Thought for the Month -
Delighted or Disappointed?
Whether it is the outcome of a football or tennis match (World Cup and Wimbledon both underway as I write) – or a birthday present; if we are involved, we are likely to be one of the two…delighted or disappointed! If we are not personally involved, or if we have not invested our emotions, our time or our money – then the result doesn’t matter.
For all of us, however, there may be times when we are disappointed, and this may be a mild “Oh dear – what a shame” to a feeling of total devastation as our hopes and expectations of someone or something are dashed.
It strikes me that there may be 2 causes: either we have been genuinely let down by an event or a person, or our own expectations have been misplaced. People can have bad days: footballers can miss penalties; tennis players can have an injury. We wait for another opportunity – maybe next time. But what about disappointment in our relationships? Do we expect too much of each other? When a couple come for wedding interview, I give them a questionnaire so that they can examine what their expectations are of the marriage. From the small details, of who puts the rubbish out, to if and when they would like children. Verbalising or writing down our expectations, as we do with job descriptions in an employment situation, can be vital to those future relationships.
How about our relationship with God? Is there a mutual delight in our relationship with God, or is there disappointment from either side? God expects much of us: loving commitment, faithfulness, speaking out against injustice and practical working for the good of others. Is God disappointed in us? Without the Holy Spirit there is no way that we can fulfil God’s hopes for us, but with the Holy Spirit, we can grow as disciples of Jesus, and become more like Him. What do we expect of God? Are those expectations too low, not expecting anything including any answers to prayer? That way we will not be disappointed, but neither will we flourish as His people. Alternatively we may expect great things, and sometimes we will be disappointed because we have expected the wrong things – but these are the times when we learn and grow and depend on the God who knows us better than we know ourselves. Romans 5 Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have[a] peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 who through our faith[b] has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. 3 We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. 4 And patience produces character, and character produces hope. 5 And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.
May God bless you in your times of delight and disappointment.
Thought for the Month -
A Foggy Day
A favourite story in our house when the children were little was ‘Postman Pat’s Foggy Day’. Pat gets lost in a fog, has various mix ups with scarecrows and rabbits, then is led back to the village by the sound of the church bells. We read it countless times, and when I looked at the book again recently, it was still so familiar! Summer may seem an odd time for an article on fog, but it can still surround us, hypothetically, on the brightest of days, and a sea mist at the beach can certainly spoil a day out.
We all have times when we can’t see the way ahead and it bothers us. We feel more comfortable when we can see where we are headed. The demands of daily life can often cloud our ability to see God’s way clearly. Sometimes the fog is a result of our unwillingness to deal with the challenges to faith that life presents.
In the Mark Ch 9, we read of the Transfiguration of Jesus and verse 7 says: Then a cloud overshadowed them and from the cloud there came a voice, “this is my Son, Listen to him!”.
God was in the cloud.
In Luke 8 we read of the disciples being in a boat when a storm blew up and the boat was being swamped. But Jesus was resting in the boat with them. It was when the cried out to him, he calmed the storm.
Jesus was with them in the storm.
We are not alone in our foggy times. Like Postman Pat, we need to listen for God’s guidance and takes steps towards his voice.
Thought for the Month -
The Perfect Church?
A minister once said that he sometimes had a dream of the Perfect Church: The worship is perfect and the problems are non-
He then went on to describe in humorous terms the personnel in this perfect church. Neil Down is the Director of Spirituality and Prayer; Dina Mite is in charge of the evangelistic programme: Sally Forth maintains the missionary interest; Benny Factor handles the money, while Barry Tone is the superb Director of Music, ably assisted by his associate Benny Dictus and a super band, The Magnifi-
We may smile, but the church is every one of us. We may not, as the names, suggest, all fit into some kind of perfect model of what we think the church is meant to be about and what each one of us has to offer, but we are all in it together -
However, within the varied expressions of our shared life and ministry we are faced with the question, What on earth is the church for? It is not the first and nor will the last time that question will be posed. In answer to it each one of us may come up with a different response, and all of them may be right to a greater or lesser degree.
Perhaps our choice answers would reflect the amazing depth and variety of the church, and that’s a positive thing not a divisive one. From the very beginning that question has not gone away. The last words of Jesus, spoken to His gathered disciples, were ones which we have come to call the “Great Commission.” These words remind us that we are to “go” ... “make disciples” …. “baptize” …….” teach”.
It is easy to think that this is an instruction simply to do with the increase of numbers, something no doubt we would all like to see. It’s also easy to get hung up on numbers. We know that crowds followed Jesus but following Him is not only about quantity but quality.
If you ask me the question about what our purpose is, then I would say it is the quality of our Christian work and worship which really counts; the depth of our commitment to one another; the integrity by which we look beyond ourselves to the needs of the community and world at large. If we can, working together, get these things right then we go a long way to answering the question, what on earth is the church for?
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)