Egerton Free Church

 

 

 

 

 

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 devotions from Egerton Free

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 community in the heart of Kent.

By shaunefc, Jul 17 2013 12:58PM

June’s over – and with that the Bible Club for another year! We had more children attend both each day and overall than we have had for many years! And both the teaching and other members of staff at the school where the meetings were held were most enthusiastic! And, as a church, having welcomed Richard, Joy, Anna and Deborah Blunt to Egerton once again – and said “goodbye” to them 2 weeks later – is that the end of our Bible Club week?


In one sense, yes –but in another, no! Yes, in that children came, hopefully, they enjoyed themselves as they joined in the singing, heard the Bible and other stories, took part in very lively quizzes and, on the whole, thoughtfully took part in the prayer times. But also, no, in the sense that we need to continue to pray for each child that came – even just once, and for the parents who not only came to the prize-giving on the Friday afternoon, but also dropped-in towards the end of the daily programme in order to collect the children when the meeting finished. We often say that it would be good to see more people at our Sunday afternoon service – let us pray for those whom we have contacted through the Bible Club that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind the things they heard and said or sung and, in due course, have a real desire to follow up Bible Club week by attending Church – not necessarily ours, although, of course, that is what we would like, but any Church where the gospel message is clearly proclaimed… and then see them all again next year!


This month I include another old favourite chorus, based on Isaiah 40:31, which has proved to be true as many Christians have discovered over the years:


Prayer changes things; prayer changes things;

They who pray shall mount up as on eagle’s wings;

Prayer changes things; prayer changes things;

Day by day then let us pray, for prayer changes things.


(GJS)



By shaunefc, Jun 8 2013 12:48PM

This month being June, as a Church, we welcome Richard, Joy, Anna and Deborah Blunt to Egerton once again as they come to conduct the annual Bible Club, in a marquee on Egerton School’s playing field (Monday 10th to Friday 14th June, 3.30 to 4.30pm).

As the title “Bible Club” infers, the week’s programme is based upon the Bible 100% with Bible stories, songs, quizzes and prayer times. As the children come across from their classes they are offered a drink and biscuit to keep the “wolf from the door” till they get home and they receive their attendance card with appropriate points for coming, bringing their Bible and, perhaps, bringing a friend for the first time. Further points are awarded during the meetings for answering quiz questions, etc, good behaviour during the stories and excellent vocalization during the songs!


Of course, “point make prizes” for the end of the week when prizegiving takes place towards the end of Friday’s meeting.


However, the main aim of the week is to teach the boys and girls about the Lord Jesus, including why He came to earth in order that they might know that He can forgive sin and is willing to enter their lives because He came, ultimately, to bring salvation to each one of them.


Sadly, the Bible is virtually an unknown book in many households these days and this is one reason why the Blunt family come to Egerton and visit many other towns and villages throughout the UK during the course of a year.


It also reminds me that the Bible clearly teaches “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). And what is that way? Way back in the book of law, Deutoronomy, Moses reviews the Ten Commandments before the nation of Israel at the beginning of chapter 5 saying, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgements which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them”. In the next chapter (verses 6 and 7) he continues, “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up”.


A group of three single verse songs which were sung regularly at Sunday School when I was a lad underline these thoughts:


The best book to read is the Bible, (repeat)

if you read it every day it will help you on your way,

Oh, the best book to read is the Bible.


The best Friend to have is Jesus, (repeat)

He will hear me when I call: He will keep me lest I fall,

Oh, the best Friend to have is Jesus.


The best thing to do is to trust Him, (repeat)

and if you on Him depend, He will keep you to the end;

Oh, the best thing to do is to trust Him.

(GJS)



By shaunefc, May 13 2013 04:56PM

This year, two events which took place and greatly affected the formation of the early Christian Church are remembered this month. On Thursday 10th we remember the ascension of our Lord into Heaven as recorded in Luke 24:50-51, and in Acts 1:9-11. And then ten days later on Sunday 19th we recall the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, the details of which can be found in Acts 1:4-8 (where the Holy Spirit is promised) and Acts 2:1-4 (where we read about the fulfilment of that promise).


On the evening of Resurrection day, Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room and having given them His peace and commissioned them, we read in John 20:22 “He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’.”


This idea of breath has always had a major place in Christian theology: way back at the time of creation, we read about God breathing life into mankind: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).


Furthermore, idea of breath has also been linked within Christian thinking concerning the Holy Spirit. Incidentally, the Greek word for both “Spirit” and “breath” is “pneuma”: and to a physicist, “pneumatology” means the science of air and gases, whereas to a theologian it means the doctrine and study of the Holy Spirit!


And it is thought of the Holy Spirit being the breath of God which is breathed on and into His human creation that Edwin Hatch (1835-89) expands in his simple, devotional hymn which first appeared in 1878 in the pamphlet “Doubt and Prayer”.


Despite Edwin’s academic excellence (he was Professor of Classics, Trinity College, Toronto, 1859-67; then Vice-Principal, St Mary’s Hall, Oxford; later becoming University Reader in Ecclesiastical History, 1885-89) it was said that his faith was as simple and unaffected as a child’s!


Edwin Hatch’s hymn can be used as a personal prayer on a regular basis, and not only at Pentecost!


Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew,

that I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.


Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure,

until with Thee I will one will, to do and to endure.


Breathe on me, Breath of God, blend all my soul with Thine,

until this earthly part of me glows with Thy fire divine.


Breathe on me, Breath of God; so shall I never die,

but live with Thee the perfect life of Thine eternity.

(GJS)


By shaunefc, Apr 11 2013 12:39PM

Depending on how you look upon our weather so far this year, I would suggest that, on the whole, the village of Egerton has been let off very lightly as far as the amount of snow is concerned. Writing this during the week before Easter, I cannot but feel very sorry for those people living in Northern Ireland, northern England and Scotland, and especially the inhabitants on the Isle of Arran!


For those who have been faced with such tremendous falls of snow in many places, there have been many problems with which they have had animals buried under the snow with much loss of livestock, and much, much more!


Many places in Kent have, of course, been hit by some very bad weather during the early months of this year but nothing like those places which are mentioned above. But, on the whole, we have been very fortunate in this part of the country.


Snow is just one of the many things in nature that reminds me of our great Creator God and all the marvellous things He has done and made for us! I understand that however millions, billions, even trillions, of snowflakes have fallen throughout our world just this year, no two flakes are alike – such is the creative power of our God!


As unseasonable as the weather is as we come up to British summer time when we put our clocks forward, I am reminded of God’s promise to Noah once the flood waters had gone that: “while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)


When so many people are taken up with many concerns about changes in our weather due to global warming, it is good to be reminded that our God does not change (Malachi 3:6) – and that means the same for all His creation… and that includes, ultimately, the weather and all the seasons in their turn!


In the Free Church where I was taken from an early age in a village in West Sussex, there was a beautifully made board with the text from Hebrews 13:8 displayed on it: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever.”


I trust that each one who reads this thought for the month will be assured of the unchanging nature and characteristics of our God – and that absolutely everything is in His hands, and for those who are His there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ, as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39: “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (GJS)

By shaunefc, Mar 8 2013 01:40PM

March this year is a very “busy” month as far as the Church calendar is concerned: Mothering Sunday is on the 10th; Palm Sunday, 24th; Good Friday, 29th; and, of course, Easter or Resurrection Day on the 31st.


Mothering Sunday gives us an opportunity of thanking God for our mothers, and we should not forget grandmothers and aunts, whether actually related to us or not, for all their kindnesses to each one of us.


Then, of course, there are the celebrations, or days of remembrance, which are connected to our Lord’s earthly life and ministry, which for Christians are – or at least should be – times of great remembrance. This, especially, should hold true for Easter when our Lord rose to life after His crucifixion and death. Easter, or Resurrection Day, for the Christian believer should be a far greater celebration than Christmas – for without Easter there would be no need for Christmas: if there were no need for a Saviour to die on the cross and rise again so that we might have everlasting life, then there would be no need for a Saviour to be born!


Sadly, so many people “celebrate” Christmas without really knowing what they are celebrating because they have no idea of what Good Friday and Easter are all about!


In Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth, and the great 15th chapter which is often headed “The risen Christ, the Centre of our faith” we read about the benefits of our Lord’s resurrection for the Christian believer, in verses 20 to 23:

But now Christ has risen from the dead,

and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For since my man came death,

by man also came the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But each one in his own order:

Christ the first-fruits,

and afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming.


So, as we come, towards the end of the month, to Palm Sunday, let us celebrate with the jubilant crowds as the Lord Jesus rode from near the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem as they shouted:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9)

And as we continue via the events which took place that week culminating in His taking part in the Passover and instituting The Lord’s Supper before going to the Garden of Gethsemane where He was arrested to face a number of sham trials, we come to the time of our Lord’s crucifixion on Good Friday with all that this means for our salvation, and then the joy of His Resurrection, remembering that although the disciples had met in the Upper Room with the door locked and bolted because of their fear of the Jewish authorities, when Jesus entered that room:

The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:20)

(GJS)


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