Short thought from Jonathan 16th May 2021
Romans 15 v 1 “We who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2.Let each one of us please his neighbour for his good.”
It’s so easy to be selfish and to please ourselves. There is a natural part of all of us which looks after number one first. But the reality of the Christian life is different. We think about how we can help others and not about just pleasing ourselves. Some Christians have different opinions about what they should eat and drink, as an example (says Paul), and they in good conscience act differently from how we think they should. We need to accept them and not judge them in matters of opinion which aren’t really important. Perhaps a deeper understanding will lead them to think differently, but it is so important that we accept others and understand each of is on a journey. The important thing is to love one another despite minor differences of opinion, and the different preferences which we all have.
Thought from Hannah Fairchild 1st May 2021
I just wanted to let you all know that God loves you very much as individuals. You are uniquely made in His image.
Why give a flower fragrance? Could it be God loves to see the look on your face? You aren't an accident or incident. You are a gift to the world, a divine work of art signed by God.
Be a light to those around you. Share Christ's love with others. Each of us struggles, God sees our pain, He doesn't love us less for it. He loves us more. Embrace God's love. Embrace your uniqueness, your individuality. Let us celebrate who we are in Christ.
Hope you have a blessed weekend and week ahead.
With every blessing and much love,
A thought to encourage you and challenge you by Sandra Snell 1st May2021
Have you ever considered the wonderful gift(s) God has given you? Regardless of our physical stature/ looks/ mindset/weakness/, God has gifted EVERYONE with gifts. Think about that. Some of us may use our gifts without giving them a second thought, as we go about our daily living. Some people have thoughts that they do not possess ANY gifts. This is so totally wrong as our Heavenly Father has given us all gifts.
James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”.
Jesus spoke a parable about gifts or talents (In this story it related to money, but it could easily relate to any practical gifts). Matthew 25 v 14 – 20. Three men were given various gifts and asked to look after them while the master was away. It is interesting to note the various attitudes of those who received the gifts. Also, to note that they had various amounts of gift. When the master returned, they were judged with what they had done with their gifts. Two people had multiplied what they had, and one had buried his gift!!
I wonder if you have thought much about the gifts God has given you?
There are various types of gifts that the bible speaks of….
Romans 12 speaks of Motivation gifts (a) perceiving, (b) serving, (c) teaching, (d) encouraging, (e) giving, (f) ruling, and (g) mercy.
I love this verse in Ecclesiastes 9 v 10 “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might”. Whatever excuses we might make for not using the gifts God has given, I am drawn back to this verse.
As we work and serve together in the church, the bible describes us like a body and if one person doesn’t use their gift/ ability, then the body hurts and becomes disabled. Think how powerful a church we could be if everyone used their gifts to the full!
You might be thinking that you don’t know how to use your gift(s) within the church context. It’s always interesting when we join a new church/organisation, that we have to find where we fit in.
At NCC there are opportunities, and we are looking for people with a variety of gifts to help fill some of the gaps. There will be many other opportunities, but please consider asking yourself if you can contribute to any of the following with your gifts: -
Administration. Cleaning. Helping with the web site. Playing an instrument. Hosting a small group. Sharing hospitality (making a cake or meal for someone). Being a friend (visiting someone or calling them/ messaging them).
Let’s encourage each other to share the gifts we have and not hide them. We all need to develop and grow in confidence in what God has given us, but let’s not make that an excuse for not using a gift. I don’t know about you but I am not wanting to be judged by our Lord for not using my gifts.
I would love Him to say to me “Well done good and faithful servant.
Thought from Rev Mark Evans 24th February 2021
After being underwhelmed￼ and disappointed by the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday evening. Today I reflected what I’ve been doing in the garden over the past year. At the start of lockdown Samuel and I worked on & in our garden in various ways. We even brought a compost bin which we filled over the past year with all our garden & kitchen waste. ￼The miracle is all that rubbish of the past year, has rotted down and is now of use for us. To put on our garden to help the new growth happen this spring (which we did this afternoon) so hopefully come the summer he will have a nice garden full of colour to enjoy.
My prayer for you is all the rubbish of this past year, you will see it for what it is, put it out so that something beautiful can grow out of it. The pandemic has been a living nightmare for many to cope with. For some they’ve worked through it and they are now beginning to see the benefits. I pray we can all see some growth and joy in this past year as the spring move into the summer. God bless you. ￼￼
Encouraging thought from Denise Evans. 12.01.21
1 Peter 5:7 says casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. YOUR NEVER ALONE AND YOUR ALWAYS CARED FOR.
Our Hope is always in him, Christ Jesus. While it is good to have people around us to listen and care, in this time especially. Our identity is always in God.
It does not matter how tightly knit our families are or how many close friends we have. When we go through a difficult time or trial, many a time, we still feel all alone and that no one really cares or understands.
Martha knew that feeling. She had on one occasion cried out to Jesus, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10:40). Jesus’ disciples also knew what it was like to feel small, alone and in trouble. They cried out, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” when they were swept up in a terrifying storm (Mark 4:38).
Today, maybe the cry of your heart is also, “Lord, do You not care that I am left all alone…that I am going under…that I am perishing?” The Lord does care for you. He loves you so much that He wants you to cast all your cares upon Him—not just some but all your cares. He wants both your big and small cares. There is nothing too small or big for Him. If it is a care in your heart, He wants you to cast it upon Him. When the apostle Peter wrote “casting all your care upon Him,” he was talking about the continuous act of casting all your cares upon the Lord. As a care comes, God wants you to cast it to Him. That is the lifestyle He wants you to adopt. Why? The verse gives us the reason—“for He cares for you.” You are casting all your cares upon the One who loves you, and who left all of heaven to come and die for you. That is who you are casting your cares to. It is not just any person, but it is the One who gave His life for you! When you are going through a difficult time, God wants you to believe that you are never alone because He Himself has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you (see Hebrews 13:5). As the object of His care, He will take care of you for the rest of your life. You are never alone and always cared. God bless you.
Thoughts from Mark 17th October 2020
Hi folk, I pray your all well?
Apologies for recent lack of writing, my time furloughed during the current pandemic has been strange and pressured in unexpected ways. I pray you still feel connected to the church. Be it through the Deacons phone calls, emails or texts. If you have not been able to attend or watch the live streamed Services. Facebook, Youtube & the church website are the places services & Bible studies can be watched.
Sadly it does not look like this virus will be going away quickly, so please let me know if there is anything else we can do as a church for you? Thanks to all who help keep the church clean and Covid safe. Thanks especially to Sandra Snell who has done a great job organizing us.
Recently we celebrated a belated harvest and it was a fantastic response, we raised just under £140 for the IOW Foodbank, thanks to Louise for a lovely Harvest display. Hopefully you will all receive the weekly notice sheet and letters sent out via Sandra Snell. If you don't and would like to be added to the list please let me know . Its a good way to keep in touch.
For your information on 1st November 11:45am there will be a short church members meeting, to update and to seek Gods will for future developments in these testing times.
We are looking to create a refreshment station in the upper hall. Folk have reflected recently how nice it would be to have drinks etc served in the upper hall. Shane Randall has been able to attain some kitchen units with a sink, which could be fitted to one-side in the back cupboard. Shane has the skills (plumbing etc) and the experience of doing a similar job at Aspire. If it’s ok with Members of the church we will look to install this ASAP. As the cupboard can be locked, we will relocate the recently purchased PA & live streaming equipment.
The cupboard keeps it all safe and provides a better location for monitoring things like sound and volume levels. All the work can be carried out as soon as possible due to your kindness in recent Gift Days, so thank you. We will also look to create better storage in the cupboard as well. Steve Woodford will be helping with this work. Anyone with time or skills is welcome to help out too.
The Congregational Federation mission boxes can be collected in the remaining weeks of October. If you don’t have a box, we have some which we are happy to deliver to you.
Finally just to encourage you we have started a smaller time of Worship and Prayer starting 10:30-Midday each Tuesday in the Coffee Lounge it would be great to see you if you want to join us or send us prayer requests.
Please remember you all remain in our prayers
Thought from Sandra Snell 14.10.20
Its really good that we are able to host some small groups (Covid 19 secure), in homes and from this Tuesday recommenced our prayer group in the church building with some worship. All Covid 19 secure. We appreciate for some that it is still difficult to have the confidence to attend meetings and that we are all different, some being more susceptible to illness than others. We do trust that those of you not yet able to get out are managing to tap into the online services (Sunday 10.30am) and teaching on a Monday evening at 7pm. Both of these are on the Newport Congregational Church Facebook page and then will be added to this web site. Please message us if you need a chat or a visit.
Thought from Louise Randall 12.7.20
For all of us being on lock down has meant lots of waiting. Waiting to be allowed to go back out, waiting to see our friends, waiting for a haircut maybe. How are you are waiting? I am not very good at it, but this week in my bible notes I learned that actually it's ok to wait, in fact in Psalm47 He tell us us to Be still. I was also reminded that even if we are in a waiting period, God is still by my side, and still at work, so I dont need to worry or fret, just being his presence and wait. So how good are you at waiting in God
Thought from Jonathan Snell 5.7.2020
God is enough for us.
2 Corinthians 3 v 5.......Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves but our suffieciency is from God.
In some situations and at some times we can easily think we don't have enough to face the challenge. We are conscious of our own short comings, weakness and lack of strength. We feel we don't have enough resources. But our encouragement is that God will be enough for us as we trust Him.Our sufficiency, our "having enough" to meet the need does not come from ourselves but comes as we trust in our all sufficient God. He has strength to give us when we are weak and wisdom to empart to us when we don't know what to do. He has grace to give us when we struggle with relationships and He has all the resources that we need. God is our efficiency. Trust Him.
Thought from David Reading 27th June 2020
Reflection on our emerging from lockdown written June 27th 2020
There are Christians who have been comforted by Psalm 91 during the pandemic caused by a virus spread from Wuhan China at the beginning of this year. So from 23rd March the people of the UK have been in lockdown, and church buildings have been closed. Psalm 91 speaks among other things of God delivering you from the noisome pestilence. Throughout the world there has been fear because of the threat of the disease caused by the virus, known as covid 19, to which the deaths of many have been attributed. We are reminded in Psalm 91 not to fear the pestilence that walks in darkness. God is Perfect Love and 1 John 4.18 tells us that there is no fear in love and that perfect love casts out fear. As the UK government eases the restrictions on closure of our church buildings, let us draw close to God so that we are not fearful, but let us be bold people of faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us meet together wherever we can, outside the church building until it is open and let us share our faith of salvation in Jesus with those who we meet.
Thought from Jonathan Snell 21.06.20
Parents lay up treasures for your children.
For the children ought not to lay up for the parents but the parents for the children. 2 Corinthians 12 v 24.
I sometimes see valuable family treasures featured on the TV programme Antiques Roadshow. These treasures have sometimes been passed onto the children by the parents through several generations. The parents want to know the value of the family treasure but have no intention of selling it because it’s priceless to them. The expectation is that the treasure will remain in the family. What treasures do we lay up for our children both in our natural family and our church family, especially as spiritual fathers? There is no more priceless treasure than the shiny example of a consistent and loving Christlike testimony for all the family to see. Lay up such a treasure for your children.
Thought from Sandra Snell for 14.6.20
We've been thinking about prayer....How important it is and finding creative ways to pray to our Father God. As Jonathan and I reflected together he reminded me that Adam talked to God in the garden. (Genesis 2 v 8)The garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were unique in that they were created without sin and spoke with God face to face.
We have held a couple of meetings in gardens and looking to do this more as well as encouraging people to prayer walk in twos. We may not in one sense be without sin, but we are covered by the blood of Jesus (once we have recognised and embraced him for dying for our sin), in that sense we are without sin before our Father God. Oh how he longs for us to talk to to Him.
Let's encourage each other. Offer to host or at least attend a garden prayer group, where at this moment in time we can maintain social distancing but together lift our prayers to God. And I'm sure we could all find some one to prayer walk with and walk and pray around the area we live. Abraham prayed for his family and God was gracious. May God be gracious and compassionate towards each one of us.
Thought from Jonathan Snell 7.6.20
New Mercies every Morning How do feel as you get up in the morning? Like you are raring to go? Or like you need a few more minutes and a cup of tea or coffee before you feel human again? Some say they are ‘morning people’ and some suggest they are at their best later in the day! In tough times when difficult circumstances surround your life you can experience a siege mentality every morning. The temptation might be to hide under the blankets and stay in bed. Jeremiah, a prophet in the Bible, could have felt exactly like that. His city was besieged and the people were starving. He had enemies all around who hated his message. Yet Jeremiah could still say that God was unfailingly faithful to him and that His mercies were new every morning (Lamentations 3 v23). It is still a good morning with the Lord every morning however you feel and whatever type of person you are. Ask Him into your life and give Him each day. Then expect His mercies every morning. He will not fail you.
Sunday 24th May 2020
The Deacons after reflection between Rev Graham Akers, Becci Bell and myself is to make the most of the opportunity to furloughing me. It’s the obvious thing to do for a small independent church like ours and we are not alone in doing this. The overwhelming support I have had from the Elders and Deacons is to have a break, to look after myself, my family, to recharge my Spiritual batteries etc. The speed of the decision has been a little unsettling also, and the reality of the process a shock. I am not allowed to do things I would normally do in my position as your Minister and getting the balance of what I would do as a Church member is strange and may not work.
Denise and I are looking into the possibilities of how we make the most of this time, including going away to our home in Wales at some point. (which is still currently in lockdown)
As I write this and process my thoughts it will soon be 20 years ago I left the security of a well paid job to train as a Minister in Oxford for 4 years, followed by 16 years of non-stop Ministry, (now into my 8th year on the island). Though the ups and downs of life I have loved most of this time, honouring God hopefully in all I do. Part of the joy of this Spiritual journey is that break. To stop, reflect, learn, recharge and get ready to go again! (Repair, Restore, Reflect and Revel. Has been spoken also over my life at this time.)
Normally this is after 7 years of Ministry; my situations have never previously allowed for this. One friend and mentor has called it a fallow period, to let the land rest, ready for a harvest. That is my prayer. This past week has been a time to get my head around this idea with its various restrictions and hand things over to the leadership team, the Deacons and Elders. Sandra Snell’s email explained this new structure (see below). I have found lock down hard (like many of you) I think I have been amazed at how much I miss my normal weekly structure, because that has also been a big blessing. I think it is that weekly purpose and if I am honest my identity also. The idea is to just stop everything and just be Denise’s husband and Samuels father, while looking after my own spiritual journey is just so weird, I am so used to being around others, caring for them and making Godly links. So please pray for me in the coming weeks as we don’t know how long this time will be. Please pray God continues to guide and refresh me during this time. Please also be assured of my ongoing prayers for you all. My hope and prayer, as we come out of this time of a Worldwide shaking is many will draw closer to God through the love of Jesus Christ and importantly in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
The world we all knew will be very different especially because of social distancing. Remember God has not distanced from us, He wants us to keep drawing closer to Him. I look forward to hearing and seeing what God calls us all to do after this time. To Him be the Glory.