This Sunday we join with the Baptist Assembly for their Sunday Service along with Baptist Churches throughout the country. The service starts at 10-30am and will be broadcast live. Please click on the link below to connect you with YouTube which should come active a few minutes beforehand.
Welcome to our Ascension Service, alos the start of Thy Kingdome Come for 2021. This service will premiere at 7-30pm on Ascension Day, 13th May and will be available for 28 days. The service is 33 minutes long.
Please note that all the notices for the week ate at the end of the video this week, so do hang on after the blessing. At the very end of the video, Pete Greig introduces us to a free daily devotional resource that equips you to pray the Bible each morning and night called Lectio 365. Find out more about the app: 24-7prayer.com/lectio365.
For Discussion & Reflection
1. In God on Mute, Pete Greig talks about our tendency to “rush the resurrection”; to “leapfrog Holy Saturday”; to tidy up the mess too fast. What is it that makes waiting with unresolved questions such a hard thing to do? 2. People often say that God’s timing is perfect. Do you agree with this? Why does he sometimes seem so slow? 3. In God on Mute Pete Greig says that “God’s silence is not his absence but rather his presence in another form”. In what ways have you experienced God’s presence in the midst of silence in the past? 4. In the midst of your pain and silence, have there been moments where you have been able to say, like Elie Wiesel, “There is God?” 5. Pete Greig shares about the significance of developing spiritual muscle memory to carry us through the darker and more difficult times of life. What does this mean for you? What ‘holy habits’ have you cultivated – or would you like to cultivate – in your life? 6. The Bible articulates the reality of life; the pain and hope coming together. Are there any particular Bible passages that have sustained you during times of trial or struggle?
If you would like to attend the Baptist Assembly online next Weekend (13th to 16th May) then you can register on the Baptist Union website. Registration is free but you will be asked to make a donation of £10 towards costs which is optional. You do not have to register if you only plan to watch the service on Sunday 16th. The link for this is on the Service Page on this website for 16th May.
THY KINGDOM COME
Please look at the index top right for information about Thy Kingdom Come 2021 at MRBC which includes the Zoom links.
This Sunday it’s the third instalment in the Unanswered Prayer Course, as well as our monthly Communion Service. Service premieres at 10-30am and will be available on demand for about 28 days afterwards.
As in the two previous weeks, we do not have a full transcript of the course video, but hopefully the items for discussion and reflection, and the readings will help you to get a flavour of the session.
Bible passages from the session: Mark 15:33-34, John 14:12, Genesis 17:17-22, Ephesians 6:10-17
On the cross Jesus asks God “Why have you forsaken me?” Can you describe a time that you felt abandoned or deserted by God when you needed him most?
God’s will: In the book of Isaiah, God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Isaiah 55:8)
Looking back on past disappointments, does anyone have an example of a time when God knew best, even though you didn’t think so at the time? Why do we find it so hard to trust God?
God’s world: Pete Greig quotes C.S. Lewis saying that, “the very conception of a common, and therefore stable, world demands that [miracles] should be extremely rare.” Do you agree with this? Should we pray less for miracles or simply trust more when our prayers aren’t answered the way we want?
Is it possible for a tragedy not to be God’s ‘fault’? Do you agree with Pete Greig’s statement that we tend to blame God for things that are Satan’s doing? Does anyone have an experience of spiritual warfare that they can share?
Pete Greig says that “it’s possible to trust even when we don’t understand”. Pray for one another if you are able to do that with someone. As you do so, you may find it helpful to remember God’s words to the apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9)
Today we’ve tried to understand better the things we can, and to trust better when we can’t understand. Here’s a prayer of relinquishment written by George Macdonald. It’s not an easy prayer but you may like to open your hands as a sign of surrender.
Afresh I seek thee, lead me—once more I pray— Even should it be against my will, thy way. Let me not feel thee foreign any hour, Or shrink from thee as an estranged power. Through doubt, through faith, through bliss, through stark dismay, Through sunshine, wind, or snow, or fog, or shower, Draw me to thee who art my only day.Amen
Our Prayer Meeting will be at 9-30am on Zoom. Steve has circulated the Zoom connection details. Please email us if you need them. The prayer points we will be considering are below and are also on the printable document below if you need a hard copy.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Give thanks for the success of the vaccine rollout and its effectiveness.
Pray that vaccines may be rolled out quickly in other lands too and that countries will be willing to share resources to help get vaccines to poorer countries.
Pray particularly for India that they will get the help they need quickly.
Give thanks that restrictions are being lifted and pray that people will use their new freedoms responsibly.
Give thanks for successful CTF Easter services given the restrictions in place. Pray that those challenged by what they saw and heard will link up with those who will help nurture then in their faith.
Pray for the CTF Steering Group as they explore what possibility there is of holding a Praise on the Prom this year.
Pray for The Compass that they will get the resources they need to meet the demands they they are already receiving to help others, and that they will get their charitable status rapidly.
Pray for the other Christian organisations in Felixstowe – Boost, Hope Trust, Seafarers’ Centre/Chaplains, BASIC Pop-Up Shops, CAP, Town Pastors. They are all in varying states of being up and running and each need to explore how their ministries now unfold in the light of the pandemic.
Pray for the forthcoming local elections for County Councillors and Police and Crime Commissioner.
As the new housing estates start to appear, pray that both our church and our neighbours may respond creatively and in unity with the challenge of sharing Jesus with our new neighbours.
Please pray for Walton Parish Nursing, particularly for the practicalities of re-opening their activities in mid-May. Pray too for those in No Label that have continued to meet during Lockdown. Pray for John as he runs his Half Marathon this morning. Pray for Lorna John, the volunteers and clients.
Give thanks for the Unanswered Prayer Course and for the way it is challenging us to understand more of God’s ways and help us to trust Him and allow ourselves to trust Him even though we can’t see where the outcome is.
Pray for Thy Kingdom Come, that God will lead us to those we should be praying for and to help us to focus our prayers during the 10 days of TKC on what our mission is in this community. Please pray that all of us may draw something positive from the coming weeks that will deepen our faith and prepare us for the changes coming up in June.
Give thanks for the opportunity to reopen at the end of June. May we know the Lord’s guidance as to how and when we reopen our activities and what form they may take in the future. Pray particularly for the forthcoming May Church Meeting, that as a church we will deal wisely with these issues and seek the Lord’s will in all things.
Pray for forthcoming activities – the remaining Unanswered Prayer sessions – the Baptist Assembly Service on 16th May – Thy Kingdom Come including the Ascension Service (13th May), Midday Prayers, CTF Community Prayers on 17th and Pentecost Sunday on 23rd May.
Pray for those in our fellowship who need prayer at this time.
John, our Parish Nursing Mental Health Nurse is runing a half marathon this coming Saturday 1st May, do pray for him and possibly even come out to cheer him. He is running to raise funds for Walton Parish Nursing. Any donations would be gratefully acceptedhttps://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/john-gillett-2
STOP PRESS! 9th May 2021 – John’s total is now £465 (his target was £150) so many thanks to all who have donated in aid of WPN.
The route is below:
Setting off from MAIDSTONE ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH at 10.00 a.m.
To High Street/Road West passing ST. MARY’S CHURCH.
Along Seaton Road passing SEATON ROAD METHODIST CHURCH.
Left at roundabout along Maidstone Road/Grange Road.
Along Mill Lane to Garrison Lane.
Along Garrison Lane back to High Road West.
High Road West/ High Road East/ Cliff Road to Ferry Road.
Turning around back along Cliff Road and down to the promenade via Golf Road and Maybush Lane.
Along Promenade as far as Orford Road.
Orford Road to Langer Road.
Langer Road/Carr Road to View Point Road.
Down View Point Road to look at the sea again!
Back to Langer Road. Along Langer Road / Garrison Lane to Mill Lane.
Mill Lane to Grange Road/ Maidstone Road as far as Seaton Road.
Seaton Road passing SEATON ROAD METHODIST CHURCH to High Rd/Street
High Road passing ST. MARY’S CHURCH.
As far along High Street/Road as necessary to ensure complete 13.1 miles and
RETURN TO MAIDSTONE ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH !
John is hoping the complete the run in two and a half hours.
This is the second in a series of five special services based around 24-7 Prayer’s Unanswered Prayer Course, with Pete Greig of 24-7 prayer, presenter Gemma Hunt and special guest Simon Thomas, ex-Blue Peter prsenter. Sorry, there is only an outline in the Service Transcript again, but do think through the Items for Reflection and Discussion. It premieres at 10-30am on Sunday 25th April and will be available on demand for 28 days.
Unanswered Prayer is one of two courses produced by 24-7 Prayer to help us draw closer to God through prayer and you can find further details, as well as information about the main Prayer Course which Pete referes to in the video, at https://prayercourse.org/
Pete also has a book called God on Mute from which most of the themes in Prayer Unanswered are drawn. There are paperback, Kindle and audiobook versions available on Amazon https://amzn.to/32lWXsw. The paperback version is also available from all good Christian bookshops. Chapters 2 to 6 cover today’s theme.
For Reflection & Discussion
Bible passages from the session Mark 14:32-37, Psalm 23, Romans 5:3-4
1. What did you find most helpful, inspiring or challenging in what Pete Greig, Gemma Hunt and Simon Thomas shared? 2. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus shares with his friends that “[His] soul is overwhelmed to the point of death” – what are the barriers or obstacles you face when sharing honestly or openly with friends? Would anyone be willing to share about a time in which their soul felt ‘overwhelmed’? 3. What happens to your prayer life when you are feeling overwhelmed or upset? What do you notice that you do differently? 4. Pete Greig says, “God does not leave us to suffer alone” – is this something that you have experienced? Where has God met you in your suffering? 5. Do you think that it’s possible for everyone to find a purpose in – or in spite of – their pain?
Finally, Pete Greig talks about the holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl and the importance of finding some kind of purpose in spite of our pain. Take a minute or two in the silence to reflect on an area of suffering you have experienced, consider ways in which you have been able to find – or might be able to find – some kind of purpose in it or in spite of it.
You may find this prayer helpful:
Lord, help me to stand today. Temptations and trials abound. When life hurts, I get confused, dishonest, suspicious, and critical. I put on the belt of truth. When life hurts, my relationships suffer—especially my relationship with You. I put on the breastplate of righteousness. When life hurts, I either get really lazy or I make myself really busy. I put on the shoes of the gospel. When life hurts, I let down my guard and leave myself exposed. I take up the shield of faith. When life hurts, my thinking gets negative and I question everything. I put on the helmet of salvation. When life hurts, I’m a coward. I take hold of the sword of the Word. Lord, it doesn’t feel very “finished” down here. I don’t feel very “finished’. See me kneeling. Help me stand.
– taken from God on Mute, by Pete Greig, chapter 10
Today we have the first in our Unanswered Prayer series with Pete Greig of 24-7 prayer and presenter Gemma Hunt. Sorry, there is only an outline sermon in the Service Transcript this week, but do think through the Items for Reflection and Discussion.
As usual the Sunday Service will premiere at 10-30am and will be available on demand for about 28 days afterwards.
Unanswered Prayer is one of two courses produced by 24-7 Prayer to help us draw closer to God through prayer and you can find further details, as well as information about the main Prayer Course at https://prayercourse.org/
Pete also has a book called God on Mute from which most of the themes in Prayer Unanswered are drawn. There are paperback, Kindle and audiobook versions available on Amazonhttps://amzn.to/32lWXsw. The paperback version is also available from all good Christian bookshops.
For Reflection & Discussion
Read Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 5:3-5
1. Pete Greig said that we need to talk about unanswered prayer for three reasons: emotional, intellectual and cultural. Which feels most relevant to you at the present moment as you begin this series?
2. The words of Jesus in the book of Matthew teach us to expect blessing in the midst of challenges – how does this encourage (or discourage!) you in your faith?
3. Pete says that “there’s so much faking it” at church. If you could ask God one totally honest question about something you find difficult in your life, what would it be?
4. When have you experienced a ‘winter season’ in your relationship with God? How did it affect your faith?
5. What, practically, do you think is needed for persevering in faith and prayer through the ‘winter seasons’ of life?
Please note that this service was recorded before the sad news of the death of HRH Prince Philip and so doesn’t appear as a prayer item on the video. We pray for the Royal Family at this time that they may be comforted at this time of loss.
Items for Reflection and Discussion
Read Deuteronomy 8:6-14
1. Dependence on God and respect for His laws and His creation are a fundamental part of the establishment of the Israelites in Canaan. Failure to do so was not only a moral disaster but an environmental one too. How can we as Christians bring biblical values into our own thinking and action on climate change and environmental issues?
2. The current climate crisis had been put down directly to climate change caused by human activity. Governments are trying to come together to address the problem. Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the outcome of efforts to curb global warming? On what do you base your hopes and fears? Where can the Gospel be transformative in this situation?
3. Knowing that when Jesus returns, he is going to sort out creation issues, what should our role be as God’s people today in promoting care for God’s creation?