus, give us eternal hope. Jesus entered the depths of human experience, crucified, dead and buried. This appeared to be the end…and everything was not all right. But on the third day God raised Jesus to life, inaugurating the new creation in which all death will be defeated and we will rise to share in the renewal of all things. That will mark the end of history and everything will be definitely and finally all right.
Right now we are well aware that things are not all as they should be; it’s like the world is groaning in expectation of something better to come. Easter is the breakthrough moment when the hope of glory breaks into the sorrow of the present. The Resurrection of Jesus promises us that ultimately he will ‘transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body’ (Phil. 3.20). So for now, if everything in your life is not all right it means one simple thing: it is not yet the end.
Blessings,
Rae
The Alpha Course has now
reached its conclusion. I would
like to express my sincere thanks
to all who contributed in any way
to the successful running of this
year’s Alpha Course.
It is not yet the end!

Refuse to Settle


Are you pressing “on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called [you]” (Philippians 3:14 NIV 2011 Edition), or have you “settled” along the way? God made a pact with Abraham – one that continues to influence the modern world. A lesser known fact is that years earlier, Abraham’s father, Terah, “set out … to go to Canaan”, the land of abundance where God later called Abraham. But Terah never made it: “When they came to Haran, they settled there.” No question, it couldn’t have been easy travelling hundreds of miles across rough terrain with flocks, herds, children and servants. Can you imagine the sheer logistics? Remember there were no professional movers to pack and load your stuff! Finally Terah decided they couldn’t go any further, so they settled where they were comfortable.
One pastor adds: I wonder how many times we do the same thing? We have a big dream … to excel in our careers … as parents … and in our walk with God. We get started but things get difficult and achieving our goal doesn’t happen as quickly as we hoped. Perhaps similar to Abraham’s father we say “Let’s just settle here. It’s not really what we wanted but it’s good enough.”
Don’t fall into that trap. You were made for more than “good enough” … Don’t settle for a little love and joy, a bit of peace and contentment, or a small helping of happiness. … Pull up the stakes, pack your tents, get your belongings and start moving forward. Enlarge your vision. You may have had a delay but … you can begin again.
Copyright UCB Word for Today (19 January 2017)

Tech Corner 12

The gap between posts is a reflection on how manic life is at the moment and how much, as a fellowship, we have going on. To give you a flavour;

  • Special ‘one service’ Sundays from the end of Nov all through Christmas, with loads of baptisms.
  • Cantata, was preceded this year with an incident that blew the main front of house speakers.  An electronic problem with a  piece of faulty equipment caused the speakers to shriek so loudly that one of them almost fell off the wall. By the time you read this, hopefully, they will be repaired.  Patrick did a fantastic job putting together the ‘jury-rigged’ system that we have all been using over the Christmas period.
  • We have a long standing gremlin in the hall projector that is proving elusive to fix.
  • The radio frequencies that we currently use for our radio mics are being gradually sold off to mobile phone companies for 5G.  This week we took delivery of the first of many replacements we will have to make over the next few years.
  • The new evening service programme is being planned and prepared for – see here for service details

Add to this church meetings, prayer meetings and training evenings and you will see how much has been done recently.  Please pray for the tech team as we try to support the praise and worship team,   and the church leadership…

Part of the problem is caused by our team running at half strength; which in an ideal world means we are looking for five new tech team trainees.  People willing to watch and learn, coil cables and set things out.  Please contact us if you are interested in shadowing for a few weeks.

Anyway, enough of that!  Here are a couple of phone apps for you to have a look at.

  • AA… thats the roadside breakdown service…  If you are one of their 15M members, try our their new phone app. It can remind you when servicing and insurance are due and has a panic button in case you breakdown
  • Fitbit… for those of us who have to watch our weight, the FB mobile phone app can use the phone’s GPS to track your activity and has a built in food log that you can use even if you haven’t bought one of their watches.

More to follow…..

New Techies?

IMG_0677Our preoccupation up on the balcony, as you will realise if you have been listening to the notices recently, is people, or lack of them. 

We first published this post in May 2015 and since then things have got worse not better ….!

The Need

We need 3…. Having three individuals on for each service allows us to do some training, keeps the stress levels down, and ensures we are prepared and ready to switch on when Rae stands up.  Continue reading New Techies?

The Meaning of Life

Author Robert Fulghum tells this story of one of his professors, a wise man whose name was Alexander Papaderos.Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 17.38.20

At the last session on the last morning of a two-week seminar on Greek culture, Dr. Papaderos turned and made the ritual gesture: “Are there any questions?”

Quiet quilted the room. These two weeks had generated enough questions for a lifetime, but for now, there was only silence.

“No questions?” Papaderos swept the room with his eyes.

So, I asked. “Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?”

The usual laughter followed, and people stirred to go.

Papaderos held up his hand and stilled the room and looked at me for a long time, asking with his eyes if I was serious and seeing from my eyes that I was.

“I will answer your question.”

Taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into a leather billfold and brought out a very small round mirror, about the size of a quarter. And he went something like this.

“When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.

“I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine-in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.

“I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light—truth, understanding, knowledge—is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.

“I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world into the black places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of life.”

And then he took his small mirror and, holding it carefully, caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them on my face and onto my hands folded on the desk.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5) and as his followers, we are to be like that little mirror, reflecting the light of Christ into the dark corners of the world. That is the meaning of the Christian life. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

I trust that Lossiemouth Baptist Church will be always be a people who reflect the light of Christ in this community to the glory of God.

My message to you today is keep reflecting the light of Christ.

Blessings,

Rae

Tech Corner 11 ~ Seating

Tech 1This tech corner, is a guide to church seating, and an encouragement to the congregation to get the most out of choosing where you sit in the building.

In the concert world there is a perception that a good sound system gives a uniform sound dispersion pattern; giving the same experience to every ticket holder; every seat the same.

In the sanctuary, the same perceptions do not hold true. Firstly, the service isn’t a performance, it’s an individual taking part in a corporate activity, but having an individual experience with God. Secondly, we are aware of the variations and rather than spending vast amounts of money trying to fix them, we would encourage you to choose where you sit accordingly.

Loudness: the volume is greatest in the middle of the church and quieter on the front row and at the back under the balcony.

Stereo: We mix the sound in stereo, so the best quality of sound is going to be in the middle of the sanctuary.

Deaf loop:  We operate an induction loop for people with hearing aids.  The cabling for this is under the floor about 5 feet out from the wall, so the best signal is in the four seats closest to the wall all around the outside of the sanctuary.

Video screens: At the time of the renovations we moved from a big screen and expensive projector to brighter video screens.  They are smaller, but give a much brighter and higher resolution picture, so if you have a problem seeing the words, move forwards a few rows.Tech 2

In a rapidly growing congregation we are always going to have people with different tastes. We would encourage you to get the most out of each service by sitting  in a seat gives you the best acoustic experience.

Encourage One Another ~ Rae

The verse for 2016 was launched at the morning services onJanuary 10th (Rae’s sermon- click here)

1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

This is an exciting season to be part of LBC, this local church, as God is on the move. I completely believe that God has brought us together for such a time as this to serve God in these days. I also be-lieve God has greater things in store as we move on in faith and obedience.

Fred Catherwood once said: “The church should be a community of encouragement.” As we reflect on our calling as believers, and as the local church, we should always seek to encourage one another and build each other up.

Tony Campolo said: “Building up one another is a God-given responsibility. The Scripture admonish-es us to enter into a ministry of ‘edification’ or uplifting. That means when people are down, we are supposed to pick them up; when they feel like nothing, we are supposed to make them feel like some-thing special; when they feel worthless, we are supposed to make them feel infinitely precious.”

PastorThere is a man in the life of the early church who is not remembered as an awesome preacher or a visionary leader but rather by one thing: Wherever he goes he encourages people.:

His name is Joseph the Levite. He was given the nickname Barnabas. In Acts 4:36 we are told his name means “Son of encouragement.” What a great nickname! He sought to encourage others. He was generous of Spirit and full of goodness. He believed in people and he cheered them on. Barna-bas had a very important ministry and he is mentioned at least twenty five times in the book of Acts and another five times in the Epistles. As a person he was generous with his giving (Acts 4:37); he encouraged Paul is his early service for the Lord (Acts 9:23-27); he mentored people; he gave them a second chance (Acts 15:36-41). He was a blessing and an encouragement to the Church.

We are told in Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today.” The Church should be a community of encouragement: people who journey together in a team, encourag-ing one another, as we partner in the Gospel.

I thank God that this is something that this church is doing. But let’s strive to do it better. Let’s con-sider how we as family can we encourage and build each other up so that we grow in grace and in ef-fectiveness in our ministry and mission. All to the glory of God!

Blessings,

Rae