Video talk from Tim Barker
Lonmay Newsletter 11
Welcome to the latest Lonmay newsletter – it is good to have you with us all, and I pray that you are keeping well in these uncertain times.
I would like to share with you some of the uncertainties we are currently facing:
Future of the church. We do not know, at present, when we will be able to meet again for worship. There is a rumour that it could be from 1 July, but under strict conditions, which would involve social distancing and the lack of singing!!! While this would be wonderful, there are other aspects of the life of the church that are not so easy to meet – Sunday School, afternoon teas, perhaps even The Guild and Work Party. Even holding a Kirk Session could be challenging!! Then we must face the future of the Church of Scotland, which will be adjusting some of the original plans to respond to the current situation. This is NOT about depressing you but about encouraging us to pray. The current research indicates that there are thousands of people who never go to church, who are watching ‘on-line’ services each week. The sale of Bibles and other Christian literature has increased significantly. The challenge is, therefore, to respond to this ‘new world’ to explore new ways of sharing the Gospel.
School work. It seems that the plans are for children to attend school two days a week and receive home tuition on the other three. This means that school assemblies and the opportunity to share the Christian faith in classes will almost certainly disappear. Some schools are already responding by introducing video links, and this is something that I am exploring, but again we need to pray for the Lord’s leading and directing.
This may seem depressing and not what we really want to hear, BUT I am thrilled at the opportunities and challenges we now face. Much of our church life as we have known and really appreciated may be about to change, but the Good News of Jesus has and will not change. Therefore, we need to pray to seek the Lord’s will and way for the future. It may be different, but our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will NOT abandon us but provide us with all we need to continue to fulfil the Great Commission to ‘go and make disciples’.
May we encourage each other in prayer to know the way of the Lord and be willing to follow as He leads, guides, and directs us. To Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen
Thought for Pentecost Sunday 31st May
Welcome to Pentecost Sunday. What is Pentecost and why is it so important that we celebrate it?
You will recall that when Jesus took His disciples to Bethany some 40 days after His resurrection, He told them to return to Jerusalem to await the Holy Spirit. He then promised never to leave them and returned to heaven. Earlier in John 14 we read that Jesus told His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem where He would be killed but He would rise again on the third day. He was going to leave them, but would send the Holy Spirit, a Comforter, to be with them.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem, as Jesus had told them, and were together in the Upper Room some ten days after Jesus’ return to heaven. We read in Acts chapter 2 the events of Pentecost. There was a sound like a rushing wind which came upon the disciples. Suddenly they were transformed from a frightened, timid, group of people lacking confidence in themselves, into a people who left the security of their room, and went out into the streets to share the Good News of Jesus, in words which the many foreign visitors to Jerusalem heard in their own native languages. Folk were shocked and some claimed that the disciples were drunk. However, Peter pointed out that it was only 9 in the morning!!! Peter then preached his first sermon and told the people about Jesus, and such was the impact that over 3,000 people were saved that day.
I well remember my first sermon over 50 years ago in a small village church in East Morton in Yorkshire. The congregation was doubled in size as my family and some friends joined them for that special occasion. To the best of my knowledge no-one was saved that day!!
What should Pentecost mean for us today? When we ask Jesus to be our personal Saviour and Lord, the Holy Spirit indwells us to lead, guide, prompt, correct and help us. Like Peter and the disciples in Acts, we are empowered to share the Good News of Jesus. That is the Great Commission given to ALL who love and serve Him to share Jesus with others. That does not mean that we all become preachers, but in our homes, local communities, shops, work etc. we are enabled to ‘be like Jesus’ so that others may see and hear the Good News of sins forgiven, peace with God and the promise of eternal life. Praise Jesus for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life today.