It’s been a busy weekend for various members of the West View Baptist Church team. We finished the week with our usual hectic Filling Station event on Friday. A later finish than planned as one of the families we help turned up late and stayed late. Our clock and God’s don’t match up all the time.
Saturday saw Terry, Amanda, Lynn and Penny attend the Northern Baptist Association event discussing issues relating to same sex marriage. Excellent event that helped really clarify biblical teaching and interpretation from the traditionalist to the revisionist points of view. Good job done by the team leading the event, with a host of study references and our group certainly came away much better informed.
Sunday saw Ian, Jonny and Amanda leading worship. Yvette led us in examining God’s word. We also welcomed back Peter, one of our congregation who has been poorly for a long time.
Yvette started with a video clip of a rap duel between Loso and th3 Saga. Find it on the internet. Stick with and the message becomes crystal clear and the link with a week about Christian unity is also apparent.
Yvette explored Mark Chapter 1 to start with. She described Mark as a bit of an action man, in a rush to get into the Jesus story. Mark misses out Jesus birth, and packs in a lot of action before we even get to the end of chapter 1. Yvettte, in her bible translation, counts 27 mentions of the word immediately. Chapter 1 14 has Jesus starting with the end of the John the Baptist’s mission. Sometimes before something can start something has to end. God’s dominion is here and is to be good. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men is what Jesus says in calling the first of his disciples . In the society of that day the 4 fishermen he chose would have raised eyebrows. They would be seen as country cousins, Galileans,common working men with strong regional accents who dropped their aitches (ring any bells ‘artlepool!), living with gentiles. Jesus met them at their level , using an analogy they understood. He showed there were lots of people drowning in sin. He showed them to use the nets to rescue, to fish for these men and women in need. Today many people think they are too far gone. Beyond help. God can use us to rescue them all
Back in the time of the 4 fishermen they used different types of nets to catch different things. These nets were made of linen and other materials that wore out or broke. Nets need to be maintained. We need to look after our nets, there are Christians who’ve lost the way, who are hurt, who are lost. We need nets that work to rescue people.
He showed them who’ve lost the way , who are hurt, who are in debt. Yvette asked if we’d ever followed someone in a car. Only way it works is if you stick close. They know where they are going, you don’t. If someone gets in between, you can lose sight of the target and then get lost. If God tells us to go one way and we go another it’s not just daft, it is disobedience. Love the sinner, the difficult to love. Show them God’s grace. Jesus preached the gospel and prayed. He got close to his father. Yvette offered her own experience of being diverted off on to an unfamiliar road. We can become so comfortable when we think we know the way, we stop paying attention to Jesus. We don’t see God had changed the route, closed the route. Nothing is familiar. We can find ourselves lost in the middle of nowhere , but the good news is he comes back for us he will leaves the 99 sheep to look for the lost one. We can’t become fishers of men without him. God enjoys watching us use our gifts, it’s ok to make a mistake. Hates us giving up. Following him requires a personal commitment.
In Jonah 3 we see that Jonah has obeyed God this time. Obeying God straight away is the best option. Interesting things happen if we listen and obey. He takes us to interesting places. We may not see the results or the answer to prayer. Things are going on in the background. The cost of following Jesus is high. Think about the fact that all but 1 of apostles was martyred. But look what they did they changed the world. So follow him . cast your net, you don’t know who you are going to catch. There is a real chance you might not like some of them but the good news is God does, and indeed God loves you all.
Finally on Sunday Esther, Terry, Matty, Brenda and Stella went to Sheraton Court to hold our monthly service for the residents. We received our usual warm welcome from our friends there. Terry provided the music via laptop as our regular musician, Tim was unable to attend. We coped with most of the songs being at a different pace or slightly differing words. We had to sing Abide with Me without music though as the pace and words were totally different on the laptop. Always an adventure and pleasure to visit Sheraton. We pray they get as much fun out of our visit as we do and that the age old words and prayers of the traditional hymns provides some comfort and reassurance.