Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | October 7, 2018

The Strong Word – October 2018

 

Have you ever stood on the top of Rockingham Castle on the top of Rockingham Hill? (Webmaster’s note – for those from outside the wonderful county of Spires & Squires – Northamptonshire – Rockingham Castle sits on a hill overlooking the Welland Valley between Northamptonshire & Rutland) It is an incredible view! They say you can see 19 church spires on a clear day! One can see for miles. During the last 1,000 years occupants must have felt safe as they looked across the valley, seeing clearly any would be attackers.

Hills do appear to offer a security that valleys don’t have. Until quite recently, when technology has taken over, hills provided the opportunity to see further and defend easier.

But Psalm 121 reminds us, as it begins with the question:- “I look to the hills, but where does my help come from?” It then answers its own question by saying simply:-“my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, he does not slumber nor sleep, he watches over us by night and by day….”

As we read the magazine this month one of our members, Darren Tecklenberg, is walking up the foothills of the Himalayas to Everest base Camp, situated 18,500 feet above sea level, over four times higher than Ben Nevis. He will no doubt have Everest in his view, and will be both looking up to the impressive mountain as well as down to the valleys.

We must pray he has a safe journey up and down, and that he receives a blessing from God as he discovers the Lord in the valleys as well as in the mountains. Psalm 139 reminds us that there is nowhere we can go, the highest heavens or the deepest depths, that are away from the presence of God. In recent time we realise this applies even on the Moon! While Psalm 23 reminds us that even in the valley of the shadow of death we shall fear no evil for the Lord is with us.

This is good news, whether we are walking in the Himalayas, the Scottish mountains or in the streets of Kettering, the Lord is with us. We do not need the false protection of the material strength that appears to come from worldly, human strength but we must rely, in faith, on him, who has blessed us in the past and will, if we trust in him, bless and lead us in the future.

May the Lord bless us all as we travel through the rest of 2018, wherever we are!

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Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | August 4, 2018

The Strong Word – August 2018

I almost forgot to write this! It is the first August newsletter we have had at Carey since I arrived in 2005. I am told there will be one in September too, so we are doing well this year! But a lot has been happening so it is a shame if we cannot enjoy reading and seeing pictures of all our recent events. Perhaps the most memorable was the celebration of Joan Carnell’s life. She is featured in this edition in shortened version of the tributes paid to her.

It was the sheer number of people who came, (around 350) with all seats filled and 20 or so standing at the back! Where did they all park? But it was good to share in what she had done over the years, working with so many in both paid and unpaid work. She worked hard amongst us with a smile on her face and in her usual cheery way. If you were there I am sure you will also remember, especially the singing and “The Sound Sensation” choir who sang in honour of her time with them.

Joan made so many friends and she made a difference to many lives. She is in a sense a role model for us all. To use the time we have on this earth well and wisely. She was always doing something, the most recent being the coffee mornings raising monies for her charities, filling the church with her friends at the same time.

I found myself considering the story of Jesus in Matthew 25 of the servants given 5, 2 and 1 talent. The one who is criticised by Jesus is the one who buried his talent in the ground and refused to use it. He had it taken from him.

Joan certainly used her talent in life, and my question to myself is this:- How do I use the gift/talent the Lord has given me? I may not be able to sing like Joan!! But I do have something from the Lord. What is your talent or gift? How are you using it? What will be said at our funerals about our lives? The service for Joan helps us focus on such important issues and make changes while there is still time.

Peter

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | July 1, 2018

The Strong Word – July 2018

 

In some senses it seems impossible that the nights are so much lighter and the days so much warmer than when we had the ‘Beast from the East’ just a few weeks ago when it was so cold and wet! I still have my coat handy just in case!

One memory that stands out is the number of people who said they loved the snow because it meant they did not have to go out and could take a more leisurely day rather than the usual rush. No one expects anything from you in the snow! We had three Sundays between 10th December and the end of March when the service was so much smaller and only those who could walk to Carey, came.

We are now entering into the summer season, the traditional holiday season. But Factory Fortnight is a thing of the past for most, when the town virtually closed down and many moved to Skeggy or Hunstanton for a week or two! Many do not take their holiday in the summer and life goes on the same. Some cannot, I know, afford to go away.

But I do encourage us all to take some time out.

The most familiar Psalm tells us:- The Lord is my Shepherd, He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet waters, He restores our souls…” We do need our souls restored, do we not? We must stop. “He makes us” is a powerful verse. We must make space to do things differently, be free of duties for a while. Maybe if we are not going away to the countryside or the coast we might choose to visit another church one Sunday? Do things a bit different?

We all live 24/7 lives, never far from our phones, our work, or our church duties. These things can weigh on us, if we do not take the appropriate rest.

Perhaps you are someone who is pleased to keep the 10 Commandments, not Stealing, Killing, Coveting and the like. One of the commandments is to:- Keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to work. We may not be able to stop work on a Sunday but we must, for the sake of our mental and physical health allow ourselves one in 7 days when we do stop and life is different, duties set aside. We can do ourselves irreparable damage if we do not.

Surely we will not wait for the snow to come again before we take that much needed break? May the Lord Bless us over the summer season.

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | June 2, 2018

The Strong Word – June 2018

 

I have begun doing some cooking lately, not anything fancy you understand, but I have branched out from the occasional meal, to cooking, or should I say baking cakes, in particular, Mary Berry’s Apple Cake. If eaten while still warm it is especially nice!

However, one does have to follow the recipe for the best results, not guessing the flour or butter but properly weighing out the ingredients.

I have also learnt the importance of not forgetting an ingredient! In the early days I once forgot the eggs and just could not get the mix right, what is worse I could not see why, it was nearly there but it was lacking something. Being new to cake making I thought I could remember the recipe but forgot a vital ingredient, which if I had cooked it would have led to an uneatable disaster! It remained a sorry mess, which I had to throw away because instead of eggs I added more butter!

As you would expect, I have made a comparison with our Christian faith and baking.

Christian lives need a number of ingredients, in the right measure, if they are to be as they ought to be, useful and balanced.

I believe faith is one of those essential ingredients that can easily be forgotten or used in the wrong measure so our lives do not rise, as it were, to the occasion! Reading God’s word, hearing the Lord speak, is not enough, nor is it right to just believe. We must respond in faith, to step out, to put our belief into practice. To “know” that to call on the name of the Lord, is the way to receive help.

The Bible is clear, without faith we cannot please God, nor can we be the Christian we need to be. When did I last read a promise God has made, believe it and live as though it is completely true? This means leaning on the promise, not on my own ideas, thoughts and ways. It is not easy. It takes time to learn. But, it is the only way to a good result.

For the best result with my cake, I must include all the ingredients for it to be perfect every time! I fear I can put too much of me, or the world, in my Christian life just like I put in too much butter and no eggs, and end up a sorry mess!

We must have (and use) our faith (our trust) in God!

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | May 4, 2018

The Strong Word – May 2018

 

An Early Easter means an early Pentecost! This year Pentecost falls on Sunday 20th May. A few years ago, in our increasing secular nation, the Spring Bank Holiday was separated from the Whit (Pentecost) weekend, and so Pentecost is often now not on a Bank Holiday weekend. Many will not realise it is Christian festival, Pentecost 2018 will past them by.

However, I encourage you to note the article I have placed elsewhere in this magazine where the season from Ascension Day (10th May) to Pentecost (20th May) is being marked by all the Churches in Kettering following a request by the Archbishop of Canterbury to get involved in the “Thy Kingdom Come Project”. Such a project, throughout our nation, encourages cooperation between Christians and invites all Christians to be outward looking, sharing our faith and hope with those who do not know Jesus.

Christmas and Easter are important dates in the church diary, but Pentecost is when the church was truly “born”. We read the familiar passages of the Apostle Peter fifty days after the resurrection, preaching boldly in Jerusalem. This preaching is backed up by the arrival of God’s Holy Spirit amongst those early believers. It was exciting times, with many coming to faith in Jesus and the church beginning to be the Body of Christ on earth.

Peter tells the crowd that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. This is the central message of the Christian gospel. Jesus came to save us from our sin. He came to restore a broken relationship between man and God, a brokenness we have inherited in our mortal lives. Jesus can restore us to a true and deep friendship with God, and for many this is a truth difficult to accept. There must be other options, many claim – my ways and thoughts are OK! We must repent our sins, be Baptised, in the name of Jesus, receiving the gift of new life through the Holy Spirit of God.

Such a relationship with God and a certainty about our future, after this life is over, comes ONLY by faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for our sin. Trusting in what he has done. Not in what we have done or may do or say. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Surely, with such a glorious truth to enjoy and share, the “Thy Kingdom Come” project 2018 will be something we want to get involved in, our faith will be strengthened and others have the chance of a faith and hope too. Why would we not want for others what we have for ourselves?

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | April 1, 2018

The Strong Word – April 2018

 

The Annual General Meeting of the church took place as usual in early March. We did the annual AGM things! We voted for those willing to take on duties for the new church year, we put our Safeguarding and Health & Safety policies in place for another year, we reviewed the past and took a peak into the future!

We began the meeting with a reading from Ecclesiastes 3 where the writer observes times in the life of a person and an organisation when we either start or stop something. There is, he says, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build. It was a fitting start to a meeting where we considered the changes in the life of the church at Carey.

The past year has seen “Messy Church” begin as well as the Carey Tots become established. We have been pleased that the sadness of closure of Girls’ Brigade has brought a positive change to the Friday Boys’ Brigade evening where boys and girls now enjoy their evening together.

We also said thank you to the many who made things happen this last year. To Joy (Sergison) and Keith (Mitchell) who have spent over 20 years each as deacons and not least to Derek (Neal) who passed on his role as Church Secretary, after 27 years. Derek represents the old school for his commitment to the church and for the faithfulness with which he has done the job he felt called to for all those years.

He has presided over many changes, I realise my comment at the church meeting, as well as in this article is quite inadequate to express the gratitude of the Church for his work and commitment over that time.

We begin a new church year by celebrating Easter over the next few days, when death turned to life, when our future became guaranteed by the sacrifice of the Son of God. After our Lentern season of consideration and mourning over our spiritual state, we embrace the new life and hope we receive in Jesus.

May we open ourselves up to all that God’s spirit can do in our lives over the next year in the life of Carey church. I end with a direct quote from John 11.25 “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”. Do you believe this?

Well do we? Do we believe so that others know we believe, then seeing our confidence and faith in him and the gospel, they can observe how we live and what we do and also come to know and Praise God for themselves, and find the gift of God, eternal life. May the message of Easter live through us.

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | March 4, 2018

The Strong Word – March 2018

 

Easter is early this year! In Kettering an early Easter used to mean Wicksteed Park opened earlier than usual, as it was always on Good Friday it opened for the summer season. But no more, it seems to me the Park opens as soon as the weather is fit to start the rides and take money!

But for many of us Easter remains an important date, indeed it is the centre of our Christian faith and the Christian year. We commemorate the last supper and the death and resurrection of Jesus often in a year, as we take communion bread and wine.

The time before Easter is when we pause to remember the cost of our sins to God, the life of Jesus. A time when we respond in thanks by repenting (turning) from those sins, trusting by faith the price of the release from sin is paid in full by the actual death of Jesus on a cross outside Jerusalem in the year AD 30. His death is for the sins we were born with, ones we inherited from our human ancestors, as well as the ones we have added into our lives ourselves by our selfish behaviour and ways.

So Easter IS good news, it is the best reason of all to stop, consider, then celebrate. Lent and Holy Week give us such a chance to prepare, as we remember the agony through which Jesus went as he walked to Jerusalem. When, in those last few hours he was beaten, abused and forced to carry his own cross on which he was killed.

We too are called to carry our cross, to walk the narrow way, to shun the wide road that leads only to the destruction of our souls.

I am always impressed by those who have a dry, alcohol free January, to improve their bodies and lives, or those who go sugar free in February to kick start a health drive or lose weight. Maybe we too can use such thoughts this Lent, to remove things from our lives that slow up the movement of God’s spirit in our hearts. You might wish to read the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4, to consider how hardness of heart, rocks, thistles and weeds can really stunt our spiritual growth.

I hope in Lent 2018, the thought of celebrating Easter at the end of March should encourage us to do something about our poor spiritual state. To kick start a mini revival, as it were, in our hearts and lives. May the Lord have mercy on us & bless us.

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | February 3, 2018

The Strong Word – February 2018

 

Happy New Year to all readers of Carey News, a bit late I know as the year is quite old now! I am sure you are looking forward to the real benefits of the New Year – lighter nights and warmer days which we can really enjoy.

I heard a tall story the other day. There was a successful manager in a large company who used to eat his lunch in the local park if the sun was shining. One day, as you do, he was greeted by a fairy Godmother!! What is your greatest wish? That was easy he wanted to be the managing director of the company, OK she said, it is done.

The man returned to his office, which was no longer there, his old job no longer existed and there at the top of the building was a huge office with his name on the door. Amazing! For years he was a successful man, hiring and firing, investing and developing. The company went from strength to strength, he never had time to sit in the park with his sandwiches.

One lovely sunny day he was less busy than usual, he took himself over to the park to the old bench he used to sit on, and hey, there he was greeted again by the fairy Godmother. Is there anything you wish me to do for you, she asked him?

The man thought for a moment, then jumped in with his two feet. I fancy a big change, to be God for a few years! Without blinking she told him it was done! The man returned to the building, and the big office he had occupied for many a year no longer had his name on the door. Someone else was there instead. He was not worried and he looked around for his place, and was surprised to see a small room with his name on the door, inside was a brush, a broom, a cleaning bucket and a caretakers uniform…….

The question I ask myself in 2018 is this:- Am I here to manage others, to be served, or am I here to serve. The example we have from the gospels from Jesus is that he came to serve, to wash feet and to take on the tasks of a lowly servant.

Strangely the word to serve in Greek is the same word as the word for deacon! We are all called to be deacons in the church, though some have the formal title, we are all called to serve if the church is to be the church in 2018. May we not be surprised if we find The Lord is asking us to do things we thought were for someone else! There is much that needs doing, how available are we?

Peter Strong

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | December 3, 2017

The Strong Word – December/January 2017

 

So this is the Christmas and New Year edition of the Carey News. The festive season is upon us, although you do not need me to tell you that, evidence is all around, lights, trees, goodies in the shops, all reminding us Christmas is the next big event.

We shall be celebrating at Carey in the usual ways, with Angels, Wise Men, Shepherds and the baby, we shall sing carols and read readings, and it will be very familiar to most of us. Maybe too familiar?

I heard a Minister recently say that he was criticised last year for producing Christmas services where the Christmas story was the same as ever it was, the parishioner who complained had been hoping to hear something new!

The minister suggested that in a future year maybe he could have the Good News message delivered not by Angel Gabriel but by an Orang-utan. Imagine that! Or maybe some other major amendment to the story could be made for effect?

Yet, the Christmas story heard with open and expectant ears and hearts, will bring a fresh and new message to us. If I listen closely to the familiar words of the various passages, I believe God will speak afresh to us even after 2017 years telling of the story.

A few weeks ago when Nigel Coles came to speak to us, he told us to be still as he read the passage of scripture, so we could hear what it was the Lord had for us from the passage that day, probably something different for me than for my neighbour? To approach Christmas 2017 in that attitude will surely bring personal insight and blessing as we seek to know exactly what the good news of the arrival of Jesus into the world means for me and my friends and family in 2018?

So can we really expect, and then as William Carey himself would say, in response to God’s word afresh to us, be encouraged to attempt great things in faith for the Lord in the year ahead?

Jane and I wish a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all.

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | October 29, 2017

The Strong Word – November 2017

 

Jane and I took the chance a few weeks ago to visit the National Memorial Arboretum near Litchfield. We visited most of the 193 memorials, some quite incredible to experience. We cheated a bit as initially we travelled around on the Land Train with a running commentary. We returned later on foot to the ones where we wanted to spend more time. It is all set in extensive well kept grounds around a visitors’ centre, with memorials to the many fallen in the battles of the last Century.

I suppose the biggest surprise to me was the centre piece of a huge circular wall on which are the names of all members of the armed forces killed SINCE 1945, an incredible number. The names stretch for well over 100 yards and are chiselled out in lists some 12 feet high. There remains blank fresh stone for over 75 yards for future deaths. It is so sad to see such plans, to recognise we expect further wars and battles despite the promises we make to each other on 11th November each year, that never again will we allow war to rage.

I was taken by the unexpected memorials, to the Veterinary Surgeons who cared for the sick and injured horses, and other animals of both the great wars of the last century, then lost their lives or were injured in their work. There were memorials to Railway workers, Townswomen Guilds and even the Girl Guides who gave sacrificially to support the troops of the wars, support which sometimes caused injury or even death.

It was truly amazing and sobering. We left surprised that so much has been achieved in 15 years and there remains plans still to add to the memorials, maybe up to 250 within the next few years as more groups come forward with plans to remember.

I was especially surprised to see a memorial to the National Order of Friendly Societies! But there we go, dedicated to the Society of Friendly Foresters, the Oddfellows and Free Gardeners, to name a few societies mentioned.

On 1st November we celebrate All Saints Day, when no special saint, but all Christian Saints are remembered. Maybe we read Hebrews 11 where a selection of people of great faith are celebrated, and maybe we recall those we know in our past who are no longer with us but who to us or to our town were great saints?

Maybe we recognise too that we are all called to play our part in support of the work of the Gospel, whoever we are, to give ourselves to support the work of the church in the 21st Century and thus to have our name written in the book of life, kept in heaven, to record our faithfulness to and trust in Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the commitment and faithfulness of others encourage us to all to be 100% dedicated to The Lord’s work in these days, whatever the cost. May the Lord help us to be faithful.

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