All posts by Matt

April Squeeze

Tossing a large, perfectly good chocolate Easter Egg into the air and letting it crash to the ground is one way of demonstrating how broken up God’s perfect creation became when Man disobeyed His Creator. Free Church Pastor Jim Beveridge’s Easter message explained how the broken relationship between God and Man which had begun so well in the Garden of Eden could only be restored by the heart-breaking sacrifice of the Perfect Jesus when He was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane to be crucified.

The Easter message was reflected in the handicrafts chosen for the Squeeze Breakfast Club at the Village Hall on Palm Sunday. Plastic food trays were transformed into Easter gardens with the Empty Tomb surrounded by multi-coloured paper flowers. Some made Easter trees, silver-sprayed twigs hung with brightly decorated cardboard eggs and crosses bearing such key faith-words as Love Joy, Peace. The crowning point was to plant an Easter tree in an Easter garden.

David told the tale of the American delivering two chimpanzees to a zoo. His truck broke down and although he could fix it, it would take some time and the wait would distress his charges. So he flagged down a young lady and asked her to take the animals to the zoo, giving her $100 for her trouble.

Several hours later he drove into town and was horrified to see the young lady walking along hand in hand with the chimps. What’s going on, he asked. “” Well, we’ve been to the zoo and there was money to spare, so now I am taking them to Sea World.”

The next Squeeze Breakfast Club is at the Village Hall from 10am until noon on Sunday 3rd May. Everyone of any age is welcome, a simple breakfast is provided with a variety of rolls and cereals, fresh fruit, make-your-own toast and pour-your-own tea or coffee, and there is no charge.

He’s a Legend

The Lord asked our Pastor’s wife to write an account of the occasion when parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed by Him (Matthew ch.19 vv13,14), but as told by one of the mothers. She was rather surprised at the style of the narrative and some of the words she used, but it became clear when, shortly afterwards, a request came for a Thanksgiving service to be held for the safe arrival of a newborn baby girl. The young mother asked if she could read the piece at the Blessing, and did so confidently to the congregation, including the child’s father and both their families, as if expressing her own feelings in the situation.

I’ve heard a bloke has been travelling around – healing people and praying for them. People are having life-changing experiences. He came to the Downs the other day, so me and my mates took a picnic and the kids up there, you know. Just to see what ‘s going on.

It’s a nightmare though, trying to get the kids ready – I was yelling at them and they were yelling back at me. I got so hot and bothered and really stressed, but I was determined to get there. Anyway, I met up with my mates, with the buggies and kids (we’ve got fifteen kids between us, well fifteen and a half actually, Kim’s pregnant again).

Our kids went running off as soon as we got there. There were loads of people and kids – then I saw Him, he looked so kind, well and sort of safe, you know. Then I saw Him praying with a kid, it was my Codie – but some grumpy old men were around and they were shouting at the kids to ‘push off.’

Then the Man started to say something about the Kingdom of Heaven and that it belongs to people who are like ‘our kids.’

I discovered his name was Jesus.

I don’t know about my mates, but when I got home and put the kids to bed, they were happy and went to bed without all the fuss we usually have.
I never felt so relaxed, peaceful and yeh, different.

That Jesus, you know, He’s a Legend.

Five Weeks with the Mara People (Part 2)

By Nigel Lindsay

I thought I was going to a boring meeting with the elders of the 6 or 7 Churches in that area and knew we had to travel to a village bit remote. It was exciting as we travelled in a kind of Jeep (gipsy), no seat belts, no roof, in fact it looked quite basic, but it did get us to all he places safely. Thank God. I stared by travelling I the front, but after we stopped I got in and sat back and what with my body being so big and legs so long ,I manages to break the seat. Eventually our driver Mr Harkeye lashed a pole behind it ,but from then on I travelled in the back, where I was able to stretch my legs more and wedge myself with my leg so I didn’t get knocked about too much. I held on to the roof bar, but that came off in my hand, I managed to repair that myself and hold on to where it connected.

We stayed the first night at Lachhuas Mothers house in Tankalo Village and I had the chance to preach in the village Church, many people came to hear this strange white man talk about James 2: 14-24. I could hear something running in the roof at night and discovered the next day it was rats, Lachhua recons he got his foot nibbled. We travelled on to Bymari Village where we stayed four nights for this conference that was for all from the Church and not just the elders. The numbers where apparently, higher than usual, as people came to see this white man. I was told I was the first to come to that Village. We were near the Burma boarder and some came from there to see me, or was it for the Rice distribution, by ‘Save the Children’ and funded from the EU?

I was well looked after and they had build a corrugated iron toilet for me out the back, but it had no door so they found a curtain. This was fine for me until after we left I discovered people had been viewing me from above (it had no roof and all the Houses are built on the side of hills).The bed was a tad short and I could just jam in between the foot board and the head board and the big event was me cutting my head on the roof beam, (white men have Red Blood was a revelation). I attended many services and had the chance to preach at one, I did a talk on the field before the Volley ball match and to my complete embarrassment sung ‘The Lords My Sheppard’ saved by a man on the keyboard. For me the most moving time was the baptism of about 12 young people. One mum came to get one to stand back and not go ahead, but he was clear he wanted to acknowledge Jesus as his Saviour. It is difficult to Video when you have tears in your eyes.

We travelled back and stayed in Phura Village where again I preached at the Church and then gave my testimony at the Community singing after. I also had the chance to play Frisbee and football as they have flat piece of land (unusual for MaraLand). I spent the next 8 days in the city of Saiha in Lachhua house and experienced the wedding and reception for about 300 people of his bother in law. I went on walkabout with Francis (Lachhua bother) and preached at one church 4 times, but I did not get to do the training that I had planned.

We travelled to Srkohur the village the missionary had gone to. I stayed there from 20th – 30th January 2009, in the room with Lachhua which was where Rev A.B Lorrain Foxall had lived after his wife died. I had the chance to preach at both the village Church and the Lorrainvill Church on a number of occasions and twice at the Youth Conference. I enjoyed doing an interactive service with the youth in the village Church and talked to the Woman’s meeting about Martha and Mary, or was it Worship and Action? I also told the Woman that like in many situations they have role of mediation, in the church between the split Mara Church.

It is my view that the Congregational Church in India (Maraland) is struggling and that reconciliation with the bigger Evangelical Church of Maraland needs to take place. I have had a lot of informal conversations, but more is needed to help these people. They need you prayers for the Missionary family, for the Leadership, for reunification and for wisdom. I have Photos, PowerPoint, and Video, can teach a Mara Dance, do and interactive talk about my experience, or Preach on a Mara theme that, I have done an essay on incarnation and missionaries. Give me a ring or email to arrange

Nigel Lindsay (Nigel can be contacted by getting in touch with the oversight using the contact form on the website.

Tracy Williamson

The evening began with worship songs expressing this theme: My Jesus, My Saviour… Tower of refuge and strength; Jesus is Lord…from His throne eternal; Show your power O Lord: In Christ alone…Light of the world by darkness slain…He stands in victory; Father in heaven how we love you (because He loved us first), and finally, Be still for the Presence, the Glory and the Power of the Lord are moving in this place.

Deaf and partially-sighted after a childhood illness, Tracy introduced herself as a co-worker with gospel-singer Marilyn Baker, and began with a track “Open my eyes” from the singer’s album “All that I am” which asks How do I know to whom I belong? And answers with the declaration that the old has gone and You (Jesus) are making me new. I have a brand new name, and I am seated together on high with Him, Jesus my brother, my next of kin.

How do we know that to be true? asked Tracy. Many congregations repeat the Lord’s Prayer every week, asking that the Lord’s Will may be done on earth and His Kingdom come. But are we aware of the reality of Heaven in our daily living? We forget that the Lord Jesus in all His Glory is standing with us. To emphasise this Tracy called for a volunteer to put on a represent-ation of the Robe of Righteousness, in purple edged with white. We may feel insignificant and we all have weaknesses, but Jesus has promised to clothe us with Himself, in partnership with Him and in tune with His wishes.

Tracy quoted 1 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” And the closing words of verse 16, “But we have the mind of Christ.” The most important of the Gifts of the Spirit is the Gift of the Holy Spirit Himself. Reading at close range from one of her books, (and taking off her glasses to do so – they are for seeing people) she related an incident from a Summer Conference in Devon.

A woman who had made many wrong choices in her life, was looking at a picture on the wall of a vine with a branch broken off and withering on the ground. That’s me, she thought. But the Lord drew Tracy’s attention to the same picture with the message that in fact this woman was represented by the topmost branch of the vine, and she was later able to pass on this joyful news. We must converse more with Jesus, she emphasised.

Since we can never be sure that the thoughts we have are directly from the Lord, working with a group of like-minded people can be beneficial. Shared thoughts about a problem may produce a more rounded course of action; such as the young woman who had an ongoing foot problem until the collective opinion emerged that she was carrying her latest child wrongly!

We must be prepared to step out our comfort zones; although we shall feel vulnerable, we will see miracles and difficult healings. Consider Ananias, the man sent by God to deal with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9, vv 10-19). The Lord called him by name and sent him to fulfill a vision of someone who would restore Saul’s sight. I have heard about him and the harm he has done to your saints. But the Lord said “Go, I have chosen this man to carry my name to the Gentiles.” So Ananius went – and Saul the destroyer became Paul the Apostle.

Has our daily walk with God become like a jar of jam, unused and pushed to the back of the shelf where it is becoming mouldy? We must lift the lid and ask the Lord to scoop out the mould to reveal the still-usable jam underneath. Maybe your church needs someone to welcome newcomers, or serve tea and coffee, or to lead worship – or to visit potential murderers. All of these must be done in the Power of God’s Love and not in our own strength

Please note that this not a full transcript of Tracy Wiliamson’s address.
For more information on her work visit www.marilynbakerministries.org