The Inside Column 12/8

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 13, 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.

A couple of people have been asking how Bishop Richard is doing after his heart surgery. Richard is back in Nelson. The heart surgery went very well and he will be resting for the next 5 to 7 weeks. A minor complication, not his heart, means taking thing a bit more easily. Please pray for Richard and Hilary as he will need to take things easy and not do any work.

This last week our synod reps David Featherstone, Matt MacDonald, Anglia Galbraith and myself will have been to our yearly Synod. In the Anglican Church, the mode of government is Synod,
meaning that a diocese is governed by a bishop acting with the advice and consent of representatives of the clergy and laity of the diocese. In much of the Communion the body by which this representation is achieved is called the Diocesan Synod.

A diocesan synod consists of three Houses:

  • The House of Bishops consists of the diocesan bishop.
  • The House of Clergy consists of clergy representatives chosen by the clergy in each Deanery Synod.
  • The House of Laity consists of representatives of the laity, elected from each Deanery by the members of that deanery’s Deanery Synod.

There are also ex-officio members, including the lay representatives elected by the Diocese to the General Synod. Clergy and lay elected representatives are elected for a three-year term of office.

In general the three Houses of the Diocesan Synod meet together, debate together and vote together, and a majority is assumed to be a majority of each of the three Houses. However, a vote by Houses can be requested, and in certain cases is required. In a vote by Houses, the consent of each of the three Houses is required in order for the assent of the Synod to be given. In addition, the diocesan bishop may declare that the House of Bishops shall only be deemed to have assented if the assenting majority includes the bishop. This means that the diocesan bishop may exercise a veto over the Diocesan Synod if they so wish.

There are many interesting things happening in the Anglican Church at the moment. Some to do with Motion 29, which was passed at General Synod, and the shape of what the church might look like in the future. There is not much to feed back at the moment but will try and keep you informed. If you have any questions about synod please talk to one of the synod reps.

Yours in Christ

Phil

The Inside Column 5/8

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 06, 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.

Last Sunday we cracked open 1 Corinthians 14:26- 33, a passage where Paul gives instructions to the church in Corinth about how they should be conducting themselves when they gather, and one of the rare chapters in the bible that gives us a glimpse of how the early church met together to worship corporately.

Things were a little different back then to how they are today, more simplistic without the bells and whistles and less service structured for sure, yet fully reliant on the Spirit and when they gathered it was electric! As they learnt how to collectively participate in ministering with and to God, each contributing and using their ‘spiritual muscles’ as one body – orderly worship wasn’t so much about containing the Spirit and keeping to structures, as it was about being good stewards of what the Spirit was doing and not cutting across one another in the process of giving expression to His voice and promptings.

Paul’s desire for them as a church – was that if an outsider were to observe them, they would notice the reality of a living God in their midst – and in the process encounter Jesus themselves. This is why he was so intent on encouraging the Corinthians  to eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit – especially prophecy, so that the church would be edified (built up) and in the process, people would be drawn to a people in whom God’s Spirit was evident to see. This wasn’t a one hour a week Sunday thing either, this was an everyday life of worship thing.

It’s certainly a different mind-set to think ‘What will I contribute?’ as we gather to worship corporately today at St Barnabas, but what an opportunity we have before us. What might God be sharing with us that we can share with the worshipping        community for their edification? You may not have used your spiritual muscles for a while, or perhaps not at all, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make a start this morning.

You may feel prompted to share a thought or  picture, read a passage of scripture or poem, speak a prophetic word or utter a new tongue, sing a Spirit inspired song, raise your hands, leave your seat and dance before the Lord, give a shout of praise or simply be still and kneel in reverence. Whatever your contribution, during our gathering this morning there will be space for you to share as we encourage one another – Come prepared to participate with expectation for a visitation.

Also happening this coming week is our Diocese Synod – held at All Saints. Please be praying for our leadership as they meet to discuss vision and to discern God’s leading.

 

Luke

 

The Inside Column 29/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 30, 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.

We have been looking at Paul’s great chapter on love from 1 Corinthians, over the last couple of weeks. The bible speaks a great deal about God’s love, particularly in the Psalms and Song of Songs.

The extent of the love of Christ is detailed in the book of Zephaniah (Chapter1:1 – 3:20). Zephaniah lived in the latter part of the 7th Century BC. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah’s, but may have been slightly older than him. It is also possible that Zephaniah was the great grandson of King Hezekiah, and he was probably writing before Josiah’s reforms in 621 BC.

The theme of the book is ’The day of the Lord’. This was the day that the people of God were looking forward to. In popular thinking, this was the day that they expected Israel was going to be blessed. Zephaniah’s message is that it is not simply going to be a day of blessing; it will also be a day of judgment.

He urges, ‘Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger’.

He foresees that a remnant, who are ‘meek and humble, who trust in the name of the Lord’, will survive. He foresees that God will again bless his people, ‘The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day you will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing’.

When Jesus announced the Kingdom of God, he was proclaiming that the day of the Lord had broken into history. One day, when Jesus returns, there will indeed be a Day of Judgment and reckoning. However, the day of the Lord can be experienced right now. The Kingdom of God has broken into history. For those who are in Christ, the promises of the Lord in Zephaniah are fulfilled in us.

Lord, thank you that you are with us.

Thank you that Jesus is mighty to save.

Thank you that he takes great delight in us.

Thank you that he quiets us with his love.

Thank you that you rejoice over us with singing.

Thank you that one day we will experience this love in all its fullness.

 Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 22/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 23, 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.

Last week we were looking at 1 Corinthians 13, Paul’s amazing chapter on love. In the first part of the passage Paul says that love is the basis for everything.

 ‘If I have no love – I am nothing,My actions are meaningless – I might understand everything, I might sacrifice a lot – even give up my life But without love – it’s a limited action’

Love in today’s culture is so often misunderstood, some people see it as no more than a feeling a throbbing of the heart, a sagging of the knees, a nice thing written on a card, the way something makes you feel.

Yet – real love goes far beyond the feelings ‑ Real love is a commitment. It stays – even when the feelings may be a bit weak. Love is a choice – a decision – a commitment

In the passage Paul described aspects of real love, and he gave things love will do and he gave things love will not do. He said that love will not be rude, not be self-seeking, will not be easily angered, and will not keep a record of wrongs.

Then Paul picks up the positive things that love does, He says:  ‘Love is patient and kind’ ‘Love looks to be truthful’ ‘Real love protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres’

As I have been thinking about the love that Paul talks about you can see why this kind of love is the basis for everything, and without it we are nothing.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. God is Love, we live in him and we are to Love each other, and as we love each other Gods love is made complete in us, and this is the most excellent way.           – 1 John 4:7 

Yours in Christ

Phil

 

The Inside Column 15/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 16, 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.

Love Is Indispensable…

 And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 This very well-known Bible chapter and is one that is often used at weddings as it speaks of what love is and what love is not. Yet there is so much more to this chapter than the love between a man and a woman.

The love that Paul speaks about is the love that God pours out on us, it is the love that God has for all his creation, it is the love we are to have for each other, it is the love we are to have for the lost. I love how Paul says after a couple of chapters telling the Corinthians about the gifts, and the body and how it is all supposed to work together, he says – I will show you the most excellent way, the way of Love.

As we look at this passage to day my Prayer is that we all will know the love of God in our lives.

Yours in Christ

Phil