Donation day for Ukrainian refugees

As featured on STV news on 25 July 2022, we continue to support local Ukrainian refugees by holding ”Coffee and chat” events twice per month. These events provide an opportunity for Ukrainians to meet together and visit a free shop of clothes, toys, toiletries and house goods. We also have local hairdressers offering free haircuts.

On Saturday 30th July from 9am to 2pm we are holding a donation day to stock up our free shop. Further information can be found in the flyer below.

Updated Coronavirus arrangements

It is no longer a legal requirement for those attending places of worship to wear a mask. However, you may still wish to do so out of sensitivity to the feelings of others and the current high level of infections.

When attending the service in person at Panmurefield Baptist Centre please note the following:

• Please do not come to the service if you have any COVID symptoms.

• Please do not come to the service if you or anyone in your household is self-isolating.

• Although social distancing is not required, please sanitise your hands on entering the building.

• Some windows and fire doors will be open to give maximum ventilation in the building.

• If you are able, it is prudent to take a Lateral Flow Test prior to attending.

• All the toilets are now available for use. Please sanitise your hands before going in and wipes are available to ensure it’s clean. 

• Those who wish to give an offering, should do so by bringing the money/cheque in an envelope and placing it in the basket in the foyer. The best way of giving to the church is via bank transfer. For more information on this please get in touch with the church treasurer, bfbctreasurer@gmail.com

Fundraising to support Ukrainian refugees

Carpathian Aid has been working in Romania now for nearly 30 years and partners with various organisations to tackle poverty and discrimination and to show the love of God.

In particular they partner with Casa Harului, which is a Christian Holiday centre near Deva in mid-western Romania. They helped to build the centre in the mid 1990’s and have sponsored camps there and provided volunteers most summers since they started having camps in 1995. More recently they have been focussed on supporting camps with families whose children have disabilities.

We are all shocked and saddened to see the disturbing scenes in Ukraine, and the displacement of thousands of Ukrainians into wider Europe.

Maria & Dani at Casa Harului have been contacted by a Christian Pastor in Ukraine and some other organisations looking for safe haven for some refugees. They are now hoping to house 40-60 Refugees, but to do this they need to reset the centre, after being closed for best part of two years

Stage 1 – is to get the electric back on, the plumbing checked and frozen pipes repaired, and getting licences renewed for Fire Safety. They also have to clean the centre and to organise the rooms and make up beds in preparation for the arrival of refugees in the next few days.

Stage 2 – is to welcome the refugees, settle them, which will be very challenging remembering what these women and children have just been through. They obviously then have to feed & clothe them and supply them with toiletries and sanitary products.

A few people are asking, for how long?? This is a difficult question to answer, but certainly for the short to medium term these vulnerable refugees will need to be looked after, longer term will depend on how long the conflict lasts.

This will all cost a lot of money, so with the help of Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, a few volunteers have organised a “10,000 Steps a Day for March for the Ukrainian Refugees to raise an initial £5,000” You can find out more details on the Just Giving Page with the link below

Fundraising for Carpathian Aid (justgiving.com)

We will now be in regular contact with Maria at the Centre and receiving updates on the arrival of the refugees.

Our main prayer is for the people of Ukraine and for God to bring peace to that land.🙏🙏🙏🙏 We appreciate all your prayers, involvement and support.

Gary Torbet – Trustee

Moraig Piggot – Fund Raising Co-Ordinator

Email: garytorbet@btinternet.com

Coronavirus arrangements

Please note the following:

It is no longer a legal requirement for those attending places of worship to wear a mask. However, you may still wish to do so out of sensitivity to the feelings of others and the current high level of infections.

When attending the service in person at Panmurefield Baptist Centre please note the following:

• Please do not come to the service if you have any COVID symptoms.

• Please do not come to the service if you or anyone in your household is self-isolating.

• Although social distancing is not required, please sanitise your hands on entering the building.

• Some windows and fire doors will be open to give maximum ventilation in the building.

• If you are able, it is prudent to take a Lateral Flow Test prior to attending.

• All the toilets are now available for use. Please sanitise your hands before going in and wipes are available to ensure it’s clean. 

• Those who wish to give an offering, should do so by bringing the money/cheque in an envelope and placing it in the basket in the foyer. The best way of giving to the church is via bank transfer. For more information on this please get in touch with the church treasurer, bfbctreasurer@gmail.com

Church at Home – 20 June 2021

JAM Kids’ focus: The Virtual Sunday School

Here is the link for Sunday 20 June 21 Virtual Sunday School is: ‘God the Father and the Prodigal Son’

JAM young adults have a separate programme Breakthru: 6.30pm – 7:45pm on zoom, an online social event as the weather forecast is poor. Please contact Gary Torbet on garytorbet@btinternet.com for more details of today’s programme.

Baptist Union of Scotland National Prayer Livestream The monthly prayer livestream takes place on Sunday 4 July, 2021 7.00–7.30pm.  

This service is led today by Rev. Brian Talbot

Call to Worship: Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make His face shine on us – 
so that Your ways may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise You, God;
may all the peoples praise You.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for You rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise You, God;
may all the peoples praise You.

The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear Him.

Opening Song: ‘Give thanks to the Lord’

Prayer:  

Heavenly Father, we come with thankful hearts once more as we enter Your holy presence in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, whose sacrifice in our place on the cross opened up the way for us to have fellowship with You through the Holy Spirit, Your precious gift to all who are Your children. We come as we are today from the varied circumstances we have experienced in the past week, to seek afresh Your forgiveness for our sins and the fresh empowering of Your Holy Spirit to live for You in the coming days. Speak to us from Your Word as we read and reflect upon it. Help us to grasp how privileged we are to be Your children and at the same time give us a renewed desire to want to share this good news with other people around us. We bring our prayers and our praises in Jesus’ name, Amen   

Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:

All age Talk  ‘Sharing good news’

 ‘Good news’ – what good news have you had this week or in the last few weeks?

When we are young birthdays and Christmas Days are very special. Most of us, if not all of us, hoped that we might have a lovely surprise in a present from our parents or another family member or friend. We might have some people round to play and be invited to stay for tea. Everyone sang ‘happy birthday’ and you got to blow out the candles. These are happy memories for us – though sadly in the last year and a few months it has not been so easy to meet up with other people for these kinds of celebrations.

What kind of good news might you have enjoyed this last week? Maybe you are glad there are not many days left before your summer holiday. I can let you into a secret that many teachers also may be thinking that too! You have all deserved your holidays from school when they come.

Some of the adults might be thankful that they have had a first or a second vaccine recently. They are pleased that the risks of getting this virus are greatly reduced. Some people put a picture or a post on social media letting everyone know they have had the ‘jab’!

I was so pleased and relieved when our First Minister confirmed a few days ago that there would be no change in the level of restrictions for our meeting and travelling around our country. I had fixed a time to visit my mother in England for a few days, having not been able to see her in person for eleven months. My ‘good news’ story of the week is being able to see her and some other family members;

As followers of Jesus, though, we have good news to share with other people. We can show that we love Jesus by the way we think and speak and act to other people. We can say a kind word to another child in the playground at school, or in the office at work to another colleague. It is not always doing something big. Often in life it can be the little things that make a difference. We can show God’s love to other people in many different ways, depending on the context.

Yet we also want to find times when we can use words to tell people about Jesus and what He means to us. In the second half of John chapter one, we can see John the Baptist sharing the good news about a special person who was still to make himself known to Israel. John’s disciples were encouraged to follow Jesus; and some of them, especially Andrew and Philip, went to tell their family members and friends about Jesus. If we read John’s Gospel, chapter one, there are some amazing things happening in his account.  Most importantly, there are different ways people were able to tell other people about Jesus. Will you ask God for the opportunity this coming week to tell someone about Jesus? I hope each one of us will do that, Amen. 

Our next Song is: ‘Colours of Day’

Prayers for others

Heavenly Father, 

Thank You for the privilege of intercessory prayer. We count it an honour to be able to pray for the needs of other people at this time.

We bring before You our governments in London and Edinburgh and pray for Your wisdom to be given to them at this time as they grapple with the need both to contain the spread of the virus, but also to allow businesses and other organisations to continue or restart their work.

We remember particularly at this time those working in the travel and tourism sector who have had a particularly hard time trying to plan for this summer and beyond. We ask that You would guide and direct them in their planning over the coming months.    

Lord, we give thanks for church leadership teams who have been working so hard during these months to navigate their way through restrictions to provide worship services and pastoral care. We pray that the next few weeks over the summer will afford them a chance to rest, reset and find refreshment.

We pray for a national leader in the Baptist Union and other churches:

Martin Hodson (General Director) – We give thanks for Martin and his diligent service to our network of churches, particularly during this last sixteen months of the pandemic. We pray that You will give Martin refreshment and continued creativity and wisdom for the months ahead.

Erskine BC – We pray for Erskine Baptist as they seek to grow in Christ together and as they reach out into their local community within the town.

Falkirk BC – We give thanks that during the pandemic they have seen a number of new people start to attend FBC having engaged with them through their online service. They have also been largely unaffected, in terms of physical health, as a church by Covid-19 for which they give God thanks. We pray that as things move towards opening up again that they re-capture the momentum of growth and discipleship that they had pre-pandemic

Forres BC – We join them in giving thanks and praise that as a church they have used the lock-down situation to grow as disciples of Christ, making good use of the time. We join with them in praying for their building which was flooded back in February and is awaiting refurbishment, and thank God for the alternative accommodation He has provided for them to meet in. 

Fort William BC – We give thanks to God for His faithfulness to them over the last year; for everyone they have been able to reach or teach and support through their on-line work; for the way the congregation have pulled together to offer support to one another and their extended church family. We join them in giving thanks for the new people that have attended their services in person recently. We pray with them as they look to the future that God will be at the heart of the plans that continue to unfold.

Heavenly Father,

We are very conscious that on this Sunday in the year we are normally celebrating all the range of children’s and youth activities that have taken place over the past year. We do pray Your blessing on Claire and Gary and those who work with them in Children’s and youth activities at this time. We sincerely hope and pray that we can return to some kind of normality in this work after the summer holidays.

We pray too for the baptismal service taking place next Sunday asking that You would bless it and speak to each one of us about our own commitment to You at this time.

We now pray silently for anyone else known to us who is in need of our prayers at this time…..

We pray also for our own needs…

We bring all these prayers before you in Jesus’ name, Amen

Bible Reading John 1:35-46:

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are You staying?’ 39 ‘Come,’ He replied, ‘and you will see.’ So they went and saw where He was staying, and they spent that day with Him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter). 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ 46‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.

Before we come to listen to God’s Word we will sing: ‘How shall they hear’

The Message

John 1:35-46 Taking opportunities for sharing our faith in Jesus

Introduction

What is the best good news you have heard today or in the last few weeks? In a more traditional in-person service in church where we are altogether I might even have asked if anyone wanted to give examples of good news they or others had received in the recent past. We are aware that good news has been in short supply since the pandemic began last year, but it is so good to hear of people’s good news stories. In our congregation as I write this message, I can think of recent examples of health improvements, success in passing university exams or the achievement of passing a driving test. For me the good news of this last week was the opportunity of being able to visit my mother in person for the first time since last July. It is so easy to give a long list of difficulties and challenges that so many people are facing at this time, but we must take encouragement when we ourselves or others receive some good news. The greatest good news we possess is the gospel of Jesus. At a time when so many people are struggling to retain hope for better days in the future, we have something to offer to share with them. In Mark’s Gospel we read these words in Mark 1:14-16:  After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 ‘The time has come,’ He said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’

Many Jewish people of that day who were earnestly seeking to live for God had been so encouraged by the powerful ministry of John the Baptist. Vast crowds had turned out to hear him preach even in remote places in the desert and baptismal services were common. It was such an uplifting time as people shared their stories of faith in God and their desire to follow Him more closely in the coming days. Yet Mark 1:14 contains some really bad news: John was put in prison. How could good news come out of this situation? Prayers for John’s release and resumption of ministry would be shattered by his brutal killing on the orders of a corrupt monarch Herod. Yet Mark writes here: After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. There are many times when we may only see bad news and difficulties, but God is not confined. He can make a way through the obstacles that appear to hinder the progress of the work of His people. We must not allow the problems we face to cause us to give up hope, but instead to remember we are the people who have the best good news available to share with other people around us. It is in the most difficult times like the present that we need to be asking how can I communicate something of my faith with other people this even this week? Don’t worry about the ‘how’ – we simply ask the Lord to provide opportunities and over time as we do that we will see opportunities open up to us. The challenge to us is always this: what kind of witness am I for Him? How effective has my witness been this year? And how can I be more effective as a witness in the coming months and years, if the Lord grants me this amount of time. In John’s Gospel chapter one there is a record of the first disciples of Jesus coming both to follow Him together with their first attempts to invite others close to them to follow Jesus as well. What is clear from this passage is that there is more than one way to share our faith and communicate the gospel of God. Here it could be stated that there are four different methods on display.

1. The Preached Word (John 1:35-39)

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, “Rabbi‟ (which means “Teacher‟), “where are you staying?‟  39 “Come,‟ He replied, “and you will see.‟ So they went and saw where He was staying, and they spent that day with Him. It was about four in the afternoon.

(a) An unpopular calling The apostle Paul in I Corinthians 1:21 stated: For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. In Corinth or Athens the cool way to attract a crowd was the philosophical lecture. Preaching was anything but cool and looked down on by in the ‘in-crowd’ 2000 years ago. Times have changed and new phenomena attract the masses for their public entertainment. Cock-fighting and bear-baiting are thankfully banned and hopefully soon the brutal sport of bull-baiting in Spain may go the same way. Today it may be the theatre or the cinema, sports facilities or social media websites where large numbers of the general public may be found. However, whatever is ‘in’ in one generation may not be so favoured a few generations later. What is constant over the generations has been the preaching of God’s Word. We now live in the internet age and especially in the midst of a virus pandemic have been particularly grateful for the opportunities it has provided to proclaim the good news of Jesus. In I Corinthians 9 Paul spoke about taking the opportunities presented to him. I am thankful to have had opportunities in different online formats including Facebook to give short messages of the good news of the gospel. Sometimes there appears to be little response and then at other times real encouragements from feedback from other Christians and even engagement with people of other faiths. The numbers of people who responded to the message have varied at different times in history, but God has not changed. The apostle didn’t change his message because it was deemed unfashionable. Humanity has never wanted to believe in the seriousness of the problem of sin; humanity never wanted to hear that only through the shedding of the blood of Jesus could they be made whole; humanity has never been thrilled that the good news is a gospel of grace to the undeserving. Yet over these centuries God has used ordinary ministers of the Gospel, together with great evangelists such as George Whitfield and John Wesley in the eighteenth century; D.L. Moody and Asahel Nettleton (USA) in the nineteenth; Billy Graham or Luis Palau in the twentieth centuries to proclaim this gospel pointing people to Jesus. Yet when people visibly respond it is usually the culmination of a process of God at work in their lives.

(b)Our personal responsibility Here it was the third day of a momentous week. On day one (John 1:19-28) the Jewish religious establishment had sent representative to quiz John as to whether he believed he was the Messiah. He gave the expected answer that he was not that person, but the detailed questioning of him in front of his followers must have caused them to think about what kind of person qualified to be the Messiah if it was not John? On the second day (John 1:29-34) the Lord Jesus Himself showed up at one of John’s meetings. John 1:29- 34 records John’s testimony on that occasion: The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.‟ 32 Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told  me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.” 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.’ John was pointing people to Jesus. ‘Turn to Him’ is in essence what preaching is about. His closest disciples are listening carefully and are probably shocked at this pronouncement. After all John the Baptist drew the biggest crowds of thousands of people to his services, whereas this quietly spoken rabbi from Galilee might have as few as twelve disciples with Him on a journey. Yet John makes these extraordinary claims about Jesus. He is preparing the way for his followers in time to leave him and follow Jesus. There was no visible response that day. Instead these men were left with plenty to think about. Your witness and mine at times will do that. Sometimes from a seed of truth being sown to a person’s profession of faith there can be many years of reflection and struggle prior to their conversion. What is at issue here is that John was willing to step out in faith in public and proclaim these truths. Yet it didn’t happen just once, John continued faithfully to declare the truth. In John 1:35-36 he repeated the message: The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!‟ We will never know how many times it will take before a friend or family member or work colleague comes to Christ. However, it might be only one more invitation they need, will you be prepared to give it?

(c) The joy of conversions Then the response to Jesus in John 1:37-39: When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, “Rabbi‟ (which means “Teacher‟), “where are you staying?‟ 39 ‘Come’, He replied, ‘and you will see.’ There is no joy like that when someone we have prayed for trusts the Lord Jesus. There are increasing challenges we cannot deny as our society becomes more secular and the knowledge gap and the lack of experience of prior church connections becomes a bigger issue. However, God is still at work in this land. Billy Richards aged twenty-six together with a small team of other people planted a new church in Slough in 1943 and stayed until his unexpected death in 1974 aged fifty-seven. They saw by conversion growth and by their own admission old fashioned methods of evangelism a congregation of 600 members established, with over 1,000 children attending their twenty-eight children’s and youth clubs in the district. It took place in a social context where almost every other Evangelical Church was struggling to reach new people for Christ [Grant Mason, ‘Old Time Religion in a New-Fashioned Way’, in SCH57, p. 352]. Last year in 2020, according to a brief news item on PremierChristiannews.com a Baptist church in Kent saw more than a hundred professions of faith during a very different kind of mission week. I don’t know any details of what happened but God is at work in our land. The timescale is in God’s hands, but we must have an expectancy of God at work in people’s lives and a willingness to be creative in seeking to find ways of praying for others and in seeking to share our faith with them. The personal challenge must be faced: Who are you praying for seriously just now? Do you retain a hope and expectancy for this person or these persons coming to Christ? I trust we will. Or are you participating in some form of our service today and in need of taking this step for the first time and now choosing to follow Jesus? Please don’t delay if that is you. Here the emphasis has been on public proclamation of the truth whether one-to-one or in formal meetings. Yet John records a second method of witness here.

2. The Personal Influence (John 1:40-42)

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas‟ (which, when translated, is Peter) The Gospel is never just for ourselves it is always for other people as well. Those who are nearest and dearest to us also need to hear the good news. (a)The impulse of a brother’s heart Andrew was so overcome with the blessings of knowing Jesus that the first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him…(John 1:41). So often in our evangelistic planning we emphasise reaching person ‘x’ who might walk in unexpectedly ‘from the street’. It is good to be concerned about strangers, but between 80-90% of people who trust the Lord have Christian family members or have a friend or work colleague who is a Christian and who has lived the faith and maybe shared with them about their need of Jesus. Andrew retained this evangelistic heart over the years. In John 6:8 he saw the potential of contacting a boy with a lunch of loaves and small fish. In John 12:20-22 it states: Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Andrew and here also Philip another evangelist at heart were always on the lookout for people who needed to meet Jesus. Oh that the Lord might give each of us a heart like Andrew for people.

(b) The message from a brother’s lips and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ) (John 1:41). I suspect they had had many previous conversations about God and trusting Him, but now was a special moment when God prompted Andrew to act. Are we open to God’s prompting of us to trust Him with our lives and our words and speak a word at the appropriate time for Him? Usually these things take years longer than we would like. Here the response seems very quick, but probably this is the last of many conversations between Andrew and his brother Peter about spiritual things.

(c) The reward of a brother’s devotion Simon Peter came to Jesus but had absolutely no idea what Jesus had in store for him. Had this accident-prone fisherman with foot-in-mouth disease got any idea of what following Jesus entailed? Almost certainly not! He was no different from us in that respect. Jesus would work on Peter’s rough edges and envisaged him years down the line as a ‘rock’. The Lord does the same with each of His spiritual children. He sees us not as we are just now, but what by God’s grace we can become as we yield our lives to Him and follow by faith. Behind the preacher on the Day of Pentecost was a faithful brother who loved him enough to share Jesus with him. Is there someone on your heart and mind that you love too much to not miss the opportunity to mention Jesus to them? May each of us be like Andrew in this regard!

3. The Direct Appeal (John 1:43-44)

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. (a) Direct Supernatural intervention There are no human intermediaries here. Jesus speaks directly to Philip on the next day of this extraordinary week in the lives of the followers of John the Baptist. Philip had not been seeking Jesus, but Jesus sought and touched Him. There are examples of people being converted this way. A couple of decades ago in Liverpool a pastor recorded the extraordinary story of the conversion of a couple of unchurched people who had come to faith and joined the church he pastored. They had shown no interest in church or in becoming followers of Jesus. It was an ordinary Sunday morning. The husband had asked his wife to purchase the Sunday paper. She was away a long time. God met with her on the way to the paper shop and she ended up in that church where, after the service, she committed her life to Christ. Time had passed and she wondered what on earth her husband would think coming home with Jesus but no Sunday paper! Meanwhile at home the husband had sat down to watch the TV as normal on his Sunday routine. While he was watching television God convicted him of his sin and there in his own lounge with not another person in sight he committed his life to the Lord. Now he wondered what his wife would think when she returned home with the newspaper to a man who had previous shown no interest in God! How I wish it was always so simple, but it isn’t. (b) The use of Visions and Dreams In North Africa where Islam is overwhelmingly predominant many of the growing numbers of Christians have been converted through visions and dreams of Jesus meeting with them and bringing them to faith. Usually these are people who had never met a Christian and did not know where to find one. There are others who have been converted through access to the gospel on Christian TV or Radio, but that’s another story. However, the point here is that God can reach people in the most amazing of ways. He is not restricted to particular methods of evangelism or means of presenting the faith. Be encouraged to keep on praying for people you know who need Jesus, but who may have no contacts with Christians that you know of where they live. God can meet with them in the most remarkable of ways. Jesus called Philip as he was but to an extraordinary calling as a Christian Evangelist in the Early Church. Maybe Philip had no idea of this in those first years of following Jesus, but in time the gifts for that calling became self-evident to all concerned. Remember God deals with each of us as individuals. First this may be true in the manner of our conversion; secondly it may be true in the way He leads us to follow Him as His disciples. The calling you have from the Lord is unique to you, because God begins working in your life where He finds you, but with the intention of transforming you to be like your Lord and Saviour. Be encouraged in your witness and have great expectations of God at work in you and other people for their good and for His glory.

4. The Personal Testimony (John 1:45-46)

45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ 46”Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? ‟ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see’, said Philip.

(a)The invitations of people not yet Christians Who can be a good witness for the Lord? Anyone! It doesn’t even have to be a Christian. There are people who will invite others to meetings at church who are unconverted. In another church I know a member when unconverted as a teenager invited a similarly unconverted friend to a special service not so that they might be saved, but so as to have someone to talk to during the service and not get bored that evening. God had other ideas and their friend came to Christ. I think of a pastor’s daughter who called herself the black sheep of the family because she had no time for church or Christian things. She and her husband had a close friendship with another couple who spent weekends in heavy drinking sessions as their social life. The friend remarked one day that she and her partner wanted to get married but were not sure how to go about it. Her pal said my dad could help you he’s a minister. The advice was taken. Soon after a meeting was arranged but her friend quickly became more interested in finding about Christians believed, why they went to church and what a minister did with his time! The wedding duly happened but shortly prior to it the friend committed her life to Christ. I am aware that there are a small number of people who take one of the versions of our service through the invitation of others outside our church. We serve an amazing God. Who said that only believers could invite others to find out about Jesus?  Who said God was restricted only to using those already Christians to extend His kingdom and fulfil His purposes in the world.

(b) The testimonies of followers of Jesus Few of us can be public apologists like David Robertson or internationally like William Lane Craig. There are others too who have great ministries in these areas. However, what each of us does have as Christians is our own story. No-one can deny the fact of what God has done in your life. John tells us of Philip sharing his testimony in John 1:45-46: 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ 46”Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?‟ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip. Our calling is not complicated; it is to pass on what we have received. What the other person does with the good news is their responsibility. Too often we underestimate what difference a few words can make. Are you willing to be open to the Lord using you this week, this month, this year? Thank God for the openness of John the Baptist and his disciples 2,000 years ago. Fast forward to today the calling is given to you and to me –may we be found faithful in passing on the good news to other people, for Jesus’ sake, Amen

Our song before we come to communion is: ‘’O happy day that fixed my choice’

The Lord’s Supper

Jesus invites all Christian who have committed their lives to follow Him to participate in this act of worship. The apostle Paul wrote these words of Scripture in I Corinthians 11:23-26 to guide our observance of Communion.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 

Prayer: Choose your own words of prayer to give thanks for the bread and wine that represent the costly gift of His body and blood for us.

Take the bread: Jesus said: ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Take the wine: Jesus said: This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’

Our closing song is: ‘Go forth and tell’

Closing Prayer:

 Lord, We thank You for this time in Your presence today. We are deeply thankful for all that You have done for us since the day we put our faith and trust in You. Help us this week through our attitudes, words and actions to show something of Your amazing love and grace to others. Help us to be sensitive to listening to Your prompting and guidance in the choices we make as we enter another new week. We brings our prayers in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Benediction:  The Grace

Church at Home – 23 May 2021

With Helen and Wit Boondeekhun from Thailand

JAM Kids’ focus: The Virtual Sunday School

JAM young adults have a separate programme JAM 11:30am to 12:30pm Please contact Gary Torbet on garytorbet@btinternet.com for more details of today’s programme.

This service is led today by Moraig Piggot with special guests Helen and Wit Boondeekhun, BMS-supported church-planters in Thailand.

Call to worship: Psalm 96:1-4a:

Our opening song of praise and worship is: ‘Open the eyes of my heart’

Opening Prayer:

Thank you Lord for this new opportunity to gather to worship and honour Your holy name.  We want to echo the words of the Psalmist who wrote: Sing to the Lord, praise His name;  proclaim His salvation day after day.Declare His glory among the nations, His marvellous deeds among all peoples.For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

We are deeply thankful for all our blessings in this deeply troubled world in which we live. We are optimistic that in our own country there will be a further easing of pandemic restrictions in the coming weeks and are so grateful that so many people have taken care to act responsibly during this past year. Thank you that many of us have now been able to visit or meet with members of our families or close friends from whom we had been separated for some time.

Most of all, we thank you Lord, that You have been our anchor through these uncertain and unsettling times. Meet with us today as we seek Your guidance for our lives from the Bible, at the start of another new week. Cleanse us from our sins and fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit as we seek to shine as lights for You in the midst of the dark clouds of challenges that still have to be worked through in the coming days. We bring our prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen 

Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:

This time tomorrow  video talk of their work from  Wit and Helen Boondeekhun

Our next song is: ‘From heaven You came’

Prayers for others

Heavenly Father, 

Thank You that at the start of another new week we can turn to You with both our praises and our petitions because You take delight in hearing our prayers.

We pray Your blessing and guidance upon each one of us as we live out our faith at school, college or university; in the workplace or in other places this coming week. Help us to remain true to the faith we believe in the way we live out our faith. Help us to be people of integrity who reflect the character and way of life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We also continue to pray for the young people preparing for their National 5s / Higher & Advanced Higher, or College / University assessments or exams. We pray that they may know Your peace at this time. We pray too for the staff who will mark or grade them, and hope that the approach taken will be both fair and appropriate for all concerned at the end of a difficult academic year.

We pray for our Baptist Union convenor and two of our churches:

We pray for our convenor of the Baptist Union Frances Bloomfield as she chairs various national meetings of our Baptist Union and who has also been representing us at the Church of Scotland Annual Assembly last week  

Dumfries BC – In recent weeks, lockdown, coupled with the deaths of a number of their church family, one of which was to Covid19, has been a blow to this congregation. They are living out Romans 12:15 and ‘mourning with those who mourn’, but not without hope! We pray with them for those who are mourning the loss of loved ones.  In the midst of this they are encouraged through their virtual online activities and services. They are particularly excited about their Alpha and Christianity Explored courses as well as the Church Centre Sports Hall being used as a Vaccination Centre. We give thanks with them that they can bear witness to Jesus through this activities. 

Duncan Street BC, Edinburgh – They are praising God that He has blessed them in many ways over the past twelve months through the preaching, praying and ministering of the fellowship. They ask us to pray that He would help then to love the people in their communities well and that they would faithfully live and speak that message of hope that they find in Jesus.

We come to pray for the needs in our own congregation:

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for those who have been nominated for election as deacons at this time and pray for Your blessing on them. Guide and direct us as a church family as this process is completed in the coming weeks. We do thank You for all those who serve as Deacons or in other ministry positions in church life, that each one of us may know Your wisdom and guidance as we serve in Your name.

We pray too Your blessing upon Claire McNutt and those who work with her in our Children and Families’ work, and upon Rev Gary Torbet and the youth work team as they seek to respond to the slight easing of restrictions for our work with younger people. Likewise we pray that You would grant us wisdom as a church as we seek to adjust to the changing environment for our work and witness in the coming months.  

We continue to remember quite a number of people in our church and others known to us who have ongoing health issues.

We pray for the people whom we cannot visit in residential care, and others who are at home on their own, together with others in our church family who are feeling the effects of increasing age and infirmity…

We now pray silently for anyone else known to us who is in need of our prayers at this time…..

We pray also for our own needs…

We also pray Your blessing on the Prayer courses taking place in the church at this time and ask that those of us participating in them may be enriched in our relationships with You.

We bring all these prayers before you in Jesus’ name, Amen

Bible Reading I Peter 2:1-12

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like new-born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 

10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

Before we come to listen to God’s Word let us sing: ‘Lord the light of Your love is shining’

The Message pre-recorded version from Wit Boondeekhun

The Message I Peter 2:12:  ‘Let your light shine’

Good morning. I am delighted to be able to share with you this morning.

First of all, thank you for your faithfulness in supporting us through prayers and finance. Thank God for your generous gift that we have received.

We thank God for his Word. In such a time like this, during the Covid crisis, we are facing many challenges, but God’s Word reminds us of what is important:

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2.12

Basically, God says that we should let our lives shine for Jesus. Live such a good life among those who do not know Jesus. Five years ago, we started our journey in going to plant a church amongst the indigenous Thai Buddhists, and we believe that He called us to live in the village of Wang Daeng, Uttaradit, Thailand. Thank God for his faithfulness to his promise, “Do not give up in doing good, if you don’t feel discouraged, when it’s the opportune time, you will reap the harvest.” Galatians 6.9, because now we have begun to see some fruit.

These are the questions we asked ourselves when we came to live in Wang Daeng:

Can people see Jesus in our lives?

Do we give honour and glory to Jesus in what we do and say?

The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy when he was a pastor at the church in Ephesus: “Command and teach these things. Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4.11-12

As for us, God calls us to bear fruit. Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15.16)

We can see which one is a good tree when we see its good fruit.

God wants our lives to be transformed, so that we can shine the light of Jesus to others.

There are three ingredients for shining the light of Jesus:

1. We need to have a passion for the lost, just as Jesus did when He wept over the city of Jerusalem. He came to seek for the lost. Like the parable of the lost sheep, He left the 99 and went out to find the one lost sheep.

BMS vision is: The highest goal of everything we say and do is to bring people to faith in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ and an experience the abundant life that only Jesus can provide.

When we meet with friends, neighbours, family or relatives, we should plan to share God’s love with them and tell them about the Good News.

2. We need to be motivated by God’s love. Paul says that God’s love compelled him to evangelise. Human love is limited but God’s love is limitless. God loves us to the end, even though the hardship and sacrifice that he had to make to die on the cross. I have asked the Lord ‘How many times do I need to forgive the people that I have reached out to?’ Because many times they accuse me of doing wrong, they reject me, or they refuse to listen to me because they know I am a Christian. If I was relying on my human love, I would have quit already, but God’s love that I ask him to keep pouring out on me, has enabled me to keep on loving. Here are some wonderful words from Amy Carmichael, a great missionary to India. She said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

3. We are to be peacemakers. Do not get into an argument. You will never win people through your argument. If you win arguments but you lose people – what’s the point? Just swallow up your pride, even though you may be right. Do not get mad or angry, when you are accused of doing wrong. People often try to find fault with us because they know that we are Christians, but thank God, He has protected us and blessed us to be a blessing to people.

Our purpose of being a follower of Jesus is to make Jesus known, and to bring Him glory. This means that people should be able to see Jesus in our lifestyle.

We need to live in such a way that those who know us, but do not know God, will come to know God, because they know us.

This should be our plan, to let our lives shine for God. Let us be ‘donkeys’ for Jesus. Lord please use us to be witnesses for you, to share God’s love with others, and to share the Good News of Jesus with others.

Lord, help us to have a passion for the lost, help us to be motivated by God’s love, and make us to be peacemakers for you.

We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our song before we come to communion is: ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’

The Lord’s Supper

Jesus invites all Christian who have committed their lives to follow Him to participate in this act of worship. The apostle Paul wrote these words of Scripture in I Corinthians 11:23-26 to guide our observance of Communion.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 

Prayer: Choose your own words of prayer to give thanks for the bread and wine that represent the costly gift of His body and blood for us.

Take the bread: Jesus said: ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Take the wine: Jesus said: This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’

Our closing song is: ‘To God be the glory’

Closing Prayer:

Thank You Lord that You have called us to live our daily lives in such a way that other people may see our good deeds and glorify God. Thank You for this reminder that our attitudes, speech and action should be honouring to You. Strengthen us by the aid of the Holy Spirit to live this way in the coming week, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen 

Benediction:  The Grace