The Inside Column 31/03

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 31, 2019 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.

Bishop elect’s Pastoral Letter to the Nelson Diocese Family following the terrorist attacks in Christchurch

Dear all, Following my election as bishop elect, I was hoping to introduce myself to the Diocese. However in the light of the events in Christchurch last Friday, this is not the right time to do so. I will be in touch in a few weeks’ time.

Grace and Peace to you from God

The unprecedented attacks in Christchurch left us feeling absolutely devastated. I was in Christchurch when these the horrendous events occurred. We condemn such rhetoric of hate and violence and respond in love, compassion and kindness.  We have received messages of support from around the world. Our thanks to all who have found tangible ways to share God’s love and light in our various communities across our Diocese.

As a new week begins, we will be asking, “what should we do, how do we respond?” We want to suggest three things.

Firstly, as a people of prayer,I call you to pray. So across the churches of Nelson, Marlborough, Mawhera  and Waimea, can I encourage you to pray for the Muslim Community, for those injured  and those who have lost loved ones, for the police, first responders, ambulance and other emergency services, and for all in the city of Christchurch and across the country who are feeling distress and fear due to this event, including those involved in lockdown. When we are overwhelmed, we can cling to the solid Rock that is our God.

‘Even though I  walk through the darkest valley, I  will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me’.  - Psalm 23:4. 

Pray too for our broken world, and for those who seek their own way through violence and threat  that they may recognise the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace.

By the Cross, Christ became our true and lasting hope, so we pray…

O God, the author of peace and lover of

concord,

to know you is eternal life and to serve you is

perfect freedom:

Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies;

that we, surely trusting  in your defence,

may not fear the power of any adversaries;

through  the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Yours in Christ

 

Philip

 

The Inside Column 24/03

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 24, 2019 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.

On Wednesday 1 May I will be heading over to London for the HTB leadership conferences as part of my professional development, with Simon Martin (All Saints) and Ian Hussy (St Barnabas). As you will know Greta and I went to the same conference a couple of years ago and had a wonderful time.

Apart from going to the conference we will be, attending several churches, meeting with other Church leaders and might even catch up with a couple of Bishops! I will be heading up to Leeds to visit a friends’ Church for a weekend as well. We will be back home on Friday 17 May.

I have been thinking about forgiveness in the light of what happened in Christchurch. How does forgiveness works in the face of such hatred?

I came across this Essay on Forgiveness from C.S. Lewis:

We say a great many things in church (and out of church too) without thinking of what we are saying. For instance, we say in the Creed ” I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” I had been saying it for several years before I asked    myself why it was in the Creed. At first sight it seems hardly worth putting in. “If one is a Christian,” I thought ” of course one believes in the forgiveness of sins. It goes without saying.” But the people who compiled the Creed      apparently thought that this was a part of our belief which we needed to be reminded of every time we went to church. And I have   begun to see that, as far as I am concerned, they were right. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is not so easy as I thought. Real belief in it is the sort of thing that easily slips away if we don’t keep on polishing it up.

Now it seems to me that we often make a mistake both about God’s forgiveness of our sins and about the forgiveness we are told to offer to other people’s sins. Take it first about God’s forgiveness, I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am   asking him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world    between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says, “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are    almost opposites.

 

Food for thought…

 

 

Yours in Christ

 

Philip

 

The Inside Column 17/03

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 17, 2019 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 a new Bishop, Reverend Stephen Maina Mwangi . A couple of weeks ago we (synod reps and clergy) had the three day meeting to choose a new Bishop. We had three really good candidates and over the three days there was much iscussion and times of prayer as we sought Gods will for this important role in the life of the Church. It was a very interesting process to be involved and my prayer is simply that God will be with Steve as he takes on this big challenge.

Steve up to this point was been leading the New Zealand Church Missionary Society. He is an ordained Anglican minister and a gifted public speaker, Steve was our speaker at camp last year. Steve and his wife Watiri, a counsellor, supervisor and counselling educator, are both passionate about advocating God’s mission, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Diocese.

The second week of Lent…

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”                 - Luke 13:31-35

 

Luke earlier introduced Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem with the words, “It came to pass, when the days were near that he should be taken up, he intently set his face to go to Jerusalem” - Luke 9:51

This journey will continue until Jesus reaches Jerusalem recorded in Luke 19:28. Our Gospel lesson for this week shows Jesus in the midst of that journey – doing his work – unafraid of danger -confident of the outcome – and yet saddened by the response of Jerusalem.

Jesus faced danger from Herod and religious leaders, but did not allow that to stop him. Christians all over the world face persecution  today, and we admire their persistent faith. Most of us face lesser, more subtle challenges. While nobody here is likely to beaten or imprisoned because of our faith, we are likely to be criticised for our witness – or threatened in our profession or community, or label led as intolerant (the greatest of sins in a politically correct world).

Are we willing to persist in our witness, with Grace and Truth in the face of such threats?

 

Yours in Christ

 

Philip

 

The Inside Column 10/03

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 10, 2019 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 now come to the first Sunday of Lent, a 40-day time, excluding Sundays, for reflection and repentance. These 40 days commemorate the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness where He would be tempted three times by Satan. It is a time where some Christians fast from some food or activity they enjoy and spend more time in prayer and reflection.

The Temptation of Jesus

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  If you worship me, it will all be yours.”  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw        yourself down from here.
For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you

to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in

their hands, so that you will not strike your

foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had     finished all this tempting, he left him until an

opportune time.

        – Luke 4:1-13

There are three accounts of the Temptation. Mark is the shortest, but provides two details which are not in Matthew and Luke. The first is that Mark uses the word ekballo (driven out) which gives the idea of a forceful thrusting of Jesus into the      wilderness in comparison to Luke who uses a softer verb meaning “was led.” The other is that Mark mentions that Jesus was with the wild beasts.

Remember to check your details in the parish roll in the foyer, and note the date of the AGM. Every year we need to elect the vestry, so grab a vestry member tell them you love them and nominate them again. If you think someone would make a good vestry member then nominate them.

 

Yours in Christ

 

Philip

 

The Inside Column 03/03

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 03, 2019 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.

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named  Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

- John 3:1-8

 

I don’t know what you think when you hear these words from Jesus “You must be born again”. Maybe you think of a street preacher, waving his hands and raising his voice and telling anyone that might listen “You must be born again”.

We have been looking and thinking about what it means to be a disciple. The first thing we looked at was encountering Jesus, and this is what Jesus means when he tells Nicodemus, “You must be born again” – there is something that happens in our Spirit that changes when we meet Jesus, ta birthing, the start of something new. It is this ‘something new’ in the Spirit that is part of being a disciple. It is not just a onetime thing but something that is, or can be new every morning.

I find the tension is, that I am far more likely to rely on the flesh, than lean into the Spirit. This is the challenge – to learn to lean into the Spirit. What does it look like in your life to walk by faith, not leaning on our own understanding but in all things trusting Jesus?

Again well done to the Banquet in the Vineyard team for what was another great night, raising money for a Bright Hope World project in Recada. Do have a look at the mission board in the foyer for details of the years of Banquets. This year they raised $3400

 

Yours in Christ

 

Philip