Thought for the Month -
God’s Springtime …
It’s felt like a long, cold winter and Spring has seemed a long time coming! As the days lengthen and (hopefully) grow warmer, there are more and more signs of new life appearing all around – snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils coming out in turn, lambs gambolling in the fields and leaves beginning to unfurl on the trees. This is the beauty of God’s creation in the physical world, bringing hope and joy -
Sometimes I have felt as if I’m travelling through a “spiritual wintertime” – when the joy of the Lord in me has been buried by worries, like flowers under the snow, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, prayer has been difficult and God has seemed distant. Many of us can experience ‘spiritually wintery conditions’ if our joy is outweighed by anxieties-
If you are travelling through this wintery terrain, take comfort that it is only for a season: joy WILL come again, as ‘God’s Springtime’ (to use Joyce Huggett’s phrase) breaks into our lives. And we never travel alone – God is with us every step of the way, and knows us through and through. In spite of this intimate knowledge, God still loves each of us totally and unconditionally!
At a retreat back in 2009, we were invited by the Revd. Stephen Poxon (the then President of Conference), to ‘look out for the angels’ along the way as we prepared for ordination. He meant that we should be aware and open to all the things, people and situations that each of us encounter that encourage us – bring us joy, surprise us with beauty, fill us with hope. Once we open our eyes to look out for these ‘angelic encounters’, it’s amazing how many we notice!
What has brought you joy recently? Many of you will know that Samantha, our daughter, gave birth to our first grandchild in January, Hugo Anthony (named after Grandad Tony!). He has already brought so much joy to all the family. Whilst looking at a photo of Hugo, my wise Spiritual Director, Sister Philippa from Stanbrook Abbey, pointed out a profound truth about God’s deep, unconditional love that many of us already know (but it never hurts to be reminded)! She said, “You love Hugo so much, and he hasn’t done anything to deserve or to earn that love. That’s how God loves us!”. It’s true – believe it! What a source of joy and peace this knowledge brings!
God’s unconditional love is for everyone, everywhere – may we communicate this love, living it out in our lives beyond the walls of our chapels, spilling it into our communities and spreading the joy and renewal of life that comes from the knowledge that we are all beloved children of God.
Joy, peace and love
Thought for the Month -
It is a great loss to the world when one of the world's greatest evangelists since St. Paul passed away. It is estimated that Billy Graham in his 60 year ministry preached to over 210 million people. A life surrendered fully to God, giving his all and how God used him mightily.
As we approach Easter we are reminded of the message Billy preached so clearly to millions around the world. Easter is not about chocolate and fluffy bunnies! It's all about Jesus and the cross. Jesus Christ, taking our sins upon himself in order that we could be reconciled back to God. For God loves you with an ever lasting love, wanting none to perish but all to come to a saving faith through Christ.
It's not a popular message today and even deemed as offensive by some in our pluralistic, multi cultural and increasing secular, humanistic and atheistic society.
But there is one fact that can not be overlooked. The tomb of Christ is empty. For we do not worship a dead Christ, a memory of a good man or stories to warm our hearts and provide simple moral guidance -
Jesus told his disciples that he is The Way -
Jesus told his disciples that he is The Truth -
Jesus told his disciples that he is The life -
We can't earn our salvation, buy it, barter or negotiate for it. We can't compromise it or even add something to it of our own merit, it is God's gift of grace to those who repent and follow him. This is no cheap grace for it cost him dearly.
Jesus concluded that no one comes to the Father except through him. For he is the gate, the door way, the entrance to heaven. We have to deal with our sins at the cross of Christ, there is no other way.
Are you saved? Do you know in your heart that something is missing, not quite right?
Have you a longing to discover what you see in others but lack in yourself?
Turn to Christ, surrender to him, as the hymn writer says, trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
I have included a link below which is Billy Grahams last message preached to the world. Take a look and tell someone else how they can also be saved.
Ambassador of Christ
2 Corinthians 5:20
Thought for the Month -
What do Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday have in common? Well, one answer could be: chocolate! Chocolate given to a loved one (heart-
This year Ash Wednesday falls on 14th February – St Valentines Day. We may not observe the latter – but in circuit we have the opportunity to observe Ash Wednesday with a circuit service at Kirkbymoorside at 7pm, giving us a focus for the beginning of Lent. On Saturday 17th February we have a Circuit Day of Prayer and Fasting (whether that is fasting from all food or some, from technology, or from those things that distract us from prayer). Of course, every day throughout the year, we have the privilege of prayer – but Lent (as with Advent) can be a special time to draw near to God. That may involve denying ourselves – it may involve taking a new direction in thought or activity. Journeying with Jesus, through the wilderness times, through temptation, through highs and lows of life – I pray that we may gain fresh insight into God’s love for us, made known through Jesus Christ our Saviour – and find that our love for God grows day by day too.
Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday do have something in common – Love!
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-
Thought for the Month -
Happy New Year!
It roles off our tongues at this time of year but do we really mean it or even concider what we are saying? We are in fact saying may the year of 2018 be a good year for you, may you be blessed with happiness and you and your family remain safe, prosper and enjoy good health. And yet we know that for some this year will bring sadness, grief, pain, loneliness, a feeling of not being wanted or accepted by society, and yet as we wish each other happiness for the New Year we can do it with the confidence in knowing that only a short time ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Hope of the World you came down into darkness open my eyes let me see, Jesus came in love to a World of sin and as we pack away our decorations don't let us pack away the sign to the shepherds that Jesus came as a baby in a manger that all men may find hope not just at Christmas but for the year ahead and onwards that when you wish a happy new year it is for a year when they will know Jesus very close to them or that they will discover him.and true hppiness joy and hope will fill their hearts dispite any thing that 2018 may bring.these are the words of Mary from Luke ch 1 from the Message Bible "I'm burssting with God news,I'm dancing the song of mySaviour God,God took one look at me and look what happened,I'm the most fortunate Woman on Earth.What God has done for me will never be forgotten.His mercey flows in wave after wave,in those who are in awe before him."
HAPPY GOD NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL
Thought for the Month -
The Christmas Shop
Christmas Eve. A couple walk the aisles of a supermarket gathering up the food and frills for a cracking Christmas. Early on in their travels they spot the Christmas baby and scoop that into the trolley. Of course they must have the Christmas baby, what is Christmas about after all? Other things get added. Crackers, decorations, cake, mince pies, mulled wine, turkey, stuffing, sprouts (“Really? You really want the sprouts? You know what they do to you…”)
Little by little the trolley fills up and it’s clear there’s going to be a problem. It’s not big enough. They um and ah for a while, shift a few things around (“Don’t squash the Yule Log!”) and then the solution becomes clear. Put the baby to one side and pick it up later. Of course. No problem. Why didn’t we think of that earlier?
Returning it to the shelf makes just enough room for one of those embarrassing Christmas jumpers, a large box of Quality Street and a few bits of extra tinsel. Perfect. On into the queue (“I don’t think we’ll risk the ‘twelve items or less’ till, darling…”) then it’s wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait… (“We’re going to miss the repeat of the 1974 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show…”) then a jolly festive chat to the check-
Meanwhile, at the end of the day the shelves are cleared. Some of the stock is passed onto the food banks. Other bits are just placed out back with the bins. And later that night, as Christmas Eve is dying under the glimmering stars and the sound of parties and tellies echoes from street to street, a couple of folks of indeterminate age wander past the supermarket skips and hear a noise. They stop and come closer. There it is. The Christmas baby. They scoop it up, pull off one of their coats though the night is cold, and wrap it around the tiny child. They scuttle to an all-
Submitted by Louise Hayes
Thought for the Month -
Seek the Lord and his strength, search constantly for his presence. Remember his marvellous works, his miracles, and the pronouncements he has spoken. Remember his covenant constantly, the message he has given foe a thousand generations.
1 Chronicles16: 11-
I wonder – are you any good at remembering people’s birthdays? I’m not. In fact, I’m hopeless at remembering dates of any sort. Anniversaries, appointments, social engagements or simply things to do – they’re all likely to slip my mind if I’ve nothing or no one to remind me of them. Happily, we’ve more resources today than ever before to help jog our memories. As well as my diary and calendar on the wall, we have online and electronic calendars, giving daily reminders of coming events and so forth, are freely available for both computers and mobile phones – a simple but efficient way of ensuring that we never miss that important booking or special occasion ever again. No longer do we need to rely on a knotted hankie or post-
Or at least, that’s the theory. In practise, there’s still plenty of room in life for forgetfulness, and I don’t just mean in terms of dates and times. Most of all, as Scripture constantly reminds us, we can also forget God. We make time for him on a Sunday but the rest of the week live as if he isn’t there. We marvel occasionally at his blessings when some joy or delight pulls us up short, but before long familiarity dulls our senses to it. We’re swift to ask for his help in time of trouble, but equally quick to forget him when the crisis is past. Hardly surprising, then, that the challenge, ‘never forget’, runs like a constant refrain throughout the Old Testament. Remember what God has done! Remember his call, his deliverance from captivity, his mighty deeds, his creative power, his promise for the future, his unfailing love. It was a challenge that shaped the people of Israel, uniting them in faith and hope. Does it mark us out as God’s people in turn?
As we remember, remember... this month, let us reflect are we forgetful of God sometimes, what helps to remind us of his presence? May we remember our Lord as faithfully and lovingly as he remembers us.
Every blessing, Tanya
Thought for the month – October 2017
Let it go!
I recently saw a lovely photograph of two hands holding out a collection of beautiful multi-
My husband Tony and I moved to this area at the beginning of August. As the men from the removal firm took all our furniture and possessions out of our previous house in Kettering, and then had to unload them all again and bring them into our new home in Kirkbymoorside, I felt a bit ashamed of just how much ‘stuff’ we possess. It’s not until you move house that you see just how many books, clothes, ornaments, clutter etc. you have! We thought we’d had a thorough ‘de-
Every day for about three weeks after that we made trips to charity shops and/or the tip to get rid of the clutter that had made moving house so much extra work. I even got rid of my wedding dress and veil that had been hauled around the country and put in and out of various lofts for the past 37 years! Living by that motto ‘Let it go’ was having a transformative effect on our home and our lives.
Then I began to ponder those three words some more and realised that maybe they didn’t apply solely to possessions-
God bless you.
Deacon Fiona de Boltz
Thought for the Month -
A modern mission parable
A dentist wanted to set up a practice in an area which was in desperate need. He researched and discovered a community with the worst dental hygiene in the whole country.
The poor hygiene affected everyone from the oldest to the youngest. Everyone seemed to forget the importance of brushing your teeth therefore the good news was not passed on anymore.
The dentist was a caring man and set up his shop in the centre of the town. After months of preparation and planning he now had the premises, the chair, lights, sterilising equipment, you name it and he had it.
Bright and early on Monday morning he opened the doors of his new dental practice expecting queues to be around the corner waiting for his services, however not one person was waiting, none turned up.
A strategy was needed to win the people around. He thought long and hard and decided he couldn't just advertise the reason why he was there (because the people have the worst teeth in the country) so opted for a more gentle approach.
He decided he would put on a coffee morning. The coffee mornings were so successful that they soon had to open on Tuesdays and then Wednesdays, now he was serving coffee most mornings but still there was no one in the surgery!
He was disheartened, he had spent many years training as a dentist, he could spot the problems people were having with their teeth but was too embarrassed to tell them in case he upset them or offended them and so this dentist worked out the rest of his life serving coffee.
The results were the communities dental health declined, growing worse and worse until one day another dentist came into town and advertised his practice and many teeth were saved!!
I can¬t remember where I heard this so can`t acknowledge the source but it has always stuck with me. When we think about mission and evangelism strategies are we being as bold as we could be?
Food for thought.
God bless. Rev Ken
Thought for the Month -
1st August is celebrated as Yorkshire Day, and some of us may say that we are proud to be Yorkshire Born and Bred! Stories are told of many an expectant mother in the past who dare not leave the county until their baby was safely born – for who knew whether that child may be a future champion Yorkshire County Cricket player! (Now no longer relevant, I understand)
Knowing where we come from can be important – providing us with a sense of belonging and identity. Knowing who we are and where we are now, and where we are going can be even more important.
Peter says that
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-
We have no reason to be proud of ourselves for being born into God’s family – it is only through God’s grace that we can call Him Father. We can find our identity in Him, and the opportunity to live in the light of Christ, knowing that he has also prepared an eternal home for us gives us cause to rejoice. Our past, present and future – are safely in His hands.
May that assurance be yours
Thought for the Month – July
I wanted to write this month about Summer and sunshine sand and sea holidays and hope.
And then so much darkness came into our Country, Death of innocent people by bomb, knife, vehicle and fire, It has become impossible to read the papers without tears flowing and hearts aching. And we hear the question and even think it in our deepest thoughts “Where is God in all this pain?” And we who know him and love him realize that he is there In the theatre foyer on London Bridge In Grenfell Towers. Man kills not God, Man makes mistakes not God, Man hates not God, God has always been with us right from before the World began we know that he is reliable, trustworthy, loving, enduring because he has shown us we have his promises to lean on “I am with you always.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “I will take all your burdens.” And it’s true he does, How do we know? Because he’s proved himself in the past and he will again. Through all the hatred and death there has been an overriding feeling if love, Love wins through and our God is a God of love, Love which feels our pain, knows our suffering and understands our fear and doubt. So don’t be bitter about what has happened.be sad but not broken because our God of love is in our midst.
Blessing Linda (Stannard)
Thought for the Month – June
This morning I was enjoying all my various rose bushes, which are just beginning to come into their glorious ‘first flush’. All their differing shades, shapes and sizes and scents were blending together so gloriously that I couldn’t help whispering, ‘O Lord, you were so clever to make roses’! Then I suddenly thought about the wild dog roses that are covering the hedges in the lanes around our communities – very poor affairs in comparison to our cultivated blooms. They only have five petals and are white or pink!
‘I suppose you didn’t really make my roses at all, Lord,’ I added to my whisper. ‘They are hybrids, created by the patient work of rose breeders over the last 250 years.’ I wonder if it was the Lord replying when I suddenly realised that He had created those wild roses with the potential to be changed, over time and with expert help, into something infinitely more intricate and delightful. I guess He put that kind of potential into every human being born into this world. We are all entrusted with a life, which we can male ugly by selfishness or which, over our span of years – and with God’s help – we can make into something infinitely beautiful.
When Jesus first looked at the rough, loud-
Lord, help us to grow into the people you know we can be.
Thought for the Month – May
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Touchstone Project, in Bradford. I went with a few ladies from Kirkbymoorside Church, ahead of the Circuit hosting the Weaving Women’s Wisdom Carpets exhibition in May.
Touchstone is a Methodist Project, which works along those of other faiths to encourage community. It was a fascinating day, we shared lunch with a few of the workers at Touchstone and heard about their groups and activities and their hopes for expansion from their Victorian house. We were fascinated to hear about their 14 foot mobile Yurt which provides a safe space for creativity, prayer reflection and discussion.
After lunch Revd Jenny Ramsden took us for a walk into Bradford. It was during this that I really sensed how it may feel to be a stranger in a new place. This area of Bradford, close to the university is very diverse both culturally and in age profile. I have lived in cities, I grew up near Liverpool, studied in Leeds, worked in Woking and St Helens before moving to North Yorkshire. But in this part of Bradford we were very much the odd ones out, in many ways.
It made me ponder how people feel if they stumble into an act of worship in any of our Churches or our open air services. How a young Christian moving to the area and seeking out a church may feel, how a retired couple new to rural life may feel. How a local person trying church for the first time may feel.
Threatened, embarrassed, awkward, clueless, out of their depth, on the outside….?
The structures, language and routines of our churches and faith may seem normal to us. Many of us have seen little change for many years. Yet our way of expressing our faith is not the only way.
Sometimes it can be refreshing to step outside of our comfort zone, to experience new spaces and people. Jesus came to bring hope and fullness of life to all of God’s people. He challenges us to continue His work. Is it time to reflect on and review our methods? Is it time to visit another church or an act of worship that is not our norm – and see how it feels to be a visitor?
PS – have a look www.touchstone-
Louise Hayes – Lay Employee
Thought for the month – April
Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,
Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep,
All unadorned. (Jean M. Watt)
Lent certainly has a gloomy reputation. We expect people to give things up and look appropriately miserable as they miss their usual bar of chocolate, or glass of wine. But why give things up for Lent? Why not do something positive instead? At Kirkbymoorside chapel we have been encouraging people to engage with the 40 Acts campaign which suggests we mark Lent by doing a generous act on each of the 40 days.
Lent has traditionally been a period for reflection and taking stock, but it seems to me, we are more likely to learn something about ourselves if we try being kinder, more generous, or less selfish for the six weeks, than if we give up chocolate! Seeing clearly is what it’s meant to be about. As Watt goes on to point out in her poem, it’s when the trees are without leaf and blossom that we are more likely to see the stars. If we manage to see ourselves more clearly in Lent, to cut through the comfortable things we tell ourselves, then we might manage to be different people in a more long term way.
God offers us, and hopes for us, nothing less than transformation, however small the first step. Each year God enacts this transformation for us in the natural world over the period of Lent and Easter and holds out to each of us the new possibilities and new life of Easter. E. E. Cummings captures the feel of Easter in these words:
I thank you God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
Thought for the Month -
I suppose it has something to do with my increasing years, but I find I pay more attention to Obituaries these days. And recently I was fascinated and inspired reading about the life of Paulo Evaristo Arns. It isn’t registering? Then try adding his title, ‘Cardinal’, in front. Still in the dark? Then try thinking of the Archbishop of Sao Paulo in Brazil from 1970 ‘til his retirement in 1998. He was the man who sold the city’s ornate archiepiscopal palace and moved into a couple of rooms behind a monstery, then spent the money raised to tackle poverty in the favelas. “I was never in favour of communism or capitalism. I wanted a social system where all would have what is sufficient for a decent life and where there would be justice and equality. In our country (Brazil) 2% of the population has more wealth than the other 98%. This is a scandal.
Today our world seems to be more polarised and divided than ever, and throughout the world many in leadership positions seem to be reluctant to take an unequivocal stance in favour of social justice and human rights. If ever there was a time for Christians to speak out strongly for Kingdom values it is now.
And one very practical opportunity presents itself as Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Feb. 27th to March 12th. Politicians and the media may endlessly analyse trends in the economy, but we need to remember that one way we have of making our voice heard in the debate is the way we splash our cash as consumers. If we look at the price ticket of an item we ought to factor in whether or not the producers have been paid appropriately. So, wherever possible, look for the Fairtrade mark. And in a world where the jargon is so often about Free Trade, our strap line should be that Fairtrade helps to set people free from poverty.
Whatever way we may have voted in the Referendum we all have a Christian duty to ensure that Brexit works for everyone – and that includes the millions of farmers world-
One other thing to remember – Fair Trade may have a special fortnight, but Fairtrade is effective all year round.
Happy and thoughtful shopping,