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.

 

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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.

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!

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