A word from Glenn
Hi I'm Glenn and I want to welcome you
to Edgeside Baptist Church.
The job of a Christian minister is a very varied one. In any given week a minister is likely to relate to people of all ages from young children to those well advanced in years. A minister will also engage in tasks of leading public Worship to setting out chairs. From attending and often chairing business meetings to visiting the sick in hospitals: On and of course writing for the church magazine!
One of the tasks of a minister that most dreaded before becoming a minister was that of leading funerals. Bereavement is of course a difficult time and having to engage with and support and then offer something of value to grieving relatives is not likely to be easy one.
Now that I have a number of funerals under my belt as they say, the task doesn't seem quite as daunting. There is still a lot of pressure involved to get things right and I still dread the thought of making some of the mistakes that some of my minister friends have made
These include getting the deceased's name wrong or the name of the mourning spouse. Being at the front of the church with the service about to start and realising you have left your notes somewhere else. Going to the wrong crematorium and worse still getting the time of the funeral wrong and not even turning up.
One of the things that the experience of ministering at funeral has taught me is that it is an honour to be tasked with the opportunity to tell the stories of people's lives and to relate prayers and readings and even a message to their story. It is a task that I take very seriously and have a desire to do a good job. Weather there be hundreds listening or just few people. What motivates me is to bless the nice to receive encourage comments from those who were listening. memory of the person and to do their story justice. It is
At one funeral, of a person who had suffered from mental health in later years, one person said you have made me realise I never really knew the real person. Another comment that I had done a very good job with very little material in relating the service to the deceased's life. Maybe one day in eternity I will meet some of the folks whose funerals I conducted, I wonder what they will say, I hope they will be pleased.
I have got stories on my mind at the moment. Earlier today! actually conducted a funeral and the story of the deceased is still fresh on my mind.
By the time you read this our Capernwray student team of 2020 will have visited and completed their 10 day outreach with us, but as I write we are actually awaiting their arrival. The students will have a number opportunities to share about their lives and tell people their stories. The reason we will give the student t opportunity to share, is that stories can be very powerful, they can influence people and inspire people. Which of course is why Jesus did much of his teaching using stories.
Have you ever thought about how our stories can influence and encourage others? I wonder what stories you have to share with others from your life. Stories of how you dealt with a difficult situation, such as bereavement, depression, debt, sickness, can be very helpful to those going though similar circumstances. Also telling the story of our journey to faith can encourage others to examine and maybe begin a journey of faith themselves.
What do you think of Christmas? Are you one of those that enjoys all the excitement and build up. Christmas markets, shopping, carol services, Christmas trees and decorations. Christmas movies and pop songs. Wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards. Or do you perhaps find it all a bit much and perhaps you find the event itself a little bit of anti-climax.
I think at Edgeside Baptist we probably fall into the first camp. We have lots of activities around the Christmas season, so unless you fall very strongly in to the second camp I am sure you will find something that will interest you at the church. A coach trip to Skipton ChristmasMarket, Carols on the Railway, Christmas Meals, Traditional Carol Services, Messy Christmas, Christmas Family Services. All with lots ofChristmas trimmings. We would love you to join us so check out the information in the magazine to find out more.It is possible to fully enjoy Christmas yet have no understanding of what Christmas is really about. Many will never think about why we have this season. Often people tell me that Christmas is for the children or for enjoying yourself. I partly agree, I do intend to enjoy Christmas with my 6 year old granddaughter, but actually Christmas is about something even greater than that. Others reading may want to remind me that the Christmas season was originally yuletide and pre-dates Christ. That may be true, but it would actually miss the poin tI want to make. For the record Christmas is actually believed to have been celebrated for the first time in 336AD under the Roman Emperor#who took the already celebrated winter festival and began
o Christianise it. As the name suggest it was first celebrated as a Catholic Mass the Christ Mass. This is the basic story of the beginning
Christmas. Constantine had converted to Christianity after he had had a dream about Christ helping him gain control of the RomanEmpire in 312AD. The idea that Christ was actually involved in hismilitary battle actually seems very contrary to the Christ revealedwhat the significance of Christ's birth really is, is perhaps in doubt can affirm that Christmas is about Christ's birth. festival as a celebration and recognition of Christ's birth. So we However, what he did was begin the Christianisation of the winter The story of the earthly life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has been referred to as the greatest story ever told. it does ofcourse begin with the Christmas story of Jesus' birth to a virgincalled Mary, in the town of Bethlehem possibly in a cave where the animals were kept. A story with n shepherds and choirs of Angels. However, the real significance of Christ's birth, is notthe story some of us know so well; but it is that Jesus Christ came to earth sent by the father in heaven to be a saviour. As scripturesays "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and orly Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but haveeternal life". This is the real significance of Christmas the real meaning of Christmas. That God sent as saviour to the world and by believing in his sacrifice on the cross of Calvary and hisresurrection some 33 years after his birth we can gain eternal life. This makes Christmas so much more important than anyenjoyment or any pre-Christmas festivals.
Bringing to mind
that observing the 5" Novernber was actually enforced by an act Remember, remember the 5" of November. I wonder if you knew of parliament. It had of course to do with thanking God for house of Lords. It seems November is quite a month for protecting the king from Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up theremembering in the UK. It is often just a few days later on the second Sunday of the month that we commemorate remembrance Sunday when we remember and honour all who gave their lives in the world wars of the last century and conflicts since then. special service that we think all the family can enjoy and learn On Remembrance Sunday at Edgeside this year we will have a about remembrance. It will include recreating the gunfire of the war with fireworks followed by a minutes silence outside as we stand around the memorial garden. When we, in particular, will remember those from Edgeside Baptist Sunday school who gave their lives in the wars. Then indoor we will have opportunity to play a memory game, lay poppies and crosses, in remembrance of those who served in the wars that you remember. Including those who have passed away more recently long after service tothe nation. Also in the service will be an opportunity to remember that Jesus Christ also gave his live as a sin sacrifice for all who we will celebrate communion. This is in observance of what Christ said to do in remembrance of him. To remember according to the dictionary means to bring to mind again. This is exactly what we do in the times of remembrance referred to above whether it be the Guy Fawkes story orremembering those who have given their lives in war or conflict or partaking in a communion service. By remembering through participation in these annual events, we pass on history to our young people about the attempt to assassinate our King and blow up parliament and even more so those who laid down their lives in the quite recent past so they are not forgotten. However as a church minister I believe it is of supreme importance that we all so remember and pass on the great soof Jesus Christ who laid down his live for the forgiveness of sins of all people. The story we call the Gospel or Good news. I wonder do you know that story or is it already becoming a forgotten story. If you know it, do you understand how it is good news for you personally? This is a story that really should not be forgotten but one that should be remembered and thought about often. One that should be passed on so all have an opportunity to put their trust in Christ to save them from their sins.
As we look forward to Father's Day in a few weeks we will do so with a host of different feelings. I still remember Father's Days when my children were young and they would come into the bedroom in the
morning with cards and presents for me. I also remember spending Father's Day with my granddaughter for the first time. So there will bethose who look forward to the 16 June with great excitement. New dads, small children, and new granddads' for example. Others will
have become familiar with the occasion and it perhaps won't be quite so exciting, but a happy occasion never the less. I Myself will be celebrating my first Father's day since my own father past away. So for me this time the day will be filled with memories and at least a tinge of
sadness. Although I am not a young man myself and so consider myself fortunate to have had my Dad for such a long time. There will of course be those who will find the day very difficult. They may have
lost their father very young and the pain has still not gone away or they may be a father who has lost a child and Father's Day just re-enforces the pain. Still there will be others who have never known their father: or father's who, for whatever reason, are separated from theirchildren. Yes, Father's Day for many will be more of a day to get through, rather than celebrate. When Jesus was asked by the disciple to teach them to pray he began with a little phrase that most of us will be familiar with "Our Father" (Luke 11:2). These two words, spoken in the context they were, have a great deal of meaning to them.
Although there is a clear concept that God is a father in the Old Testament it wasn't so popular that people would actually refer to God as father and so when Jesus spoke these words t he was presenting a radical idea. Jesus was always talking about God as his father, even in his early days before he began his ministry he told Mary and Joseph that the temple was his father's house (Luke 2:49). But here he is going beyond that, he is saying that he is "our" father. This raises the question in what way is God our father? Well he is clearly the creator God and so in that sense he is the father of all who are part of his creation. However, I suspect Jesus was actually talking about a more personal relationship with the father than this. You see, he says "ourfather". Jesus is saying he is my father and your father. Jesus paramount importance to this because, as he said elsewhere, he is theway to the father. God is our father because we come to him through Christ. You see, he is my father and hopefully he is your father so together could say "our father". However, if I am removed from that statement, that is he is not my father, he would still be your father and visa versa. However, if somehow Christ was removed from thestatement, so God was not the father of Jesus, then he would not be our father either. It is in Jesus we are adopted as his children (Ephesians 1:5) and it is by receiving Jesus as our lord and placing our faith in Jesus that we become children of God (1 John 12:1). So when we come to God through Jesus we discover that God wants to be a father to us. We may find Father's Day joyful or difficult. But whatever the case may be, I pray that you will experience the love of our father, through faith in Jesus, this Father's Day.
The Empty Chair.
Living by Faith Not by Sight.
Mandy asked her pastor, James, to come and pray with her father Bob. When the minister arrived, he found
Bob lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. I guess you were expecting me Bob," he said."No. I was not expecting you," said Bob. "Who are you?". "I'm the new minister at your church," he replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up. "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door? "Puzzled, Pastor James shut the door."I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,"said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Bob, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. 'Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair, place a empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he ised, il be with you always. Then just speak and listen in the he way you are doing with me right now So, I tried it and I've liked it so mi at I do it a couple hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm. James was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with Bob, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon."Did he die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that? "Pastor James wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we all could go like that. We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Going to the nations by staying at home
One of the most famous verses in the Bible is Matthew 28:19
which says Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and the start of verse 20, which says "and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you", is what we refer to as the great commission.
It is the church obedience to this command and others like it that has led to the continuation of the Christian church for over 2000 years. So it is from those 11 disciples that received this commission "this task" that the church has grown to 2.2 billion people who identify as Christians today. We might say Identifyas disciples. It is of course, an on-going task received by the first disciples who were called to make more disciples and because making disciples is what Jesus commanded they are to teach new disciples to make more disciples. The Church is therefore meantto be disciples making disciples making disciples
It is probably also true that because of the translation into English we actually get a slightly misunderstanding of the original words of Jesus. In English we usually over emphasise the word "GO" when actually in the Greek, the language of the New Testament, it is a more passive word meaning as you go. Perhaps a better understanding of the great commission would as you continue to live your life make disciples; the emphasis in the Greek falls on the words make disciples. Also in the English we get the idea that there are three steps-number one make disciples, number two baptise them and number three teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. In the Greek however the emphasis remains on the term "Make disciple"baptising them and teaching them are really an explanation of how that is done.
It has been my great pleasure to be involved in Christian the task of making disciples by teaching them and baptising them. Thave led many baptismal candidates trough baptism classes over the years, hopefully leading them to a clear understanding of what it means to be a believer and a disciple and what baptism is all about. I have never been on a mission as such, I have never gone anywhere to do this task but just lived my life serving in the church in the Rossendale Valley. In more recent years that has been as a full time minister but often it has been while working secular jobs as well. Basically have gone about my life and attempted to be involved in the churches role of making disciples.
However, as most of you will know we have had two asylum seekers attending our church from Iran. I recently led some baptismal classes with them and as part of the study we read
the great commission. It was a great moment as it dawned on me that in this process of disciple making by teaching and baptising I was now also doing so to the nations. That I was, by the grace of God, being used in making disciples of people from another nation. I am not suggesting they were just being converted but I was continuing the process by teaching them and arranging there baptism. What an awesome privilege to be Involved in the great commission and to reach another nation a by staying at home
Seeking Peace and Prosperity
From the Febuary Magazine
The Summer of 2016, I wrote my September magazine article Is the turmoil of the post Brexit vote of 24 June early that
The prime Minister had announced his resignation; the leader of the opposition was under increasing pressure. The value of the pound had fallen against the dollar and the euro. Our credit rating had been downgraded. Scotland wanted to leave the UK and there were calls from Irish Nationalist for a referendum in Northern Irelandon them leaving the UK and joining with the republic.
On social media "remain" voters are wanting a second vote while calling the "leave" voters racists. The young are blaming the old because 75% of young people voted to remain, although it is possible only 36% of the young voted, so perhaps they should blame themselves. There had been some physical attacks on those who had already madetheir homes here from other EU states. And to top it all the English football team have been knocked out of the Euro's by the great foot balling power that is Iceland.
As I write now about two and half years later the situation is not that much different. The new prime minister holds on to her office, but only just. Parliament has rejected the government and EU plan for leaving and so what has become known as a no deal Brexit seems likely. The immediate effect of a no deal seems certain to have the pound plummeting. Undoubtedly there will be calls for resignations and a general election. Social media is likely to, again, demonstrate the great divide in our country on this issue. Who knows what will happen with the Irish boarder. And there is just two months to find an agreement or no deal will be the case for good or bad. It seems the only improvement in the situation is the English Football team.
Two and half years ago I was looking at Jeremiah 29:11 preparation for a sermon I was preparing midst the turmoil Interestingly my attention has again turned to Jeremiah 29 in prep aration for messy church this Sunday. In particular this Passage;
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peprosperity of the city to which I have carried you into Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
The context of this chapter is that many Israelites had been exiled in to a foreign land. Their real desire is to go home back to Israel but God's message to them is that that is not possible so they should get on with life make the most of what they have. They should take charge of what they can change and forget about what they can't Building homes, planting gardens, getting married and having children. I think this could be a message for us as a nation and as Christians midst the Brexit chaos. Whatever the final outcome we should get on with life and be positive. Let us not get into the business of blaming others because they thought differently, and voted accordingly. Instead let us seek the peace and prosperity of Britain in or out of the EU. As Jeremiah puts it "Pray to the LORD it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper
From the December Magazine
God is closer than you think!
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
This verse was written by Isaiah around 650-700 years before Mary conceived and gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ. This amazingly accurate prophesy of future events is overshadowed by the reality of the event prophesied. That a virgin will conceive How amazing is that! But even that amazing event is itself overshadowed by the reality of the name that is to be given to the child. Immanuel which means "God with us"! Wow! That is the great message of Christmas that the person of Jesus Christ, God is with us!
This is incredible that God the creator of the universe would come to earth and be with us and not just be with us, but be one of us. Experience life as a human and everything that means: the joys, the relationships, the limitations, the emotions, the desires, the temptations and the pain and even the death. However, as we shall see below, the idea of God being with us and relating to us is something that we find throughout the Bible both before and after that first Christmas.
Walking with God
It is believed by many from Genesis 3:8 that God would often walk with Adam in the Cool of the day. Although that certainly means, reading a little between the lines, it does present the idea of God desiring to be with his creation. In fact the idea of walking with God is a strong feature in Genesis. Enoch is said to have walked with God so closely that he never experienced death but God just took him (Gen 5:24). Noah is also said to have of walked with God (Gen 6:9). Jacob claimed Abraham and Isaac walked before God (Gen 48:15). In Leviticus God speaking to the Exodus generations says, "He will walk among them and be their God" (26:12). In Deuteronomy it is declared that he walks among the new Joshua generation to protect them (23:14).
Friendship with God
Abraham is later referred to as the friend of friend of God (Isaiah 41:8 James 2.23). Gods face to face, just as friends speak to one another (Exodus 33:11). Job claimed to have God's intimate friendship for at leas his life. Jesus calls his disciples friends (John 15:15). Proverbs 18 proverbs 18:24 implies God is a friend who stays closer than a brother
Guided by God
David famously declared the Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1) A claim also made previously by Jacob (Genesis 48:15). Jesus said that he will send another advocate, who will be a guide for us (John 16:7,13). Of course he was referring to the promised person of the Holy Spirit. Closer than you think All this talk about walking with God, being a friend of God and being guided by God might have you feeling that you are not actually very close to God in comparison. You might even feel that God is actually far away. Well I want to suggest that he actually might be closer than you think. "God is closer than think" is the title of a new series we are going to being on Sunday 30 December and continue into the new year. This will include six sermons and six café church sessions with video's and discussion opportunities. So if you feel far away from God this course is for you because after all the Christmas mes reminds us that he is Immanuel, God with us.
From the November Magazine
Welcoming the Stranger
One of the pleasures of being the minister at Edgeside for the past five years has been meeting and working with and alongside visitors to our church from around the world. These have of course been the young people who have come to us from our partners Capernwray Bible College and the Pais Project. We have hosted (in no particular order) Canadians, Americans, Germans, a Korean, an Argentinian, a Romanian, a person from Switzerland (what do you call them?) and someone from Somerset.These are of course just the ones that I have been involved with.
The church has, of course, hosted many more for many more years than five and will, I am sure, continue to host many more in the future.
However, recently the church has been challenged to welcome two more people from another part of the world. Two Iranian (Persian) asylum seekers who have been placed locally by the home office. The Bible encourages us to welcome such people into our ommunities
Levitcus 19:33-34 When a foreigner resides among you in your land. do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
Exodus 23:9 Do not oppress a foreigner: you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
Jesus himself said (Matthew 25:35-40)... "I was a Stranger and. "when did we see you a stranger and you welcomed me"........... | "When did we see you a stranger welcome you'................... "whatever vou did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
It has been great to see people at Edgeside Baptist obey God and welcome these new friends and help them by providing food, lifts, hospitality and other assistance in the name of Jesus
I wonder if you are aware that Christians living in Iran are among the most persecuted in the world According the to persecuted the Open Door church website (Open doors is an organisation that works with the persecutedChurch throughout world) only the Armenians and Assyrians in Iran are allowed to be Christians. They are treated as second class citizens and face imprisonment if they try and reach out to the Muslim population.
A Muslim who converts is at risk of the death penalty, Muslims are not even meant to shake hands with Christians, touch them or eat their food. Any Muslims that do convert to Christianity are forced to either practice their faith in isolation or attend underground house churches, These are often monitored and raided by police.
All this means that many Christian converts are leaving Iran and claiming asylum in countries like our own. There are churches in Manchester. Stockport, Heywood, Liverpool, and Bolton, that I know of, who have numerous Iranian Persians attending their services. Some even have Farsi (the Persian language) congregations or bilble groups. The minister from Stockport Baptist Church kindly visited us at Edgeside and brought a Farsi speaker from his congregation with him who was able to translate for us. They have been able to advise us on how we can help our friends with some legal issues, have provided us with Farsi Bibles and resources So we can use the Farsi language a little in our services. Recently I was able to accompany our new friends to a Bible Study at ockport where In was one of 3 whose first language was English among 14 whose first language was si. It was a honour to be given an opportuny toanswer some of the questions with a Farsi speaker ranslating my words and also to listen to what those from this other culture thought about the particular Bible passage we were looking at.
A few years ago we sang the carol "silent night" in German on Christmas day. More recently we had a German version of the song "Lighthouse" playing alongside some photo's monitoring Timon's time with us Not sure if they were the first foreign languages in the service, but very soon we will experiences of Edgeside using Farsi which lam sure will be a fist. Finally let's remember whatever we do for these strangerswe do for Jesus.