Leader Letters

Minister Update

The Elders are delighted to report that they have met with a potential Minister for Derriford URC, who is coming to preach with a view on the weekend of 27/28th April. Further details of the opportunities to meet the candidate will be issued soon. Please continue to hold this important weekend in your prayers, asking that God’s blessing will be upon all the proceedings. Rob Weston will continue as the Interim Minister until any new Minister arrives.

Editorial

“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.”
Blessings,

– Carrie Bowman

Editorial

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

Editorial

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

Editorial

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

Editorial

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

Editorial

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

Editorial

In 2 Corinthians Chapter 1:3 Paul says ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’
‘The God of all comfort’: Note that it is not some comfort, but of all comfort. This does not mean our troubles are removed from us but that God, if we allow Him to, will come alongside us and comfort us with His presence. Psalm 34:18 tells us ‘the Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ We can draw encouragement from this in that no matter how low or afflicted we feel God cares, understands and is ready to provide all comfort.
And when God’s comfort has helped us to recover from our troubles or accept irreversible situations, it is then that we can help others from our own experience to find the presence of our all-comforting God. And surely this is a part of what God’s church should be about?
Not only should we be lifting up troubled folk in prayer but we should be pro-active in bringing the knowledge of God’s comfort to them, and, of course, providing practical assistance if there is any need which can be met. That is what being part of a church family should mean. A caring church….can we say that of Derriford Church today?

– Phil Brewer

Editorial

There is no doubt that we presently live in a very violent age and the probability is that the situation will get worse before it gets any better. But it will only get better as a result of direct intervention by God. We can – and should – however take comfort from the message given to us in Luke 21:28: ” When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

– Ray Gerry

Editorial

Catalysts make things happen. Alka-Seltzer without water has no fizz; flour without yeast produces no bread. Faith is the catalyst in your life. Without it, religion is dry. Talking about the Israelites, Paul said, ‘For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.’ (Hebrews 4:2) Without faith, reading your Bible turns into intellectual curiosity; sermons become something to critique rather than inspire; church becomes a social club rather than a dynamic act of spiritual worship. There are no prizes for memorising verses or hymns – unless you use them as stepping stones to action. Faith requires you to move. There’s a difference between what you believe and what you trust. You may believe that a chair can hold you but never sit down; only when you put your full weight on it are you demonstrating trust. Faith is the catalyst to action. A gold medal requires you to win. The Booker prize requires you to write. An Oscar requires you to make great movies. If you want to see examples of God’s Kingdom coming in and around your life, faith requires action. Do not ask God to guide you, if you are not prepared to move your feet. Do you sense God is calling you to something? Maybe sharing your faith in class or at work, signing up for that mission opportunity, preach or lead worship for the first time, sharing your testimony? Get some support. Go for it.

– Philip Brewer

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