Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Looking at Romans

Christmas Day being over, and New Years day sermon now prepared ,I am starting to think about the series in the Book of Romans that Steve and I will be starting in January at Shrewsbury Baptist Church
It seemed a good idea at the time but beginning to read some of the commentaries now, I realise what a mammoth task it will be ! There are so many awesome themes and great truths
We didn't feel we could tackle the whole book this time  so we are starting with Romans 8 to cover some of the best known chapters
I found NT Wrights intro to the whole book very helpful indeed
Here it is

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas starts with Christ

  I am not sure why, but this ad passed me by until I heard it being talked about on the radio this morning.
You can read about the thinking behind it here

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas time -Shrewsbury Baptist

 We are continually looking for other opportunities to serve,to engage with, and to share the gospel with our community, but there is nothing quite like Christmas!

My colleague Steve and I were doing a rough count and we reckoned that we had had well over two thousand people through our doors in the last 10 days or so and there are still services to come before the big day

I am sure many other churches have experienced the same thing.
The people came to services,carol concerts ,the toddler group party,school nativity plays and many other things
                                                                carol concert

It is fascinating how people who are reluctant to come near a church building at other times, are very keen to come at Christmas, and we are working very hard to make the most of the opportunities that this gives us and to make the step easier from watching your child in the school nativity play to feeling part of the local church community
worship group carols by candlelight
Judging by the people from the local community who came last night to Carols by Candlelight we are slowly making  real progress
Carols by Candlight is one of the highlights of the year and once again loads of people came ,the music group were amazing and Steve spoke powerfully on the importance of Faith ,Hope and Love at Christmas and always
A really wonderful evening and probably unique in that Steve actually wore a suit for the occasion!
I knew you would want to see a photo of that!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Approaching the finishing post!

....or should that be the starting post!

The new building is very nearly ready for hand over
One of the things we are now able to do is to show people who have travelled the long journey with us around the building
This morning it was a joy to show some of the more senior people the Central building(hope they dont mind me calling them that!)
It was thrilling to see the positive reaction they all had
The developers have done an amazing job, and we are very excited about all the possibilities the new building opens up
Pictures below
The front door

the lift (not yet in use)

                                                        Toilet and shower
part of kitchen

 upstairs again!

                                                 From Claremont St
Ruth, Peter Roy Mary

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Mary Portas -The High st

The churches I have served have both had a considerable presence on the High St or the town centre
We are passionate about connecting with people who live,work in ,or visit the town centre.
 I was therefore very interested to read Mary Portas view on the future of High St.It makes fascinating reading and good to see some creative thinking going on
It is up to our church and indeed other churches to rise to the challenge and opportunities
Mary Portas on the High st.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Christmas Brunch!

Over the last few years we have worked hard at connecting with our local community in a whole variety of different ways.

One thing that has worked really well has been a series of meals we have put on for the local community. We often do those on Friday evenings and the response has been amazing!at our last evening there were more people from the community than from the church.

Twice a year though we have done these events on a Sunday morning in place of our usual morning service.

So it was today that around 150 people turned up to to our Christmas brunch.We enjoyed coffee, bacon rolls and croissants together, while the band played Christmas music and then we sang carols and listened to a brilliant talk by Elise on The Prodigal Son which she tied in beautifully to the Christmas message with a whole variety of props and with loads of help from some of the children.

Elise made the story live and it was readily understandable to those who had not heard it before

The band!
the merry throng!

Once the service was over we had an unforgettable rendition of The 12 days of Christmas led by Liz in her inimitable style!
Chatting afterwards it was evident that people had really enjoyed the whole morning and all were invited to our other services over the next week or two ,judging by their response I expect a good number to be coming. It was a great way to start our Christmas services and a great way to be part of our community and for our community to be part of us

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Winter Snow Song

Winter Snow Song - Audrey Assad with Chris Tomlin from Eric Rutgrink on Vimeo.

We had a wonderful Christmas Brunch this morning! I will blog more about that in the next day or so but Elise did a great talk and at the end showed this video

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Stuff I have read

Some stuff I have read that is  of interest to me, that I share,in case you have not seen it, and it is of interest to you!
UK  baptist stuff
It is quite hard to discover what is going on at national level beyond looking at the BU website .It will be harder still with the imminent closure of the Baptist Times but obviously like much of the rest of the world there is change in the air,money is short, and debate is happening; and some faithful bloggers throw some light on the situation
A couple of good posts on aspects of the situation here Whose Union ?Which Future? and here Questions for the Baptist Union

Other stuff
My friend and colleague Steve pointed me in the direction of this review of Scott McKnight's book
Junia  is not alone  The review is worth reading- will also read the book

Perhaps I should put together my sermon sitting standing up in future ! Here is why!
Sitting is killing you    (  h/t  The Simple Pastor)

While I don't have Sally's talent ,I do enjoy her blog- particularly her poems like this one

Lastly some very powerful images here

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Latest photos- Central buiding

Kate Tebby from BBC  Radio Shropshire came to see the new building this morning and spoke to Jude and I about our vision and hopes for the new building.
If you are in the area I think it will be played on Sunday morning at some point
If you are in Torquay or Toronto it may be available online or on Listen Again.

Anyway while we were down at the building I took the opportunity to take some photos and here they are!
The entrance

The Stairs


Upstairs kitchen

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Central -openings

I haven't been in the new building for a few days but do hope to have some more photos up before the end of the week
Our thoughts are now turning to the opening events
Although the building should be complete before the end of the month and in very limited use early next year ,the official openings will not be until March
Here are the details of the opening of our Central building

Three key dates to note:

Friday 16th March -

Civic Opening (invitation only)

Saturday 17th March -

Our Church Family Celebration

With Rev Roger Sutton of the Evangelical Alliance

speaking at both the above events.

Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th March -

Community Launch when the emphasis will be on

welcoming as many people from our town into the

building as possible, to share our vision with them.

Please commit these plans to God in prayer that His name will

have all the glory in everything that takes place in and through

On Monday night a group of us met to pray and then to plan these opening events and I think its fair to say that all the usual ingredients will be present music, celebration ,fun,some good preaching from Roger Sutton and food! Can't wait!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Visit of David Coffey

It was a great joy to welcome David Coffey to our service yesterday.

David has held some very important positions nationally and internationally including a stint as President of the Baptist World Alliance .
Above all David is a great human being with huge vision , a passion for the local church and a real gift of preaching and teaching.
David spoke on a passage we have thought a lot about in recent years, and indeed a pasage Martin Charlesworth preached on at a service to celebrate our new church back in the early part of 2009.
What he said was very relevant; and speaking to people afterwards ,the verdict was that it had been both affirming and challenging

Here are his key points

Marks of Christian Maturity Acts 11:19-30
• Mature disciples know God is working in times of crisis
• Mature disciples grow through change
• Mature disciples discern the time for new beginnings
• Mature disciples get involved in mission adventures

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Code

Tim and Jon who run our mens group spoke about this at the service yesterday morning and we showed the video embedded below
It looks a really good project and the hope is that a good number of the guys in the church will get involved
The concept was warmly endorsed by David Coffey who was our visiting preacher yesterday, and so far so good as the books that introduce The Code were all snapped up at the end of the service

Codelife 2011 intro from CVM on Vimeo.

Getting involved.! Radio Shropshire pause for thought- Dec 4th 2011

It was the evening of May 14th and early morning of May 15th 2006

A British Mountain Climber David Sharp perhaps ill equipped, and certainly climbing alone - had run out of Oxygen, and lay helpless and dying on a freezing night on the North east route of Mount Everest

What exactly happened that day is controversial but it is probable that many other climbers passed the dying man as they went up and came down Everest that day

It appears no one stopped and helped David - They were all too busy pursuing their own ambition trying to achieve their own goal
They would not surrender their dream to help a human being in need
They left David to die a cold and lonely Death on the mountain

In Advent we begin to turn our thoughts towards Christmas and the great message of Christmas is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us In the person of Jesus Immortal God became a vulnerable baby .

I am so pleased that Jesus didn’t pass by on the other side he didn’t ignore us in our trouble and in our pain but he came down and as the Bible puts it he humbled himself and became obedient to death –even death on a cross!

Jesus didn’t wash his hands of humanity he got his hands dirty helping us
He call us to love people too He calls us to get involved

On Tuesday night I was at a great evening held at a local church building hearing about all the churches in Shrewsbury are doing to help our community
 It was inspirational to see so many churches living out the call of Jesus to love our neighbour as we love ourselves
There are churches in Shrewsbury, and indeed all over Shropshire, doing amazing things such as running debt advice centres ,food banks ,teaching NVQ skills ,helping the homeless ,the lonely ,the bereaved and the disturbed ,caring for their fellow human beings- getting involved

But of course it is not just Christians doing that thousands and thousands of others are as well

This is something we can all do -we can all get involve-d We can all engage with our fellow human beings

It really is all about relationships!

You may simply come across somebody as you walk or shop or go cycling today - They may need your help
Giving that help might be costly or time consuming ,its conceivable it could take all day

You could walk by on the other side as the people did in the parable  Jesus once told  or like the good Samaritan  you could stop and get involved

But even if you don’t come across someone by chance there are still people out there who need your help why not volunteer to help in a local hospice ,or charity shop with meals on wheels or collecting for cancer research

Its not just mountaineers who can be too focused on achieving their own goals and ambitions we all can

But if we help those in need then not only will we bless them and build community we may also prove

that Jesus words are really true -It is more blessed to give than to receive!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Cancelling Christmas worship

Christmas day falls on a Sunday this year .
As a church we tend to get a fairly good turnout on Christmas day, and I doubt the actual day of the week will make much difference to that.
New Years Day is also a Sunday. I have to say that although we will have a service that day I expect numbers to be dramatically down (though obviously I hope I am wrong!)

It seems though that nearly 10 per cent of churches in the USA won't even have a worship service on Christmas Day! That did surprise me but perhaps it is simply a cultural thing
Richard Hall blogs about it here