Those of you who visit this site on a regular basis will notice a difference during the coming weeks as our usual webmaster is taking a long vacation. We will do our best to provide the same quality reporting in his absence and wish him and his family every blessing on their holiday in New Zealand.
This past week has been a busy one for the Corps with lots of pre-Christmas activities which we will report on in due course.
This Sunday’s meeting were led by Majors Beverley and Drew McCombe and based on the continuing theme of ‘Angel Voices’.
The morning meeting led by Drew was on the theme ‘Do not be afraid’. Songs used were Song 82 and Song 86 v 3&4 from the Salvation Army Song Book and Song nos. 877, 1404, 935,and 362 from Songs of Fellowship. The Singing Company and Songsters ministered in song with their contributions of ‘We Three Kings’, namely Mitchell, Joseph and Gareth, and ‘Come into our World’ respectively. The scripture reading was Matthew 1:18 -25.
Drew’s message concentrated on Joseph’s story. His part was a passive but supporting, co-operative role which was possibly quite hard for him. He had to have faith in what Mary told him. Likewise to-day, we have to accept and co-operate with what has been done in the past and accept the Christchild into our hearts. This sounds simple as it is not our ability but our availability which makes all the difference. Joseph must have been very fearful of what other people would think or do when Mary gave him her news but the angel came to him in a dream and gave him reassurance in the fact that the child’s future was certain because he was coming to save the world, the unloved.
Joseph’s fear was understandable and is the reason why many people refuse to co-operate with what God wants them to do – fear of what people might say – and pride. Let go of your pride. Hear the angel’s song as it will lead to fulness of life.
‘Name him Jesus’ – this was Joseph’s responsibility. Names of children in those days reflected their character and what they would do. Jesus is a derivative of Joshua which means ‘Saviour’. In this age there are many ‘saviours’ in the world. We need to stand up and name Jesus. Too many name him and lose the nature of his character. When He is born within us it’s ‘His spirit helping me, Like Him I’ll be’ in the words from the pen of General John Gowans. Our Corps has been blessed with many trophies of grace where people have found salvation and become new creations ready to work in the community. This is our reason for reaching out of the doors of our Citadel to the people who need the Lord.
This evening’s service was led by Major Beverley based on the theme ‘Glory to God in the Highest’ looking at the encounter with the shepherds and their response. Songs used were no 75, 141, 83, 771 and 82 from the Salvation Army Song Book and Nos. 627 and 443 from Songs of Fellowship. Music ministry from the Band was an arrangement by Chris Blyth of ‘Infant Holy’ and the Songsters sang ‘Child in the Manger’. Scripture readings were Luke 2:8-14 and Luke 2:15 – 24.
There were responses to Major Beverley’s request for people to say what name they gave to Jesus – Redeemer, Saviour, Friend and four people witnessed to the work that God is doing in their lives.
Major Beverley said in her message that ‘Seeing is believing, or is it?’ and illustrated this with some pictures. She said ‘You can’t always trust what you see’. The shepherds were changed by what they saw. It is a consolation to us that the angels came to ordinary people; not Caesar, not Quirinius, not the High Priest, but to the shepherds who, in those days, were not respected. They were dishonest and unreliable – never able to give evidence in Court because of this. God chose to reveal to them that Jesus was the Saviour of the world.
The fact that the angels said ‘Do not be afraid’ indicates that the shepherds must have been afraid. They were used to danger and wild animals but the angels were something very different. They excitedly gave their message and then were gone. The shepherds were left wondering if they had dreamt it all. Was there a baby? They didn’t dismiss the experience but went to see for themselves if it was true. They found the baby. This was what they were looking for. They went back to their fields with a new dimension in their lives and told the others about it because they had seen it for themselves.
We are encouraged to find out about Jesus for ourselves through the Bible, spread the word and point people to Christ.
Seeing was believing. This is the whole essence of Christianity: to see Jesus, to know Jesus and to follow Jesus. ”Have you seen Him, met Him and do you know Him?”
Finally, we heard to-day that one of our Singing Company members, Daisie Tranah, has obtained a Grade 2 distinction in her flute examination. Well done, Daisie.