Jokes from Simon
Me and the wife have started joinery lessons. A neighbour said, “I didn’t know you were carpenters”. I said, “We’ve only just begun”.
(Note -if like me you didn’t get this one, think about a certain pop group!!)
I went to the zoo and noticed there was a toast enclosure. I asked the Zoo keeper why there was toast in there, he said, “Oh, they’re bread in captivity”.
Sir Elton John has brought a treadmill for his rabbit. He said, “It’s a little fit bunny”.
Did you hear about the King that was only 12 inches tall. He was a lousy monarch but a great ruler.
A lorry carrying Vicks Vapour Rub overturned on the M25. There’s been no congestion for over 8hrs
Tuesday ‘Zoom’ Fellowship
This week we read about the resurrection appearances in John, shared encouragements we received from these and recalled occasions where Jesus has appeared to people in our age. We also shared times when Jesus has been very real to us
When watching the Soul Survivor Watford service on Sunday, I really felt moved in spirit listening to the Phil Wickham song “The battle belongs to you” and Andy Croft’s prayer beforehand. The band played it much quieter than the official Phil Wickham version, and I thought it portrayed the message of the song much better. After Tuesday’s fellowship zoom, I felt the Lord saying this was a song for us at Gunville, as we come out of lockdown and build on the relationships, we have made with friends, family and neighbours, where we have had more time to chat. I have extracted the song from the service and you can hear it by clicking on the link below. I have also included Andy Croft’s short prayer beforehand, as I thought it sets it in a wider context. God bless and shalom. Angus.
It was Andy and Naomi’s Ruby Wedding Anniversary this week. ‘ We thank God for 40 years of marriage and being with us through the varying seasons of life.’
Book of Daniel THE WRITING ON THE WALL.
Sometimes, we Christians need a bit of encouragement.
In the prison I had reached the point of utter exhaustion. I was constantly under pressure and spiritually drained. I had been a Christian for only a short time. I asked the Lord for a word of encouragement. By His grace He did just that. He used some ladies I had never met!
About a week later I received a letter from a church in Portsmouth inviting me to give my testimony in November for Prisoners Week. This was a real novelty. Up to now nobody had actually asked to hear it. But I was curious. How did they know me? How did they find me?
I rang the number on the letter and put my questions to the lady who answered the call. She replied, “Are you aware of the Biblical account of the fifth chapter of Daniel, verses 1 to 36?”
“Yes I know it very well.”
“Well that happened to you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, a group of ladies were praying for prisoners in preparation for Prisoners Week. During this intercession, one of the ladies felt led to ask whom or what should they pray for? At the time they were looking at a wall, when writing suddenly appeared on it! One word: ALBANY. The ladies then knew that someone in Albany prison had called on the Lord for help. The group prayed for this unknown person and situation. They then asked for a word of knowledge and learnt it was a prison officer. They thought how good it would be if this officer could come and speak at their forthcoming meeting. But who was he? And how could we contact him? They prayed for a revelation. A few days later, one of the ladies had told a friend and this friend was telling her friend who lived in Devon. She concluded by saying, “Sadly, we were not meant to meet him.”
“Why don’t you ask me then?”
“You mean you know him?”
“It sounds like Brian. He brings his family to Devon each year on holiday. He is a Gospel magician. I have his leaflet if you wish to contact him.”
In preparing for the event, I asked the Lord if there was anything He wanted me to say before I gave my testimony. I felt Him say that there would be someone with an ear infection and just to speak it out. I cannot remember if He said that He would heal it. What I do remember is that my heart sank! What if no one responds? I have to admit that my faith level took a deep nose-dive. But there again, I did ask, didn’t I?!
Nevertheless, on the day I DID speak it out. And guess what? No response! I gave my testimony which was well received. I even saw some people taking notes!
Later, in the corridor, I was surrounded by quite a few people who wanted to know more about my testimony. At the time I was thinking maybe one of these will respond to word of knowledge about the bad ear? Nope! It was only later that Ruth told me that a lady in a wheelchair had tried to get to me through the small crowd to respond, but she was unable to do so. She told Ruth that her friend was at home and in great pain because of an infected ear and had asked for prayer. Finally, the response! And so we prayed!
I praise God for those obedient ladies. Their prayers made all the difference. Being invited to speak to a large group raised my self-esteem and gave me confidence to carry on. It made me realise that prayer changes things and that encouragement sometimes comes in ways that we least expect.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it Psalm 24:1.
The chance to find out more about Climate Change from a Christian perspective.
The UK is hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall in June and climate change is high on the agenda. In November the UK is also to host the 26th global Climate Change Conference ‘COP26’ in Glasgow. What is the Christian perspective on climate change, and its potential impact on all living things?
Christianity and climate change (produced by Tearfund) is a nine-part film series featuring Katharine Hayhoe, an internationally renowned Christian climate scientist. In each episode, she responds to climate questions from key church leaders. Here is the opportunity to join in…
Newport Methodist Church will be hosting the series on Zoom on Monday evenings starting Monday 19th April. Each session will include a video and an opportunity to share thoughts in small groups. If you would like to join us please register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that Keith can send you the Zoom links. Everyone is very welcome to join in.
Opinion Keir Starmer’s apology for visiting a church is deeply concerning.
By James MildredJames Mildred is a political commentator and head of communications for Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) which exists to bring a uniquely Christian insight to policies and legislation in the UK. It believes in a better story for society and culture, where the life of every human being, from conception to natural end, is respected and upheld. James writes here in a personal capacity.
Starmer went to Jesus House in Brent. The church is part of a Nigerian denomination which holds to biblical beliefs about marriage, that is marriage between one man and one woman. This is the union described in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, and pointed to by Christ himself. Sir Keir didn’t give any indication as to his own position concerning marriage, or any other aspect of Christian belief. All he did was thank the church for their willingness to play a part in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Yet, within hours, the social media backlash had begun. Voices within the Labour party attacked the church as a seat of ‘homophobia’ because of its evangelical stance. To quote from comedian Rowan Atkinson, Starmer was the victim of the ”digital” equivalent of a medieval lynching mob, scouring social media for any evidence of indiscretion”. The tragic thing is, rather than standing up to the mob, he instead chose to cave in. He soon issued a grovelling apology for setting foot inside the church.
There are two things to say in response. Firstly, it’s utterly depressing that Starmer apologised. Why didn’t he come out and say he doesn’t agree with the church on marriage, but he respects and is grateful for the good work it is doing? This was surely an opportunity for a leader to stand up to social media nastiness and make clear that Christians have every right to hold to and practice their beliefs. He could have taken a stand on the growing phenomenon of ‘cancel culture’ and pointed to the hypocrisy of groups seeking to shut down certain beliefs and opinions at the same time as forcing society to endorse their own. This is not what a free society looks like.
Secondly, it’s telling that those criticising the church for its beliefs about marriage had nothing to say about the great work it has been doing throughout the pandemic. The Church has been organising shelters, food banks and other practical initiatives to show the love of Christ to people who have been alone, afraid and without hope. Does this not matter? Why are those who despise Christian beliefs willing to attack and damage the Church, to diminish its ability to serve the last, the least and the lost purely because of their disagreement? Our society used to be better at tolerating one another’s differences. Something has changed for the worse in recent years.
When politicians cannot set foot in a Church, on the date of a key Christian festival, in a country with a rich Christian heritage, there is something badly wrong. Would Sir Keir have landed in such hot water if he had visited a Mosque, a Synagogue or a Temple where the community also believed same sex marriage is wrong? I highly doubt it. Christianity is the one ‘no-go’ area for politicians on the left and the right these days.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Jesus himself told his disciples that they would “be hated by all because of my name” (Matthew 10:22). As his disciples today, we can expect to be opposed and persecuted. In our country, we have not yet been persecuted to the point of shedding blood, as many of our brothers and sisters are overseas. At the same time, we should not simply accept marginalisation and ill-treatment by society. The New Testament also highlights examples of the Apostles claiming their right as citizens of Rome to live out their faith without harassment.
It was wrong for Keir Starmer to apologise for visiting a church this month. As the church, we must demonstrate why this was the case by continuing to extend love to others, to serve communities and be a positive influence. In doing so, we will make it obvious to politicians and others that the Church of Christ is a blessing to society. And we must stand up for the rights to freedom of speech, religion and belief for all citizens.
Please send any contributions that might be published by next Tuesday morning to: andy