I’m just home from a ‘Spiritual Friendship in the Marketplace’ seminar held at Wesley Methodist Church today. The speaker, Rev. Dr. Soo-Inn Tan, is a pastor, preacher and author. His message was powerful. He said churches and Christians often like to measure their success in numbers or size or will comment that ‘that church on the corner has just been refurbished again—what are they doing right?’. But what is constantly on the lips of Jesus in the gospels is the pressing need to share the Good News of the coming Kingdom with all people. Dr. Tan spoke of how when we bring kingdom values into the workplace we are doing God’s work. Indeed, we see the legitimacy of our daily work in how we bring God’s work in. The church exists to equip us for that.
Our question as Christians—and indeed what marks us a Christians—is how do we take God's principles and apply them in our daily lives in the marketplace? That is to say in our places of work, where we volunteer, where we live. What does a Christian teacher look like? What does a Christian hairdresser look like? What does a Christian banker look like? We do not study God’s work in an exam, but in how Christian’s live out their lives: What does a Christian HR policy look like? How does a Christian respond to corruption or racism in the workplace?
It is in our answering of these questions that we work out what being a Christian in this world of ours means. One example he shared was of a street hawker. Let’s say the hawker has six children to feed. He dutifully fulfils all his legal requirements regarding health and hygiene and diligently submits tax returns on time. Yet a person in authority still asks for more, still says ‘give me X amount of money toward my retirement fund before I grant you a license’. Is paying bribes still wrong? Yes. So how does the hawker deal with the reality that he has to pay if he wants to keep his stall open? How does a Christian interpret Bible principles in the world?
Dr. Tan spoke of how following God in this fallen world will mean there are times when we need encouragement. As it says in Hebrews 10:24-5, ‘Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works’. The new initiative of Marketplace Support Gatherings at Wesley are designed to provide us with role models, encouragement, contextual learning and accountability on that journey. The hope is that Christians working in different areas can meet together and communicate online to talk through, to pray, to get advice on how they should respond to challenges in the workplace.
Instead of asking ‘is God on our side?’, let us as Christians be on God’s side as we live out our lives!
Saturday 7th May, 2016
This Summer brings a time of hard work and exams for some and for others a chance for an easier pace of life. Is it a time of preparation for change or a time to refresh old habits? May we always remember that at whatever stage of life we are; God is with us. May we be excited about the future and encourage others.
Recently the Toddler Group raised £71 in a Good as New Sale, which will go to support the Baby Grow Appeal in Chester Hospital and Frodsham Food Bank. Not only did we raise money but many went home pleased with the items they had brought and the people who sold gained some extra cash too.
In July the Toddler Group will be holding the Summer Beach party where we will say Farewell to the oldest children, who will be starting school in September. For some families this is an end to many years of coming to Toddlers and we send them on their way with God’s Blessings and a hope that our paths cross again in the future.
Pippa and I are taking the Moving On books into some of the Frodsham Schools this term. This little booklet gives the Year 6 children an opportunity with us to discuss their hopes and fears about their move to High school. During the session it’s a real privilege to remind the children that God is their faithful friend who understands them and is only a prayer away.
I was presented with this verse recently and asked what is God saying to you through this verse. So, in faith, I am presenting this verse to you and asking you what is God saying to you in these words?
“God, your God, is leading the way: he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eye what he did for you in Egypt: you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here.” (Deuteronomy 1 :31)
I am always amazed at the different responses of people; of the ways in which God touches us and works through us. The future is exciting; may we allow God to renew, inspire and excite us.
Are you up for a challenge this summer?
Do you want to do a sponsored walk to raise money for our Church Charity? Are you around on Saturday 20th or Sunday 21st August? I am thinking of walking an 11-mile trail, starting from the Pontcysyllite Aqueduct at Trevor. Please get in touch if you are interested.
Peter – Acts
Since Easter we have been focussing on Jesus’ disciple Peter. He is a fascinating mix of impetuous reaction and passion, as well as doubt and denial.
We looked at how he, and Jesus, reacted to his denying Jesus, and reflected on how we can get back on track when we make a mess of things. Through Lent we had a tree with brown leaves that we gradually exchanged for green leaves if we had kept up good habits, and we referred back to this to give ideas of how to refresh us spiritually.
A vital transformation Peter experienced resulted from a vision. He realised that God’s love was for everyone – not just the Jews. This must have caused an enormous reaction at the time and it made us think about who in our world and society we marginalise and exclude.
The final story about Peter that we explored was his healing of the lame man. Despite being arrested and threatened by the authorities, he could not do anything except for tell people who Jesus is. What a difference from the scared man who denied him only a little while earlier.
Summer Social Weekend – 22nd-24th July
We have subtly changed the name of this weekend! The emphasis is no longer on ‘camping’, although that will certainly take place on the Friday and Saturday nights for those who wish to (space permitting). But we want everyone to feel included and are planning the Saturday as our main activity day, concluding with a short worship time and meal.
Brassey Green is near Beeston so it is ideally situated for anyone who wants to join us for the day. More details will follow as we get into the planning.
My elder brother's first car was a Ford Popular and, way back in the early 1950's, he took me on a tour of Scotland in it. We were aiming for Cape Wrath. It was Sunday; we were north of Inverness, and as we passed through Invergordon we saw people wending their way to church, so I decided to join them. By the time I reached the church door, the service had already begun, and as I walked down the aisle the congregation were singing Psalm 121 - ‘I to the hills will lift mine eyes from whence doth come mine aid ...’
They sang in that deep, measured, melodious way that is so characteristic of Scottish hymn singing, and I felt to be transported to the very gates of heaven and caught a glimpse of the glory beyond, and I knew that God IS! And now, if ever I am in doubt, in confusion, tempted or tried, I think back to Invergordon, and my faith is restored to its firm foundation. We are spiritual beings; our souls and spirits need to be fed as much as our bodies, and that is why music, literature and art are so important to bring fullness into our lives.
In my home church in the 1930s/40s, Arthur Beaver - a great outdoors man - would lead a church ramble into the Yorkshire dales every Bank Holiday Monday. As we trudged to catch the bus home, from Otley or Ilkley or Skipton, it would be raining. We would be drenched and feeling sorry for ourselves - then someone would strike up, 'Old Macdonald had - a farm, ee aye ee aye oh', and very soon we would all be singing, spirits lifted, strength renewed - and who cares about wet feet anyway!
This is true also on a higher plain. Listen to the Huddersfield Choral Society sing Handel's Halleleiua Chorus, and you find yourself in another world, your inner being tingles, you are touching eternity, and you know that God IS.
I am no poet, and many poems I just do not understand, but often the rhythm, balance and cadences of rhyming poetry do speak to me and touch my inner self. "I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, host of golden daffodils." These words help me to see the glory of the Creator in the sparkling yellow flowers. I am lifted up, my soul is warmed, I feel the surge of new life in my old bones, and I know God IS.
And when I read the poetic rhythm of St Paul's words in wonderment of Christ (Col 1:15f), "Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God ... through him God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself", I become transfixed in wonder and awe, as I do when I read the words of Isaac Watts (Singing the Faith 287), "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."
It draws me to my knees, warms my soul, renews my spirit, and I know Jesus IS the fullness of life, and God IS.
Lift up a fine bone china cup and saucer; the very feel of it speaks of craftsmanship, beauty and perfection. When your lips touch the cup to take a sip of tea, your spirit is lifted, your soul warmed, and the tea tastes far better than from that old earthenware mug hanging on a hook in the kitchen.
The Bible likens us to potter's clay (Jer 18), and the whole purpose of God's creation and Christ's calling is that we should be moulded into 'Something Beautiful for God' (as Malcolm Muggeridge once described Mother Teresa). The feel of the bone china cup gives us a vision of what we ought to be and can be if we let Jesus have his way in our lives.
St John (1 John 3:2) assures us that if we do let Jesus have a hand in our lives, then ultimately 'We Shall Be as He is', glowing with the radiance of His divine spirit. But we cannot touch Jesus as we touch the china cup, so we must bear in mind the words Jesus spoke to Doubting Thomas, "Blessed are they who cannot see me yet believe." (John 20:20)
The most beautiful and fulfilling thing in all the world is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, because, through it, the transforming and fulfilling love of God flows out to embrace all humanity - and you and me - because God IS, and with Him and in Him we are fulfilled in body, mind and spirit.
The highest calling in life is to be 'Something beautiful for God', and this was the deep yearning of Katie Barclay Wilkinson when she wrote, "May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling all I do or say". (Singing the Faith 504)
Rev'd. Bernard Dodd
I am pleased to be able to share the news that (subject to final confirmation at the Methodist Conference in July) the Rev'd. Andrew Emison will take up an appointment in the Chester and Delamere Forest Circuit, beginning in September, with particular responsibility for Frodsham, Oakmere, and Bunbury and Tiverton. Andrew’s wife, Naomi, is a primary school teacher. Along with their two children, Matthew and Sophie, they will be moving into the Fairways manse in August. Andrew is currently serving on the Isle of Man. No doubt in due course Andrew will introduce himself and the family. In times when there continue to be shortages of Methodist presbyters (this year there will be around 40 appointments not filled, including our Helsby and Kingsley appointment) we are thrilled that a minister so highly regarded as Andrew has been appointed to the circuit.
Please pray for the Emison family as they prepare to join us; and for all those who are working hard behind the scenes to help our fellowship and mission in Frodsham to grow.
A circuit welcome service for Andrew will be held at Frodsham Methodist Church on the evening of Tuesday 30th August at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome to come, and to enjoy refreshments afterwards.
Yours in Christ,
Frodsham Methodist Church were delighted yesterday, Sunday 12th June 2016, to host visitors at all three worship services. At 0930live! we were joined by visitors from Manor House Primary School and guests from Ghana. At 10.45 we welcomed our Superintendent Minister, Rev'd. Neil Stacey, who preached and celebrated Holy Communion.
And at 6pm there was a Circuit Service attended by Methodists from all over Chester and this part of Cheshire where we celebrated the work of MHA (housing and care charity for older people) and launched the Circuit Project for 2016 to 2018. The project, which will run from June 2016 to January 2017, aims to raise funds and awareness for Cheshire Search and Rescue. We thank God for these expressions of his love in connections with community, country and internationally.
Blog posts written by the Minister and Members of Frodsham Methodist Church.