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Lost Years – Demas

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 The Reading:  2 Timothy 4:9-18 

Demas, in love with this present world …” (v.10) RSV

Demas is not your best known character in the New Testament.  He was one of Paul’s team of missionaries.  What we know of him is a cautionary tale for us.  In all the previous readings over these last weeks we have seen wasted or lost years effectively restored, but today we do not know what happened to Demas; his life is an unfinished story.  It serves to remind us that we may be in the midst of wasting our lives.  And the question is, what are we going to do about it?

Until Demas left Paul, because he had fallen “in love with this present world” (v.10), he had been a regular member of Paul’s team.  In the letter to the Colossians Paul writes: “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you” (Colossians 4:14); he also mentions Mark, Epaphras and others.  Demas was plainly one of Paul’s trusted workers.  He is again mentioned when Paul writes his short letter to Philemon: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers (Philemon 1:24).

Even keen and committed Christians can lose their vision, their calling and their cutting edge.  This can happen for many reasons: lust, laziness, neglect of spiritual disciplines, false teaching, etc.  Demas seems to have grown weary of fighting the good fight.  He wanted some of the pleasures that the ‘world’ could offer.  The ‘world’ doesn’t necessarily mean immoral or sinful activities; it may simply mean that he preferred the innocent pleasures of this world, to the costly discipleship and the high calling to follow Christ.

Some of us may have let our faith slip over recent years.  We are now in danger, not only of being lukewarm but of growing cold.  Perhaps we didn’t realise it, but now the Spirit is beckoning us back.  Our desire is to love God with “all our heart, soul, mind and strength” (Matthew 22:37).  Now is the time to act.  The past is past.  Let us look to the future with our Lord – he will renew us.

Lord, resuscitate me from compromise and lack of spiritual edge.  Restore my first love and commitment.  Amen. 

Explore More

1 Who did not know that the Lord had departed from him?

    Judges 16:20

2  Which church was lukewarm?

    Revelation 3:14-16

Happy Easter!

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1-IMG_9059_miniHappy Easter and welcome to church on the day of great celebration in the Christian Church.

Today we exclaim that “Jesus Christ has risen form the dead.”

The resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is proof that God will judge the world in righteousness. God has given Christians a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

We as Christians, through faith in the working of God, are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that we may walk in a new way of life.

Good Friday – Last Hour at the Cross

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Last Hour of the Cross with Revd Dennis Cavaghan with Joseph Haydn’s original orchestral version of “The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross” (with hymns omitted)

“What, could you not watch with me one hour?  (Matthew 26:40)

Haydn:  Introduction

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First Word – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)

Haydn:  First Word

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Second Word – “Truly, I say unto you, this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)

Haydn:  Second Word

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Third Word – “Woman, behold thy son! … Behold thy mother” (John 19:26)

Haydn:  Third Word

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Fourth Word – “El(o)I, El(o)I, lama sabachtani” “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”

(Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)

Haydn:  Fourth Word

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Fifth Word – “I thirst” (John 19:28)

Haydn:  Fifth Word

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Sixth Word – “It is finished” (John 19:30)

Haydn:  Sixth Word

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Seventh Word – “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

Haydn:  Seventh Word

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Hayden:  The Earthquake

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Easter Services

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Confirmation

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We are delighted that we have so many folk for confirmation this year. The service is at St James Church on 1st May at 6.30pm. The names of the candidates are Valerie Gaskell, Anita Kingscott, Massen Kingscott, Sandra Parrott, Scarlett Atherton, Liam Atherton, Charlotte Dunford, Rosanna Smillie, Daniella Smith and Alexandrea Vickery. Please pray with them as they prepare for this important step of declaring their faith in Jesus Christ. The first Sunday of the month in May will be a Church Family Communion and not Church Family Worship. This is so the candidates can take their first communion on the Sunday immediately after the confirmation.

London Marathon

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Marathon - untitled-1-1389662-mCAROLINE MARTIN would like to thank everyone who sponsored her daughter Elizabeth in the London Marathon. She did very well and made it, even though she hurt her Achilles tendon. We went to see her and we are very proud. Many Thanks.

A Lily in Memory

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Lily - 338794_bouquet

If you would like to make a donation of £3 towards decorating the church with lilies for Easter Sunday, please give the name of your loved one to be remembered, along with your donation, to one of the church wardens or hand in to the Parish Office.

Many thanks from the flower team.

Lost Years – David

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The Reading:  1 Samuel 22:1-5 

David … escaped to the cave of Adullam” (v.1) RSV

Now you might think that David, the greatest king of Israel never had a ‘Lost Year’ in his life.  When he was young he minded the sheep and practiced using a sling.  When still a youth he slew Goliath and became King Saul’s resident minstrel.  And once he was anointed King he ruled with great charisma and success.

However, from his point of view he could well have viewed his years in the wilderness as lost years.  He had been anointed King by Samuel while Saul was still on the throne (1 Samuel 16:13).  Yet before long Saul was wildly jealous of David and feared that he was going to usurp the throne.  He hounded him from pillar to post, so that David was compelled to live like a fugitive in the wilderness.  During that time he accumulated a band of 400 malcontents (v.2).

It must have been very frustrating for David to have these ‘wasted’ years in hiding, while the incompetent Saul continued to reign.  However when it seemed that God had delivered Saul into his hands in the cave of Engedi (1 Samuel 24:4-7), David spared his life; it was neither God’s time nor God’s way.  His wilderness were not yet over.  Eventually the time was right for David’s accession to the throne.  Saul had been defeated by the Philistines and decided to end his life by falling on his sword (1 Samuel 31:4).

Those years in the wilderness and a fight for sheer survival were not wasted.  God used all the experience and wisdom that David had derived from the experience.  He had become a natural leader of men and had grown tough.  He was now fit for the task for which he had been anointed.

God too will incorporate our past life and experience, however odd, or dull or wrong it was.  He redeems all that we have gone through and transforms it into usefulness from now on.  Praise God! 

Thank you Lord that ALL THINGS word together for good to those who love you.  Here am I, send me.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  Why did King Saul waste his reign?

    1 Samuel 15:24

2   How had David profited from his early, hidden years?

    1 Samuel 17:34-37

Sixth Sunday in Lent

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This Cross started with the bare remains of the Christmas Tree. Each Sunday in Lent an item was added to signify the humiliation and suffering of Jesus.

Firstly, there came the Purse of Money which contained the thirty pieces of silver which the church leaders paid to Judas to betray Jesus (Matthew 27:3).

Secondly, was brought to the Cross the red Robe that the soldiers put about the shoulders of Jesus hailing him mockingly as King (Matthew 27:28).

Thirdly, there was hung up on the stump the Crown of Thorns that the soldiers also pushed onto his head (Matthew 27:29).

Fourthly, several nails were added, two for his hands and one for his feet (John 20:25).

Fifthly, the Dice were brought which the soldiers used to gamble for his raiment (John 19:23-24 and Psalm 22:18).

Finally, on the last Sunday of Lent the Spear which would pierce his side and confirm his death was lain against the Cross (John 19:34).