Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Secretary’s Soapbox

I’d just been helping Eddy on with his socks, and I jokingly asked him if I was getting a prize for it. “Yes,” he said, “you are getting a new scooter and a million pounds.”

“Wow!” I said ,“that’s a good prize for just putting on a pair of socks.”
“What about me?” said his Mum as she came through the door, “Don’t I get a prize too?”

Eddy thought for a minute and then said, “Yes, you are getting a cat toilet!”
The reason for this rather strange idea that his mother would like a cat toilet is that the day before I had been surfing around on the internet and saw that you can get such a thing as a self –cleaning cat litter tray. “you could do with one of those. “ I said, “they only cost $599!”

Eddy must have heard the conversation and decided that is what his mum really wanted, more apparently than a million pounds! You have to be really careful what you say because even if you don’t think he’s paying any attention, Eddy is listening to every word.

Some people think that they can keep things from God, too. But He knows what you’re going you say even before you open your mouth. More than that He knows what’s in your heart, all the time, not just when you’re thinking about Him. That’s why we have no hope of hiding our sins from Him, and remember, God doesn’t grade sin into white lies and mass murder type of groups. We sin the moment our minds think of something that is nasty or wrong, even if we have not the slightest idea of carrying it out.

Alan’s last day as our Pastor was a very happy time. It started with our morning service when Mary presented Alan with our gift to him of an engraved carriage clock, then at the end of the service, our Sunday Pilots came in with a cake and a card they had made.

Then in the afternoon about seventy people came to share tea with us, I’m glad to say that Alan did turn up, I was afraid that he would just send a cardboard cut-out of himself, as he kept threatening to do. But his new Grandson, Archie, was there and everyone wanted to talk about him, so that helped Alan to enjoy the afternoon. Then we had a fabulous time of worship, lots of laughs, tributes and hymns. My thanks to Noel Parry who managed to link everything together.

We had a magnificent response to our news that Alan was retiring and many folk wanted to make a donation to his retirement present, we were able to present Alan with a cheque for £1,000, which turned out to be something of a miracle. I was given the cheque by the Treasurer in the morning and had it in my bag as I went home. We parked the car outside our gate and I saw someone just coming out of our garden. I am not giving his name as I don’t want to embarrass him. We exchanged hellos’ and I went into the house, there was an envelope on the floor that had obviously just been posted there. Imagine my surprise when I found inside a cheque for £1,000 and a letter to say that it was a gift from one of our church members who had recently died.

Our God had given us back, not only the money that we had used from church funds but had increased it to cover all the donations as well!
To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. Matt.25:29a


P.S. The other day Eddy paid me the greatest compliment when he said “Nanny, I love you more than gravy!”

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Monday, 14 January 2008

New Year’s Reflection

Do you know what I love about life?


It’s pretty brilliant actually, I mean the sun comes up and then it goes down and every morning when that happens what do you get? You get a new day.

You get a new one!

It’s kinda like when you look at something, when you set your eyes on it, and take in the images and every time you do that, before you can blink, the images change!

These images have life, they’re always changing, always new, every second we capture is fresh. The second that I exist in, blows past me, like the wind, then another second passes, then another, …...then another,………. then another.

I look at my reflection and understand I’m not the same man I was ten seconds ago.

Always growing, always taking in, always renewing.

And every second is this beautiful new chance for a new life. A new original moment of life that’s filled with potential. Potential to love, potential to affect change in myself and in others, potential to grow.

And this year may God grant me the ability to seize the day.

To seize every second and unravel His purpose, His potential for me and that’s it,……... ….that’s what I love about life...…...Time!

Saturday, 12 January 2008


Admit it, you've been there (and you may have been there a few days ago). You receive a gift that makes you grimace -- an orange tie with purple stripes, perhaps, or a battery-operated radish peeler. You can't be impolite and say, "I don't like it. I want to exchange it." So what do you say?

Fortunately someone has come up with "The Top Ten Things to Say About a Christmas Gift You Don't Like":

10. Hey! Now there's a gift!

9. Well, well, well ...

8. What a shame! If I hadn't recently shot up 4 sizes, this would've fit.

7. This is perfect for wearing around the basement.

6. I hope this never catches fire! It is fire season though. There are lots of unexplained fires.

5. If the dog buries it, I'll be furious!

4. I love it -- but I fear the jealousy it will inspire.

3. Sadly, tomorrow I enter the Federal Witness Protection Program.

2. To think -- I got this the year I vowed to give all my gifts to charity.

1. "I really don't deserve this."

Whatever you say, you know you'll be standing in line at M & S for hours with everyone else who received gifts that were just as horrible.

There's a beautiful story in 2 Corinthians 8 about a gift that the churches of Macedonia gave to Paul to help out needy Christians in Jerusalem. It was a gift that Paul was reluctant to receive. Not because there was anything wrong with it. Quite the opposite -- it was a generous gift. Perhaps too generous. The Christians who gave it were not at all wealthy, so the gift seemed excessive.

"For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." (2 Cor. 8:3-4)

The reason that their gift was so generous and so special, though, was because of another gift they had given: "And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God." (2 Cor. 8:5)

Want to give a gift that will never need to be exchanged? Give yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord. It's certain to be exactly what He wants this year!

Have a great day!

Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Secretary's Soapbox

Do you believe? Do you REALLY believe? Or do you just say you believe because it’s become a bit of a habit that started when you were young and your parents went to church, or made you go to Sunday School while they had a bit of peace and quiet? Or perhaps your partner was a believing Christian and it was easier to go along with the whole church-thing. For whatever reason…… do you REALLY believe deep down in your soul that God made you and this whole world and that He sent Jesus to die in your place, so that if you BELIEVE you will never, ever die, but will spend eternity in the most wonderful place that we call Heaven.

Do you sometimes listen to people talking about miraculous life-saving things that have happened to them, and think “Yeh, yeh, good story but, pull the other one it’s got bells on!” Well, I’ll tell you something……………… do I!

The trouble with hearing or reading something is that you’re getting it third-hand, you didn’t really experience the event and so the negative, cynical side of your reasoning is telling you that it can’t have happened. This even applies to reading the Bible, you can read it cover to cover as though it was a best-selling novel, and it won’t mean anything other than a good read.

So, what’s the answer? How can you become a fully-paid up born-again (because God said you must be) Christian? Don’t ask me……. I don’t know! But I know a man who does……………………..His name is Jesus, He was sent to the earth to live as a human and teach other men (and women) all about His Father (God). He ended up dying in the cruellest way imaginable, but…... He BELIEVED in us. He didn’t know us, but He believed that we were worth saving and for that reason He died for us.

When you have moments or days of doubt, get on your knees (metaphorically if the floor is a long way down! ) and talk to Him about it, speak your mind to Him, you can even shout at Him (I used to do this a lot before I became a born-again Christian and it’s very therapeutic, but make sure you’re on your own!), He will answer you but you have to listen and be ready to do what He asks

God Bless and Happy New Year to you all