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Weekly Messages

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Message from Chris - Epiphany 3 - The Blessing of Unity.

The psalmist David writes - Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! For there the Lord commanded the blessing - Life for evermore (Psalm 133: 1;3 NKJ). It has become apparent that in the not too distant past the Church has caused offence through its action or inaction within the parish. Unfortunately, this has led to a strained relationship between the church and community. This is obviously not a good position to be in when we would like to see the Church grow and be in greater harmony with its neighbours.

In these situations there are usually two courses of action. Firstly, pretend nothing really happened and ignore it, or secondly acknowledge what has gone on and ask for forgiveness. Biblically, God commands us to do the latter.

As we move into the season of Lent the 10.00 am Parish Communion on 24th February 2008 will include a general confession to the Community and the asking of forgiveness to anyone who has been offended or felt let down by the Church.

Prior to the service on the 24th Feb and as the people of God we also need to have our house in order if we are to be truly blessed by God in the future.

Next weeks Parish Communion service will include the reading from 1 Corinthians 1: 10-18 which addresses divisions within the church. Again when problems arise within a church family there can be a breakdown of relationships if the situation is not dealt with in a timely manner. One person's offence can quickly gather negative support. The writer of Hebrews says 'Make every effort to live in peace with all men... see to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (paraphrase Heb 12:14-15).

If there is anything of a negative nature that anyone has said or done toward another brother or sister within the church family then it is right to admit it face-to-face and ask for forgiveness. Anything of an unspoken nature that has left one feeling offended or bitter should generally be confessed only to God. Next week's confession will include the opportunity to leave written confessions on the altar. They will not be read by anyone and they will be burnt after the service.

Posted 20.1.2008

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Message from Chris - Epiphany 2 - The Baptism of Jesus. (Matt 4:13-17)

Today's passage from Matthews Gospel, which gives the account of Jesus' baptism, has much to teach us about God, His relationship with humanity and the power of the Holy Spirit. Firstly, some unnecessarily worry about the fact that Jesus asks John to baptise him. Baptism has to do with the washing away of sin, yet Jesus was sinless and John was clearly aware of this. John only agrees after Jesus says that "it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness." Righteousness in this context is a synonym for the Christian life, viewed as a relationship with God focused on obedience. It was this relationship, which John's baptism demanded so that Jesus could identify himself with the penitent people of God in order to fulfil his mission. Secondly, we see the completeness of God in these few verses. God the Son, God the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and the God the Father speaking "this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Finally, Jesus baptism by the Holy Spirit inaugurates the start of His earthly ministry. Up to this point Jesus had done nothing. The Holy Spirit is the power of God and the key, which set Jesus apart from every other human being.

If our Christian lives and ministry appear to be struggling then it is probably time for a refilling of the Holy Spirit. We can never go very far or extraordinary things with God when we are running on empty!

Posted 13.1.2008

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Message from Chris - Epiphany

An appeal from Bishop John

We must all be aware of the difficult situation in Kenya at the moment. I ask that special prayers should be said throughout the Diocese and especially this coming Sunday, the Feast of the Epiphany.

I have been in touch with the bishops of our twinned dioceses of Nakuru and Nyahururu.

The situation in Nakuru is more difficult with many areas directly affected. Bishop Charles has written from Nyahururu, "We need your prayers for Kenya. The situation in Kenya today is very bad. This was prompted by the presidential elections, which were very closely contested. There were many flaws in the tallying of the presidential votes. Every side is alleging rigging of the votes in favour of every side i.e. the winners and the losers. As a result over 178 people have been reported dead.

We are appealing for food from the Christians and well wishers in the diocese to feed the mothers and the children. We are keeping six people in our house who have fled from the war torn area of Mt. Elgon. Pass our love to all the friends."

I would be grateful if every parish in the diocese would consider taking a retiring collection this Sunday in aid of our twinned dioceses. Cheques payable to "The Friends of Nakuru" please, may be sent c/o Diocesan Church House.

Posted 6.1.2008

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Message from Chris - Advent 4

Today’s Crib Service talk is certainly different; the Christmas story told via chocolate! When I first saw the script I thought it was rather cheesy (if you will excuse the pun!)

However, illustrations that are a bit different tend to be remembered and talked about. We are commanded to be relevant to ‘our generation’ and if we take the command seriously we will be using all means at our disposal to get the message across. Bishop Wallace often says ‘be radical but be biblical’. Amen to that.

Of course, not everything the church does has universal appeal but that should not put us off trying new things and new approaches in getting the ‘Good News’ to those who as yet do not have a relationship with Christ.

Being involved in areas of life other than church based activities is an important factor and in effect we ‘embody the message’ so that others will see Christ in us. The apostle Paul spoke about ‘becoming all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some’ (1 Cor 9:22).

Personally, I love meeting new people and making new friends. Sharing our life experiences enriches our own lives and gives opportunity for us all to deepen our understanding of one another and the world around us.

As this year draws to a close may we all look forward with joy to making new friendships and investing ourselves further into this wonderful community that God has graciously placed us all in.
Happy Christmas and easy on the mince pies!

Chris L

Posted 23.12.2007

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Message from Chris - Advent 3

As the 'New Boy' in the church I have been very encouraged that many families have either been coming to the church or returning (perhaps to see if things have changed?). Either way the church family should embrace all age groups. It probably goes without saying that the church should be offering something 'life-giving' and positive in whichever age group we find ourselves in. This is particularly important for our youngest members during their formative years so that they can enter adulthood with confidence to cope and thrive within the challenges of modern living.

To make sure we do the very best for our children we all need to invest some quality time on their behalf. In the church at the moment the children are potentially plentiful but the workers are few. It would be great if we could have a few more volunteers to help with Sunday Club during non-family services. If we had an additional six adults (men and women) then the commitment would be very light. May I request that over the Christmas period everyone gives some thought and prayer to this important work and whether you (or someone you know) would be able to help. I will aim to publish further details of what's involved in the early New Year.

Posted 16.12.2007

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Message from Chris - Advent 2

Today is the second Sunday of Advent where we celebrate the ministry of John the Baptist.; the one who prepared the way for Jesus.

John was certainly a colourful character; his clothes made out of camel’s hair and his rather odd diet of locusts and wild honey. I always wondered if John had any dental problems? However, John was a straight talker with a straight-forward message “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near”. Many responded to the call and confessed their sins to John and were baptised by him in the river Jordan.

The word ‘repent’ I believe, has some of the negative overtones associated with the ‘hellfire and brimstone’ preachers of bygone eras. In essence to repent means to ‘have a good look at yourself’ and if you are found wanting confess your shortcomings and accept God’s forgiveness. True repentance (with the help of the Holy Spirit) will result in a positive change to attitudes and actions.

Advent is the ideal time to do some ‘spiritual business’ with God and to leave your burdens at the foot of the cross. Like a good diet, you never know how good you may feel until the weight comes off!

Posted 7.12.2007

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Message from Chris - Advent 1

This Sunday's Evening Healing Service is a new start in an area of ministry that is either greeted with open arms or widely misunderstood and therefore treated with scepticism. The ministry of healing encompasses many facets from the largely unseen healing of spiritual/mental burdens to the more obvious in the healing of physical ailments and diseases. However when the need arises I am often amazed how many people soldier-on without seeking God for a solution – despite His numerous promises. Often elderly folk struggle and when asked would they like to be prayed for, refuse! As if God was too busy or if He answered their prayer someone else would go without. When you think about it both scenarios are equally ridiculous.

Do we hurt God’s feelings when we know that he can make our situation much better but then refuse His love? In reality, God is more than pleased that we come to Him and He always gives more that we can ask or imagine. So if you or one of your loved ones is in need of prayer come along this evening and ‘see that the Lord is good’. After all, what have you got to lose?

Blessings - Chris

Posted 30.11.2007

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Message from Chris - Sunday before Advent

On behalf of Sarah, myself and our daughters Lois, Phoebe, Isobel and Olivia, may we all thank you for making us so welcome. The Licensing Service on Tuesday was very enjoyable and it was a pleasure to share the evening with so many of you. A personal vote of thanks for the kind and encouraging words of welcome from the parish and schools during the service. Many thanks to everyone involved in the planning, service and post service refreshments, also to Frances and Delia and their team of helpers - all of our visitors were singing your praises!

I hope that our Church Wardens, Peter and Pat have a much deserved time of R & R; they have done a fantastic job during the Interregnum.

Looking forward, I hope that you will all find us to be a welcoming, ‘normal’ and sociable family. We are very keen to get to know our new church family and the wider community.

Just a note about where to find me. I shall be working from the Church Office (9.15am – 5.00pm). Please call there in the first instance. For anything urgent or out of office hours please call the Vicarage.

My day off will be on a Wednesday except for the third Wednesday of the month when I will be off on the Friday.

Blessings - Chris

Posted 23.11.2007

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