Weybourne Community Church

Serving Jesus in the Community

Elders' Weekly thought

By Bob Skinner on 20th August 2021

Walking every day with Jesus 

Charles H Gabriel (1956-1932) was a prolific writer of Christian hymns and choruses in the United States, composing up to 7000 in his lifetime.  I came across one of his compositions, and thought I would share it as it is yet another reminder to us of the benefits of "Walking with Jesus".  

I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus; I feel His presence sweetly near;

Unto me He whispers words of wisdom, that banish doubt and quiet fear.

 For I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus, with Jesus, my Saviour,

For I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus, I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

 

I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus; my burden and my cross He shares,

With His council guards and guides me onward, and shields me from the tempter’s snare.

 

I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus; content and fully satisfied;

For the way is growing brighter, clearer, as on we journey, side by side.


I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus; altho’ His face I cannot see,

He has said “I will be with thee alway,”—His promise is enough for me. 

 For I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus, with Jesus, my Saviour,

For I am walking ev’ry day with Jesus, I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way. 

Here are some of the blessings of "walking with Jesus" to which the hymn refers
  • The Lord's presence with us on life's journey
  • His encouragement to us through his word (wisdom), 
  • His strengthening when we are weak
  • His support with the loads we carry
  • The Lord's protection and guidance 
  • His help when we are in danger
  • Giving us a satisfaction and contentment in life.
  • Increasing to us the revelation of God' truth and a greater understanding of His purposes 
  • Helping us have faith in His reality even though we can't see Him physically
  • The Lord's promise of always being with us.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  What a wonderful Saviour we have!

When we walk with Jesus, we may not "have it all together" all the time- we are not perfect. When we trip and fall, we have Him there to help us up and to help us carry on. When we commit ourselves to follow him, we commence a life-long process of growth and change as the Lord works in us by His Holy Spirit, making us more like Jesus. Walking every day with Jesus 

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By Malcolm Beach on 13th August 2021

Everyone is important

In my daily reading through the bible I am now into the book of Numbers. Not the most enthusing you might think, with lots of counting of tribes and ordering of where they were to camp. Numbers 4 sets out in some detail the duties of the various clans of Levites for when it was time for the Israelites to move camp - not the most thrilling reading, if I'm honest. But upon reflection I see how this can be applicable to us. God instructed the different Levitical clans about their duties. They were told what their responsibilities were, and these were different to other clans. But put them all together and everything would go smoothly - the ark of Testimony and the tents and other holy items would be correctly transported to the next place.

It's like that in God's church - we all have different things that we do, and it is God who orders these. If we listen to what God wants, then that is all we need to concern ourselves with. We don't need to worry about what someone else, or another church, might be doing. Our responsibility is to obey God's instructions to us and let Him worry about how it all fits together.

So be encouraged that whatever you are doing for God is important and it is valuable. God sees the big picture and he knows what needs to be done. He then guides us to achieve His purposes, individually and as a church.

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By Bob Skinner on 7th August 2021

A closer walk

It was great to be able to meet together in Farnham Park last Sunday- the weather was kind to us!  
Malcolm's main theme for his devotional time on Sunday was 'closeness to God', and we discussed what that might mean practically in our day-to-day lives. 

The hymn "O for a closer walk with God" was written by the 18th Century poet and hymn writer William Cowper (1731-1800).

William did not have an easy life, and at different times in his life he experienced periods of depression and other mental health difficulties. He wrote the hymn in December 1869, and he shared it first in a letter in which he describes to his aunt his sadness caused by the serious illness of a close lady friend. Nevertheless, Cowper's longing for a restored and closer walk with his Lord shines through the words of his hymn, which is really a prayer.

   O for a closer walk with God, a calm and heavenly frame,
   A light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb.
   Where is the blessedness I knew when I first saw the Lord?
   Where is that soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His word?

   What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still!
   But they have left an aching void the world can never fill.
   Return, O holy Dove! return, sweet messenger of rest!
   I hate the sins that made Thee mourn, and drove Thee from my breast.

   The dearest idol I have known, whate'er that idol be,
   Help me tear if from Thy throne, and worship only Thee.
   So shall my walk be close with God, calm and serene my frame;
   So purer light shall mark the road that leads me to the Lamb. 

May this also be our prayer as we seek to walk with Jesus!

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By Malcolm Beach on 31st July 2021

As we start our summer programme with changes in both Sunday services and mid-week events, it's a reminder that life is not static. Change is a constant occurrence and what, and how, we do things do not remain static. We must, and do, adapt to changes in all areas of our lives.

This includes our relationship with God. Our understanding of God changes as we grow to know Him more, and how we live and respond will also change. When we walk with Jesus we must not presume that our path will be the same as before. It might be, because maybe we didn't learn what He was teaching us the first time! But He might also be leading us in new ways and along new paths. As we commit to walk with Jesus, this includes listening and watching where He goes so that we can follow Him. Change is not always easy, but with God alongside us, we can be confident that we will make it.

Psalm 23:3b-4

"He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

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By Bob Skinner on 23rd July 2021

Learning the Lord's ways

Last Sunday, Psalm 25 was shared in our service. Two portions stood out for me as being relevant to our continuing theme of "walking with Jesus". 

In verses 4-5 the psalmist (David)  prays:

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths:

Guide me in your truth and teach me,

for you are God my Saviour,

and my hope is in you all day long."


In verses 8-10 David affirms 

"Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right

and teaches them his way.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful

for those who keep the demands of his covenant."

As we seek to continue to walk with Jesus in our lives, it is good to be open to the teaching and guidance our Lord brings us. Let's be thankful for the instruction he provides for us through his word in Scripture, showing us his loving and faithful ways, and may we each seek these out in our current circumstances. 

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By Malcolm Beach on 16th July 2021

As we come near to "Freedom Day" (where the country will relax the Covid restrictions) what are your thoughts and feelings? Are you excited? Are you worried that it's all big mistake? Are you ambivalent and will just go with the flow? We have a date that has been told to us, but we're still not sure exactly what will happen. In fact, this event has already been postponed once. But the event of removing all Covid-related restrictions will occur. It is something yet to come, something we are all looking forward to, but maybe not just yet.

Another event that will happen is that Jesus will return - we know this (Acts 1:11 - ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'). What we don't know is when. And what do we think of this? Are we excited? Are we worried as we're not sure we've sorted ourselves out yet so could He please delay a few weeks or months? Are we ambivalent and sceptical? The bible tells us to be ready for His return. We may be uncertain about "Freedom Day" in the UK, but let's be positive about Jesus' return.

James 5:7-8

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

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By Bob Skinner on 10th July 2021

As I write,  many people are excitedly awaiting Sunday's  final match of the EURO 2020 Championships. Commenting on football (or any sport) is not something in which I have expertise, so you will be relieved to hear, I will avoid here!  (Other commentaries and commentators are available for those who want to search them out).

However, I do want to share with you the words of a song that has became a Football anthem*. The song is, of course " You'll never walk alone", and I realised that the words relevantly echo our current years theme "Walking with Jesus". 

           When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark;
At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown;
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart,
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,

You'll never walk alone.

Please take a minute to read the words, and consider their message. I think that the poetic sentiments of the song can be seen to mirror the teaching of Scripture. They seem to express some of the truths we have been re-discovering this year as we have been thinking about "walking with Jesus" .

See what you think...

  • The lyrics of the song don't shy away from the reality that there will be difficult times in our life's journey.
  • Things may not work out as we plan or expect.
  • We are told that we need not fear in these difficult circumstances.
  • The words stress the need for us to "walk on" - that is, to persevere.
  • The words indicate that any troubles we may face will only be for a time.
  • The song reminds us that we can have a confident hope as we look forward to a promised glorious future.
  • "You'll never walk alone" is both the title and theme of the song. The words stress the truth that we don't face trials on our own.

For Christians "You'll never walk alone" are not empty words. They express a truth and hope we can rely on. Our Father God himself has promised that we are not left alone. We can know God's presence with us, by his Holy Spirit, as we walk on with Jesus.

This week, may we keep our eyes on Jesus as we walk life's path with him.

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By Malcolm Beach on 2nd July 2021

I was speaking with some people this week and one of them made a comment about someone they knew being fearful of coming out of lockdown restrictions. We've had 17 months of restrictions and mask wearing, so facing the likelihood of meeting people close up with no mask will certainly feel awkward at first, and for some people generate fear. But this comment immediately reminded me that Jesus told us not to worry and be anxious (Matt 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.", John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.".

This is not saying that we ignore common sense and take unwarranted risks. But it means that we don't need to be paralysed in our lives due to fear and worry.  We will always have things facing us that are new or unsettling. But let's continue to press into God and allow Him to settle our hearts. He is always with us.

Psalm 23:3b-4

"He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

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By Bob Skinner on 25th June 2021

As we reach the half point in the year, I am amazed at how quickly time passes! In just over 1 months time we will be in August, with our Summer programme of midweek events and (hopefully) Sunday times together in Farnham Park. A month later, at the beginning of September, we hope to be able to meet in person again for worship (and praise!) in the Ark building at the school.

Last time, when I shared a thought here about "Walking with Jesus", I wrote about how the way the Bible uses the image of a way or path to illustrate the Christian life. We looked at how the early Christians became known as "followers of the Way". 

Today's thought is a simple, but profound one. To walk we just need to take "One step at a time".  This has commonly been used in all kinds of contexts to encourage people on life's journey.  To progress, as long as we are travelling in the right direction, and keeping to the path or road, it just takes one step at a time to continue on the journey. 

This is true of our walk with Jesus too-  if we are with him, we don't necessarily need to know the complete details of the route ahead: taking the next step forward is what is required. we can trust in our Guide and Saviour who promises to be with us. 

But what do we do when we can't see what our next step should be?

Imagine a traveller or pilgrim; whose journey involves them walking a narrow mountain path through the night in the pitch dark. The way ahead cannot seen, but the traveller has a lantern with a lighted candle inside. Although this may not be shining strongly, the glow lights their path sufficiently for them to ensure that each step they take is on the firm ground of the path.  The light helps the pilgrim to avoid obstacles and dangers. Later on their journey, perhaps, things become brighter and clearer as the dawn breaks, and they can see more clearly the way ahead.

Scripture uses this picture to teach the truth that for God's people.  As we read in Psalms:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path"  Psalm 119:108.
Guidance for our lives comes from His word, the Bible. It provides the illumination we need for our journey through life, as we take "one step at a time".

Our life's journey may well take us through some rocky and dark places, but we can be assured of the Lord's presence and protection if we stay close to him: 
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me" (Psalm 23:4)

May God guide our steps on the path this week.

Blessings in the Lord,

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By Malcolm Beach on 18th June 2021

I have been encouraged by our sermon series on the minor prophets. Although I have read these books a number of times, it is good to dig into them a bit more. I appreciate finding out some of the background and context, plus the various messages that these books have. I think we can fall into the trap of sticking with parts of the bible that we know and like, or even just favourite verses in some of the less known books. But in doing so we can miss the full picture and the lessons in the other books. Can I encourage us all to read our whole bible, even the less well known parts, and let God speak to us through it. As Paul says to Timothy
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," (2 Tim 3:16)

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By Bob Skinner on 5th June 2021

It is interesting to note that there are over 800 references in Scripture which use images of a way or a path when referring to our journey in life, or to the way of Salvation.

There are 5 references in the book of Acts where the early Christian believers being called followers of "the Way":-  They all surround the story of the persecution of the early church and specifically the story of Saul. 

He is first mentioned in the book of Acts as being present at, and approving of, the stoning of the first Christian martyr, Stephen: "
the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul." (Acts 7:58) "And Saul was there giving his approval to his death." (Acts 8:1).

Next we read "...
Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison" (Acts 8:3).

  • Saul's  activity against the church increased still further: 
     "
    Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the his priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem" (Acts 9:1-2).
  • Intent to carry out this plan, Saul was travelling on horseback on the road to Damascus when he had a miraculous encounter with Jesus himself.(Acts 9:3-6). Blinded by a supernatural light, Saul was thrown from his horse; he heard Jesus speak to him, identify himself, and instruct him what he was to do next. 

     After his dramatic conversion to following Jesus, Saul later became known as Paul, becoming the major figure in the spread of the good news and the writer of letters that make up much of the New Testament. 
  • After his conversion, Paul was prepared to still use the term "the Way" when speaking to the authorities or to those in opposition to him . We next read of "the Way" when Paul was in Corinth, speaking openly, but meeting some opposition in his ministry there:
    "
    Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way." (Acts 19:9)
  • Later, Paul was arrested by the Jews at Jerusalem, the Romans had to intervene to keep the peace  and to rescue him from the crowd, who were beating him. The Roman commander allowed Paul to address the crowd admitting to his previous zeal against the Christians:  
    "
    I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify..."   (Acts 22:4-5).
    Paul went on to speak to the crowd of the amazing circumstances of his conversion to following Jesus.
  • When he was later brought by the Jews for trial before the Roman Governor Felix at Capurnaum, Paul boldly said:
    "
    I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect."  (Acts 24:14). 
  • Felix, the Roman Governor, who "was well acquainted with the Way" (Acts 24:22), was obviously intrigued, and later 
    "
    he sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and said "that's enough for now! You may leave." (Acts 24:24-25)

Jesus said " I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6), so, as followers of Jesus, we are also "followers of the Way". 
Are we afraid to be known as Christians? Paul didn't allow fear to stop him speaking out about his faith and his Lord.

As we "walk with Jesus", may each of us be ready to speak of Jesus when we have the right opportunity. His Spirit is with us.

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By Malcolm Beach 0n 28th May 2021

I was recently doing a bible study on Psalm 22 - the first 10 verses. As always when I do a study (which I don't do nearly enough of!), I was reminded and taught a few things.

1. Life can be tough and we can feel as though God has deserted us. David certainly understood this as his opening words in the Psalm are "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me". This is normal and doesn't mean that I'm a failure.

2. Independent of our circumstances, God is holy, trustworthy, faithful, and a deliver (v3-5). In other words, irrespective of David's circumstances, God was all these things (and more).

I take heart from this and am encouraged. It means that, no matter what I am feeling like or going through, this doesn't affect or change who God is. He is still God and He still loves me. Sometimes I can slip into thinking that my circumstances will dictate and determine how God treats me and what He is able to do. But this is wrong. God can deliver me, and I know that He is always with me, even though I might echo David's plea of "Why have you abandoned me".

For me, I am challenged to hold on to these truths about God despite my circumstances. God is aware of my situations, but He is not determined or altered by them.

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By Bob Skinner on 22nd May 2021

As I continue to ponder the "Walking with Jesus" theme - I thought this time I'd share something from one of the worship songs that may be familiar to you- one that focuses on the theme in its first verse:

I want to walk with Jesus Christ
All the days I live of this life on earth;
To give to Him complete control
Of body and of soul.

The song puts into words the commitment of someone who wishes to be a Christian. When we sing it meaningfully, we are choosing to walk with Jesus in our life. This is not a decision made just for a short while, but one made for the long-term-  "all the days that I live of this life on earth."  When we come to faith in Jesus, we commit ourselves to him as our Saviour and guide, but also as our Lord, which means giving him "complete control of body and of soul.".

The chorus of the song goes into more detail as to how we walk with Jesus. - we "follow him":

Follow Him, follow Him, yield your life to Him,
He has conquered death, He is King of kings;
Accept the joy which He gives to those
Who yield their lives to Him.

Following Him (Jesus) is what discipleship means- when Jesus began his ministry, we read that he called his first disciples with these words- "Come, follow me" (Matthew 4:18-19).

Jesus- the one who died on the cross for our salvation, and rose again - "He has conquered death" -  and He is the one who is fully man yet fully God: "He is King of kings". When we "yield our lives" to Him in repentance and faith, we experience a real joy from the Lord. Praise Him!  

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By Malcolm Beach on 14th May 2021

Let us give thanks to God for answered prayer how He has been helping Shelagh and Andrew. Shelagh's surgery went well and she is now at home recovering. The whole process went smoothly and we can thank God for that.

But should we be surprised? After all, we did pray and ask God to work in the situation. However, I know that sometimes I can pray, yet not have the faith or belief that the prayer could be answered. Yet we are encouraged to bring our petitions to God and to have faith that God will answer (Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."). I'm not talking about a "name it and claim it" scenario where we assume that we are entitled to receive all sorts of blessings (usually material). But we are encouraged to pray in faith.

Prayer is simply talking with God. We need to remember that we need to listen as well as speak. And if we're not sure exactly what to pray, God's spirit can help us (Rom 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.").

Jesus spent a lot of time praying alone, and if He thought this was important then we should too. As we concluded in our series on the armour of God - Eph 6:18 "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."

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By Bob Skinner on 7th May 2021    

We praise God this weekend and give thanks for the news that Shelagh's heart operation was a success, and that she has now been transferred to the ward as she recovers from the surgery. It is encouraging to see how the Lord has answered our prayers, and to hear of the of the good progress she has been making. 

   The Bible does not promise us a trouble-free journey in life. On Wednesday evening this week our midweek study was in one of the Bible’s best known passages- Psalm 23. The  words of this Psalm provide comfort to those who are going through difficult times. When we looked at verse 4 of the Psalm, I was reminded again of our theme of “Walking with Jesus". The verse reads:

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and staff they comfort me”

        “Even though…” -even though our circumstances may be dark, and our way is uneven and uncertain, and we feel our  vulnerability and danger...

we “will fear no evil...”  We will not allow fear to bind us as we walk on through these difficult times, facing the unknown and often knowing our inability to change things which are out of our control….

for you are with me...” We are not on our own! The Lord, the great Shepherd, is with us (even if we can’t always sense His presence); He knows our situation,and we know He loves us. He is faithful, and we can trust in His promises ..

your rod and staff they comfort me.” The knowledge of the Lord’s presence, and of his almighty power provide us the reason we can rely on Him to protect and rescue us. Our fears are quenched and held back as we continue to walk – with Him – through the dark and out into the light.

The songwriter Don Moen, wrote a song " God is good - all the time" (no. 1244) which says

"If you’re walking through the valley

And there are shadows all around,

Do not fear, He will guide you,

He will keep you safe and sound;

Cause He has promised to never leave you

Nor forsake you, and His word is true."  

 “I will be with you, I will never leave or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5)    What comforting words!  

Blessings in the Lord,

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By Malcolm Beach on 30th April 2021

Spring is certainly here in the UK - sunny hot weather followed by cold frosts, cool wind and rain. However, the signs are obvious that summer is approaching - a time that I look forward to with anticipation. As a Christian community, we are still in the period between Easter and Pentecost. And we can have a similar expectation - we know that something exciting is coming with the celebration of Pentecost, and we can await this with anticipation.

During this period, 2,000 years ago, the disciples were in a time of uncertainty - Jesus had left them and they weren't sure what to do.  They were waiting but not seeing anything happen. But God had it all in hand and blessed them with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

It's the same with us. Sometimes we can be unsure that anything is happening in our lives. Maybe we are feeling dry and weary, or frazzled and stressed. We might even be asking God if He is interested in us and what we should be doing. But we are encouraged to persevere and to press on. Just as a lot of the growth in a flower is hidden underground during the winter before it blossoms in the spring, our lives are being changed by God, even if we can't see this. And He has a plan for each one of us - something that is unique for you alone. So keep steadfast and hold firm. God has it all in hand and will reveal it at the appropriate time.

Heb 10:23 "Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise."

2 Thess 2:14-15 "God called you to this through the Good News we preached to you; he called you to possess your share of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, our friends, stand firm and hold on to those truths which we taught you, both in our preaching and in our letter."

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by Bob Skinner on 23rd April 2021

I'm getting quite excited the more I ponder the theme "Walking with Jesus"! I am pleased to grasp new truths and insights or to rediscover things in God's word I may have forgotten over the years.  

We know that God is one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  As we consider "walking with Jesus", we can't overlook the scriptures referring to us walking with our Father God, or of walking with (or in) the Holy Spirit.  

We have just started our new sermon series on the minor Prophets, and I thought I'd share a verse  I came across the other day about walking with God. It's from the book of Micah. The prophet Micah asks: 

 " With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God?",  (Micah 6:6a)

 In the next verses Micah asks whether God requires us to come to him with some kind of costly sacrifice? Is that what will please God?   

The answer is no. We know that of ourselves, or in our own strength we can't please God, or bring anything for our own salvation.   

Like some other Old Testament prophets, Micah teaches that it is not external, outward acts or the ceremonies of religion that God wants. Rather, God is after something internal- something which reflects our inner character and values which are being changed by Him. This is demonstrated in the nature of our relationships, and reflected in our behaviour and attitudes to others....and to our Lord.  We are to put away any self-sufficiency or pride and seek to  "walk humbly" with Him....

As Micah puts it (Micah 6:8)  

" He has showed you O man, what is good.
  And what does the LORD require of you? 
 To act justly and to love mercy
 and to walk humbly with your God" 
 

May the Lord help us to understand more about what this means for us! 

We encourage you to take some time to read the books of the minor prophets that appear at the end of the Old Testament. Malcolm will be bringing the next sermon in our series on Joel, on Sunday 9th May.

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by Malcolm Beach 16th April 2021

Following Easter we're in a sort of limbo time between the resurrection and the ascension. There's not much in the bible about what Jesus was doing, but we know that He appeared a number of times to people and talked about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). But other than this there is not much information.

Our own life walk with God can be like this, at least some of the time. We have highs and lows, and other times we just seem to meander along, nothing particularly spectacular or noteworthy happening. And that's OK. We don't need to be worried or discouraged if we're not on a "high" all the time. Growth doesn't happen just when things are going well (in fact, growth often happens most when things are going badly!). But, just as any relationship requires spending time in order to develop a deeper relationship and fellowship, our walk with Jesus is never wasted, no matter what the circumstances.

Part of walking with Jesus is learning just to "be". To enjoy walking in His presence. To learn how to appreciate the simple fellowship of being with Him and not feeling that we need to be doing something. If we are always busy and rushing around, how can God speak with us? God loves us for who we are, not for what we do (or don't do). So take time to rest in God, to enjoy His presence, and listen to what He is saying.

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by Bob Skinner on 10th April 2021

As we continue to explore the general theme of "Walking with Jesus" I am reminded of the story of Cleopas and another disciples, who after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, were walking the 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. 

"They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognising him" (Luke 24:13-16).

Jesus engaged them in conversation and asked what they had been taking about. They recounted the momentous events of the past few days concerning Jesus, his death and burial, and of the latest reports that the tomb was now empty, and Jesus had allegedly been seen by some of the women. They were disappointed and confused by events. Jesus (still unrecognised by the two disciples) then said to them:

" "How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself" (Luke 24:25-27)

On reaching Emmaus, the two disciples (still not recognising their fellow traveller) offered him hospitality at their home.

"So, he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them, then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. they asked each other, " were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us? 

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them assembled together and saying "It is true! The Lord has risen and appeared to Simon." Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread."  (Luke 24: 29-35)

How is your journey on the way?  

Sometimes, circumstances can cause us to become weary, and the things of faith may not seem to make sense to us anymore.

Perhaps things haven't worked out as we expected, and like the two disciples, we might be disheartened and confused.  Maybe we feel like we are "just going through the motions". 

The passage reminds us that, sometimes Jesus can be present with us without us realising it. As we take time to read the Bible, and consider it, the Lord can reveal again the truths we once knew and show us more of himself in its pages. As God's Holy Spirit opens our eyes, we can know and experience again his wonderful presence, and love for us. He can "make our hearts burn within us" again. Praise the Lord!

Bob

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By Malcolm Beach 0n 1st April 2021

Another Easter service by Zoom. Who'd have thought this would be the case? Certainly, when lockdown first started we realised that church and life would change for a period, but we didn't know how long. The end is in sight (somewhere!) but for the time being we continue meeting virtually.

Yet God is still the same God and His message of love and salvation remains, regardless of whether we hear it physically in a church building or over the internet or on a TV. As it says in Romans 8:38 - Nothing can separate us from the love of God. This is great news! We have a risen Saviour who loves us, and nothing can stand in the way of His love. Let us rejoice this Easter as we remember this.

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by Bob Skinner on 27th March 2021

It hardly seems possible, but Spring has arrived, and we are about to enter what is known to some Christians as "Holy week"- the week leading up to Easter. 

This week we have the opportunity to travel the journey with Jesus and the disciples in Jerusalem. Jesus has was increasingly aware that the time was coming when he would be arrested by the Jewish authorities and killed.  He mentioned this to the disciples on a few occasions, but they couldn't understand or take it in.

I hope that as we approach Easter we can find time to stop, and read again some of these passages to remind ourselves of the events of that week. We read of Jesus' "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem; his Jesus' emotional and spiritual struggle praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prepared himself before his Heavenly Father for what laid ahead; the final meal with the disciples in an upper room; his betrayal by Judas and arrest; his trials, his crucifixion and death. 

We can be thankful to the Lord for the death he died for us (not pointlessly, but as a sacrifice for all), and next week, on Easter Day we can look forward to rejoicing as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you'd like to read the disciples accounts of these final days in Jerusalem, they are recorded in all 4 gospels- see Matthew 20:17 - 28:20; Mark 11:1-16:20; Luke 19:28- 24:53; and John 11:55- 21:25.

May the Lord bless us all as we consider these important and foundational events.

Best regards and Easter blessings,

Bob

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by Malcolm Beach on 20th March 2021

Well, it's nearly a year since our world changed and we entered restrictions and lockdowns. Are you like me, looking forward to next week when we start on the journey to ending these restrictions? It's been a long time and at times I have been weary of the journey. It would have been nice to leave the journey, but unfortunately I had no choice.

Sometimes our Christian journey can feel like a long trek. It can be exciting, enjoyable, tiresome, difficult. But we are encouraged to continue. Let us persevere until the end. May we be able to say with Paul, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." (2 Tim 4:7 )

As God's family we can help each other on the journey and encourage each other to continue. We are not alone - God is with us and so are other Christians. Let's continue to press into God and to pray and support each other. 

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by Bob Skinner on 13th March 2021

I was thinking again of our theme “Walking with with Jesus” when the words of a favourite hymn
‘“Trust and obey’ came to mind. Looking at the simple words of this song, I thought that there was 
something significant to remind us about finding satisfaction and joy in our day-to-day lives as we continue on our Journey. 

  • The hymn starts with the truth that the believer’s walk is with the Lord Jesus and needs to illuminated by his word.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way!”
 

  • It then reminds us that when we are obedient to his will Jesus has promised to be with us.

While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey”

  • The fourth stanza of the hymn again speaks of our walk with the Lord, and pictures the close relationship of the Christian with their Lord, with the believer patiently waiting for what he might say to them, and experiencing Jesus’s presence alongside then in life’s journey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet, or we'll walk by his side in the way;” 

  • The final part of the stanza stresses the desire of those who follow Jesus to be obedient to his commands and his leading and guidance.

What he says we will do, where he sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.”

  • The refrain after each verse underlines the importance of trusting God and the deep joy we find in obeying his will and purposes for us.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

 I hope you find those familiar words helpful too.

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by Malcom Beach on 5th March 2021

I pray that you are all keeping well - physically, emotionally and spiritually. I'm finding that this lockdown is seeming to drag on and I'm starting to get restless. However, we know that there is a promise of the lockdown being relaxed and us being able to meet up. This certainly helps me to feel more able to cope with the current situation. Hope is important and helps us all to feel better. 

It's also encouraging and uplifting for me to know that I have a hope in God. Through Christ I am God's child, loved and accepted by Him. I can talk with Him any time and cast my cares upon Him. He has promised to be with with and walk with me. And the eventually I will enter heaven to rooms that God has prepared for me (John 14:2-3). What wonderous hope we all have!

Scripture for the week:

Romans 15:13

May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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By Bob Skinner on 27th February 2021

As Malcolm mentioned in the last Newsletter, we are encouraging everyone to think about what  "Walking with Jesus" means for each of us. 

I looked to see what the New Testament has to say about 'walking', and found the following words of the apostle John were relevant and helpful:

"Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love. It has given me great joy to find that some of your children are walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.          2 John: 3-6

I encourage you to read those words again…. 

Let's continue to be those who seek to walk both in the truth, and in love.

May God Bless you all,

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By Malcolm Beach on 19th February 2021

A couple of weeks ago I shared how the leadership had spent time praying and asking God what His plans were for WCC for 2021. As I shared, the theme we believe that God is saying to us is "Walking with Jesus". I thought it would be useful to share some thoughts about what this might mean practically.

* Walking with Jesus means that we need to hear His voice. If we are to walk with Him, then we need to know where He is going, and this involves us listening to Him. And the best way to do this is to spend time with Him. Set aside time regularly where you just sit and listen to Him. Don't ask or tell Him what you think needs to happen - allow Him to speak with you. 

* Walking with Jesus means that we act on what He wants us to do. This means that we know what God is asking us to do, not what God is asking someone else to do. Although we walk together, our specific journeys are not identical to other people. God has plans for you that are not the plans that he has for me or anyone else. So be bold (and wise!) in following what God is asking you to do. You have gifts and abilities that He has given you, and He wants you to use these to build up His church and other people (1 Cor 14:12 "Since you are eager to have the gifts of the Spirit, you must try above everything else to make greater use of those which help to build up the church." Eph 4:16 " Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love."). 

* Walking with Jesus is not walking ahead of Him. We don't lead and then ask Him to bless us. Instead, we need to walk WITH Him. And we walk at the speed that He is walking. Don't rush ahead just because you think it's a good idea. God knows the best timing - we need to trust Him in this. 

As the year progresses we will be unpacking the theme more and seeing how it impacts us.