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.

 

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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.

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | October 5, 2017

Thought for the day with Teck – October 2017

 

With all the children returning to school and adults back to work, some might say or think, that it is the ‘end of our wonderful Summer’. However now, many of our older generation are commencing their Summer breaks and as Darren and I can have our holidays when we want to, September is usually ‘Munro bagging time’. In other words, ‘The Galaxy’ is piled to the brim with camping and walking gear, bike, crates of food, piles of books, maps, compass and electronic gadgets. Darren then tries to squeeze himself in the driver’s seat and heads northward to the Scottish Highlands. This is to walk/climb as many as possible 3,000 ft mountains, known as Munro’s of which there are 282. (There is usually no room for me in the car and I fly up by plane or catch an overnight train and be met in Inverness, but I usually manage to squeeze in the car on the return journey but only because the food has been eaten!!).

The areas in Scotland he visits is all dependant on the weather and the conditions. Darren, is a ‘fair weather’ walker and wintery conditions are out as far as he is concerned. He is on a 15-year schedule and is now sub 80 to finishing and can end up driving hundreds of miles between destinations. For every mountain walk he prepares a route plan and a copy is left behind in case it is needed in an emergency. The last item on the agenda before setting off is always to pray his favourite Psalm 121, I lift up my eyes to the quiet hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. He will not let your foot slip, etc. Darren now knows this Psalm by heart and it set me thinking I wonder how many of us know chapters or verse from passages of the Bible from memory without looking at it.

I’m not very good at memorising numbers, chapters or book names where in the Bible passages come from, but many years ago at school we had a test to learn and memorise Matthew 6 28-30 titled ‘Do not worry’, from the old King James version. It goes like this – “Consider the lilies and how they grow, they spin not they toil not and yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these….”

I struggled for weeks to remember it all in preparation for test day, learning a sentence at a time and cursing the teacher involved. I needn’t have worried and I thank him now because I can still remember every single word of this passage. When I’m stressed I sit down and repeat it to myself, the precise message being ‘Do not worry, God will look after you’.

Have you got a favourite passage from the Bible? Let Keith know and perhaps we will be able to print a few for the Carey newsletter in the weeks to come, to help cheer up the darker nights. Many Blessings to you all.

Sandra

Sandra Teck

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | September 2, 2017

The Strong Word – September 2017

 

A visit to the seaside always comes with thoughts about the tide. Will the tide be in or out? When is high tide? Tide timetables posted nearby are useful to know what is happening. I was especially interested this year near the busy Padstow harbour where we stayed. Boats came in and out in a day, but choices to come and go were limited by the tides.

The inner harbour is only open 2 hours before high tide and two hours after it. At all other times the gates are shut and no boat can go in or out. The sea just vanishes away for many hours, leaving acres of sand and mud outside the inner harbour area, through which no boat can move. Where all that water goes to is quite another matter indeed!

I have come to the conclusion there is a tide of the spirit of God in each of our lives. There are times when God is very close, times we are prompted and encouraged to make decisions to follow and to serve Jesus, or go the extra mile. There are other times when he seems to go out like the tide, to be distant and at those times choice can seem limited. The sea is always there but it just is not so close.

The Billy Graham missions of the 1950’s and 60’s were times when the tide was high, since then youth weekends, special services, Missions or personal moments have provided moments of high tides in our hearts when God has been close.

But I noticed many boats even when the tide was high, remained in harbour, choosing the easy life of access to the shops and facilities of Padstow rather than out on the high seas. Yet these boats were built to sail not to wallow in a safe harbour.

Isaiah tells us we must “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.” The Bible is constantly encouraging us to be who we are called to be. To be the people God has made us to be. Remember Lot in Genesis. He chose the easy route, of city dwelling, leaving Abraham to negotiate the hills and difficult terrain. The easy way was his downfall eventually.

As the hymn goes:- Not forever in green pastures would we idly rest and stay

But would smite the living fountains in the rocks along the way.

As Psalm 95 tells us:- “Today If you hear his voice do not harden your heart” as we have done in the past!

So, are we awaiting God to come in closer, to give a high tide of his spirit in our hearts? Are we looking for it and eagerly waiting, ready to set sail? Or is he here standing at the door of our lives knocking? Are we going to open up the door as the harbour gates open up to the sea, and take the chances and opportunities of sailing off with him into the future and taking the risks and challenges he calls us to take?

Like many captains in many harbours around the world we have a choice to stay safe or to go. May we use wisely the time and talents the Lord has given to us.

Peter

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | July 31, 2017

The Strong Word – July/August 2017

 

Perhaps like me you were encouraged by the weather forecast in early May? A long hot dry summer predicted. The dry April encouraged me to believe them. I decided however to wait before I removed the garden chairs from storage, you know what English weather can be like!

But despite being cool there were water warnings as the dry (and soon to be!) warm weather was promised and would quickly overtake us and a hosepipe ban would be necessary. It is only days away we were told. 1976 all over again!

So with a couple of warm, dry days behind me I brought out the garden chairs and you can guess, as I am writing this it has not stopped raining nor has the cold wind stopped blowing since!

Contrast this with my experience booking a seaside holiday. I looked at the tide timetables for the week we were planning so we knew when the beach would be available to us. The exact time of high tide at Falmouth for the next year is printed for all to see, to the exact minute. It will be so, guaranteed, for it is God who controls the moon and the stars in their courses.

Such thoughts have reminded me of the faithfulness of God, who offers his love guaranteed to each of us, whatever we have been like or whatever our past. He is faithful, to his promises to forgive us if we go to him in repentance. God is not like the untrustworthy British weather. To enter God’s presence in humility will always bring the same loving answer. He really does care for us, especially when we invite him to do so.

I hope over the summer, whatever our weather, we are all able to have time to consider again the goodness and faithfulness of God. As the seasons move on, we can pause, thank God and learn of him as we seek to trust him more. Maybe you will have space to read a Christian book to encourage your faith. To see things from someone else’s view. Or to read a Bible study book based on one of your favourite Bible books, or a less well known one?

Psalm 146 verse 3 onwards puts it like this:- “Do not put your trust in human beings, they cannot save you…. but Blessed is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the maker of the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. For the Lord remains faithful forever…. the Lord upholds us, he feeds us, he heals us, releases us from prisons, and watches over us” What a God who does this for ever for he does not slumber or sleep.

I believe such investment of our spare time will bring a useful blessing as God speaks to our hearts and souls. May the Lord bless us in the summer season be it wet or dry, warm or cold!

 

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

The Strong Word – June 2017

 

The Church, worldwide, celebrates Pentecost this year on 4th June. The Old Whit Bank holiday weekend was meant to provide a chance for all to stop and celebrate too. So it is a strange celebration, many who are not church orientated will not even realise the Bank Holiday at the end of May is meant to be on Pentecost weekend, even when sometimes by coincidence it is! Pentecost for many will be a normal weekend, but it ought to be celebrated even more than we celebrate Christmas.

At Christmas we celebrate “Immanuel” God with us, we remember that God came down as a baby, living as a man amongst us, forgiving sins and showing us how to live. That is OK as far as it goes, but Jesus did only come to Nazareth after being born in Bethlehem. He only moved around the nation of Israel and visited the capital city Jerusalem on a number of occasions. He actually spoke with very few, face to face as it were, limited by time and space to those who were living in the early part of the first century AD in Israel.

But, at Pentecost we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the world, the spirit of Jesus, who is available to live in and with each and every person who has invited him into their hearts following repentance and after expressing faith in Jesus Christ his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit enables us to all have an encounter with God, even though we were not alive in the 1st Century.

The Spirit is The Comforter Jesus speaks of in John 14-17. The spirit who comes to dwell and live with us, to guide and prompt us, we are not left as orphans, with God and Jesus in Heaven. We are not left to do the best we can on our own. But God by his spirit is with us. The Holy Spirit will guide and lead us. He will give us the words to say and the strength to say them. He will bless and change the ordinary lives we live so that God is glorified and the kingdom of God does come on earth as it is in heaven.

So we do have something to celebrate at Pentecost, the fruit of all the life and ministry of Jesus which should attract a greater celebration in my mind than Christmas or Easter. For we now have the resources and friendship of God to carry us into the unknown future into which we all walk daily.

May Pentecost remind us of all we have gained because of Jesus, friendship and communion with God the creator of the ends of the earth. It is indeed a time for celebration.

Peter

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | April 30, 2017

The Strong Word – May 2017

 

As Christians we believe the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a game changer for every person and the whole of Creation. Easter is not one of those celebrations we enjoy then revert back to normal! Easter makes a massive difference to how we live from now on.

Christ is risen hallelujah! The Apostle Paul in Romans, especially in chapter 8, is keen to remind us that with Adam sin entered the world, in Christ sin is neutralised. This is good news indeed. No longer are we limited to living life like a caterpillar but can be transformed (metamorphosised) by the Spirit of God, released at the resurrection, into butterflies! (Rom 12v1,2). Living not on a diet of cabbage but flying and free to enjoy the nectar of life!

The Church of England declared in recent weeks “Thy Kingdom Come.” This is meant to be a prayer initiative for Anglicans up and down the country for the weeks that follow Easter 2017.

However, the movement has been “hijacked”, if that is the word, by many Churches Together up and down the country. They really want to make Easter count, as Christians respond to the amazing news and blessing, Easter and Pentecost bring to the world. Here in Kettering the 22 churches making up Churches Together plan to join the Anglicans in such a prayer initiative.

For us in Kettering that means two things.

  1. From Ascension day (25th May) to Pentecost Sunday (4th June) a prayer and worship timetable has been set up in this area. Many churches, with a view to representing all the denominations in the area, will host a worship and prayer event each day, the timetable is on Page 13 of this magazine. It is a time when we can encourage prayer and unity in Christ across the town.
  2. Further, ALL Christians in the area are encouraged to perform at least one act of “Random Kindness” each day from Ascension to Pentecost, a minimum of 10 acts! Such acts of kindness, like buying someone a cup of coffee, or paying for someone to park, are just two examples (or whatever you can think of), as a means of providing evidence to those we meet that our faith really is a serious faith, which makes a difference. Easter and the Christian message of hope really changes how we think and behave, as we show and share something of God’s love to us in Jesus Christ. As we often used to sing “He has no hands but our hands to do his work today”!

 

May the Lord help us all to know how best we can witness for him in a time when many think Easter is only about holidays, eggs and chocolate!

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | April 5, 2017

The Strong Word April 2017

 

April usually means it is Easter, and this year is no exception! Easter is the main event in the Christian Faith. Holy week and the events of Easter weekend take up about a third of the gospels. Easter is important to the Gospel writers, occupying much of their thinking and is the climax of each Gospel.

Easter is the time we see Jesus live out his promises to rise from the dead. With such a miracle comes the promise for all who believe in him, they too will rise from the grave. Amazing! The Apostle Paul makes much of the resurrection, especially in

1 Corinthians 15, where he spends 58 verses expounding the issues around death and resurrection. He tells us in no uncertain terms, without The Resurrection there is no hope. Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity like Jesus would be dead and buried.

As we have learned from our recent house group studies on Monday afternoons, Jesus died at the hour of the evening sacrifice, on the day of Passover. He died as the nation of Israel killed many lambs without blemish and sprinkled their blood on the altar, to enable them to have a relationship with Almighty God. It was the one day in the year when the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and atone for God’s people. So it is not insignificant that at the point of the death of Jesus, the temple curtain was ripped from top to bottom. God became accessible to man, for the first time since the fall in Genesis 3.

Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The demand of the Law was kept also in that none of his bones were broken on the cross, unlike the thieves crucified either side of Jesus. Thus he really was The Lamb of God, who takes a way the sins of the world.

Isaiah 53 prophecies well, verse 4 “Surely he took upon himself our infirmities, and carried our sorrows, ……he was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that brings us peace was upon him….by his wounds we are healed…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter……”

Good Friday and Easter was part of God’s plan for our salvation from the beginning. We must rise and keep the feast!

 

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | March 4, 2017

The Strong Word – March 2017

By now I suppose any New Year resolutions we promised ourselves are history? The diet, the healthier lifestyle, the reduction in biscuits, or whatever are forgotten, gone for another year, or until the weather is warmer!

We are strange! I want things to be different, to be healthier but the effort and time required seem just too much, day after day after day. I want an easy life!

Yet there are some who persevere. I read the other day of a man who ran in the1964 Olympics. Every day since he has been out for a run, EVERY DAY! The reason we hear of this now is he took a day off in January 2017, for the first time since 1964! I am impressed, I am tempted to disbelieve him. However, he looks like a man who runs every day. In the photo provided, he is fit for 78. I imagine he may have had a few days in the 53 years when he did a shorter run, but he still did a run.

The same day I read of some new research that suggests whatever illness we have, we should keep on eating! The article rubbished the idea of feeding a cold and starving a fever. Eat! Salmonella poisoning for instance, used to be treated by stopping eating. Now they say it only encourages the bug to move to other parts of the body, so eat and keep the bug more localised and recover quicker!

I want to finally discuss the issue of daily Bible reading, the nourishment of the soul. The examples above may help us. It can be difficult to find the time and inclination in a busy life with 1001 other things that crop up, to read our Bibles. All this means our hopes for having better spiritual health evaporate.

We begin to look and behave like we don’t read our Bible and pray. It becomes that obvious!

I have come to the conclusion as a Christian in 2017, the resolutions to eat better or less may be kept or broken, but I cannot afford to break with my plans to read the Bible and pray each day. I need to be spiritually fit whatever age I am. It is especially at times when we feel discouraged we should do it. Yet the same is true when we feel on top of the world. Pack your Bible with your toothbrush when you go away!

I encourage us all to improve the quality of life in 2017 and for the next year (or 53 years) read the Bible, pray and keep spiritually fit. Psalm 119v105 reminds us that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a guide to our path, let’s not walk about in the dark anymore!

I believe such will help people to see us, to note how we are, and to praise God who is in heaven. Is that not the mission to which we are called?

 

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

The Strong Word – February 2017

 

Happy New Year to you! I write this at a time when the future and new year seem more uncertain than usual. There is a new President about to be installed in the White House, Brexit is up in the air and terror alerts remain high in most Western nations. Yet, despite the chaos and uncertainty around in many cities and nations at this time I have a real confidence in The Lord and his purposes for mankind in 2017. Psalm 46 insists that even in times of chaos and change, God is in the midst of it all. This is true for nations as it is also true for individuals. God IS our refuge and strength, a very present help in every kind of trouble, he stops wars and breaks bows. Psalm 121 reminds us, “The Lord does watch over us as we go out and come home now and always. He does not slumber or sleep as we humans do! He is with us”.

The Christmas message we take with us into a new year is the name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. This is not just a statement made by someone dressed as an angel in one of the Nativity plays performed a few weeks ago in churches up and down our nation but it is a true statement based on a promise made by God many years before the birth of Jesus. We do well to dwell on such a truth.

Salvation belongs to our God, a comment made by many writers in the Bible not least to Jonah in Chapter 2, where he lies in the belly of a whale pondering the chaos that had come upon him. God can and does hear our calls, he is pleased to be involved. Maybe we are a bit like Jonah, unwilling to ask for help until things become rather dire and hope gone. God rescued Jonah from the bottom of the sea, the very gates of death, he can, and will do the same for all who call on his name, whatever the present and future may bring, this is our faith. While typing this out I found myself humming an old hymn, to the tune Austria. I quote a verse:

God is with us, God is with us So our great Forefather sang.

Preach the Gospel of redemption,

Where so ever man may move.

Onward then with ranks unbroken,

Sure of triumph shout and sing.

God is with us, God is with us,

Christ the Lord shall reign as King.

May Christ reign as King in our hearts, our church and our world, and leave each a blessing.

 

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