Category Archives: 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)

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

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

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

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