Inspire’s Shetland Ministry Trip 2023

I wonder what, years from today, our Inspire teens will remember from their journey and work in Shetland?

They’ll probably recall the multiple running jokes during the week, the loud dance parties with the Bluetooth speaker they weren’t allowed to bring, and a number of antics they’d prefer I not share but suffice to say that there was a lot of laughter. New friendships were made while older ones became more tightly bonded, already evidenced this week.

No doubt they’ll recall their exhaustion of it all, too, and the challenges of helping 30 unknown children hear about God’s love for them. They’ll surely never forget the very rough seas and seemingly endless delays due to Storm Babet, alongside fond memories of Bertha the minibus winding along single-track roads.

My prayer is that next time they sing the lyrics of My Lighthouse, “I will trust the promise, You will carry me safe to shore” it’ll be hard not to think of that very experience in the North Sea and God’s daily ongoing faithfulness to them. I pray that they’ll remember those new friendships are because of a common love for Jesus, a network that exists worldwide wherever they are. And I pray that they remember their church family who prayed and donated generously to make it possible, and to cherish that intergenerational treasure we have through Christ. Those many testimonies they heard of how God can surprise and delight when we are listening to his guidance – I pray those sit with them too.

Perhaps we have some unforeseen blessings yet to come, like seeds planted in fertile ground. That’s often how it works with faith formation – all these memories are like a trail of breadcrumbs reminding us how much joy is in following Jesus together.

It is a tremendous privilege to be journeying alongside them.

-kenny

Inspire’s reflection on Psalm 100 – created at Shetland during the ministry trip

Hymns We Love

One aspect of church family and church life is the singing of hymns we love. Very often we evaluate a church, and worship experience, based on the hymns that were chosen. If we like the hymns, we liked the worship – even if we are unable to remember what the sermon was about or what the Scripture passage was.

‘Hymns We Love’ is a resource, published by Good Book Company, based on favourite traditional hymns. We want to invite you to share in enjoying fellowship together (of course eating will be involved – we are SSCB after all! – coffee and cakes too!) and to hear about the hymns we love, the background, the authors, and about how they can strengthen and encourage us in our faith. Naturally, we will sing the hymns as well!

So, if you enjoy singing the hymns you love, and like company, food, coffee, and cakes, please come along on the third Fridays of the next few months, at 12:30, at SSCB for Hymns We Love. Martin, who will lead us, will be delighted to welcome you.

Our first meeting will be at 12:30, on Friday, 22nd September. Don’t forget to put it into your diary!

The hymn is: How Great Thou Art

from GV & MB

Inspire on Tour 2023 – SHETLAND

  • WHAT? – Ministry Trip
  • WHO? – Inspire Youth Fellowship
  • WHEN? – 14-21 October 2023
  • WHERE? – Shetland, Burra Baptist Church
  • WHY? – Helping with Mid-term Holiday Club

In the New Testament we see all sorts of proclamations of the Gospel, both near and far. For example, Paul wrote to and visited Christ’s churches of all kinds and writes often of how others abroad encourage his own faith in Christ.

Your Youth Pastor is always looking for a journey or an experience to support the faith formation already growing in our teenagers. He has an auld friend by the name of Ken Naquin who also migrated to Scotland and is now the Pastor at Burra Baptist Church. In 2012 Ken brought a group of teenagers from central Texas to Dalkeith in order to assist an outreach week which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. The impact was astonishing, impacting both congregations which are still being felt today. Today, BBC runs a stunningly successful outreach over the summer, but how to follow this up? The answer may lie in an experience Paul had in Acts 16 where he was called: “Come Over and Help Us”. Our SSCB teens have a wealth of experience with holiday clubs for children, so we aim to enable our Shetland friends to keep their evangelistic momentum. With Jesus directing our paths, we will have loads of fun making him known as we journey north and return with a celebration of his goodness.

We covet your prayers, both while we prepare to go, and while we are there working alongside new friends. If you’re able, you can sponsor Inspire at our next fundraising event on 23rd September: we will be walking 14 miles along the length of the Water of Leith whilst litter picking. Signups will be available at the September church lunch. Only the Lord could piece together such adventures – he is responsible for this initiative, and we are grateful to be a part of his plans. Jesus didn’t promise a dull and drab life following him, did he? Rather, he promised that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Fundraising Events:

  • Sunday 3rd September – lunchtime:
    • “The Bridge” launch (A Monthly Event for Those Aged 11-17; First Sunday evening of the month @ Palmerston Place Church, EH12 5AA 5pm-6:45pm -in partnership with the Parish Grouping)
  • Sunday 17th September at 8am:
    • Church Family Lunch
  • Saturday 23rd September at 10am
    • “Water of Life” litter-pick walk of the Water of Leith

-kenny

Bread for the Journey

New Sermon Series starting on Sunday 8 January 2023

Have you ever wondered why do so many, actually most, New Year’s Resolutions fail? I believe they fail because they are primarily based on our own endeavours and strength. Most of us start out in the New Year with great plans to turn things around but not enough energy. Most people haven’t got enough strength to turn around in bed on the 1st of January!

We finish the year being pretty exhausted. From early November onwards we get busy preparing for Christmas. We want to do it right, giving our best shot. So, we are writing Christmas cards/emails, or yearly account, do our shopping, cleaning the house, the car, decorating our homes inside and outside, we travel visiting loved ones and friends, get into partying, and Christmas concerts, and on the way we pick up an illness, a virus or two. You get the picture. Then as Christmas is over, we get ready for the New Year celebrations. Getting home, clearing up after Christmas, and get into fresh visits and parties.

When the clock hits midnight turning into the 2nd of January, we feel absolutely exhausted and are supposed to begin a new year with fresh energy and enthusiasm. Most people are not in the mood to have a fresh start.

We need something that will boost our energy, clear our vision, and get us ready for the journey ahead.

Bread has been the basic most important diet for cultures, societies throughout millennia. A meal is not complete without it. That’s why one is/was called the Bread Earner of the Family if he/she is earning a wage to support their families.

Bread is crucial, central. Jesus himself calls himself the Bread of Life (John 8:35). Bread is central in salvation history in Scripture. We do wisely if we consider taking bread with our daily meals, both physically and spiritually. Hence, I invite you to consider fixing your daily diet this year before you embark on big changes in your life, so you will have the strength and energy to see those transformations through and you will be able to finish the journey! The angel said to Elijah when he ran out of steam: “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7)

We often feel the journey is too much for us, we feel so not just at the end or the beginning of a year, but often at any particular time of the year! We need the BREAD God is offering us in Jesus Christ. Find out the richest food God is offering you.

So, join our services in person or via the internet and take and eat all that God is offering you. Come, and taste and see that the LORD is good! Bread, and food tastes so much batter in company, doesn’t it? Take your fill!

[from GV]

Have You Seen the Planets?

Have you seen all the planets God has created?

An amazing astronomical event, and this is not an exaggeration, was visible to us (unless you were obstructed by the thick clouds) on Wednesday. Every planet of the solar system was visible simultaneously! Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars could all be seen in that order in the northern hemisphere with the naked eye, starting from the south-western horizon and moving east. Uranus, located between Mars and Jupiter, and Neptune, which is between Saturn and Jupiter, can be seen with binoculars or a telescope until the end of the year. What an amazing Creation we live in!

All eight planets appeared on Wednesday night and were set to reach conjunction on Thursday night. (the Guardian reported)

When the star of Christ appeared on the night sky on the east many missed it! Only the wise took note of it. Have you seen the planets? Or did you miss them by any chance? Maybe because of the clouds, timing, or you were not interested in them. That’s OK, people are not the same after all.

It was amazing to see the planets all together but imagine how amazing it is to see and know God making His home in our midst! (c.f. John 1:14) How amazing it is to see and be with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the creator of all the stars and planets, and forever! That is also possible to all, whether it is cloudy, or sunny, day or night, because whoever sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life! For the Son will raise them all to eternal life on the Last Day! This is the will of God Almighty! (c.f. John 6:39-40)

God came to make his dwelling in our neighbourhood at Christmas! Stars and planets, heaven and earth praise Him! How amazing is our God who created those amazing planets!? All glory, honour and praise are due to Him for ever!

May His grace and love shine over you and your path in the coming New Year!

[from GV]

CHRISTMAS – GOD BECAME ONE OF US

Luke 2:8-12

The first Christmas pilgrims, the shepherds, did not find the secret scrolls of a new religion in a rock stable, nor a mistic light, or an aged, bearded guru. Rather they found a baby wrapped in cloths among the hay, in the midst of animals. For God chose to come into the world in human flesh that way (John 1:14)!

God loved us so much that he came in human form to be with those whom He created so all can get to know Him truly, fully! He poured His divine being into the fragile earthen vessel of a human being (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7), so that anyone may drink forgiveness, hope, love, and eternal life from it! He became that life giving drink to all, tax collectors, fallen women and men, sick and sorrowing, Roman soldiers, Gentiles, Pharisees, all who thirst for righteousness, who thirst for the love of God! Out of His abundance, from His grace and mercy we drink today too.

God gave His one and only Son – not just as a cute little baby in the manger, but in exchange for everyone, as ransom – God gave His Son for sacrifice, suffering, for the cross, to death in exchange for us all. God’s love was so amazing that He came to suffer and die for you and me. Can anyone explain why God let His one and only Son die for our sins? We can’t even explain the mystery of human love, how could we explain God’s love for us who do not deserve it? We can only receive it and accept it. And when we begin to accept His love in Jesus Christ we can bear our worldly trials, and suffering, even death. We can cope even with life itself! And we can have joy. For this is what it means that all who believe in Jesus will not perish … they will not perish in trials, suffering, sorrow, death, or life – for the light of Christ that shined up at Christmas outshines all the darkness! And the darkness cannot overcome Him! Ever!

May you experience and be filled with the light and love of Jesus Christ this Christmas and always!

With every blessing for Christmas and the New Year,

George, your minister

“Streams in the Desert” – Spirit Soaking

Sometimes all we want to do is sit with Father God and let Him tell us how much He loves us…
Pauline will be leading another Spirit Soaking event on Saturday 11th June, from 10-12, in the sanctuary.

SPIRIT SOAKING ~ 10:00-12:00, Saturday 11 June 2022, SSCB

Again, this will be a time where we meet together to let Holy Spirit encourage and refresh us. The session will begin with a short, guided reflection to help us focus on God. We’ll then spend time both in small groups and alone, listening to what Holy Spirit may be saying to us and praying for each other. Numbers will be small so that the morning is as relaxed as possible, and there will be a break for beverages and cake.
As always, if you’re thinking you have to be “super-spiritual” to take part, this is not the case! You can sign up via the SSCB website or speak to Pauline or to Jacqueline Young.
Looking forward to welcoming you on 11th June!

[from Pauline Dalrymple]

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Summer Day of Prayer for Revival

Days of Prayer have been refreshing blessings in our church family for many years, now. We give thanks to God that after the pandemic now we can be back in person in the church for a Day of Prayer. Our Summer Day of Prayer is from 10:00 to 22:00 on Saturday 28 May in the New Prayer Room!

Summer Day of Prayer 10:00 – 22:00, Saturday 28 May 2022

Our New Prayer Room is compact and cosy, welcoming and ready for prayer warriors to fill it and decorate if with their prayers! It is what was known as the Vestry! Now it is the home base and powerhouse of Prayer at SSCB!

We are inviting you to make good use of this space and opportunity to come into the presence of God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ with your prayers, devotion, and love.

Specifically, we invite you to pray for revival! Make this day, 28 May a day of prayer and fasting for revival. Pray and fast as the Lord and His Spirit leads you. Make it the beginning of your committed prayers and fasting for Revival!

Why should you pray for revival?

Revival is an in-breaking of God’s kingdom into our broken and suffering world with the grace, mercy and love of God and reorders our lives, reorders our church, and transforms the world so it will be never the same again! Revival humbles many and saves many! That’s why you should pray for revival! Here are some suggestions how to pray and what to pray for. These are only a few, add your owns as the Spirit leads you.

  • Pray for revival, pray for God’s power to be manifest around us and in us, making us faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8)! We, humans have got power and ability to do great things, achieve amazing feats, but our power and abilities have been corrupted by sinfulness and we can never achieve and do what God can do in the world! Pray for Holy Spirit to be poured out in greater measure into your life, into our church family!
  • Pray for revival, pray for a great awakening (Acts 3:19-20). We have become so sleepy towards God, not just towards sermons! Pray to be awakened, refreshed to the full majesty and glory of God, as Isaiah did (Isaiah 6:1-8)!
  • Pray for revival, pray for the salvation of people around you, in your home, workplace, in our schools, hospitals, police stations, shops, neighbourhood, and not forgetting the church! A revived church is noticed by others, and they will ask the questions: What does this mean? What shall we do? (Acts 2:12; 2:37), which brings them to faith in Jesus! Pray that Jesus will be lifted up in our lives as a church family, He will be honoured, and people will be drawn to him!
  • Pray for revival with expectancy! Trust and expect God hearing you and acting in immeasurable might in response to your prayer (Ephesians 3:20)! Don’t pray for God to help us in our work but pray that He will pour out his Holy Spirit immeasurably greater than we can imagine, to do His work in us!
  • Plead with the Lord in your prayers, persist, don’t give up but pray for revival consistently (Luke 11:5-13). Ask God to do once more what you read about in Scripture! Pray and ask Him to be faithful to His great Name! Ask the Lord: Will you do this again? Glorify your name among us, in our city once more! Do it for the sake of Christ!
  • Wait for the Lord! Don’t just ask Him but wait and listen. Wait for His timing, and action, and when He moves, you must move also! Listen, obey, and act as He moves you by His Spirit (Acts 2:1-12)!
  • Pray for revival because God is still God! He is our God, and he alone is our hope! The world around us seems to fall apart, sin is powerful, evil seems to be winning. But our hope and trust are in God Almighty! He is still God! And nothing can move Him! Jesus is alive and He is on the throne in heaven and has authority over heaven and earth, and He will not be moved from there! He is your hope, our hope! Pray with hope for revival!
  • Pray for revival with humble, repentant heart! Ask God, what is hindering Him and His purposes in your own life? What hinders Him moving in power in our church family? What hinders Him to move in might and grace in the church in Scotland? What hinders Him to move in saving grace in our land and nation? Ask Him what do we need to change, cleanse, purify in our lives, in our church family life, in your own life?  And when He answers, respond to Him in repentance and let Him move the hindrances, obstacles away! ‘Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’ (Acts 3:19-20).

So, make time and come and pray and fast! Book a time period on the sign-up sheet below and: Pray with passion! Pray with humility! Pray with urgency! Pray with expectancy! Pray without ceasing! Come and pray for Revival! For the only way to blot out evil, sin, and darkness in your own heart, in the church, and the world is letting the glory of God shining forth in power! Come Lord Jesus!

[from GV, inspired by and based on David McLemore: Why Your Church Should Pray for Revival]

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What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is.

I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience to keep going back to the people of Judah to tell them that they had turned their back on God – again – and bad things were going to happen – again – unless they turned back to Him – again!

And it brought me to thinking about FAITH.  It can only have been the strongest, the most resilient, the most trusting faith that carried Jeremiah through.

But what is faith?

As many of you know, I wasn’t a Christian for many years of my life.  In fact, I still have more years behind me as a non-Christian than years as a Christian.  But going on an Alpha Course changed everything for me.  And one of the things that is brilliant about Alpha is that they tell amazing stories to make complex ideas more simple.  I wonder where they got that idea from?

One of the sessions was called ‘How can I have faith’ – and I am going to shamelessly plagiarise a story here that they use to illustrate faith.

The story is about a man called Charles Blondin.

He was a famous American tightrope walker and acrobat in the nineteenth century.  He drew large crowds to watch him, particularly when he started crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope.  His act began with a relatively simple crossing using a balancing pole – but his crossings became more and more complex and theatrical – and drew ever bigger crowds.

There is the story of an occasion when our royal family were in the US and went to watch him perform. He started with his simple crossing with the balancing pole.  Then he crossed the tightrope on stilts, then blindfolded; next he stopped halfway to cook and eat an omelette. He then wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other as the crowd cheered. He put a sack of potatoes into the wheelbarrow and wheeled that across. The crowd cheered louder.

Then he approached the royal party and asked the Duke of Newcastle, ‘Do you believe that I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?’

‘Yes, I do,’ said the Duke. ‘Hop in!’ replied Blondin. The crowd fell silent.  The Duke of Newcastle would not accept his challenge.

It was then that Blondin posed the question of the crowd – “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?”

No one was willing to volunteer.

Eventually, an old woman stepped out of the crowd and climbed into the wheelbarrow. Blondin wheeled her all the way across and all the way back. The old woman was Blondin’s mum, the only person willing to put her life in his hands.

The story of Charles Blondin paints a real-life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd had watched his daring feats. They said they believed, but their actions proved they still thought it was all too risky.

Faith is trusting in God.

When I first heard this, it took my breath away – could I get in the wheelbarrow?  What were the risks of getting in?  And more importantly, what were the risks of not getting in?

Then and now, I chose the wheelbarrow and have literally never regretted that decision in the years since, though it changed my life in all sorts of ways I would not have imagined then.

What have you chosen?  And what do you choose today?

[from Alison Franks]

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Written Word: 7. Samuel and Kings

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. (2 Samuel 11:14)

Through one piece of writing, David ensured the death of one of his most trusted officers. David (already married to seven women, from Michal to Eglah) wanted Bathsheba (already married to Uriah). He arranged Uriah’s death and married her. It may be appropriate to remember Deuteronomy 17:17’s command to kings from a couple of articles ago: “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” Be careful of the power of writing. It can seal someone’s fate, for worse and for better.

In both 1 Kings and 2 Kings, there are various stories of, appropriately enough, kings. The focus is on those specific stories, but we are not to lose sight of the fact that the kings did many other things besides – these acts did not define them entirely. We are told in each instance that the rest of the acts of [insert name of king] are written in [insert name of book]. The invitation is there – go and research this person and his deeds; see what is recorded and note the evidence. In the same way, we can cross-refer when tracing evidence. We have already seen how Erastus is named in Acts as being an Aedile in Corinth, and how cross-referencing evidence was found engraved on paving slabs unearthed in Corinth in 1929. 

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” (1 Kings 21:8-10)

Ahab wants Naboth’s vineyard but Naboth refuses to exchange or sell. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, says she will get the vineyard for him. She writes letters in Ahab’s name that culminates in Naboth’s death with Ahab grabbing the vineyard. There is little that Naboth could have done about this: the letters were in the king’s name and sealed with his seal – how would Naboth know that they had been written without Ahab’s knowledge. But Ahab was quick enough to take advantage and claim the vineyard. The Lord sent Elijah to call him out. Despite behaving in the ‘vilest manner’ Ahab knew when he had been found out and humbled himself in remorse, as a result of which the hand of punishment was stayed. There is a lesson there that the spoken word of God trumps even the written command of a king.

The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” (2 Kings 23:21)

Josiah was unlike Ahab. As he honoured God, so he found himself led to honour God further. And this led to Josiah being blessed. After reading the Lord’s command and then celebrating the Passover (which had not happened for many years) he was emboldened enough to rid his kingdom of mediums, spiritists, idols, gods and other ‘detestable things’ until eventually we are told “neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did” and (crucially) that he did so “with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength” (v25). Remember with all your ‘muchness’? What a compliment to be remembered for that! Write that on your heart.

[from Timothy Pitt]

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