Internet Safari

Hyper links are a great feature of the internet – when some text is highlighted or underlined, clicking on it takes you to some more information about what you’re reading, or to a connected web page.  If you’re a regular web surfer it’s easy to find yourself going on a web safari…you click on a link, start reading, click on another link and sometime later you wonder why you’re reading a article about the tribal ceremonies of the ancient Celts, or looking at pictures of dachshunds dressed as hot dogs!!  Particularly when all you wanted was bus times to Broad Marsh.

One of the uses of hyperlinks I’ve been a bit excited about has been to create links to the bible passages on our Service page.  If you click on the Services page, you will find information about our services, including a note of the bible passages the speaker will be referring to.  If you click on the link you will be taken to http://www.biblegateway.com and the specific passage.   You might want to do this before the service so you can spend some time thinking about what the verses might mean, what questions you have about them, how they might connect with your life.  The sermon might then give some answers and insights, as well as inspiration and encouragement.

Biblegateway is a really useful site with lots of different versions of the bible to compare, and it has passage look-up and word search -this means that if you can half remember a bible verse you can find the reference here by entering the words you know.  It’s also available as an App for tablets, so you can have access to the bible wherever there’s the internet.  There’s no pictures of dachshunds though…

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A Giant Step for a Woman!

Ann Baillon is a member of West Bridgford Baptist Church and a year ago she took a momentous step – here’s her story:

Confused? well I’ll say I was! Is there a God, isn’t there a God? I really had no idea. Well that was until I visited a church in Tile Hill, Coventry for my great niece’s Christening. I was absolutely convinced that when the vicar gave his sermon he was speaking to me from God.

I suppose in a way, if I’m being honest I found it a little unnerving. The thing is that although this was to have such a huge Impact on my life, I really can’t recall what he said, all I do know is that it stirred something inside me which made me want to know more.

A short while this after I was driving past West Bridgford Baptist Church and noticed an advert for an Alpha course, I rang Chris, had a brief chat and thought “Why not give this a go?”  So off I went not really knowing what, if anything, I would get from the course.

I was made to feel very welcome at Alpha, we were even fed a fabulous 3 course meal every week, cooked, I have to add by Ann Thomas & co, all that we were asked to contribute was a donation!

Although I had many questions I  was never made to feel ‘silly’ about anything I asked and I was always given an answer. I made new friends here and eventually it was suggested by Chris that I ought to ‘give them a try on a Sunday’. I did this for about 18 months but my visits were very hit and miss, then I stopped for some unknown reason, although someone who is now an exceptionally good friend, Anna, never lost contact with me and every time a new notice sheet was printed, she would send me one through the post, or give me the odd call to let me know of any other news. Had she not have done this who knows where I would be today.

I was so sure that in Anna doing this it was a sign from God. Eventually I went back to church, but still met Anna outside as I dared not venture in on my own yet! What I was scared of I have no idea, but that’s how it was.

Going back was the best thing I have ever done! My faith grew stronger, my life became more full and without doubt I was a happier, more contented person, I had God in my life!

I decided after a while to be baptised but backed out at the last minute. I think there were two reasons really, I didn’t think I was good enough for Baptism, but also I was petrified of giving my testimony! (I’m not very good at speaking in front of a crowd.)

I was finally Baptised on Oct 14th 2012, my husband, daughter, her husband and my friend were in the congregation and although I didn’t manage to give  a long testimony,  I did say a few lines which were meant from my heart.

I have now joined a fellowship group and really feel part of the church.  I have found so many new friends . I have another family!

Another fantastic thing to come out of all of this is that my daughter, over time, has now got a strong belief that she has God with her.

Finally I just want to say, after many years of wandering, I have God in my life & life is good!

What more could I ask for……

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Children in the way?

I was sent these fragments from a larger poem by Nigel Forde called “Children In The Way.”  They had struck a chord with the person who sent them, and they certainly connected with my work as a Youth and Children’s Pastor.

 

What is a Child? It’s worthwhile being sure,

For their outlook – not ours – he called mature

Describe a child then. Simple? Passive? Gentle?

A widespread view.  But not one that is parental!

Yes partly true but mostly sentimental.

Those who’ve had children know they’re pioneers

Timeless seekers.  Hungry for ideas.

Questioners, ready to learn and solve and find.

Committed, energetic, quick of mind.

They trust, they love, but don’t use love or trust

As an excuse to sit, grow dull and rust

 

When did you last ask, “Why?” and want to know?

Or choose a new discipline to undergo?

Or argue with fresh knowledge as your end

Rather than just a prejudice to defend?

How much do you do because others do it,

And how much having honestly thought through it?

Oh, what we could learn from children if we would,

Safe in our dull, trite, four-square adulthood!

 

If their imaginations are more clear

Than ours, is it not possible they hear

More clearly too? Are spiritually quicker

Than many a teacher, youth leader or vicar?

May they not hear the voice of God and shout it

While we get on quite nicely, thanks, without it?

They may not have the knowledge we possess,

So the Holy Spirit has to shift much less

In terms of intellectual debris

Than perhaps he might with you. Or you. Or me.

 

I was struck by the play on words in the title of the poem: do we see children as being ‘in the way” in church? Something to be pushed to the side while adults do the real business of church?  Or are they “in the Way” alongside us as we journey as pilgrims and disciples in the Way of Jesus.  Can they not hear from God as well as we can, if not sometimes better, and can we not hear from them about God?

 

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A post from a mother

Occasionally on the blog, someone at church shares something that means a lot to them:

Walking Away by Cecil Day Lewis

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –

A sunny day with leaves just turning,

The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play

Your first game of football, then, like a satellite

Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see

You walking away from me towards the school

With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free

Into a wilderness, the gait of one

Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away

Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,

Has something I never quite grasp to convey

About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching

Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so

Gnaws at my mind still.  Perhaps it is roughly

Saying what God alone could perfectly show –

How selfhood begins with a walking away,

And love is proved in the letting go.

Perhaps this is a good time of the year, “a sunny day with leaves just turning”, to share C. Day Lewis’s poem, Walking Away, as he puzzles over the “scorching ordeal” he feels on seeing his son drift like a “half-fledged thing set free” behind a scatter of children towards selfhood.  We’ve seen it, and felt it, haven’t we, as we left our five year olds at the school gate for the first time, “that hesitant figure, eddying away like a winged seed, loosed from its parent stem.”  Sad isn’t it?

Then later we see them off to college or university, or out into the world of business, or say goodbye at the train station as they go for voluntary service overseas, and we should be so happy for them as they walk away from us, and yet we are sad.

Later still they fall in love, and perhaps the wedding vows; the tissues really are at the ready then.  I always cry at weddings.  Like C. Day Lewis I have never understood the “small scorching ordeals which fires one’s irresolute clay” So perhaps it is God showing us humans how “selfhood begins with walking away and love is proved in walking away”

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Poverty on Budget Day

It’s Budget Day today and we wait to see how the Chancellor will deal with the economic issues facing us at the moment.  It sometimes seems hard to work out what’s really going on; different newspapers have different points of view and I’m often left wondering what to think.

The Baptist Union participates in a group called the Joint Public Issues Team*, or JPIT for short.  This group describes its aim as “…to promote equality and justice by influencing those in power and by energising and supporting local congregations.”  They do this by providing information about complex issues to churches and those involved in government.

It seems appropriate on Budget Day when there is so much argument about poverty to publicise their latest report, entitled “The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty”  It’s a discussion of some of the myths that appear in the papers and helps us to think about God’s perspective.  It’s a big read, but there’s an executive summary at the beginning so you can get the main points.

You can find the report here:  The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty

And find out more about the work of JPIT here:  JPIT

*along with the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church

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