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Hope Beyond Coronavirus, by Roger Carswell

Hope Beyond Coronavirus - a short message from Roger Carswell

A tract version of this is available from http://bit.ly/BeyondCoronaVirus

A shareable article can be seen here http://bit.ly/HopeBeyondCoronavirus

Who would have guessed that in the 2017 Asterix comic “Asterix and the Chariot Race” there would be a character called “Coronavirus”? Until recently very few of us had heard the word. Now, across the world, it is the most talked about virus.

Even the UK’s Prime Minister, in sober tones, has warned that some of our loved ones will die because of Coronavirus. And it is easy to fear that it may be us rather than our loved ones who will be struck down. Coronavirus is no respecter of persons: it can strike rich or poor, famous or unknown, globe–trotters as well as stay–at–homers.

Life has changed radically for the nations of the world and us as individuals.  Things we have taken for granted – freedom of travel and of meeting together, supply of basic necessities, and the hope of a long life – have been threatened. Wars, epidemics, plagues and disease have seemed so distant for most of us, but now this unseen virus is acting like a secret agent turning upside down our security and lives. We much prefer our routines, or even our ruts, to being routed by a microscopically minute virus.

There is real concern for millions whose business and employment are affected.

When life comes crashing down around us, or we fear for our future, there is still hope and security, but it is not to be found in ourselves or our circumstances.

For years we have been taught survival of the fittest and the horrible idea that epidemics are simply ‘mother earth’ thinning its ranks. Whatever some may say, life is not “just dancing to one’s DNA.” That does not ring true now. We all know that life is very precious. The Bible teaches wonderfully that God cares, and that He can cope. Writing to Christians in trouble, one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, wrote: “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Of course we want and need to act responsibly. Common sense listens to Government advice, keeps washing our hands, maintains a distance from possible infection and self–isolate where appropriate. But then what?

Sharpening our tools!

A farmer replied to the question, “What do you do when there is a storm?” saying, “I go inside and sharpen my tools!”

Once in a while that is a good thing to do. If we have to self–isolate, maybe we can rediscover the joy of life where we take time to read and not just to watch; where we learn again to appreciate and think of others; and start to rediscover a life not based on scurrying activity but taking stock and enjoying our own thoughts and company.

 Now is a good time to read one of the Gospels in the New Testament – MatthewMarkLuke or John – and let Jesus introduce Himself to you.

Of course, what we most fear is not the virus but death itself. Benjamin Franklin supposedly said that nothing is certain except taxes and death. The Bible goes further stating, “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.” The thought of giving account of all we have said and done to the God who gave us life – and really knows all about us – should send a shiver down our spines.

Then some people wonder if Coronavirus is an act of God. Is He judging us?  When God sent plagues on the Egyptians at the time of Moses, pagan astrologers said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”  “Sharpening our tools” should challenge nations and individuals to repent of turning our back on God and His commands, and lead to us turning to Him for forgiveness and help in our time of need.

For decades we have trampled on God’s standards, ignored His commands and lived as if He were either dead, or changes His standards according to our whims. Despite that, our loving God sends wake up calls to point us back to His way. God has not forgotten us. He loves us, though our sin is abhorrent to Him. Human love is capable of great things, but God’s love is so much deeper, higher and intense.  Perhaps we should take Coronavirus as a loving warning to a rebellious world.

The Book of Psalms in the Bible is a great comfort in times of anxiety or worry. It is available to read online, to read one Psalm a day. Try it and see.

As yet there is no known cure for the Coronavirus invader. But there is a cure for our wrong. God does not want to leave us in a state of despair.

We don’t know when the virus will subside, but we can know peace in the midst of trouble.

Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, calmed the storm at sea, fed the hungry, cast out demons, and cured the leprous, but His greatest work was to die. When He was crucified, He was taking on Himself our greatest enemies, sin and death. He suffered paying the penalty of the wrong of which we are guilty. Our sin was laid on Him so that if we trust Him, all His goodness could be laid on us.

The poet Cecil Frances Alexander once wrote:

He died that we might be forgiven
He died to make us good;
That we might go at last to Heaven
Saved by His precious blood.

Fear not

Jesus conquered death by rising again three days later. It is the living Jesus who says, “Fear not”. You don’t need to introduce yourself to God. He knows all about you. Ask Him to be your Lord and Saviour, your Forever Friend; He promises to take you through life, through death and into eternity with Him.  No one need fear either death and meeting God as judge, or being condemned. Heaven is not a reward for doing good, but a gift which Jesus purchased and offers to those who will receive Him into their lives. We know the dangers, but we can know the certainty of God being with us every step of the way. When we are afraid, we are told in the Bible to trust in the Lord.

Read in the Bible Psalm 103 and consider its timeless truths.

Centuries ago the Bible prophet Jeremiah saw his country and city destroyed, his temple burned to ashes, his people starving and death staring at him from the streets and houses he had known so well.  Yet in the darkness of destruction he said, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”[1]

Coronavirus is awful, but if we turn to the Lord we will find that God can make great and lasting good emerge from it.

Roger Carswell is a Christian worker living in Yorkshire.


Our thanks to Roger Carswell and 10ofThose.

Copies of this Tract are avilable from 10ofThose by clicking HERE.

This is an evangelistic tract that winsomely shares the gospel, and talks into the situation of Coronavirus. It is ideal to give away to friends and neighbours and in large numbers.

Pastor Stuart

The Glories of God’s Love – Part 1

Pastor Stuart begins looking in more detail at the book we at Grace are currently reading together. Look out soon for more videos.


The Glories of God's Love - Part 1

Pastor Stuart begins looking in more detail at the book we at Grace are currently reading together. Look out soon for more videos.

http://gracebaptist.org.uk/
Pastor Stuart

Recommended Book to read

We are currently distributing to our congregation and friends of the church a book called : ‘The Glories of God’s Love – A Gospel Primer for Christians’ by Milton Vincent. This small book comprises 31 short themes for us to read and consider as His family.

Our aim by distributing this book is to build each other up and enjoy a sense of fellowship as we study together. They could form a topic of your regular phone calls and messages. For those who have access to the internet, (and particularly the Grace Family & Friends Support Facebook Group), built around this study there will be regular short video messages from Pastor Stuart,and most importantly, the opportunity to exchange and share your own thoughts with other members of the Grace Family in a secure forum. These different ways of sharing will help build us up and also help to address any growing sense of isolation.

Please watch the video below to hear more from Pastor Stuart.


Recommended Book to read

We are currently distributing to our congregation and friends of the church a book called : ‘The Glories of God’s Love - A Gospel Primer for Christians' by Milton Vincent. This small book comprises 31 short themes for us to read and consider as His family.

Our aim by distributing this book is to build each other up and enjoy a sense of fellowship as we study together. They could form a topic of your regular phone calls and messages. For those who have access to the internet, (and particularly the Grace Family & Friends Support Facebook Group), built around this study there will be regular short video messages from Pastor Stuart,and most importantly, the opportunity to exchange and share your own thoughts with other members of the Grace Family in a secure forum.

These different ways of sharing will help build us up and also help to address any growing sense of isolation.

http://gracebaptist.org.uk/
Show More
resources

Resources Page

Today, we launched our new Resources Page. From here you will be able to access all sorts of useful material, which will be added to during the coming days. To begin with, our Junior Church children can sing along to their favourite songs we sing every week, or they can download crafts and memory verses to print, colour and make.

Adults can enjoy watching and listening to some of the wonderful new songs we have enjoyed recently, such as “Is He worthy”, and “Ancient of Days”. Practice them well, and look forward to the day when we will all be back at church, singing together, to God’s glory.

And finally, there is an Interesting Articles section. We have started off with a really encouraging piece of writing by a teenager from Manchester. Email us other articles you have found helpful, and we will see if we can publish them here too.

Enjoy! And remember kids: if you do a craft or complete sermon notes, send us a photo, and Pastor Stuart may even show it at a future service.


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Online Services

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

I’m not sure how things are where you are; at Grace, Southport, we’re not planning on any more public meetings or ministries until further notice.

While our heads spin a bit, we are thankful for the opportunity we have to stream our Sunday services (10.30am & 6.15pm) and mid-week ministry (7.30pm on Wednesday). No doubt both will be a wee bit different from usual!

We’re inviting people to join us on-line if they have no other provision for connecting with services or church family.

This may give your people an opportunity to join with believers – albeit in a very different way than we are used to.

If you do share this, please let us know – we’d love to pray for one another in a way that acknowledges what’s happening.

Warmest regards to you all.

Pastor Stuart Harding

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Church Services Suspended

It is with great sadness that, in accordance with government advice, we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all our regular meetings and activities until further notice. This applies not just to our normal services, but to all our our other activities, including youth and children’s work and midweek meetings.

The coming weeks and months will, no doubt, present challenges that we do not yet anticipate. We plan to take steps that encourage a loving, sacrificial and sustainable way of expressing our unity in Christ, and compassionate concern for the community in which we live.

More information will be shared with our congregation and church friends in the days ahead.

Be assured of our love and desire to care as best as we are able. Be assured of our prayers.
Yours because His,
Pastor Stuart.

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Pudding and Quiz Night

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Join us on Saturday 22nd February for a Pudding and Quiz Night.
For all ages, all nationalities, for families, for friends, for singles….for you!
An evening to challenge mind, bod and soul….and be crowned Grace Quiz Team 2020!
So, bring a friend…and bring a pudding!
mission at grace

Missionary Weekend 2019

Grace Baptist Church Southport invite you to our annual Missionary Weekend. Taking place on 16-17h November, we look forward to hearing reports on the Lord’s work from many parts of the world.

This year, out missionaries are going to be including items not just for adults, but also for children.These will take place during the main sessions, as well as in some breakout sessions. So please do bring your children along too.

Please read the enclosed leaflet for more information about our speakers, as well as details of times and our hot lunch.
Parking Information:

You can park on the streets around the church using the meters, and pay £1.50 for up to 1 hour, £3 for up to 2 hours, and £5 for up to 4 hours. Some meters also accept £7 for anything over 4 hours. The meters take cash, credit/debit cards, contactless, and ApplyPay.

There is an NCP Car Park on London Street, which can be pre-booked for 5 hours costing from £7.20 on the NCP website.

The Sports Direct multi-storey car park on Tulketh Street is the closest and probably the cheapest. It is a camera on entry and pay on exit car park, and charges are 30 minutes parking for 90p, 2 hours for £1.50, 3 hours for £2.90, and 12 hours for £3.90.

The Park and Ride on the Esplanade is open in November 7:00-19:00 (not on Sundays); it costs £2 per day and the bus drops off on Lord Street.

LeafletWebsite

 

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Arequipa News Oct 2019

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.

A bird with a broken wing cannot fly. A church that relies on only one “wing” of ministry will also struggle to function efficiently. The early New Testament church spread its wings and lit spiritual fires in many areas, seemingly through smaller group gatherings. The “wings” of the church, God’s people in the Buenos Aires area are corporate worship on Sundays, supported by house groups and other small fellowship events throughout the week. In our case the weekly events, where believers can know real fellowship, encourage one another, and invite family, friends and neighbours, has been a means of considerable spiritual vitality and blessing. It has the effect of moving us away from a mere professional ministry to a more collective ministry, where believers can express their faith and use their gifts. As I said recently in a sermon, “The Lord does not desire fat sheep, so go out and feed others from what you received. Freely you have received, freely give”.

Mission

Recently we had a full month of ministry on Mission, with visiting speakers and all the members involved. We had nine groups in the church who gave a presentation on the country of their choice. Every wall of the church was decorated with photos, statistics and missionary information, along with tables spread with indigenous food. One of our members, Juan José who is studying Japanese brought along his teacher and other students. One of the students, Max, has since made a profession of faith, and now worships regularly with us. We are blessed with a good number of committed young people where those, such as Max, can immediately find fellowship and encouragement.

Recently joined are another couple from Venezuela, Marco and his wife. Roberto, a church member and a builder, has taken on more workers due to winning a contract to build a six story block of flats. Marco is among those men he has hired.  Each day before they start work he holds a short service. He has invited me to share the gospel at some point in the near future. Pray for these families, they face a terrible situation in Venezuela. The couple mentioned above have come to Peru without their children. Working here means, they can send money back to support their families. Pray for Venezuela.

Rebeca will be travelling to Pakistan at the end of October, and not back until May next year. She will spend 4 months at the hospital in Multan, and then for a time in Thailand with other missionaries at the Pioneer Mission Conference. She still hopes to travel to the UK sometime next year with a view to improving her English before returning to Pakistan as a full time missionary, God willing, in 2021.  

Villa Magisterial

Here we also meet with believers in their homes during the week. This has the added benefit of encouraging other family members to join in, particularly husbands, as it is difficult to get them out to other events. We are preparing for the largest gospel outreach we have ever had in the area, running from 8th, 9th and 10th of November. Recently I presented a letter to the President of the local Residents Association, requesting the use of the local community centre for the 3 day outreach. We have chosen the theme of the ministry, along with the guest speaker who will share in the ministry. We plan to work with another Baptist church with whom we have close fellowship, mainly through their Pastor Germán Cáceres, with whom we meet on a regular basis. This month we will meet together to pray specifically for the Lord’s blessing and power upon this outreach. Please Pray also that I will get the relevant permission from the local authority to place an advert above the main highway into Villa Magisterial. Recently the Lord gave me this verse which I shall constantly use in prayer. Please will you pray with us for a move of the Holy Spirit through those days of gospel outreach? I know your deeds, behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. Rev.3:8. May the Lord be pleased to open hearts to receive the grace of God in salvation; using our weakness and powerlessness to bring glory to his name through the salvation of many.

Children´s ministry

Some of the children who have been with us for years have enjoyed days out with the young people of the Buenos Aires church. What an encouragement that Gonzalo now makes his own way there every Sunday. Pray that the youth leader and I will be able to organise a retreat for the young people from both areas. Pray also for the provision of the necessary funds.

Family news 

I had to take our daughter Melissa to A&E after a recent Sunday evening service. Initially we thought that it was a recurrence of the problem she has had with stones, because of the severe abdominal and back pain. It turned out to be food poisoning, which was relieved by a saline drip and medication. A few days earlier our dog Scooby had an op! The surgeon who teaches Melissa at University invited her to assist him, which was all very valuable experience. She also helped a bulldog deliver its pups beforehand.

Pastor Carlos fell off a step ladder and fractured two of his ribs, on the same day as our Pastor friend, German injured himself in a fall. It all happened during the week of Evangelism when we had a group from the church in Lima helping us. Pray for those who are in the midst of the spiritual battle.  We would appreciate your prayers for all of the above, particularly for our gospel outreach in November. Thank you all for your partnership in prayer; and a special thanks to those who are committed to financially support our work, serving the Lord here in Arequipa.


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Harvest Service

Join us on Sunday 29th September for out Harvest Service at 10.30am.

This year, we will welcome donations of tinned food to go to the Southport Food Pantry, or cash donations can be made to Caring For Life.

Information about the Pantry can be found here: http://www.southportfoodpantry.org.uk/

Information about Caring For Life can be found here: https://www.caringforlife.co.uk/

Have a look at our video: