Monday, 25 February 2013

Just as I am

Yesterday we had our quarterly “Songs of Praise.” Eight members of the congregation chose Christian songs or hymns which were special for them. Hugh was sometimes able to add some of the background of the hymn and its music. And then we sung them. One hymn chosen was Charlotte Elliot’s “Just as I am, without one plea.”

It had an interesting background as Charlotte Elliot (1789-1871) came from a strongly Christian family, with a vicar as a father and a grandfather who was one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society, and a member of the “Clapham Sect.” Its members were not only committed to making the Christian Gospel better known but also to changing society in a way that would please God. Members included William Wilberforce, whose life was committed to ending the slave trade.

Immersed in this Christian background, Charlotte Elliot once experienced a long and restless night in which she questioned the whole basis of the spiritual life. Was it just an illusion? Next day, she went over her faith, in her mind. The reality of realising that she was accepted by God and forgiven for sin as a result of the death of Jesus on the cross – that she could know God’s peace and look forward to his presence in heaven, flooded in.
Very shortly afterwards she penned this famous hymn:

Just as I am,
without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come.
A parent’s faith is not enough. It is important for everyone that they should know the peace of God for themselves.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Zac's Cafe

Our friends at the local Methodist Church are at an exciting weekend in their life. Since I arrived in Oadby 20 months ago they have been working towards raising funds and building a cafe on their premises.
After all their hard work they have a service tomorrow to dedicate the new cafe and then it opens for business on Monday 25th with an official opening on Thursday 28th at 4pm.
On behalf of St Paul's I wrote to them today expressing our prayers and good wishes for this new and exciting mission adventure in the heart of Oadby village.
Do zip into Zac's and enjoy reasonably priced Fair Trade drinks and home made food.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Lent Lunch

It is a tradition that each of the Oadby churches takes it in turn to organise a simple lunch during the Saturdays of Lent. The profits go to Christian aid. It was St Paul’s privilege to organise this lunch for this first Saturday of Lent. A delicious soup (alternative flavours) with bread and butter was followed by tea and coffee.

Apart from raising money for a good cause this was also an opportunity to get together with Christian friends from other churches.

Our ‘Thank You’s go to all those whose hard work contributed to the success of the occasion.

Think Red for Heart!

On 14 February, the weekly coffee morning, “Coffee Pot” had decided to support the British Heart Foundation. People were asked to arrive wearing red clothes – and a good proportion did. Money was raised for this very worthwhile cause by asking a little extra for the coffee and biscuits and by running a raffle. Many of us, or our relatives, have benefited from the modern improved cardiac care and this was a valuable opportunity both to show our appreciation and to raise money to continue this work.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Lent - 40acts

Lent begins on the Wednesday 13th February this year.
Often people think of giving something up for Lent such as chocolate or biscuits.
But what if this Lent we were to take on something positive instead?
The Christian charity Stewardship has been running a campaign for a few years now called 40 acts. I was very impressed by it last year. You can sign up to it here
Each day you will be emailed a reflection with a simple challenge, an act of kindness or generosity.
Imagine what a positive difference we could make if we joined in with this. Go on.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Is Life Worth Exploring?

On Tuesday 5 February at 7.0pm we will be holding a "Taster Session" in the Barnabas centre, in preparation for the Alpha Course which will be starting a fortnight later, on Tuesday evenings. Everyone is welcome to come to this introductory session where we will be joining together for food and our Vicar, Steve Bailey, will be introducing us to the questions about the meaning of life and where Jesus Christ fits into that. These questions will be dealt with in greater detail in the Course. If you come to this introductory session, there is no commitment to continue with the Alpha Course. So, if these questions resonate with you, why not come along, enjoy the time together and find out what is on offer.
We look forward to seeing as many as possible.

The Lord is my Healer

"YHWH (traditionally named Jehovah) Rapha – the Lord is my Healer" was the subject of the second of our series on the Covenant Names of God, today. A congregational discussion revealed instances of healing today but also of the mystery of apparently unanswered prayers for healing. Steve highlighted the importance of healing in a society without scientific medicine but also showed how it occurred in the Old Testament as well as the New.

Healing certainly includes physical healing, but also mental and spiritual as well. It formed a large part of Jesus' ministry and when he addressed his disciples, before his ascension, he specifically handed on to them his healing role. Therefore, a healing ministry should be part of the church's ministry today. So, Steve encouraged us to pray for people's healing.

During the communion, those who wished stayed at the rail and Steve prayed for their healing and anointed them with oil. A substantial number of people took this opportunity.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Unknown Tribes

Our speaker last Sunday was Mads Morgan, the Diocesan youth adviser. She reminded us how Christ had told us to proclaim the news of His Love to the whole world – and as a result mission workers had gone out to the remotest tribes on earth. But she showed us how youth today are just like those tribes – they have their own culture – they speak their own language – they dress in different ways – they do not behave like "us." And there are multiple different sub-tribes – Goths, footie fans, rockers, techies, nerds etc, each with a different culture and different language. The Christian youth worker needs to get to know them in detail in order to be able to share Christ's love – and it will take time.

Let's pray for our youth workers and for all the young people with whom they come into contact.