The Sunday meetings this week were led by Majors Alec and Andrea Still, the morning meeting focussing on ‘Life – is it really that hard?’ conducted by Alec.
In support of this theme were songs SA 402, SoF 188, SoF 329, SoF 189 (with an extra verse ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the King of Kings), SA 438, SA 699. If you follow our reports you’ll notice that the majority of meetings finish with an upbeat song to send us out and today was no exception. The scripture used was Colossians 3: 5-17. Music ministry was enjoyed from the Singing Company and Songsters with ‘Give thanks’ and ‘My simple prayer’.
Major Alec said that at the beginning of the meeting the Holy Spirit was invited to come and work in us. Yet we still have to sing, as in the Songster song, ‘When I’m afraid and can’t think what to do’. We all reach those moments and it is then that ‘I’ll read your word and place my trust in you’. I looked at the Salvation Army Soldier’s Handbook and checked out what it said about lifestyle. I found William Booth’s questionnaire which is great for checking out if we are living lives of holiness. The Salvation Army is a great holiness movement. Colossians helps us by giving guidance in how to live. It tells us how not to live and gives a list of bad things we must rid ourselves of. In doing this we need to make a conscious decision to replace them but not to be anxious and fearful about it. We should take on the attitude of God and then we will rid ourselves of the anger and selfishness that can rule our lives. We will then live lives of peace and thankfulness. This is easy to say but not so easy to do. V 16 says ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you’. We must constantly go back to the word. The Psalmist says ‘Let the word of God dwell in you richly’. He led us through an exercise using Cor.13: 4-8 suggesting that we replace ‘Love’ with ‘God’ and then replace it with our own name. We are called to be imitators of God and take on the attributes of God. Doing this highlights that we are called to live the life of holiness but we are not there yet. We invite the Holy Spirit to work in us a new work of grace. Reflect on all that God is and all that we are – try and bring the two closer together.
The evening meeting conducted by Major Andrea was based on Sharing the Psalms when she invited us to experience the Psalms rather than read them. She said ‘They bring to us the whole wealth of human experiences and we look to experience God through the Psalms. ‘ The songs chosen were SA184, You are my rock, SA 653, SoF27 and SA298. The Songsters sang ‘You are the light’ and the Band‘s ministry was ‘Consecration’. Testimonies were offered and there was a powerpoint presentation of pictures and quotes from Psalms under the heading ‘Confidence and Hope in God’. Major Andrea read verses from Psalm 18 and Psalm 42 from a modern interpretation in ‘Psalms Now’.
She said ‘Many Psalms reflect the confidence we have but many reflect the experiences that we go through. There was no specific sermon but hoped that we had experienced the Psalms through the readings and songs. Her concluding thoughts were intrinsically linked to each other. In Spain one year they had driven up mountain passes to see a waterfall but because it was in the heat of summer it was only a trickle. The vegetation nearby had taken up the moisture but this meant that there was parched, desert land at the bottom of the mountain. Some Psalms celebrate God whilst others say if God is not dead where is He. After a mountaintop experience we often have a barren time, or physical difficulty, or Satan attacking us because of our close relationship with God. In the Psalms there is hope. These were songs that were passed down from generation to generation to teach people about the love and protection of people; they blest people through the ages. Throughout the Psalms there is a longing for God. Some Psalms ask the question ‘Why are you downcast O my soul?’. They give hope with the washing over us of the waves. The Rock gives us the firm place on which to stand whereas the shifting sand in contrast says that things are changing all the time. The mountain on which we stand is close to the desert. God is our rock and our Saviour. He longs to refresh us with streams of his love. We can express our love and devotion and trust in God through the Psalms.
This forthcoming week means the end of the Parenting Course sessions but the group (made up of mainly women from the toddlers groups, corps and some friends) have gelled so well as a group, and have found those sessions so supportive that they want to continue to meet. It’s been decided to keep the time of the meeting available and they will continue to meet using some of the ‘Wellspring’ Christian resources. A rota of helpers for the creche facilities is being drawn up and parents with children at school age are invited to come along. Bible studies continue on Mondays at 1.30 and Wednesdays at 8pm. The Alpha course is challenging those who are attending and prayer support is ongoing.
I am pleased to say that the webmaster is back from his holiday this week and will be taking up the reins once again. I would like to express my appreciation for all that he does to keep this website interesting and challenging in order to assist in our mission of ‘Bringing Christ to People and People to Christ’.
God bless you and thank you for visiting our website. Don’t forget, we are always pleased to hear from you or if you are in the vicinity, come and visit us. Here’s where we are:
Click to enlarge