Seven

Coinciding with the New Year is a new book which we will be reading together as a church up to Easter. Written by Richard it's about Discipleship. The main thing is to make the main thing the main thing. This may be hard, but it is not beyond us. The kingdom of God is available to every one of us. It is within reach. It is at hand. It is near. Practical and accessible, this book sets out a framework which will enable you to success in your desire to follow through on your commitment to being a disciple. Seven short chapters outline a rule of life that is easy to remember and possible to achieve. Jesus offered us life. Seven is about joining with others to experience it.

If you want to read it online you can click here Seven


We believe in Church

Why do we do what we do?

We believe in Church. We believe that, contrary to popular belief, the church is amazing
We believe that when the church looks like Jesus, when it sounds like him, when it feels like him, when it gives off his aroma everything changes. Communities are transformed, people’s lives are restored from the inside out. When the church is alive, people come alive. When the church is alive, communities come alive. If you want to change the world, the best way of doing that, we believe, is to be a part of church. In church people discover love and forgiveness and healing. They discover rhythm, purpose and passion. They discover fulfilment, direction and joy. Church matters.

Church gives people the way to salvation. It gives them the tools needed for personal transformation and renewal. It gives them a worldview that makes sense of the world and which gives direction and purpose to life. It gives them a way to find life.

How does Church do this? It does it by introducing people to God in Jesus. It does it through baptism and breaking bread and worship. It does it through engaging in prayer and disciplines and rituals that help us remember and reconnect ourselves with God’s love, his grace, his forgiveness and his presence. It does this through ministry and generosity and self-sacrifice. It does it by sharing the good news about God’s kingdom and inviting people to rethink their lives around it. It does it by inviting others to seek the kingdom, find it, receive it, and enter it. It does this through giving itself away, feeding people, loving them, forgiving them, bearing with them. It does it through blessing rather than cursing its enemies, and praying for those who persecute it. It does this through taking on the enemy and proclaiming that life, not death, wins after all – that love, not hate, is ultimately victorious. It does this by trusting in God, taking risks, living simply, giving things away and ‘taking up its cross’. It does it by loving the unlovable, forgiving the unforgivable, and believing the unbelievable. It does it by following Jesus and by inviting others to follow Jesus too. Everyone is a disciple. Everyone is a disciplemaker. There is a discipleship invitation everywhere –at home, at work, at the gym, at school, at college, in the hospital.

What does the church do? It prays, it worships, it breaks bread in homes, it devotes itself to the apostle’s teaching, it gives money away to those in need. It makes music to God, and celebrates the sacrifice of Jesus in the breaking of bread. It engages in mission and compassion and outreach. It embraces the poor. It makes space for the broken. It receives the unclean. It teaches and it baptises. It educates and releases. It equips and it appoints. It resources and it anoints. It guides and motivates and trains. It helps people to find their place and their role, their purpose. It prays for healing, sets people free and proclaims the year of the Lord’s favour. It restores the foundations, breaks the curses and restores godly ways of thinking. It runs courses, toddler groups, it provides family meals when someone has a baby. It visits the sick, lends out a van and buys a holiday caravan. It sets up a recording studio, reads with kids at school, walks the streets at midnight, runs a foodbank. It mentors, it enthuses, encourages. It blesses the local schools, it joins in with local community activities, it gets involved, it rolls out the red carpet by picking up litter and hiring out skips. It runs a community café and centre as a home from home, facilitating an art group, a breast feeding group, a knit and natter group, and offering countless people a chance to regain their purpose and their direction. It prays for breakthrough. It set up impact groups that make a difference to local people. It believes in people. It blesses marriages and supports families. It gives thanks for children seeing them as gifts. It supports the grieving and gives hope to the mourning. It takes a day off each week seeing it as a gift from God for the benefit of everyone. It lives life as if God’s Kingdom is at hand and available to all. It believes that Jesus is Lord. It believes that Jesus has won. It believes he is good.

This is what we are like. This is what we do. This is how we do it. This is why we do it. Want to sign up for another year?


The life I always wanted

What does being a Christian mean to you? What is the most important part of it all? How do you feel you are doing? Does it all make sense? Do you want to know God better? Have you ever thought something ought to change?

Jesus came to offer us a life in his kingdom and as a church it is our main aim to learn how to live this life well. Church people call learning about this life 'discipleship'. Over the next year discipleship is going to take centre stage in our thinking and living as a community. Some of us have been disciples of Jesus for a while. Others have only just signed up for the journey. None of us feel we've got it licked and all of us want to grow in our life with God.

As the summer time comes to an end and we enter a new season together it is our aim to build each other up and see each other grow and mature. Together we are committed to being and making disciples.

Join us, if you want to make this your own goal. Join us is you want to discover the life you always wanted. Join us if you want to sign up as a student of Jesus. It will be worth it.


Summer Time

It's great when summer comes and regardless of the weather we all look forward to the slightly slower pace that this holiday season brings. Summer is a good time for stuff we don't normally have time for - hanging out in the garden having a BBQ, going on trips to the sea, going overseas, relaxing with a book. As a church August is always a slower time for us and it gives us time to recharge our batteries ready for the new school year in September. Take the opportunity to reflect about your own life with God. Take time to check on your most important relationships. Summer time is a gift to us. Perhaps write some things down that you feel God is saying to you, or read through a gospel and pick up a Christian book. Why not try and go for a 'prayer walk' with God in the country side? What ever you do this summer, may the goodness of God touch you every day.


Revolution

It was a fab weekend! Just getting together, sitting down in the sunshine, going for a gentle stroll, enjoying a cup of coffee, eating great food, were all fantastic, but it was the quality of the the teaching and the sense of what God was saying to us through each other that will really last. During the morning David and Myrtle Lawrence presented us again with the invitation and challenge of Jesus to join in his revolution of love. Once again we were moved and excited to see ourselves as change-makers, system-breakers, culture-shapers. We were encouraged once again to see how this revolution was always intended to extend to the edges of human life. God was coming to bring his kingdom of love and forgiveness and healing to a world longing for justice and freedom. Invited to take Jesus at his word and to believe in him, we have become his disciples. Like Peter, James and John (Jesus' three closest disciples) we looked at how Jesus left us with some incredible resources for living in the kingdom and seeing this revolution through. Later in the afternoon, God seemed to speak in a different mode as we reflected together about what had been said and began to notice how central prayer was in this revolution of love. And so we committed ourselves to forming 'houses of prayer' right across the area as centres of blessing. The day ended with a Hog Roast and Ceilidh in the evening. And you can't help smile whenever you think about it all... Thank you to everyone who helped with food, money, putting away, washing up, chatting... It was brilliant.


Houses of Prayer

A few years ago it seemed clear that god was reminding us once again about the centrality and importance of prayer in our lives. We talked together about how Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and went looking for the life of prayer displayed by the people of God at the time and how angered and disappointed he was with what he found. We also talked about the invitation god was offering us to participate in his mission to our loved world by joining him in prayer. This led us to latch upon the phrase 'house of prayer' and we were encouraged to both make our own homes 'houses of prayer' right across the community, and also to see our own church building as a 'house of prayer'.

The heart of God has not changed and once again there is a call from God to meet him in prayer - either in our own homes or together at church. All over the country and the world we are seeing the blessing that comes when people pray and the church lives up to its calling as the renewed temple of God to be a house of prayer for all nations.

Join others on Tuesday evenings from 7-8, or set up your own 'house of prayer' at work, at home or at the weekends.

And remember - every prayer makes a difference.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil
for the Kingdom
the power and the glory are yours
now and for ever
Amen


Entering his gates with thanksgiving

Our boiler is finally getting fixed and the sun is coming out and so we are all heading back to the main church building for our Sunday services. It's been a great experience worshipping together in the school and we will continue to enjoy our first Sunday of the month services there. So this Sunday we are walking down the road from the school to the church to celebrate Palm Sunday and it will be good. Entering the 'gates' of the church and making sure that the place is filled with prayer for all peoples we will connect again with the story of Jesus' last week.

It's been a late Easter and we are ready to celebrate all that Jesus has done for us. Join us for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Come ready to leave behind the old and clothe yourself with the new. Jesus has died. Jesus is risen. Jesus will come again.


Back to school

It's been an interesting month! On the first Sunday in February we launched a new service at our local junior school (St Michael's) and it went down a bomb. Then the boiler at the main church building broke down for the umpteenth time this winter and was finally given the last rites. So it looks like St Michael's Church has a new temporary home at St Michael's School... at least for the time being. Many thanks to Dave Goucher and the rest of the School staff who always make us so welcome. We really appreciate it!

What's interesting is how just moving building subtly changes other things - changes the way we relate, the way we sing, the places we sit, the way we connect with God, the way we welcome... May God continue to turn this challenge into an opportunity for us all as we journey together through this next month!


Debt free

Christmas is a time of giving. January can sometimes be a time of money worries. As a church we are committed to helping each other to live life well and a major part of this is helping each other deal with money. if you have any concerns about being debt or paying the bills, then get in touch and there are gifted people who can help you through. If you want to do some budgeting on your own, then register online with 'My money steps' which is a brilliant tool that will take you right through the process of budgeting and dealing with your debts. Check out the website here: www.mymoneysteps.org
Don't let the fear overwhelm you. Help is at hand.


Everyone

It was a bolt out of the blue. One word. "Everyone" Nothing more, nothing less.

And I knew it was a God thing.

I am excited about our new series on Sundays called "EVERYONE". I believe that God wants us to know something simple, but deep - that this thing is for EVERYONE, that he is for EVERYONE, that this gospel is for EVERYONE, that God's love and blessing and presence is for EVERYONE. It sounds simple and sounds as if we already know it. Which we do. It's just that we don't always really know it - or live as though we know it. Somehow we have categories of who is in and who is out, who get's good things and who is left out, who is blessed and who is not. God wants us to get this: It's for EVERYONE.

Join us as we reflect, rejoice and explore this theme together.

Sundays to Easter

January

02 New Year
09 Everyone an image bearer
16 Everyone missed the mark
23 Everyone forgiven
30 Everyone a son

February

06 Everyone gifted
13 Everyone a disciple
20 Everyone a worshiper
27 Everyone a missionary

March

06 Everyone a priest
13 Everyone together
20 Lent 1
27 Lent 2

April

03 Lent 3
10 Lent 4
17 Palm Sunday
24 Resurrection Sunday