Newsletter 22nd May 2022

Message from our Minister

Gospel literally means ‘Good News’. We thank God that because of Easter there is plenty to tell and at Pentecost we are given strength to do it by the Holy Spirit. Our Christian faith is firmly founded upon the belief that Jesus died, was buried, and after three days rose again victorious. The message of the cross powerfully declares that sin and death has been overcome; that we are forgiven; and that all those who put their trust in Jesus have the promise of eternal life. This wonderful offer of God’s amazing love is available to all people everywhere. Now that is worth telling and shouting from the rooftops. The early disciples couldn’t keep this good news to themselves. They immediately went to tell others and others went to tell their friends and so on. People who heard it saw that it was authentic because they knew those who shared it. They were ordinary people who were now being transformed by the faith they proclaimed. 

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, went to preach where people gathered. He regularly greeted the men at the pithead before work and shared the good news with them. Many of them came to faith along with their families. Ordinary men and women were brought to a living faith in Jesus; were given dignity and a real sense of worth. Unfortunately many people today do not see coming to church as vital, important or necessary. The church is often seen as irrelevant. Bridges therefore have to be built in order that we can effectively communicate this amazing and transforming truth. We are called ‘to go,’ and ‘to be witnesses’, where people are and where they meet.

Let’s not hold back from sharing with those around us, in whatever way, this transforming message of God’s love and amazing grace.

God’s richest blessings to you all,
Rev John Izzard

Today

Our preacher is Ellie who will be helping us explore further the Beatitudes and the Kingdom of God

Next Sunday 29th May 

Martin will be preaching. Come along to hear what he has to say to us.

Brian Colling: An Appreciation   

Many of us have vivid memories of Brian (and not just the shirts!).  His book “Convicted” is worth a read, especially for the accounts of many ways in which God guided him in particular situations, and how he was able to speak to many people about the love of Jesus.  

In the book he describes himself as “Gospel Magician”.  This quiz is in honour of Brian and contains the sort of message he shared with people.  Thanks to Ruth for allowing this.

This is what you have to do:  fill in the gaps using only letters from:    

BRIAN COLLING GOSPEL MAGICIAN.

Jokes from Simon

I don’t like Russian dolls. They are always so full of themselves.

What did the mother buffalo say to her calf as he went off to school? By son.

Leah Sharibu

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. (Hebrews 4:14 NLT)

Spend a moment reflecting on this verse and remembering the brave individuals who have held firmly to their beliefs, at great personal cost.

We think particularly of Leah Sharibu, the Nigerian schoolgirl who turned 19 years old on the 14th May. Just like her 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th birthdays, this is another day Leah will spend as a prisoner of terrorist captors, who have declared her a ‘slave for life.’

Leah was abducted by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in February 2018. She was the sole Christian among 110 girls who were taken from their school in Dapchi, north-east Nigeria. 

The surviving girls were returned home a month later, following negotiations, but Leah was not among them. She had refused to convert in exchange for her release, and has been held captive ever since. 

Many of you will be familiar with Leah’s story and have stood with us to call for her freedom over the last four years. On Thursday we handed in a letter to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London, calling once again for her release, and we will continue to raise our voices until Leah is freed without precondition. Thank you for playing your part.

Pray for effective action to secure Leah’s freedom

At the start of this year, the Nigerian authorities gave assurances that there were plans in place to ensure Leah’s release, as well as every other person held captive. This was a welcome development, but the president of Nigeria made the same promise to Leah’s mother back in 2018, with no discernible progress. Pray that, this time, words will definitely turn into concrete action that brings Leah home.

Please also pray:

That Leah will not be worn down by the years of prolonged trauma, but that God would strengthen her in mind, body and soul. 

For comfort and hope for her parents and brother, who live every day with the pain of loss.

That the world will not forget Leah Sharibu, but will continue to pray – and demand justice and freedom – for Leah and for every other victim of abduction in Nigeria.

(FROM CSW – Thanks to Ruth Colling for this update)

20% of people in the UK questioned for a new survey believe that Jesus is God. 

More than 3,000 people were polled, including Christians and non-Christians. 

The research commissioned by Alpha, the Evangelical Alliance, Hope Together, Luis Palau Association and Kingsgate Community Church will be used to help leaders grow the church over the next five years. 

It also found that 45% of people surveyed believe in the resurrection.

Non-Christians questioned, also described the Church as friendly and welcoming, but said it can be narrow-minded and hypocritical at times. 

Church leaders say the findings give an insight into how Christians, the Church and Jesus are perceived by those outside our churches. 

One in three non-Christians, after a conversation with a Christian, said they wanted to know more about Jesus Christ – that’s up from one in five in 2015. Rachael Heffer, Head of Mission at the Evangelical Alliance, told Premier : 

“There’s still that importance of the Church living out that invitation, the warm welcome of people coming in and yet sometimes battling some of those pre-conceptions of what people might think of the church. 

“It presents good news both for the church across the UK and for us as individual Christian witnesses. It goes to reaffirm what our non-Christian friends think well of us and like us, that there is an ever-greater openness to hear our stories of faith.” 

Dr Rachel Jordan-Wolf, Executive Director at HOPE Together said: “This research, that was first done in 2015, it enables us to look over 7 years and see trends that will help us strategically with church growth. 

“It has significant things to say about the church’s investment in the younger generations, gives us real hope for the future of the Church and encouragement that now is the moment for evangelism and mission. 

“It reaffirms that, post-pandemic, there has never been a better time, or more need, for us as Christians to invest in making Jesus known.”

The research was completed by Savanta ComRes in February 2022 using a representative sample of the population of the UK, weighted so that the data can be used confidently as a picture of the whole UK population. 

(FROM PREMIER CHRISTIANITY)

BRIAN: The Missing Words

sinner,   born again,   calling,   Son,   miracles,   nails,   cancel,   sin,   rose,   angel,   coming again,   begin,  gain,   plain,   Amen,   smiling.

Please send any contributions that might be published by next Tuesday morning to:   andy