Race

WU&D06A few months ago as my friend Ants and I celebrated completing our 53 mile cycling sportive we enthusiastically started searching for our next challenge. At the time we were unbeatable world conquerors, we had the medals to prove it so we decided to up our game.  Whether it was mental exhaustion, madness or pure inspiration is debateable, but we settled on a Duathlon sprint race.

On Saturday 20th October at 8:30 AM, Ants and I will cross the starting line of a 5k run, 20k bike ride, 5k run Duathlon. Thankfully being the age we are we fall into a different category to the young uber fit millennials who have to do the same distance in half the time, so we’re in with a chance.

When I started training I wanted to win, to be the fastest, to set a record but over my training weeks my attitude has changed, I realise now the goal is completion rather than time. I’m not giving up, I’m just being realistic, and this is a tougher race than I first realised – my constantly aching knees evidence this!  But I will run, ride and run this race, I will complete it and Ants and I will hobble off, share a drink, celebrate our ‘victory’ and probably dream up another unlikely crazy challenge….John O’ Groats to Land’s End anyone?

Last Sunday, during my preaching I made some statements that may also have seemed over ambitious, unrealistic and even foolish. The comments were around my hope, belief, dream that RBC should be financially supporting the Community Debt Advice Centre and we should be using our lovely buildings to host the winter night shelter one night a week, for one month next year. This was me expressing a deep soul rooted belief that Christians should be proclaiming freedom, healing, restoration and new life in practical ways to the often overlooked members of our community. I look at the example of Jesus and it provokes and motivates me.  I have been involved in setting up similar projects in the past and can hardly describe the joy of hearing someone is free from debt or no longer sleeps on the streets. There’s an even greater joy when such people realise they are loved, valued, and precious to Jesus, often followed by baptism.

We have a church meeting on 22 November when RBC church members will discuss and decide whether or not these are the right ministries for RBC to be involved in at this time. That’s the beauty of the Baptist Church members meeting. Plans might change, and expectations may be lowered, but as long as we continue to be a church that look out for the vulnerable and neglected and welcome in the stranger and alien, then we are still running the race and we will cross the finish line.

Spare a thought or prayer for me and my knees at 8:30 on Saturday morning

See you soon

Signiture

Restoration (Guest Blog)

I’m really please to introduce Emily Irving as my guest blogger this week.

Over to you Emily …….

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I love it when good news is shared! I love the buzz, excitement, smiles, hugs, the lifting of grey clouds and the shifting of perspective it can bring. Celebration, as long as it isn’t boasting or pride-full, brings people together; it’s beautiful!

Last month I spent a few days at Disneyland Paris with friends and had one experience of riding as a ‘single rider’ – unsurprisingly to those of you who know me, I’m usually pretty expressive when I enjoy stuff, but in this ‘single rider’ moment I couldn’t share my thrill with my friends; the elation of the moment was definitely capped and made less somehow. Well, that was until I got off the ride, found my friends and raved about how good the ride was! That felt better! Good news ought to be shared – whether in a quiet thankyou prayer, a one-to-one conversation with a trusted friend or shouted from the rooftops (or posted on social media!) for all to hear – sensitively shared good news brings life.

So let me share some good news! Let me rave about God’s goodness, let me thank you for your prayers and let us celebrate together something that at times, was hard to hope for.

Some of you won’t know my husband. We met during my gap year and were married at RBC a couple of years later – it was a beautiful day and we were so glad to share it with our new church family! He is kind, witty, loyal and a whizz with anything technical or practical. However, married life isn’t always easy and for the last while we’ve been living separately and fighting for our marriage. So we began the long and painful journey of counselling, praying, hoping, failing and trying again. At various stages we shared our progress with the church and we know that many of you never gave up praying for us, for that we will be eternally thankful. We fought long and hard for our marriage and eventually it felt like there was nothing left to lose. In a weird way this seemed to bring a new freedom and we began to talk in ways we’d never managed before. We thank God for the small group of faithful people who shared in this with us; their faith in God was big enough to hold on to hope in each chapter and they called us to celebrate each little victory. Something was shifting.

We are thrilled to share that this year we CELEBRATED our wedding anniversary! Over dinner we raised the question of moving back in together and agreed to each go away and prayerfully consider it. We spent the following week away at Christian festivals with friends, each of us praying about ‘the move’. When we got back to Redhill we were delighted to find that we were on the same page and excited about the future.

In August we moved back in together! God is good! All the time!

We are both home and thankful for your prayers and support. Please keep praying for us, our marriage (like every marriage) will be a work in progress for the rest of our lives; something that we once thought might be dead is now alive, something that was lost has been found. God is the ultimate restorer and redeemer and we’re seeing that firsthand over and over again.

Of course the ultimate life-bringing good news is that of Jesus Christ: Saviour of the World, Light in the darkness, Hope to the hopeless – eternal life-giver to all who believe in Him as the Son of God. Without Him we would have no story to tell. Thank you God – Father, Jesus, Spirit – for writing us a story to tell of hope in spite of suffering. You deserve all the credit and praise for this one!

I’m looking forward to this weekend when we’ll get together as a church family for prayer & testimony time on Sunday evening – may there be much good news shared and may we, the community at and around Redhill Baptist Church, be quick to give glory to God and celebrate good news together!

Emily

Celebrate

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And now for some good news …

On Monday with four people asking to become members of the church.

Last night I heard that two people want to be baptised this December.

On Tuesday I heard one lady make a commitment to follow Jesus.

Mairi told me yesterday that her college fees have all been covered for this first year.

We have three nominations for Eldership in process and three other people ready to take up team leadership roles in church.

Alpha is coming……….

We have two teenagers preaching this term in our evening service series, ‘Teach us to pray’.

The list could go on and this is just me scatter-gunning my thoughts at 7:00 am on a Friday morning.

It’s good to celebrate the good stuff and to note and point out where we see answers to prayer, or where we see God’s abundant providence in play. Telling these stories not only encourages but trains our thinking to acknowledge the positive signs that God is actively involved for the better in people’s lives.

I am naturally pessimistic. My natural face is a little bit grumpy, I’ve got used to people asking If I’m alright because I look hacked off, when actually I’m in a good mood and everything is mountain bikes and Bruce Springsteen (by which I mean really, really good).  My natural pessimism tends to draw me to the negatives; what’s not working, where’s the problem etc. and I admit I can be cynical about the positives.  So, I deliberately take time to focus on the good things and always note down reason to thank God.

On Sunday 14 October our evening service is all about testimony and praise. I hope it will be full of stories of answered prayer and God’s goodness that encourage us as we celebrate together.  If you have a story, however tall or small, minor or major come along and share it. But if speaking at the front is not your thing, email it to me and I’ll read it out.

If you are in a bit of a rut faith wise at the moment, come along and be inspired, listen with fresh ears to the stories of an agile and active God.

And of course, if life is a bit ‘Mamma Mia 2’ (by which I mean unspeakably bad), come and know the support of what it truly means to be part of RBC as we empathise, support and pray with you.

Sunday 14 October, 6:30 PM – Prayer and Testimony evening.  I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

 

 

 

Disclaimer- I’ve not seen ‘Mamma Mia 2’ but the very thought of it …….