Category Archives: Blog

What is Your God-Given Gift?

PastorThe Body of Christ, the church, was designed by God to include everyone,

A group of animals got together in the forest one day and decided to start a school. There was a rabbit, a bird, a squirrel, a fish, and an eel. They formed a board of education and tried to create a curriculum. The rabbit insisted that burrowing in the ground be in the curriculum. The fish insisted on swimming. The squirrel insisted that perpendicular tree climbing be included, and the bird wanted flying. They put all these courses together and wrote a curriculum guide. Then they insisted that all of the animals take all of the subjects. Although the rabbit was getting an A in burrowing, perpendicular tree climbing was a real problem for him; he kept falling over backwards. Pretty soon he became brain damaged from these falls, and he couldn’t burrow well any more. He found that instead of making an A in burrowing, he was making a C. And, of course, he always made an F in perpendicular climbing. The bird was really beautiful at flying, but when it came to burrowing in the ground, he couldn’t do it so well. He kept breaking his beak and wings. Pretty soon he was making a C in flying as well as an F in burrowing. And he had a very bad time with perpendicular tree climbing. The squirrel was terrific at perpendicular tree climbing, but was so afraid of the water that he failed swimming altogether. The fish was easily the best in swimming class, but he wouldn’t get out of the water to come to any of the other classes. The valedictorian of the class was a mentally retarded eel who did everything in a halfway fashion. But the teachers were happy because everybody was taking all the subjects in their broad-based educational curriculum. Have you ever felt like the animals in that school? Have you ever been in situation where you are supposed to do things that you are not equipped to do? The Body of Christ, the church, was designed by God to include everyone, but God never intended for everyone to do everything. You don’t have to be like your pastor, or like your youth minister, or like anyone else. God gave you specific abilities-called spiritual gifts-which are to be used in the church and in the world by you and you alone. No one else is gifted quite the way you are, and there are many jobs that only you can do. Picture2There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12) The call to follow Christ is the call to discover our unique giftedness and then to use our God-given gifts and abilities to bring glory and honour to Him.

Blessings, Rae

Working in the cloud

Tech 1Tech time once again! Today we have a request… As a team we use DropBox a file sharing program to allow multiple members of the tech. and praise team to access files and service schedules etc. There is small amount of free space available when you sign up for DropBox, but to get more you have to pay. One way around this is to sign up your friends to the DropBox service, for which we get an additional free allowance. We are looking for people to try DropBox out, so that we can get the additional space without having to pay a subscription. If this is something you would consider – please speak to us on the tech team. How it works…? We would send you a link to install the program on your own computer. Once you have done this, we get the extra memory allowance in our program. You can use the program to share files with your friend and relatives or simply delete it after a month or two. We would still get the bonus.

 

One of the things we are looking at currently is creating an App for the church, with current material downloadable to your portable device. Is there anyone in the congregation with experience of creating portable apps? Please speak to me if you have – Neil.

 

Tech 2Finally, for those of you with Mac’s, I have found a cool app called Grand perspective. It maps your drive and gives you a pictorial representation of the space used by the junk you have on the disks. Allows you to see where you can save space…!

Neil

Standing on the Promises of God

What’s in a promise?

Haven’t we all made them?Picture1

Haven’t we all broken some?

We all make promises.  Some are of utmost importance, some maybe less so.

Those of us who are married have made several promises (vows) as part of the wedding ceremony.

If we have ever been in Court, we will have promised to tell the truth.

Politicians are regular promise makers and promise breakers!

Is it important to keep our promises?  As a noun, promise means a declaration to do (or not do) something, an assurance so of course, we should keep our promises.

God makes promises and He keeps them.  We can depend on that.

It has been calculated that there are 3573 promises in the Bible.  The word promise occurs over 50 times in the King James’ version and we can be assured that God will keep every one of the 3573 promises.

Russell carter wrote the hymn “Standing on the Promises of God”.  He was a Christian who succeeded in several areas of his life.  He was a star athlete in Military Academy, an excellent student who became a teacher, then a Methodist minister, eventually studying to become a doctor.  He was also a musician/songwriter.

Aged 30, he became seriously ill with a heart complaint and his fellow doctors could do no more for him.

He knelt and made a promise to God that whether he was healed or not, his life would be consecrated to God.  From then on the Word of God became alive to Carter as he stood on the promises of God for healing.

Over the next few months his health improved, his strength returned and his heart was completely healed.  He lived another 49 years.

The strange thing was he had written the hymn, “Standing on the Promises” several years before his illness but now the words became real to him.  Words he had written became a way of life for him, an integral part of who he was.

Romans 10:9:  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

John 6:37 “All the Father gives He will come to me and whoever comes to me, I will never cast out.”

 Jesus, the sinless Son of God was the fulfilment of God’s promise to send a Saviour, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.

“Because the sinless Saviour died,

My sinful soul is counted free

For God the Just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me.

Are you standing on the promises of God today?

 Chris Gault, Elder

 

Revival

Never give up praying for spiritual awakening. Jesus taught that we should always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Let’s follow the example of others who prayed until revival came. In the spring of 1904 a young Welshman named Evan Roberts was repeatedly awakened to pray from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m. By November a powerful spiritual awakening was spreading through Wales.

God worked through the testimony of a young new believer named Florrie Evans. When Pastor Joseph Evans asked for testimonies, Florrie arose and with a trembling voice said, “I love Jesus with all my heart.” God used this to melt the hearts of many others.

The London Times reported remarkable changes that took place in the public spirit. For example, in Swansea people who had left their parents in the “workhouse” came to take them out. Entire congregations were on their knees in prayer and for the first time there was not a single case of drunkenness at the Swansea County Petty Sessions. The Bible Society saw orders for Scriptures multiply to three times more than the previous year. At Bangor University revival fires were spreading in January, 1905.  There were only a third or a fourth of the students attending some of the classes…Beginning with a spontaneous outburst of praise and prayer among the men students, the movement spread . . at a united prayer meeting…some broke down sobbing.

David Lloyd George, who later became British Prime Minister, saw one of his political rallies taken over by the Welsh revival. On January 11th, 1905 he said the Welsh revival gave hope “that at the next election Wales would declare with no uncertain sound against the corruption in high places which handed over the destiny of the people to the terrible brewing interest…”

The Times reported on January 16th, 1905 that At Glyn-Neath a feud had existed for the past ten or twelve years between the two Independent Chapels, but during the past week united services have been held in both chapels, and the ministers have shaken hands before the congregations.  The fires of spiritual awakening crossed the ocean.

In 1904 Atlanta newspapers reported an amazing revival of prayer sweeping the city. On November 2nd the Supreme Court of Georgia closed so people could attend prayer meetings:stores, factories, offices and even saloons followed suit. For two hours at midday all Denver was held in a spell . . The marts of trade were deserted between noon and two o’clock this afternoon, the Denver Post reported 1n January, 1905. One Kentucky pastor died of overwork after receiving 1,000 new members in 2 months.  Out of a population of 50,000 only 50 unconverted adults remained in Atlantic City!

Revival came to north China in 1932 in answer to several years of prayer. At one point, Norwegian missionary, Maria Monsen, wondered what good her praying could do. She longed to see God’s river of life flood spiritually dry China. Then she realized that the mighty Yangtze River began when tiny drops of rain came together in the top of the mountains. Maria sought a prayer partner to join her in claiming the promise “that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Mt. 18:19). When she finally found someone she exclaimed, “The awakening has begun! Two of us have agreed!” The rain drops of revival prayer were coming together.

In November of 1930 Maria announced, “A great revival is coming soon and it will begin in the North China Mission.” She was convinced that the missionaries had fulfilled the conditions for revival found in 2 Chron 7:14.  In 1932 about forty Christians were meeting in a town in North China for prayer four times a day beginning at 5:00 a.m. Believers were convicted of sin. Two men repented of hating each other. Love was strong and deep. Joy abounded. When revival came more people were born again than in any previous year in North China. One missionary estimated that 3,000 people came to Christ in his town. Pastors, missionaries, and Bible women experienced a deeper Christian life than they had ever known before.

A spirit of prayer was poured out on the church. People loved to pray. Many times prayer meetings lasted 2 or 3 hours. Prayers were short, fervent, and sometimes tearful. Children’s prayers led to the salvation of their parents and teachers.

In 1936 revival fires broke out on the campus of Wheaton College, Chicago. A senior named Don Hillis arose in chapel to voice a plea for revival. Students responded with an all-day prayer meeting on Saturday. Both faculty and students confessed sin and made things right with one another.

The Wheaton campus was touched again in 1943 following a message on confession of sin during special services. The captain of the cross-country team arose to confess that he had violated college policy by leading his team in a Sunday race. Pride, criticism, and cheating were confessed by other students. Lunch and dinner slipped by unnoticed while the meeting continued into the evening service.

“Stop the bus!” a member of the Wheaton College Glee Club shouted. The Glee Club was touring in Florida in 1950. A revival that had broken out on the campus in Illinois had touched this student hundreds of miles away. He confessed he had broken the rules and other students began to turn to God.

God’s promise is still true. If we seek Him with all our heart, we shall surely find Him ready to pour the riches of His grace and love into the lives of His people (Jer 29:13).

 

Pastor’s Corner

Sietske Postma had just finished her training to become an elementary school teacher when the Nazi army invaded her country of Holland. Sietske lived in a small country village with her father, Djoerd, a woodworker, and her younger brother.

Though they were not politically active, the family was shocked by those in their town who viewed Nazi control as a desirable thing and even more shocked by those who enlisted in the German army or became supporters of the Nazi party.

Initially, the Germans interfered little in the lives of the people of Holland. As the war continued, though, the Nazis instituted their cruel program of Jewish identification, deportation, and eventual extermination.

One day when the Postma family walked through the entrance to their little country town, they found a sign had been posted which read “DOGS AND JEWS FORBIDDEN.”

Word quickly spread that anyone who attempted to stand in the way of the Nazis’ efforts to eliminate the Jews would suffer the same fate as the Jews.

Devout Christians, Sietske and her family prayed fervently for God to intervene in the situation.

On a crisp March evening in 1943, the pastor of a local church paid the Postma family a visit. After tea and sweets were served and small talk was made, the pastor’s face became serious. “I want to tell you the real reason for my stopping by tonight,” he said in a sober, hushed tone.

The three faces of the Postma family stared in puzzlement.

“I was wondering if you would consider taking in someone,” he said slowly.

That someone, of course, was a Jew. A person to be hidden from, not only snooping Gestapo agents, but even from the Postmas’ neighbours. A person to be fed, clothed, entertained—but never revealed. A person whose mere presence in the home could result in a trip to the gas chamber or a bullet to the head.

The Postmas knew that saying yes to this request would change their family forever. They knew they would have to live with caution, subterfuge, anxiety, and even terror as the Postma house would certainly be searched more than once by Nazi soldiers.

Without hesitation Djoerd Postma said, “Yes.”

“How about a Jewish girl?” the pastor asked.

Djoerd looked at his daughter, Sietske, who quickly replied, “Yes!”

The Postmas never felt it was their pastor asking them to risk their lives, but that it was the voice of God.

Because they said yes, 22-year-old Nurit Hegt lived with them until the fall of Germany in 1945. Because they said yes, Nurit, the only surviving member of her family, grew to adulthood and eventually moved to Israel, where she married and raised a family.

Because the Postmas said yes, Tree E-37 was planted in their memory on the Avenue of Righteousness in the city of Jerusalem.

What is God calling you to do? Are you willing to say yes? It may cost you your friends. It may cost you some popularity. It may cost you things you value highly. It may cost you your life.

 But when you say yes to God, you can be assured that your life will take on new meaning and purpose. And you will not be alone. When Jesus gave His disciples His great commission to go and make disciples, He told them, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). He did not spare them from persecution or death, but He enabled them to change the course of history. Because they said yes, we have the good news that leads to eternal life.

 The Christian life is more than willingness to do what Jesus asks us to do-it is costly obedience. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).

Can you say yes to that?

Rae

Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday little Johnny listened as his Sunday school teacher told the class that the lesson would be about the meaning of Easter. “Can anyone tell the Easter story?” she asked. When no one volunteered to speak, she called on Frank.

“Umm, I don’t think I know,” Frank said. The teacher reassured him that was okay and moved on to Betty.

“I don’t know how to tell it,” she responded.world-cross-shadow

Finally, little Johnny decided to raise his hand. He said he would tell the Easter story. The teacher was pleasantly surprised at his willingness, since he was usually the class clown.

“On Easter,” said Johnny, “Jesus and his disciples were eating the Jewish Passover at the Last Supper, but later Jesus was deceived and turned over to the Romans by one of his disciples. He was accused of teaching he was the Messiah and when he confessed it, the Romans made him wear a crown of thorns, took him to be crucified, and he was hung on a cross with nails through his hands and feet. He said ‘It is finished’ which means ‘Debt paid in full’ and died. He was definitely dead because the water was separated from his blood when they stabbed his side. So they buried him in a nearby cave on Friday which was sealed off by a large boulder.”

“Very good, Johnny!” the teacher gasped excitedly. “And what else happened that we celebrate on Easter?”

Johnny thought for a moment before continuing. “Now, on Easter Sunday each year, we move the boulder aside so that Jesus can come out. And if he sees his shadow, then we know there will be six more weeks of winter!”

Johnny got a little bit confused about the Easter story!

How would you tell the Easter Story? According to Scripture, the Resurrection of Christ is the centrepiece of our faith. There are many people who believe in Jesus – who believe that he died on the Cross for our sins – but who have a hard time believing in the Resurrection. Paul clearly teaches that without a risen Christ, we have no Gospel at all. Unless you believe in the risen Christ, our religion is pointless. But because he was raised from the dead, we will also be raised to eternal life. Now that’s good news! (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)

 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

He is Risen!  Happy Easter!

 

Rae

 

Tech Corner 10

Tech 1At the time of writing we are pushed to the line. We should get this into the mag (beginning of March) by an hour or two. Timing is important and sometimes really difficult to get right. When you are sitting at the computer controlling the graphics as the congregational belt their way through the latest praise song, it can be very difficult to get the button push just right. Too early and the congregation loose their thread. Too late and there is an embarrassing pause as three people carry on from memory and the remainder wait. Sitting singing along, praising God, and I just have to push that button, now… and now…. and {what’s the next song?} {how many verses are there?} and where are we … now… sorry! It’s the hardest job in the tech team. Later this month, we are planning to have a tech afternoon. During the afternoon we will leave all our kit set up and invite / encourage members of the congregation to come in and see what we do. We can give you a chance to mix the band, from a multi-track recording, or set up the videos for a service. Come and see what we do – watch the notices and website for a date. Speaking of which, we are sitting at just under 700 hits a month. We are attempting to keep the pages up to date and adding material as necessary. Please use the site, and link to items of interest – it will keep us on the search pages. Also there is a visitors book for Tech 2guests to sign into and comment on – please encourage any visitors to leave comments. This month’s hot tips – For the techies an Iphone app – JL Audio, SPL meter – measure sound live and analyse the frequencies with an RTA. For the non-techies – how about an online egg timer? – http://e.ggtimer.com/

Date for the diary: Inspiration week – last week in March – Elgin Youth Café – events and inspirational speakers for all ages.

Neil & the team…831363

Pastor’s Corner ~ March ’15

Many years ago a rich man had a servant whose job was to carry water each day from a distant stream to his master’s house.

The servant carried the water in two large pots, each of which hung from opposite ends of a pole he carried across his neck. One pot was in perfect condition and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream. The other pot had a crack in it, though, and always arrived at the master’s house half full.

For two years the servant delivered only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house each day. The undamaged pot was proud of itself. It had been made to carry water without leaking, and it did the job perfectly. The cracked pot, on the other hand, felt ashamed. It was miserable knowing it was not able to accomplish what it had been made to do. Still, it did the best it could, even if it was only half of what the perfect pot could do.

Finally the cracked pot spoke to the servant one day by the stream. ìI need to apologise to you, the pot said, For two years now, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value for your efforts.

The servant simply said, when we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.

As they made their way back to the house, the cracked pot saw the gorgeous wildflowers beside the path and was cheered a little by their beauty.

When they reached the house, the servant said to the cracked pot, Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path? I’ve always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day when we walked back from the stream, you watered them. For two years I’ve been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you weren’t just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.logo 1

Each of us has our own unique flaws. You might say we’re all a bunch of crackpots. But if we will allow him to, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His table.

In God’s great economy, nothing goes to waste. The Lord knows what your shortcomings are, and He will use them to His own advantage and to your advantage, as well. He’ll throw some flower seeds in your path and give you a chance to water them along the way.

Don’t be ashamed or afraid of your flaws. Instead, celebrate them and remember that God has always used imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will. Paul wrote, If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30). Paul had quite a few flaws, which he freely acknowledged, but God still used him in a mighty way.

He can use you as well!

Blessings,

Rae