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Thought for the Month - November


Remembering, reflecting and re-telling our stories

November is here! Outside, things are changing – evenings are darker now the clocks have gone back, leaves are rapidly changing colour and falling, and our lawn at the manse is covered with windfall apples, with shiny green and red skins, still edible if gathered quickly. Nothing stays the same, but we know that the year’s cycle will turn, and new life will come again.

November is a month for remembering – Remembrance Sunday has an added significance this year with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. November is a special time for Tony and me to remember our fathers – Tony’s dad’s birthday was the 10th and my dad died on the 5th five years ago. I remember the evening of the day he died, driving to a house group about 8 miles away, and seeing the sky filled with fireworks. It felt surreal, and yet somehow fitting, as I believed that my dad was being welcomed into Heaven. It was devastating to lose him, but somehow I knew that God was in it, that God was with me, and that my dad was with God.

November can also be a month for reflection – a time to reflect on the past and give thanks for the people we love, those still with us and those who have gone ahead of us, and also to thank God for the many blessings we’ve received through the years. I find myself looking through photo albums, remembering holidays and family gatherings, special times with friends, and maybe some sad or difficult times too. In all of this, it is really good if we have a chance to share memories and stories with others. We can often find things in common with others, important and profound things, especially in the community of believers. We know that God has been there with us throughout our lives, sharing in our experiences, walking beside us and somehow ahead of us too. He is a constant presence, a faithful friend and a very present help in times of trouble, as the psalmist says (Psalm 46:1).

Each of us has our own stories to tell and it can be a great encouragement in our Christian faith to hear other people’s testimonies! Testimony simply means telling the story of a ‘God-moment’ in your life. The word ‘testimony’ may conjure up a picture of a ‘road to Damascus’ life-changing encounter with the living Christ, (Acts 9) or a ‘road to Emmaus’ realisation that Christ has been walking beside us (Luke 24:13) … but some testimonies can be subtle and non-dramatic, and yet still be life-changing. I’ve always loved hearing people’s stories and enjoyed being a pastoral visitor years before I felt called to diaconal ministry. It is still my privilege to hear lots of people’s stories as I visit them at Mickle Hill, or in their homes elsewhere in the circuit or in hospital. People share their God-encounters - maybe it came as a sense of deep peace, or of unexpected and overwhelming joy, or something that happened which clearly wasn’t a co-incidence but was a God-incidence.

We have just experienced one of these in our own family. Some of you know that a dear relative of mine, Win, recently died aged 96 in an MHA care home in Wolverhampton. As she lay dying, I wasn’t able to go to her, but my brother & his wife who live in Devon ‘just happened’ to be driving through the Midlands that day, on their way to visit their daughter in Manchester. They spent time with Win, reading the Bible and praying with her. I was so grateful that Win had some family with her, and it blessed my brother Mark and his wife Carolyn too. As Mark said, it was a “God appointment”. Wow – thank you God!

So as you travel through November, reflect on the God-encounters you have had, and thank him for them. If you struggle to remember any, open up your heart and ask God to make his presence known to you. I would love to compile a book of testimonies from across the circuit, so if you want to share yours, please get in touch with me (email: tandfidb@gmail.com)

May God bless us as we remember, reflect and re-tell our stories, and in the words of one of my favourite hymns: We’ll praise Him for all that is past, and trust Him for all that’s to come.’ (Hymns and Psalms 277 by Joseph Hart)

Peace and love, Deacon Fiona


Thought for the Month  -  October

Temptation

Ive been wrestling with temptation over the last couple of weeks. It all started when I preached from the book of James. I found myself parked in the first chapter of this wonderful letter for the next 4 weeks. Spending time in this passage really took hold of me and finally led me to the issue of temptation.

I doubt there has ever been a person who has not been tempted. For those who yield to temptation after 5 minutes have no idea of the power of temptation and the strength it takes to resist it.

Even Jesus himself was tempted. Only those who resist temptation know how strong it is.

We must never make the mistake of saying, ‘God tempted me’ or that, ‘God made me this way so Im only doing what he has made natural for me to do’. This is a big mistake.

James, clearly tells us God tempts no one. “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then after the desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin when it is full- grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15).

Have you noticed when we are tempted we start pondering the idea and then we begin talking ourselves into it and finding ways to justify it!

Jeremiah was right when he said,  ‘the heart is deceitful above all things.’ (Jer 17:9).

Temptation however can be a useful teacher when we recognise it for what it is. Temptation pinpoints the weak areas of our moral character and magnifies the fl
aws in our inner nature. If we recognise these weak areas we recognise our propensity to sin and the need for a saviour.

A person’s inner nature (thoughts and secret desires of the heart) determines how they can be tempted in their outer nature. Thus the temptation reveals the possibilities of their true nature. This means temptation will only come to each of us in accordance with the level of our controlling inner nature.

Oh how we need a saviour. What joy there is in knowing we have a saviour who ‘was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin’. (Heb 4:15)

We know temptation is not something we can ever be totally free from in this life. However if we keep our focus on Jesus our Lord and Saviour we begin to see him as a greater worth than the transient desire of the temptation . We have been given the Holy Spirit which makes us conquerors, more than conquerors through him who loves us.

Keep your eye on Jesus and not on the temptation…. Hope this helps

Watch the funny clip below from Francis Chan about temptation

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YtH9pxFDmug God bless.

Rev. Ken


Thought for the Month  -  September


As children start school in September, a new year, a new class and often a new school, they usually have new uniform and bags full of stationery. I remember this start to the new school year as scary and exciting in almost equal measure and one of the things that I loved about it was getting new exercise books. Oh! the promise of those pristine pages! I was always so sure that I would fill this book with neat, lovely work. I was always so hopeful that this book would be the one that was full of correct answers with no mistakes.


 Needless to say, this was not to be. Every book of mine has neat writing for a page or two, then it descends into chaos as I sacrifice legibility to speed. Despite my best efforts, mistakes were made and, helpfully pointed out by the teacher, in red! This happened every year, and it is still the same if I buy a new notebook now (except for it being marked by a teacher)


 It is the same in life. We face new challenges as things change for us; new starts which are a mixture of scary and exciting. We often face these challenges telling ourselves that we will be wonderful and hardworking, and we will not make any mistakes. But in our heart of hearts we know that this is not the case. We all make mistakes and it is never very nice having them pointed out to us.


 But the good news is, Jesus knows this. He knows us all and he knows what we are like. So full of good intentions, so prone to failure in so many ways. But if we acknowledge our mistakes to God, Jesus promised us forgiveness. What a fantastic gift. A fresh start, a new beginning, forgiveness from God. Even better than a new exercise book!


Karen Pattison


Thought for the Month  -  August


I saw a cartoon the other day which made me smile, I t showed an old man and a young child sitting on a bench looking over brown fields and the man said"When i was young lad all these fields were green." At the time of writing we're in the middle of a heat wave, and this is making the world brown and dry our water supply is running out, in some places hose pipe bans are in place we long for rain, we always appreciate things when they've gone, I've also found a great love for drinking water.

 One day Jesus sat beside a well and asked a lady who was broken and despised for water and he tells her that if she knew who he was she would have asked him for water she then begs him
for a drink that she would never be thirsty again at the present time as we long for water remember the one who is waiting for you to ask not for a physical drink but a spiritual one that refreshes taking away your thirst, that moistens, so that we lose the dryness and aridness of life. That satisfies as we come to know the truth because the lady at the well found that Jesus himself is the water of life.

 Are we ready for a good long drink of this sort of water to refresh moisten and satisfy us, Have a lovely Summer enjoying the sun and being drenched by the water of life which Jesus longs to give to each one of us.
Linda.



Thought for the Month  -  July


Delighted or Disappointed?

Whether it is the outcome of a football or tennis match (World Cup and Wimbledon both underway as I write) – or a birthday present; if we are involved, we are likely to be one of the two…delighted or disappointed! If we are not personally involved, or if we have not invested our emotions, our time or our money – then the result doesn’t matter.

For all of us, however, there may be times when we are disappointed, and this may be a mild “Oh dear – what a shame” to a feeling of total devastation as our hopes and expectations of someone or something are dashed.

It strikes me that there may be 2 causes: either we have been genuinely let down by an event or a person, or our own expectations have been misplaced. People can have bad days: footballers can miss penalties; tennis players can have an injury. We wait for another opportunity – maybe next time. But what about disappointment in our relationships? Do we expect too much of each other? When a couple come for wedding interview, I give them a questionnaire so that they can examine what their expectations are of the marriage. From the small details, of who puts the rubbish out, to if and when they would like children. Verbalising or writing down our expectations, as we do with job descriptions in an employment situation, can be vital to those future relationships.

How about our relationship with God? Is there a mutual delight in our relationship with God, or is there disappointment from either side? God expects much of us: loving commitment, faithfulness, speaking out against injustice and practical working for the good of others. Is God disappointed in us? Without the Holy Spirit there is no way that we can fulfil God’s hopes for us, but with the Holy Spirit, we can grow as disciples of Jesus, and become more like Him. What do we expect of God? Are those expectations too low, not expecting anything including any answers to prayer? That way we will not be disappointed, but neither will we flourish as His people. Alternatively we may expect great things, and sometimes we will be disappointed because we have expected the wrong things – but these are the times when we learn and grow and depend on the God who knows us better than we know ourselves. Romans 5 Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have[a] peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 who through our faith[b] has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. 3 We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. 4 And patience produces character, and character produces hope. 5 And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.

May God bless you in your times of delight and disappointment.

Ruth



Thought for the Month  -  June

A Foggy Day

A favourite story in our house when the children were little was ‘Postman Pat’s Foggy Day’. Pat gets lost in a fog, has various mix ups with scarecrows and rabbits, then is led back to the village by the sound of the church bells. We read it countless times, and when I looked at the book again recently, it was still so familiar! Summer may seem an odd time for an article on fog, but it can still surround us, hypothetically, on the brightest of days, and a sea mist at the beach can certainly spoil a day out.
We all have times when we can’t see the way ahead and it bothers us. We feel more comfortable when we can see where we are headed. The demands of daily life can often cloud our ability to see God’s way clearly. Sometimes the fog is a result of our unwillingness to deal with the challenges to faith that life presents.
In the Mark Ch 9, we read of the Transfiguration of Jesus and verse 7 says: Then a cloud overshadowed them and from the cloud there came a voice, “this is my Son, Listen to him!”.
God was in the cloud.
In Luke 8 we read of the disciples being in a boat when a storm blew up and the boat was being swamped. But Jesus was resting in the boat with them. It was when the cried out to him, he calmed the storm.
Jesus was with them in the storm.
We are not alone in our foggy times. Like Postman Pat, we need to listen for God’s guidance and takes steps towards his voice.




Thought for the Month  -  May



The Perfect Church?



Dear Friends,


A minister once said that he sometimes had a dream of the Perfect Church:  The worship is perfect and the problems are non-existent.

He then went on to describe in humorous terms the personnel in this perfect church. Neil Down is the Director of Spirituality and Prayer; Dina Mite is in charge of the evangelistic programme: Sally Forth maintains the missionary interest; Benny Factor handles the money, while Barry Tone is the superb Director of Music, ably assisted by his associate Benny Dictus and a super band, The Magnifi-Cats. Interestingly, he didn’t come up with a name for the minister, perhaps I could suggest as in my case, Mia Shepherd!

We may smile, but the church is every one of us. We may not, as the names, suggest, all fit into some kind of perfect model of what we think the church is meant to be about and what each one of us has to offer, but we are all in it together - that’s the point.

However, within the varied expressions of our shared life and ministry we are faced with the question, What on earth is the church for? It is not the first and nor will the last time that question will be posed. In answer to it each one of us may come up with a different response, and all of them may be right to a greater or lesser degree.

Perhaps our choice answers would reflect the amazing depth and variety of the church, and that’s a positive thing not a divisive one. From the very beginning that question has not gone away. The last words of Jesus, spoken to His gathered disciples, were ones which we have come to call the “Great Commission.” These words remind us that we are to “go” ... “make disciples” …. “baptize” …….” teach”.

It is easy to think that this is an instruction simply to do with the increase of numbers, something no doubt we would all like to see. It’s also easy to get hung up on numbers. We know that crowds followed Jesus but following Him is not only about quantity but quality.

If you ask me the question about what our purpose is, then I would say it is the quality of our Christian work and worship which really counts; the depth of our commitment to one another; the integrity by which we look beyond ourselves to the needs of the community and world at large. If we can, working together, get these things right then we go a long way to answering the question, what on earth is the church for?

Every blessing


Rev Tanya




Thought for the Month  -  April


God’s Springtime …
  It’s felt like a long, cold winter and Spring has seemed a long time coming! As the days lengthen and (hopefully) grow warmer, there are more and more signs of new life appearing all around – snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils coming out in turn, lambs gambolling in the fields and leaves beginning to unfurl on the trees. This is the beauty of God’s creation in the physical world, bringing hope and joy - but what about our spiritual lives?

  Sometimes I have felt as if I’m travelling through a “spiritual wintertime” – when the joy of the Lord in me has been buried by worries, like flowers under the snow, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, prayer has been difficult and God has seemed distant. Many of us can experience ‘spiritually wintery conditions’ if our joy is outweighed by anxieties- whether it’s fear of the future, worries about health, or loved ones, or chapel closures, or lack of ministers, or concerns about the wider world.

  If you are travelling through this wintery terrain, take comfort that it is only for a season: joy WILL come again, as ‘God’s Springtime’ (to use Joyce Huggett’s phrase) breaks into our lives. And we never travel alone – God is with us every step of the way, and knows us through and through. In spite of this intimate knowledge, God still loves each of us totally and unconditionally!

  At a retreat back in 2009, we were invited by the Revd. Stephen Poxon (the then President of Conference), to ‘look out for the angels’ along the way as we prepared for ordination. He meant that we should be aware and open to all the things, people and situations that each of us encounter that encourage us – bring us joy, surprise us with beauty, fill us with hope. Once we open our eyes to look out for these ‘angelic encounters’, it’s amazing how many we notice!


  What has brought you joy recently? Many of you will know that Samantha, our daughter, gave birth to our first grandchild in January, Hugo Anthony (named after Grandad Tony!). He has already brought so much joy to all the family. Whilst looking at a photo of Hugo, my wise Spiritual Director, Sister Philippa from Stanbrook Abbey, pointed out a profound truth about God’s deep, unconditional love that many of us already know (but it never hurts to be reminded)! She said, “You love Hugo so much, and he hasn’t done anything to deserve or to earn that love. That’s how God loves us!”. It’s true – believe it! What a source of joy and peace this knowledge brings!

  God’s unconditional love is for everyone, everywhere – may we communicate this love, living it out in our lives beyond the walls of our chapels, spilling it into our communities and spreading the joy and renewal of life that comes from the knowledge that we are all beloved children of God.

Joy, peace and love

Deacon Fiona



Thought for the Month  -  March


It is a great loss to the world when one of the world's greatest evangelists since St. Paul passed away. It is estimated that Billy Graham in his 60 year ministry preached to over 210 million people. A life surrendered fully to God, giving his all and how God used him mightily.

As we approach Easter we are reminded of the message Billy preached so clearly to millions around the world. Easter is not about chocolate and fluffy bunnies! It's all about Jesus and the cross. Jesus Christ, taking our sins upon himself in order that we could be reconciled back to God. For God loves you with an ever lasting love, wanting none to perish but all to come to a saving faith through Christ.

It's not a popular message today and even deemed as offensive by some in our pluralistic, multi cultural and increasing secular, humanistic and atheistic society.
But there is one fact that can not be overlooked. The tomb of Christ is empty. For we do not worship a dead Christ, a memory of a good man or stories to warm our hearts and provide simple moral guidance -No, for we worship a living Saviour.
Jesus told his disciples that he is The Way - for there are not many ways to God but ONE, and that way is through him.
Jesus told his disciples that he is The Truth - not a truth, or a relative truth or even a philosophical truth but The Truth. Truth is found in Christ for Truth is a person and he alone is Truth.
Jesus told his disciples that he is The life - we are dead in our trespasses and sins says Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. But we can have new life, be born again, a new beginning, a fresh start with God today, if we but repent and believe and receive the Holy Spirit and eternal life.
We can't earn our salvation, buy it, barter or negotiate for it. We can't compromise it or even add something to it of our own merit, it is God's gift of grace to those who repent and follow him. This is no cheap grace for it cost him dearly.
Jesus concluded that no one comes to the Father except through him. For he is the gate, the door way, the entrance to heaven. We have to deal with our sins at the cross of Christ, there is no other way.
Are you saved? Do you know in your heart that something is missing, not quite right?
Have you a longing to discover what you see in others but lack in yourself? 
Turn to Christ, surrender to him, as the hymn writer says, trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
I have included a link below which is Billy Grahams last message preached to the world. Take a look and tell someone else how they can also be saved. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xwIMol0iFt4

God bless.
Rev. Ken
Ambassador of Christ
2 Corinthians 5:20

Thought for the Month  -  February


What do Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday have in common? Well, one answer could be: chocolate! Chocolate given to a loved one (heart-shaped of course) – or chocolate denied for the sake of a loved one! I have a fridge magnet that says “I’d give up chocolate – but I’m no quitter!”
This year Ash Wednesday falls on 14th February – St Valentines Day. We may not observe the latter – but in circuit we have the opportunity to observe Ash Wednesday with a circuit service at Kirkbymoorside at 7pm, giving us a focus for the beginning of Lent. On Saturday 17th February we have a Circuit Day of Prayer and Fasting (whether that is fasting from all food or some, from technology, or from those things that distract us from prayer). Of course, every day throughout the year, we have the privilege of prayer – but Lent (as with Advent) can be a special time to draw near to God. That may involve denying ourselves – it may involve taking a new direction in thought or activity.  Journeying  with Jesus, through the wilderness times, through temptation, through highs and lows of life – I pray that we may gain fresh insight into God’s love for us, made known through Jesus Christ our Saviour  – and find that our love for God grows day by day too.
Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday do have something in common – Love!
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-1

Ruth


Thought for the Month  -  January


Happy New Year!

It roles off our tongues at this time of year but do we really mean it or even concider what we are saying? We are in fact saying may the year of 2018 be a good year for you, may you be blessed with happiness and you and your family remain safe, prosper and enjoy good health. And yet we know that for some this year will bring sadness, grief, pain, loneliness, a feeling of not being wanted or accepted by society, and yet as we wish each other happiness for the New Year we can do it with the confidence in knowing that only a short time ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Hope of the World you came down into darkness open my eyes let me see, Jesus came in love to a World of sin and as we pack away our decorations don't let us pack away the sign to the shepherds that Jesus came as a baby in a manger that all men may find hope not just at Christmas but for the year ahead and onwards that when you wish a happy new year it is for a year when they will know Jesus very close to them or that they will discover him.and true hppiness joy and hope will fill their hearts dispite any thing that 2018 may bring.these are the words of Mary from Luke ch 1 from the Message Bible "I'm burssting with God news,I'm dancing the song of mySaviour God,God took one look at me and look what happened,I'm the most fortunate Woman on Earth.What God has done for me will never be forgotten.His mercey flows in wave after wave,in those who are in awe before him."

HAPPY GOD NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL

Linda


Thought for the Month  -  December


The Christmas Shop
By DaveHopwood/engageworship.org

Christmas Eve. A couple walk the aisles of a supermarket gathering up the food and frills for a cracking Christmas. Early on in their travels they spot the Christmas baby and scoop that into the trolley. Of course they must have the Christmas baby, what is Christmas about after all? Other things get added. Crackers, decorations, cake, mince pies, mulled wine, turkey, stuffing, sprouts (“Really? You really want the sprouts? You know what they do to you…”)
Little by little the trolley fills up and it’s clear there’s going to be a problem. It’s not big enough. They um and ah for a while, shift a few things around (“Don’t squash the Yule Log!”) and then the solution becomes clear. Put the baby to one side and pick it up later. Of course. No problem. Why didn’t we think of that earlier?
Returning it to the shelf makes just enough room for one of those embarrassing Christmas jumpers, a large box of Quality Street and a few bits of extra tinsel. Perfect. On into the queue (“I don’t think we’ll risk the ‘twelve items or less’ till, darling…”) then it’s wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait… (“We’re going to miss the repeat of the 1974 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show…”) then a jolly festive chat to the check-out woman in the flashing Santa hat, load up the bags, wheel them to the car in the trolley and off. Christmas sorted.
Meanwhile, at the end of the day the shelves are cleared. Some of the stock is passed onto the food banks. Other bits are just placed out back with the bins. And later that night, as Christmas Eve is dying under the glimmering stars and the sound of parties and tellies echoes from street to street, a couple of folks of indeterminate age wander past the supermarket skips and hear a noise. They stop and come closer. There it is. The Christmas baby. They scoop it up, pull off one of their coats though the night is cold, and wrap it around the tiny child. They scuttle to an all-night drop-in, where a few prostitutes and homeless folks are getting festive soup and coffee. There they nurse the child and tell the story of the Christmas baby. And the few stragglers kneel, coo and wonder.
Submitted by Louise Hayes


Thought for the Month  -  November


 

Remember, remember….
 
Seek the Lord and his strength, search constantly for his presence. Remember his marvellous works, his miracles, and the pronouncements he has spoken. Remember his covenant constantly, the message he has given foe a thousand generations.
1 Chronicles16: 11-12, &15

 
I wonder – are you any good at remembering people’s birthdays? I’m not. In fact, I’m hopeless at remembering dates of any sort. Anniversaries, appointments, social engagements or simply things to do – they’re all likely to slip my mind if I’ve nothing or no one to remind me of them. Happily, we’ve more resources today than ever before to help jog our memories. As well as my diary and calendar on the wall, we have online and electronic calendars, giving daily reminders of coming events and so forth, are freely available for both computers and mobile phones – a simple but efficient way of ensuring that we never miss that important booking or special occasion ever again. No longer do we need to rely on a knotted hankie or post-it notes doted round the house!
 
Or at least, that’s the theory. In practise, there’s still plenty of room in life for forgetfulness, and I don’t just mean in terms of dates and times. Most of all, as Scripture constantly reminds us, we can also forget God. We make time for him on a Sunday but the rest of the week live as if he isn’t there. We marvel occasionally at his blessings when some joy or delight pulls us up short, but before long familiarity dulls our senses to it. We’re swift to ask for his help in time of trouble, but equally quick to forget him when the crisis is past. Hardly surprising, then, that the challenge, ‘never forget’, runs like a constant refrain throughout the Old Testament. Remember what God has done! Remember his call, his deliverance from captivity, his mighty deeds, his creative power, his promise for the future, his unfailing love. It was a challenge that shaped the people of Israel, uniting them in faith and hope. Does it mark us out as God’s people in turn? 
 
As we remember, remember... this month, let us reflect are we forgetful of God sometimes, what helps to remind us of his presence? May we remember our Lord as faithfully and lovingly as he remembers us.
 
Every blessing, Tanya


Thought for the month – October 2017

 
Let it go!
 
I recently saw a lovely photograph of two hands holding out a collection of beautiful multi-coloured leaves, with the caption: ‘The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.’ What a profound thought for autumn!
 
My husband Tony and I moved to this area at the beginning of August. As the men from the removal firm took all our furniture and possessions out of our previous house in Kettering, and then had to unload them all again and bring them into our new home in Kirkbymoorside, I felt a bit ashamed of just how much ‘stuff’ we possess. It’s not until you move house that you see just how many books, clothes, ornaments, clutter etc. you have! We thought we’d had a thorough ‘de-clutter’ before we moved, but far far more was needed. On the first night in our new home, I couldn’t sleep, so decided to go downstairs and unpack the kitchen so as to give Tony a nice surprise in the morning. I don’t often hear God’s voice, but that night as I stood in the kitchen in the darkness at around 2 a.m. feeling exhausted and a bit overwhelmed at the amount of boxes in every room, I sensed in my heart a voice saying ‘Let it go’. Immediately I knew that was just what I needed to do and I felt lighter and happier straight away!
 
Every day for about three weeks after that we made trips to charity shops and/or the tip to get rid of the clutter that had made moving house so much extra work. I even got rid of my wedding dress and veil that had been hauled around the country and put in and out of various lofts for the past 37 years! Living by that motto ‘Let it go’ was having a transformative effect on our home and our lives. 
 
Then I began to ponder those three words some more and realised that maybe they didn’t apply solely to possessions- was God prompting me to let go of other things too, such as insecurity, doubt, fear, anxiety about the future and lack of trust? Moving to a new area and starting a new job is always a challenge, but every one of us will face various challenges throughout our lives, and will  have to learn to ‘hold things lightly’ or even to let them go completely. Think of all that Jesus let go of in his earthly life- he ‘emptied himself of all save love’ as Charles Wesley put it, so profoundly. With God’s help, we can indeed let go and move forward, unhindered by all the things that are stopping us from living life to the full. This is something that I have been challenged to do, and I invite you to join me in this adventure. What is God calling you to let go of so that you can embrace something new? It may mean moving out of our comfort zones and it may feel scary to begin with, but we can do it with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit.
 
God bless you.
Peace,
Deacon Fiona de Boltz

Thought for the Month  -  September


A modern mission parable

A dentist wanted to set up a practice in an area which was in desperate need. He researched and discovered a community with the worst dental hygiene in the whole country.

The poor hygiene affected everyone from the oldest to the youngest. Everyone seemed to forget the importance of brushing your teeth therefore the good news was not passed on anymore.

The dentist was a caring man and set up his shop in the centre of the town. After months of preparation and planning he now had the premises, the chair, lights, sterilising equipment, you name it and he had it.

Bright and early on Monday morning he opened the doors of his new dental practice expecting queues to be around the corner waiting for his services, however not one person was waiting, none turned up.

A strategy was needed to win the people around. He thought long and hard and decided he couldn't just advertise the reason why he was there (because the people have the worst teeth in the country) so opted for a more gentle approach.

He decided he would put on a coffee morning. The coffee mornings were so successful that they soon had to open on Tuesdays and then Wednesdays, now he was serving coffee most mornings but still there was no one in the surgery!

He was disheartened, he had spent many years training as a dentist, he could spot the problems people were having with their teeth but was too embarrassed to tell them in case he upset them or offended them and so this dentist worked out the rest of his life serving coffee.

The results were the communities dental health declined, growing worse and worse until one day another dentist came into town and advertised his practice and many teeth were saved!!

I can¬t remember where I heard this so can`t acknowledge the source but it has always stuck with me. When we think about mission and evangelism strategies are we being as bold as we could be?

Food for thought.

God bless.  Rev Ken


Thought for the Month  -  August


Yorkshire Day
1st August is celebrated as Yorkshire Day, and some of us may say that we are proud to be Yorkshire Born and Bred! Stories are told of many an expectant mother in the past who dare not leave the county until their baby was safely born – for who knew whether that child may be a future champion Yorkshire County Cricket player! (Now no longer relevant, I understand) 
Knowing where we come from can be important – providing us with a sense of belonging and identity. Knowing who we are and where we are now, and where we are going can be even more important. 
Peter says that 
 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
     Once you were not a people,  but now you are God’s people;     once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  1 Peter 2:9-10
We have no reason to be proud of ourselves for being born into God’s family – it is only through God’s grace that we can call Him Father. We can find our identity in Him, and the opportunity to live in the light of Christ,  knowing that he has also prepared an eternal home for us gives us cause to rejoice. Our past, present and future – are safely in His hands.

May that assurance be yours

Ruth Duck.


Thought for the Month – July

I wanted to write this month about Summer and sunshine sand and sea holidays and hope.
And then so much darkness came into our Country, Death of innocent people by bomb, knife, vehicle and fire, It has become impossible to read the papers without tears flowing and hearts aching. And we hear the question and even think it in our deepest thoughts “Where is God in all this pain?” And we who know him and love him realize that he is there In the theatre foyer on London Bridge In Grenfell Towers. Man kills not God, Man makes mistakes not God, Man hates not God, God has always been with us right from before the World began we know that he is reliable, trustworthy, loving, enduring because he has shown us we have his promises to lean on “I am with you always.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “I will take all your burdens.” And it’s true he does, How do we know? Because he’s proved himself in the past and he will again. Through all the hatred and death there has been an overriding feeling if love, Love wins through and our God is a God of love, Love which  feels our pain, knows our suffering and understands our fear and doubt. So don’t be bitter about what has happened.be sad but not broken because our God of love is in our midst.


Blessing  Linda (Stannard)




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