Christmas at Derriford Church
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“It is doubtless stating the obvious to say that living the Christian life and walking the path of discipleship is not easy. We can become distracted, preoccupied, disheartened, diverted by all sorts of things. This can affect all of us, but some folk have more to contend with than others. But several people have spoken very clearly on this recently, reminding us that what we can’t do in our own strength we can do by fixing our eyes on Jesus and drawing on His endless resources. We’ve heard about letting our lives be powered and driven by faith; being open to transformation; and accepting God’s boundless grace.
We know God uses the weak to confound the strong (1Cor. 1:27) and the unlikely to turn the world upside down. Jesus chooses each of us and appoints us to go and bear fruit (John 15:16) but He doesn’t call us to do it alone. Paul tells us that we are all parts of the one Body, with Christ as our Head, working together in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our verse for this year at church says, ” Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love.” (Eph.5:1) That is the way to stay on the path of Christian discipleship.
Over this period of vacancy at Derriford, I believe we have worked together and looked to God for strength and guidance, and have indeed grown. As Geoff and Linda spend time with us this weekend, may they feel welcomed into our family and encouraged by what God is doing in and through us, in the church and out in the community.”
– Carrie Bowman
Last Sunday, we were challenged to be bold and speak up to others about our faith; we should stop being pirates in hiding the treasure of the gospel from others, rather take every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. I wonder how many people we have spoken to this week about Jesus – how have we responded to Jesus’ commission for his followers to ‘ Go to all people everywhere and make them my disciples’. We can sometimes be reluctant to share our faith with others, keep it hidden and quiet – but Jesus wants us to be his disciples and teach others about Him; He has promised to be with us as we do this – for always.
– Karen Grimshaw
Lots of people today insist on hard evidence for God’s existence, preferably with large, flashing neon signs: the dead rising; water into wine; healing the sick, while attributing these same signs to a deluded mind or pure luck. But it’s not always the big things in life that serve as evidence.
Being someone who tries to include the Lord in my daily activities – a prayer as I walk to work; a periodic, brief ‘hello’ at my desk; giving thanks for good food, that kind of thing – I was reminded that the Lord does listen when you speak to him. Not just the major, life-changing miracles, He listens to the small things too.
I was busy at work some days back and I thought to myself: “This task is going to be evil, I hate doing it, I can’t do it very well and it never comes out right.”
So why not ‘phone a friend?
“Lord, I’m going to do this job for you. I’ll do this bit just for you.”
Astonishingly (in my eyes at least), the task was done better than expected. And it felt great, the kind of feeling you only get when you’ve done something nice for someone else. So I challenge you to give it a go, let God be beside you through your day. Baking a special cake? Do it for Him.
Mowing the lawn? Make Him proud. Writing the annual report? Make it thorough enough for Him.
God provides evidence of His love in the form of minor miracles just for you, every day. So give it a go this week; Invite God into your life and do something for Him instead of the other way round.
Saul was an arch-persecutor of the early Christian Church; but then he met God on the Damascus road. His life was transformed and his name changed to Paul.
Paul probably didn’t have a clue what was in store for him, even as Ananias was being sent to pray with him, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive back his sight, the Lord revealed something of the cost of Paul’s new calling when HE said: “I will show him how much he must suffer for MY name”.
Paul was going to suffer!
God’s calling on our lives will, unfortunately, involve some suffering. In fact, this New Year might bring difficulties and pressures to some of us that we would rather not experience. In which case, therefore, we will need to exercise much faith because there is simply no other way that we can live the life that God has called us into without HIS supernatural power and resources.
– Ray Gerry
New Year’s resolutions tend to be all about us convincing ourselves that “We can do it.” Christianity, on the other hand, involves the mind-set which believes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). It is Christ in us that matters. That is where we receive the power, the peace, and the sustained spiritual momentum which is so critical for any worthwhile resolution to be accomplished. As we enter a new year, we should ask God to open our eyes to see what He is doing. Then ask Him, “Please come and do Your work through us. Show us how to live like Jesus and live a life of love for one another”. Resolutions without Jesus at the centre are misguided because they are being done for the wrong person.
When you are doing something for ‘self’ rather than for Jesus, you find that ‘self’ never seems to get enough. ‘Self’ always wants more of your time, and your focus, and your efforts. In the end, you will find ‘self’ to be an unrelenting taskmaster. Jesus, on the other hand, will gently guide you and lead you if you are willing to be led by Him.
– Phil Brewer
As it’s the last Sunday before Christmas, this week we have our young people showing us the story of the nativity, and in the evening we come together to sing carols and hear the full story from Scripture. We know the details of the story, we may have heard it many times over the years that we have been coming to church. Then on Thursday we will celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world in our various ways. What difference will his coming make to you this year, does it make a difference to you, that, for love of you, he put aside his glory, and his divinity, and made himself small, tiny even, to fit into a human body? Is there a fresh way to view the events of that first Christmas, that will make this one different from all the others, so that, when it is over, you will want to know him in a new way, serve him in a fresh expression of your love for him? I pray that you will have a blessed Christmas, and see Jesus as your Messiah, in ways that you have not experienced before.
– Lynne James
Once more the month of December is upon us, with the pressures of the world around us all being aimed at trivializing Christmas into a
welcome ‘nice little change’; ‘let’s have a party’ holiday, away from the harsh realities of life.
A holiday during which the ‘world’ will encourage us to get caught up in self centered pleasure, leaving us nice and warm but completely undisturbed.
In other words, Christmas according to the world!
It is against such pressure – at this time of the year – that we need to hold firm to the staggering revelation that God the Son has been born among us in the helplessness of human infancy; and that God Himself has carried this out, as a stupendous rescue operation, in reply to the hard and cruel reality of what man has done to himself and to the world.
Then, and only then, will we stop indulging in a worldly festival that has, for so long, been getting out of hand, and see the need to bring ourselves
to our knees, in new amazement and new adoration, in the sure knowledge that Jesus has not come to make us feel good, but that He has come to change our lives.
– Ray Gerry