The Inside Column 16/9

Posted in: The Inside Column- Sep 17, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking into the book of Nehemiah.

Who wrote the book?

Jewish tradition identifies Nehemiah himself as the primary author of this historical book. Much of the book is written from his first-person perspective. Nothing is known about his youth or background; we meet him as an adult serving in the Persian royal court as the personal cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. This prestigious position reveals something of Nehemiah’s upright character. The book of Nehemiah could be read as a sequel to the book of Ezra, and some scholars believe the two were originally one work.

The book of Nehemiah opens in the Persian city of Susa in the year 444 BC. Later that year, Nehemiah traveled to Israel, leading the third of three returns by the Jewish people following their seventy years of exile in Babylon. Most of the book centers on events in Jerusalem. The narrative concludes around the year 430 BC, and scholars believe the book was written shortly thereafter.

Why is Nehemiah so important?

Nehemiah was a layman, not a priest like Ezra nor a prophet like Malachi. He served the Persian king in a secular position before leading a group of Jews to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the city walls. Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the Jews withstood opposition and came together to accomplish their goal. Nehemiah led by example, giving up a respected position in a palace for hard labor in a politically insignificant district. He partnered with Ezra, who also appears in this book, to solidify the political and spiritual foundations of the people. He did not claim glory for himself but always gave God the credit for his successes.

Nehemiah recorded the reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem, Judah’s capital city. Together, he and Ezra, who led the spiritual revival of the people, directed the political and religious restoration of the Jews in their homeland after the Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah’s life provides a fine study on leadership. He overcame opposition from outsiders as well as internal turmoil. Accomplishing those goals resulted in a people encouraged, renewed, and excited about their future.

Church Garage Sale 27 October 2018

It is just over a month until our Church Garage Sale. So if you have anything that you are wanting to clean out of the house or garage (please no tv’s or broken things) then you can start bringing items to the church hall.

Thanks to everybody for supporting the Youth Baking stall over the last couple of weeks. The money will help pay for Spring Camp.

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 9/9

Posted in: The Inside Column- Sep 10, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

From my devotional…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be  discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.           - Joshua 1:9 

How comforting it is to know that wherever we go, God is there with us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations and wonder if God is paying attention. We may feel so alone and even depressed. We can’t feel God’s presence, and we need His guidance and help. Sometimes friends, spouses, and parents don’t really understand what we are going through. But God does and He cares. God told Joshua to be strong and to have courage. Then He told him a wonderful truth: “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Yes, that’s right… wherever! We don’t have to feel all alone. God is with us. He is working out the problems, and we don’t even realize it.

But now … the Lord who created you … says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.             – Isaiah 43:1-3, 13 

God is with us, leading us, guiding us, loving us, providing for us – all with His unlimited resources. What do we need? Do we need strength, peace, love, joy, or hope? He has it all. He is longing to pour out His favour and blessing upon us. We need to be open to Him and to trust Him. We need, by faith, to receive what He has for us. It is essential we realize how much He loves us and that He has a good purpose and plan for us.

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his   glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.             - Ephesians 3:14-16 

This Scripture is awesome. There is nothing that God doesn’t know and can’t do for us. He walks with us every moment of every day. You can trust God. No matter what is going on in your life, He is there! God goes where you go.

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 2/9

Posted in: The Inside Column- Sep 03, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

Some news from Luke …

Hi everybody – hope your week is going well and you’re enjoying the look of the snow-capped mountains at the moment like I am. Spring is on the way which means Christmas is just around the corner – I know, how did that happen?

Spring is often the season for new initiatives and change and this year is no different in my life – as some of you may have heard, I’ll be wrapping up my time as worship leader and curate in December. It’s been an amazing journey here at St Barnabas, but it’s time for our family to take on a fresh adventure and be obedient to the Godly promptings we’ve been receiving.

Although exactly what we will be doing next year is still in the development stages, it will be missional at heart with a focus on being church and creatively reaching the ones who may never come through the doors on a Sunday morning. We’re really excited about this but we’d sure appreciate your prayers as we step out in faith. We will be praying for you and St B’s, that God brings along the right leader who can continue to grow the team and lift a banner of praise.

Please pray for Luke and family for their next step, that God will richly bless him and his family in what they believe God is calling them into next year. We have been incredibly blessed to have had Luke lead the worship team here for several years, and he will be greatly missed.

The date for the Garage Sale is Saturday 27 October from 8.00am to 11.00am, and money raised will go towards our mission giving. In the past this was known as the white Elephant that ran as part of the fair. So if you have anything (please no tv’s or broken things) that you are wanting to clean out of the house then you can start bringing things to the church hall. There will be a sausage sizzle at the same time. This will be a great way for us to support our mission partners. If you would like to help on the day, or beforehand let the office know.

Just in case you were thinking “what about that home baking I always do for the fair?” Well we have been ask to run the catering at the Diocese Clergy Conference up at the lake this year from Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 October and we will be asking for all sorts of food donations for this. We get paid by the Diocese to cater for this event. What we don’t spend we can keep, so it can be a good fund raiser for the church. More info on this to come.

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 26/8

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 27, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

Today we will be looking at the second part of 1 Corinthians 15 with the question being asked; “What kind of bodies do we have when we are raised to life?” This is a part of a much bigger
Question; “What happens when we die?” There is no short answer to these questions.

Some thoughts from Tom Wright…
In Ephesians Chapter 1 verse 10 Paul says ‘God’s plan for the fullness of time was to gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth’.
We have lived in a culture that has long separated heaven and earth, which thinks of heaven as ‘somewhere up there a long way away’. In this view, heaven is a place that
maybe we’ll go one day but has not got much to do with who we are down here, we had to muddle along on earth as best we can in hope of arriving at heaven eventually.

Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’. Jesus launched the heaven-and-earth project, and it’s not going away until that day when God’s work is fully done. We are to be people, as this first chapter of Ephesians tell us, through whom the same power which raised Jesus from the dead will be at work. When this happens, signs and elements of that heaven-on-earth reality will come to birth in our midst.

Something New

This year there will be no church fair, but instead there will be a Garage sale. The date for the garage sale is Saturday 27 October, and money raised will go towards our mission giving. In the past this was known as the white Elephant that ran as part of the fair. So if you have any thing (please no rubbish) that you are wanting to clean out of the house then you can start bring things to the church hall. The Garage sale will run from 8.00am until 11.00am and there will be a sausage sizzle at the same time. This will be a great way for us to support our mission partners. If you would like to help on the day, or beforehand let the office know.

Just in case you were thinking “what about that home baking I always do for the fair?” Well we have been ask to run the catering at the Diocese Clergy Conference up at the lake this year from Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 October and we will be asking for all sorts of food donations for this. We get paid by the Diocese to cater for this event. What we don’t spend we can keep, so it can be a good fund raiser for the church. More info on this to come.

Yours in Christ

Phil

The Inside Column 19/8

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 20, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

From the Bishops charge at Synod…

My faith has been tested in ways I never imagined: I have experienced intense loneliness, the sleepless nights accompanying the dark night of the soul. I have also experienced such incredible support, encouragement, love and joy – right across the whole Diocese. So, my ‘bullet points’ – and I repeat, they are a couple of insights that these 12 years of ministry have taught me.

  • I have come to love the Anglican Church more and more and the institution less and less. I was born into the Anglican Church. I am an Anglican by heritage rather than by choice and so I never had much inclination to explore the roots of the church, until I became a Bishop and discovered, in the ordination vows, that I was to guard and teach the historic faith. This realization came at a time when many within the Diocese, clergy and lay, were dismissing the Anglican Church as irrelevant – well past its used-by date. And I must add that if we’re talking about the institution (with all its trappings) I couldn’t agree more. But I’m not talking about an institution. I’m referring to the uniquely different church that emerged out of the Reformation in the UK – uniquely different to other Reformation churches. I used to describe being Anglican as having one foot in the sacramental tradition and the other in the biblical tradition – a rather simplistic, but not incorrect, description of how our church began. The Anglican Church is a Church that sought to keep a balance between the  traditional worship patterns of historic Christianity, reshaped and reformed by a renewed respect for the authority of scripture; A Church that balanced, in its liturgies, the fundamentals of the faith with the mystery of faith. A church that believes that the gospel is the good news of Jesus and the good news of the kingdom.
  • Things don’t seem as black and white as they used to. We minister today within a world made up of a thousand shades of grey. But I have learned that although I must minister in some very grey areas, my faith must never become grey. I was drawn back to the Sermon on the Mount as I was writing this second bullet point. It is an incredible Christian manifesto – discipleship in a nutshell. But it is also black and white! Just in the last part of this Sermon alone – Chapter 7 of Matthew’s Gospel – there is a wide gate and there is a narrow gate. There is a good tree with good fruit and there is a bad tree with bad fruit. There are good disciples and there are bad disciples. There is a house built on the rock and there is a house built on the sand. There is black and there is white!

Words for us all to think about…

Phil