Our congregation is situated in Milngavie (pronounced 'Milguy'), a suburb to the north-west of Glasgow, and is one of the thirty-one Church of Scotland congregations in Dumbarton Presbytery. The congregation was established in 1841, and the present church was built in 'Scottish Gothic' style in 1906.
This page contains the latest information while we cannot meet together.
During the coronavirus shutdown, Sunday Services will be found here.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
31 March 2020
The Plot to Kill Jesus John 11 45-end (nsv)
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
30 April 2020
Acts Chapter 6
The Choosing of the Seven
6 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom; the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
A growing Family
Among our friends we know a young couple that have a baby boy. Starting a family is an exciting time and takes a wee bit of time to get used to it all. No sooner were they getting used to it all…. when they had twins!!!! The family of three suddenly becomes a family of five!!
Help is needed!
In a completely different context we read in Acts 6 that the family of disciples are growing. It was a known fact that many different ethnic races and religions were coming to Jerusalem to end their days.
What is the problem?
Amongst them were many widows and there was a problem sharing their food amongst this growing newfound family. There is internal wrangling going on and something needs to be done. So what is the problem? Verse 2 “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables”
Is there a solution? Verse 3 “ Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
The result can be read in Verse 7 “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
Very early on in the birth and growth of the Church we see the need to organise. In this case the Apostles saw what the problem was and the knew they could not be tied down by this. So they delegated. And in doing this we know that “ this pleased the group”. They chose seven other people to help do other things and free them up and in verse 4 “ we will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
The big issue here was the priority of God and Prayer. Yes there were tables to be laid and there were internal struggles and fights. There was a lot to do but nothing should ever distract from “ prayer and the ministry of the word” And even all these years later we find the same problems with the modern day church. People try and make big changes, other people try to bring in other priorities, people are concerned about what the church needs to function when it has been functioning for years. But above all of there is God and we need to talk to him, we need him to help us to delegate and we can only do this through prayer.
The BIG verse in this reading is the result. Verse 7 “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith”
So we know it worked for them and it should be a lesson to us all that The Word is still as relevant today and our priority should be taking it to God in prayer.
Father, we see from our passage this morning that we are called to care for others, to look out for the needy and the less fortunate than we are and to serve one another. And although this event happened 2000 years ago, we see today people during this current crisis, people who have taken on these roles of service to others. And it has been costly – as they have given their lives in that service. And so, as we remember again today the people who have given their lives because they cared for and served the weak and the vulnerable; whether in hospital, care homes or in their own homes, as well as others who worked in transport and the distribution of vital services to all our communities. They will be greatly missed by their loved ones and so, we pray for their families and friends, praying that your love will surround them as they mourn their loss. Amen
29 April 2020
Acts Chapter 5
Ananias and Sapphira
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Create in me a clean heart O Lord
So we have the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. It was quite a common practice in those days to sell off your assets and give the money to the temple. This couple were being a bit naughty and kept back some of the money for themselves. While it's possible they were telling everyone that they were selling it for the temple, they were also selling it for themselves by keeping some of the money.
There was a certain amount of hypocrisy going on. And I think that Ananias revealed something that we all struggle with. We fundamentally miss out on what God wants from us. We think that God wants our stuff more than He wants us. Or we think that God will love us more if we give Him more. Or we think that what other Christians think about us will increase the love that God has for us.
Think about what Ananias and Sapphira tried to do. They wanted to project an image of themselves to the church that they were generous, too. They wanted others to look at them and say - “wow look at those Christians - they are always giving, always serving. They are always there anytime the doors are open. They are always doing the right thing.” But at the heart of their actions there was a lie.
There is a lesson here. And that lesson is that God wants our hearts more than he wants our money. Oh sure the money is necessary to allow the church to function but God wants our hearts to be clean and pure
Psalm 51 verse 10 reminds us
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
The lesson of the day is this - God cares more about the heart behind your offering than He cares about the offering itself. God wants your heart in worship. He wants you to love Him and connect with Him and to have joy in knowing Him. And in doing so we should root out the hypocrisy in our own lives and present to God a purer heart and a cleaner self. Amen
28 April 2020
The Believers Pray
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.[b]’[c]
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
We are still on Acts 4. Yesterday morning when I sat down to prepare these words, it dawned on me when you look at some of the titles in the bible, for our readings, they are really hitting home at the moment. Never in the current generation and never in the history of our church has the bible been so relevant. (I read that in Winstons Churchill's voice?) An example of that would be today's titles which are “ believers pray” and “ believers share their possessions”
Peter and John are released and the church rejoices. His friends relieved and excited lift their hands to God in prayer and praise. They were aware that they were still in danger as the non believers were still around. They were aware that everything was scripture based, but look at verse 29 “ Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”….Talk about relevance for today…..And another important factor here is that " they shared their possessions" so another timely reminder of what we should be doing as a living church in society today. Then after all of this after all We are told that after they prayed .....the ground shook and they spoke the word of God boldly. Not just prayer but that " rocket fuel" prayer that I have spoken of before.
And of course this is a timely reminder that prayer is all important today and every day. Praise God for what we have, praise God for keeping up safe and Thank God for a new day that is about to unfold before us. Keeping him at all times “ on the menu” so to speak or even “ breaking news” as we go through our day. God is amongst us, we have him in our lives and in our hearts. Let's share Him with others. Amen
27 April 2020
Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin
4 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is“‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
I can remember the first time I ever preached in a pulpit outside my own home church. I was terrified. “ What am I doing?” I thought “ Why am I doing this?” These words came in waves. But the minister I was taught by, a man called Bill McAreavy in Kelvin Bridge filled me with confidence. I remember his prayers before we went out into the sanctuary they were like rocket fuel. I would walk out into the church telling myself “ I have a job to do and I can do it”
The confidence of Peter and John is amazing. They are arrested because of their teaching. The Sanhedrin intimidates them. But despite all that Peter and John put up a great case for their actions and they even reverse their roles from the accused to the accusers.
Peter indicts the Sanhedrin because they had crucified Jesus, whom God had raised from the dead and in whose name this lame man had been healed. Furthermore, Peter let them know that “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (4:12).
The members of the council were amazed at the confidence of Peter and John, who had not been educated in the rabbinical schools. When the council saw the man who had been healed standing there (proof positive of his healing), they had nothing to say. After a private conference the council commanded Peter and John not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John replied that they had to obey God, because they could not stop speaking what they had seen and heard. After further warnings, the council let them go, since the crowd was glorifying God on account of this miracle.
Ask yourself today “ where does my confidence lie?” “ How can I be more confident?” “Why do I need this confidence?”
Confidence comes through prayer. Praying that the Holy Spirit will guide you and guard you. Praying that you have the necessary energy to make a difference.
Confidence through Jesus. Learning more and more about how he changed lives. What his relationship was like with his family and his friends the disciples.
Confidence through God. God is the rocket fuel that is going to get us from here to where ever we will find ourselves in the months to come. Things may seem huge and frightening at this point in time but the kids in the Sunday school sing “ our God is a great big God”. We owe it all to Him. Amen
26 April 2020
PETER SPEAKS IN SOLOMON'S PORTICO
11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant[b] Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus[c] has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
25 April 2020
Peter Heals a Lame Beggar
3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Someone slipped and fell was that someone you
You may have long for added strength your courage to renew
Do not be this hearten for I bring hope to you
It is no secret what God can do what he's done for others he'll do for you With arms wide open He'll part anew it is no secret what God can do
Always feel at home wherever you may roam
There is no power can conquer you while God is on your side
Just take him at his promise don't run away and hide
It is no secret what God can do what he's done for others he'll do for you
With arms wide open He'll part anew it is no secret what God can do
What God can do
24 April 2020
Acts Chapter 2 from verse 42
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
23 April 2020
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
Acts Chapter 1 from verse 12
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[c] from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,[d] the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”
18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:
“‘May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,’[e]
“‘May another take his place of leadership.’[f]
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Trust and obey for there is no other way.
These days all we seem to do is wait. Wait for the next set of instructions from the Government, wait at home or wait in queues at the shops and then go back home and wait. Wait until we can see our friends once more face to face in the flesh. Apart from waiting the other things we have to do, is be obedient. Don’t mix with friends, don’t go on unnecessary journeys, don’t drive to beauty spots just exercise in your own area and obey what we are being told on the radio, tv and in the newspapers. So we wait and we obey and above all else we depend. We depend on being told the correct information, we depend on taking this information and absorbing it and making it work for us. All of these rules as we appear to be locked in our own homes.
At this point in the book of Acts Jesus has left his friends. He has gone but just before that he gives them strength through his teaching and his presence and his advice. Yesterday we remember he said “don’t leave just wait” to his disciples and they did.
The disciples returned to the upper room and united in prayer they waited. Of course no one wants to wait unless they can help it but we know from this reading in Acts (v14) they all joined in prayer. They all waited and they all obeyed.
It was during this time that Judas was replaced by Matthias, the only time an apostle has had to be elected and we are told not just because Judas had died but also to fulfil the Scriptures. So the disciples are obeying Jesus and obeying the Scriptures. Time was not being wasted during the wait and things still had to be done. God was preparing them and he was teaching them and above all else he was nurturing them into a better place
And of course that’s happening today and during this current crisis we seek God in prayer and in Scripture, we remain obedient to Him and depend on His Word and of course we wait.
Let us Pray
Might and glorious Father we come before you today and we wait. While we wait, we ask you for forgiveness if we are not really following the rules. We ask that you give us the patience to remain at home and make our time resourceful. And that you give us the willpower to be obedient to your word Amen
22 April 2020
The book of Acts Chapter 1 verses 6-9
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
You will be my witnesses
There is one very powerful verse early on in the book of Acts and we find that in verse 8 …..” and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth”
Here we are talking about the founding of the church and the spread of the gospel not just locally but “ to the ends of the earth” The first four gospels told us about Christ's life and his teaching but now we are going on a journey to witness the very beginning of The Church and the spread of Christ's message to all.
…..” and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth
Tom Wright tells us that we should notice one thing in particular which will help us as we go through the book of Acts. Jesus gives the apostles an agenda. Jerusalem first, then Judea followed by Samaria and then to the ends of the earth. We are told that the journey will be so interesting that we don’t need to know “when He is “going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus has been appointed as the worlds true king, seated on his throne. One day the kingdom will come, Tom Wright says “ in the meantime we have a job to do”.
We all have a job to do. Even though we don't have our organisations and our buildings and our fellowship we still have a job to do. After all we are all witnesses and that has not been put in lockdown. As we think of the start of the early church we should be thinking of the day when we have to go back to our own churches and start again. How do we prepare for that? Well through the reading of the scripture and of course through prayer.
Let us pray “ Heavenly Father we are so grateful that you sent your son to die for us. To afford us this amazing grace. To allow us to leave our sins at the foot of the cross and as the hymn says “ stand amazed in His presence”
Father we pray this morning for the church. For the first time in a lifetime we are scattered. We are separated from a place we call our sanctuary and although we know its only bricks and mortar, it holds us all together in fellowship.
So as we pray for our “ missed” church we pray too for our fellowship. You know us all. You know our names and you know every hair on our heads. Today as we miss the sound of our choirs. As we miss the look on our friends' faces and as we miss the message given to us so clear and so nourishing. We thank you for keeping us safe. We thank you for giving us tomorrow and we thank you for the fellowship of Christ and the fellowship of each other Amen
21 April 2020
Acts 1 New International Version (NIV) Acts 1 verses 1-5
Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
For the time being we will look at the book of Acts in the New Testament. To help me along this journey I am relying on Tom Wrights book” Acts for everyone” to make this more interesting.
In his book Tom Wright talks about the movie the madness of King George the third. Alan Bennetts script was bound to be a sure fire hit but there was one problem. The Movie makers had a problem with the title. Superman 1 had two sequels out at this time Superman 2 and Superman 3 what if people thought that The madness of King George was a trilogy and people went looking for the first two movies?
The book of Acts. This is of course the story of the early church with Jesus as the main character. It is authored by the physician Luke and begins by giving us the fact that this is a sequel and then goes to give us a brief resume of what has happened up until this point.
There are two strands to this book and the first is that it is the story is based on the resurrection of Jesus. At the end of Lukes gospel Jesus gave “many convincing proofs that he was alive” in fact Tom Wright goes on to say that Jesus’ “ transformed body is now the beginning of Gods new creation”.
The second strand of this book is that it introduces the power and the importance of the holy spirit.” For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
And you know? there is some important advice just at the end of this short reading we see that Jesus asked them to wait. “ do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised” Tom Wright comments in his book that “ Luke would tell us to wait and to pray for the presence and the power of the holy spirit. And that’s good advice for these changed days when we have to stay indoors and be patient. Patient while decisions are being made. Patient while keeping to the advice we are given. Patient while we heal, improve and get better.
On TV yesterday Detective Supt Catriona Paton was speaking in “ reflections at the key” a committed Christian her mother and father were missionaries in Africa. She said her work ethos comes from a painting on her fathers wall that stated “…keep working for the Lord. The pay isn’t much but the retirement plan is out of this world….”
From our homes today we can still work for the lord. We can do this with prayer…. So let us pray
Prayer: Father we pray this morning for all our loved ones and our church family. We pray for our ministers and for our church. We pray for patience during these darker days and as we wait for the light to shine over us once again we thank you for your son Jesus who taught us so much and can teach us so much more. Amen
20 April 2020
1 Corinthians 15:19-28 New International Version (NIV)
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet. Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
19 April 2020
The Resurrection of the Dead
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,
At the moment there is a lot of controversy surrounding corona virus. When will the lockdown end? Should we be wearing masks? What about the people that wear gloves? What about the NHS? Questions being asked but no real answers to satisfy the doubters.
Paul writes to the people of Corinth an important wealthy city between North and South Greece. Pauls would spend 18 months there to establish a church and then move onto Jerusalem among other places. After leaving Corinth, Paul wrote a letter after hearing about issues the Christians were having and decided to write to them with guidance for their problems. One of their main issues was who should they follow?
A few years ago I met someone who I used to work with. I was amazed and very pleased when they told me that they had become a Christian. They then went onto to tell me what parts of the bible they believed but then took longer to tell me the bits of the Bible that they didn’t believe in.
I remember parting from this person with the words “ if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then the whole of the bible is a hoax!” “ Christianity is a hoax” back came his retort “ well then your type Christianity is a hoax Alex”
There is no “type”. There is the Bible and there is Christianity
It might seem that Paul is struggling to convince people of the authenticity of the life of Christ but he is making it perfectly clear. If Christ did not rise from the dead then our faith is futile and more than that, Grace would not exist so we would all be drowning with sin. We might be living in strange times and some of the stories we are clearing might be unclear. But what is crystal clear is that Christ died for us on a cross and three days later he rose from the grave. Now I have been repeating myself over the past few days but it’s a point worth hammering home. Strange days and uncertain times deserve a clear message. Christ died for us! He rose from the tomb! Alleluia what a Saviour.
And now a short prayer
Father, we have just celebrated an Easter like no other – when we have not been able to gather together to praise and worship You and to remember Your great sacrifice for us on the Cross and give thanks for your glorious resurrection. And so we pray that whatever our individual circumstances, we give you thanks that the great truths of Easter are the same regardless of where and with whom we celebrated the Easter message.
When we think of the first Easter when the disciples had witnessed the crucifixion, they too felt isolated and lost without Jesus who had been their constant friend and companion for over 3 years. But praise God, because of the resurrection of Jesus, He is with us today. We give you thanks for the hope that the Easter message brings – not just in times of joy and gladness, but more importantly, in the times when we are anxious and concerned. In the Bible passage this morning, Paul exhorted the believers at that time to remain true to the centrality of their belief in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and, as we continue to ponder the Easter message in our hearts, we pray that we too may give you thanks and praise and continue to believe in Jesus who gave His life so that we may live.
18 April 2020
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Use the tool box!
Every time we turn on the television or the radio we are confronted by the latest statistics and facts and figures. But for me personally I am always asking myself “ what is the bigger picture?” “ How do we really explain to each other what is happening?”
In our reading today Mary was deeply disappointed, first by the shock of the crucifixion, but now by the fact that she wanted to see Jesus’ body. She was thinking, “If only I knew where they have taken him? But she didn’t understand the big picture, which included Jesus’ resurrection.
So often, we’re just like Mary. We’re disappointed because we don’t understand the big picture of what God is doing and what is going on in the world. We’re disappointed because God isn’t working as we think He needs to work. It seems that His promises aren’t true! But our faith has to be stronger than that. We have to use every tool in the tool box to repair what is broken in us and that includes prayer, scripture and reflection.
Mary thought that evil men had triumphed over God’s purposes. They had killed Jesus and now they had stolen His body.
We often suffer needless sorrow because we forget that God is so mighty that there is nothing that can overturn his purpose. And yes sometimes that can lead to an emotional struggle especially with the aftermath of what has happened and certainly not in our lifetime, will we get some answers.
Romans 8 verse 28 tells us that
“ we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
And yes that you and me. Our love for him is rewarded by the promise that He works, for the good of us. The Shepherd as always recognises the voices of his sheep. Through his Son Jesus Christ who was crucified and who rose from the dead, we are given answers we are given reassurance and we are given a friend. So if I had to give anyone advice today about what to do? it would be to build up our strength in prayer and scripture, hear the voices of our friends in the hymns that we shared while at Church and reflect on the fact that we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose
17 April 2020
1st Corinthians 15 1-10
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
Is there enough evidence for a conviction?
Years ago I remember hearing a sermon and the main message was “ if you are accused of being a Christian is there enough evidence to convict you?”
I’ve just finished my eighth “Shetland “ book by Anne Cleeves what I like about her books is that at the end she seems to go over things that have happened in the book. ( my memory is getting worse so I like this)
She reminds you what the conviction was, who were the witnesses, who provided the evidence and finally what happened. She talks a lot about the evidence and hammers home the message of the crime.
This passage from Pau's letter is a bit like that for me. It breaks down the basics of Christianity. The conviction being that we have “ received the gospel and on it we have taken our stand. The case being that “ Christ died for our sins and after three days he rose from the dead” and the eyewitnesses being Cephas and of course the 12 disciples. There were a couple of special witnesses namely James and of course later to Paul. And of course all of this means that by this Gospel“ you are saved”
Today more than ever Christians are scrutinised for practising their faith, there is an increasing scrutiny on the belief system and its perceived “intolerance.” As a result, many Christians are fearful of offending others or worry about how they may be perceived if they are vocal about their faith. Yet Jesus Himself was not afraid to offend others. A reading of the gospels shows many instances when Jesus made people angry and hostile. Yet He always showed love, even toward those who rejected Him. Jesus was tried, convicted and killed for His teachings and beliefs. If you were to stand trial for being a Christian, what would your trial be like?
16 April 2020
Colossians 4 2-6
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
There are 82 words in this passage; you could say it’s quite a short passage. There are eight lines of text, that’s all that’s there. If you read it quick enough it might mean nothing. But then again if you look close enough?
Due to a scheduling problem, the words for life for today (as above) was published yesterday on Facebook.
So this morning I leave you with another simple story. I don’t know where it came from, the author is unknown.
With the hand of the Master .............
Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted an old friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE." When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit." Keep playing." Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Perhaps that's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful. The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit." "Keep playing." May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces. Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.' Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire.
Due to the lockdown we are selling the church society cards through this website and through Facebook.
We believe in God Almighty, Creator of the Universe, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one eternal true God.
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