All posts by Matt

No Ark For New York

The theme of ‘Flood’ was given to us before any news arrived of hurricane Sandy and its impact on New York. The city, built on a swamp, into which man in his wisdom puts an underground railway system, which to no-one’s surprise flooded in the deluge. It all reminds us of the story of the man who built his house on sand – and the winds blew and the rains came, and the house was washed and blown away. We saw wooden houses blown over and floating away like boats. The roofs became hulls and floated like the Ark.
So, do we build our lives on swampy sand – or anchored to a Rock? Do we have a place of security against the Storms of Life? An Ark in our life, to buoy us up against the floods of life’s events, so that we are not overwhelmed or drowned but can be carried to a harbour of safety?  In the changing winds of life, as the Hurricane comes we stand in the eye of the storm – where there is tranquillity. A Sea of Tranquillity – not the one on the moon, but here and now with Jesus, the Rock who cannot be shaken. Rock or Sand? You choose. It’s a shame there was no Ark for New York. Pastor Jim Beveridge

 

A SIGN OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN ME AND THE EARTH
DSCN0790Pastor’s wife Jenny asked the Lord what the theme should be for the November Squeeze and His reply – “The Flood.” So we set about replacing the large mural of Jonah and the Whale above the serving hatch with one of Noah and the Ark. One table was given over to the production of animals and birds, a second table to a model of the Ark devised by Harry, and the third to making a sectioned rainbow so that each person could work on part of the finished arch. The final masterpiece will appear on our website, but don’t wait for that – come and see it for yourself.

Squeeze: Sunday Dec. 2nd 10.00am – 12 noon in the village hall.

A PRECIOUS VOLUME IN DAMAGED COVERS
David came to one of our 200th Anniversary events last year expecting to find “a sad, old preacher with a couple of old ladies in the front row.” Instead, he found the presence of the Lord who put His arms around him and David went away “with more faith than I had had for ages.” He needed that faith because he had a son who had turned from a Christian upbringing to drugs and drink. His own Pastor encouraged him to look into his son’s eyes and see the love there. For five weeks he could not look at the pierced and haggard face, although the boy begged him not to judge the book by its cover but by its contents. His son has now completed a whole year without drugs or drink. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,” David told the October Squeeze, “and He will give you all you need.”

Thunderbirds Are Go! – What About you?

Do you remember Thunderbirds and their home on Tracy Island with its hidden secrets to protect it from discovery? Today we have brought our ideas of a Perfect Island – but we must ask ourselves, is this what God wants of us? To remain on the island of our creation, whatever it is, within the boundaries we have set?
As people together and as individuals on what we can call Christian Island we have such Good News within us that is too important, too big, too vast for a mere island existence. God says to us “Get off the Island,” because his perfect place is called Paradise and he has not got enough people who leave “Island Earth” to fill all the places which He has prepared for those who know him.
And the people who do know him personally, now, are on “Gospel Island.” God says ”Get off the Island and take this Good News to people so that I can see imperfect people become forgiven people.” Then they, through His son Perfect Jesus, can become inheritors not just of an island paradise, but of His Kingdom Paradise that starts with Jesus on this earth, and His Kingdom lasts for ever.
John Donne wrote “No man is an island, complete of itself.” But you plus Jesus makes completion. Have you met Him and reached Completion Day? Or have you so far put it off? Thunderbirds had a key character called Brains. It takes brains to do the right thing by God. Thunderbirds are go! – are you?

Pastor Jim Beveridge

OUR ISLANDS IN THE SUN

We fielded four teams of children and adults intent on producing a map of their Perfect Island. All of them had white surf on silver sands and sunshine everywhere. One had a diamond mine, which took care of the finances. The maps formed part of our Harvest Display. Two of the teams produced and sang a ‘National Anthem.’

SEASON OF FELLOWSHIP AND FRUITFULNESS
We are pleased to have found the Matthew 25 Mission in Eastbourne which provides daily meals and food parcels for needy people. It also runs a charity shop to support this work. So our Harvest display this year majored on tinned foods and tea bags among the traditional fruit.
A handful of our folk were able to share the Wartling Parish Harvest Lunch and the following Sunday a few of us got to All Saints’ lunch. A big thank you to both Parish Churches for making us welcome.

Liz Ford Testimony

I chose this reading because I think it sums up a lot of my experiences with God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3 5-6.

If I’ve learned one thing from my relationship with God, it’s that he’s always right and I’m often wrong. It’s like a major part of my walk with him, as some call it, has been all about getting over myself. Realising I am not that great, not that wise. Coming to terms with it, and realising that that’s ok. I was never supposed to have to work it all out alone anyway.

I’ve always believed in God. Mum and Dad told us he was real, and they never lied to us about anything, though whether dad really did kill the last dragon in Britain is still up for debate. So I trusted them, if they said that was how it was, that was good enough for me. I think as a teenager I might have stumbled in my faith more had I not seen my parents’ faith played out in their lives. I didn’t have many Christian friends, so in many ways it would have been easier to have ignored God, and in many ways I didn’t give him enough importance in my life. But the fact that amid all the teenage hormones and drama, my parents were the constant voice of reason, like the way we weren’t really allowed to dislike anyone, because if you moaned about them mum or dad would help you see the other side of the story. Or if you did something wrong then you got a stern telling off, but they never hit us, and you could see they loved us even in their angrier moments. I could plainly see that there was real good in the world, and I saw that God was the source of it. I didn’t always want to listen, but I couldn’t deny it deep down, and really what I wanted was a world where the good side always won.

It was when I went to uni though that the decision to follow God became my own, would I attend church, who would I make friends with? And just as God had provided an amazing family to lead me, he really came through for me in this next step too. In the first week of uni I’d met Matt, and our friends Steve and Hannah. And they all had a big part to play in encouraging me to keep the faith. Steve used to nag me to come to church, when I was really tired after a night out or had an essay in that week. He usually prevailed. And Hannah was a real inspiration to me, she showed me faith in action in all areas of her life, like in the fact that when she needed somewhere to stay she just prayed about it and never worried. She just expected God to provide, no questions asked. Apparently that was what her family had always done. Through these friends and the church we went to I started to see that there could be even more to this Christian thing. Rather than just acknowledging he was there, and popping in on him on a Sunday, some people let him run the show, and he came through for them.

It was Hannah that took me to Romania the first time, God slightly ambushed me on this one. I thought I was just going on holiday for a month, but I soon realised this is where I needed to be. I always believed in God, but I was always distracted, I was having too much fun going out and hanging out with friends to really give God enough of my time for him to really make an impact. To make him lord. I’d said to myself that if I could have 6 months as a nun my walk with God would be a lot better. Well God took me up on that, he sent me to Romania for two and a half years. That was the first time I really felt God clearly telling me something, and saying ‘yes’ has changed my life totally. In Romania I worked with people who had given up everything they had to live for God, left jobs as lawyers to sit on the street with homeless kids, just because God told them to. I worked with other volunteers who prayed every day and expected God to answer every day. I saw a charity which had no income manage to feed and support hundreds of families every week. And I was like, here’s God!

In the poor people we worked with I saw faith, I saw people with no food pray for food, and then get some delivered, out of nowhere. I saw a woman with broken ribs and real faith get totally healed in front of my eyes. Any questions about God were totally answered when I realised that when he runs the show, things get put right. I know there is horrendous injustice in the world, but all the people I met who were truly listening to God were doing something about it. Because he flipping cares. I got to know God out there, he became my friend as well as my God. And the biggest lesson I learned is it’s just not about me. If life was about me it would be shallow and selfish and unfulfilling, it’s about him. And when I started to make it about him, everything started to make more sense. and it started to become about other people too.

You can’t ignore God in Romania because he is needed all the time, so you seek him all the time, so he answers all the time. But God told me to come back, to get married and to do that praying and the loving and the healing, back here. There’s so much comfort in the west that you can forget you need God, and be distracted by a million things a day. I’m here because there is no debate for me whether God is real or not, or if he’s good or not. The only debate is whether I let him have his way, or I make it all about me again. And I don’t want that. I truly believe Jesus died for me, and I know I can’t do anything less than live for him. This baptism is about saying, “It’s not about me, it’s about him, and I’m one of his.”

Believer’s Baptism

“I HAVE COME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE…. ABUNDANTLY.”
The words of Jesus, or as John 10, v10 says, “My purpose is to give a rich and satisfying life.” So it is Jesus who provides this abundant life. In the early life of Jesus there is mention of his teaching skills, but no healings, no miracles, not what we would recognise as ’abundance.’
So how did he receive that powerful, abundant ministry? We read in John 1v32, that God had told John the Baptist, “The one to whom you see the Spirit descend and rest upon is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit. So we see Jesus baptised and come up out of the water and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove.
This was the beginning of Jesus’s Abundant Ministry, the mystery of Jesus, part of the Trinity, Three in One and One in Three and here the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus, and that power is released on earth through Jesus on earth.
Today we will witness a Believer’s Baptism. A testament, a profession of faith as a Christian. But that is not all. There is an abundant sign of the Believer following Jesus down through the water as to Death, and rising up through the water as Jesus did to new Life, empowered afresh by the Holy Spirit.
What happens through life after this day is a three-way partnership of the one baptised with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It often fills a long-felt desire of Christians who have been blessed by Christening, Confirmation and their actual experience of being saved, being prayed for, and having hands laid upon them to seal them as Christians.
It is a freewill choice. It is in obedience to what Christ said and did. A disciple, a follower, does what the Master teaches. Let us hear ‘Liz’s personal testimony and witness her baptism today. And watch for the future Abundant Life. Pastor Jim Beveridge

I have always believed in God, Mum and Dad told us he was real and they never lied to us. As a teenager I might have stumbled in my faith more had I not seen their faith played out in their lives. Amid all the hormones and drama, my parents were the constant voice of reason. We weren’t really allowed to dislike anyone, because Mum or Dad would help us see the other side of the story. I could plainly see that there was real good in the world and God was the source of it.

When I went to ‘Uni’ the decision to follow God became my own. Would I attend church? Who would I make friends with? In the first week I had met my husband to be, and friends Steve and Hannah, who all had a big part in encouraging me to keep the faith.
Hannah took me to Romania for a month; God kept me there for two and a half years. I worked with other volunteers who prayed every day and expected God to answer every day. I saw a charity with no income feed hundreds of families every week. Any questions about God were totally answered. There is horrendous injustice in the world, but all the people I met who were truly listening to God were doing something about it. Elizabeth Ford

New Website

We’ve moved away from a custom built website over to a wordpress based website, this will hopefully allow more people to contribute to the website and help to keep it more up to date.