Bethel Christian Fellowship is pleased to introduce our own Blog!
We will endeavour to provide new blogs on a weekly basis, with contributions mainly originating from within our congregation, but hopefully from guests as well over time.
If you would like to contribute to the Bethel Blog then please contact Chris Taylor or send us an email
Seasons of Reaping by Chris Taylor (17th March 19) Open Close
Many years ago when I first believed, I was given a life verse of 2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
The truth is this is not an easy verse to have. It means a joy which is unimaginable of serving the Lord of reaching those who do not know Christ and teaching those who do. It’s a road which is also a narrow path.
Life can change in an instant and like example of the Apostle Paul, one minute he was living a life which is fulfilling his own purposes then the next he’s being shown that he will suffer for Jesus (Acts 9:16) and he spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Thank God he did, look at the result of his work for us today. A vessel used by God to fulfil His purposes.
Some days it can be hard and Proverb 20:4 is a great truth. The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.
Sowing and reaping is a job which we are called to do every day of our lives. Without the work we cannot expect a harvest. So we need to live a life of being led by the Holy Spirit but also have some strategy in what we do.
Pray for the tools to reach out. Pray for the vision to see many souls to come into the kingdom of God. Pray that Jesus is declared, for He is the answer to all.
John Milton by Alan Battley (16th Feb 19) Open Close
They also serve who only stand and wait
Poetry has never particularly been my ‘thing’ though, like most of us, I can reel off the occasional bits and pieces learned at school, including a chunk from Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ which I had to study at GCE ‘O’ level English Literature. However, I was preparing a talk for a Sunday morning at Maltings in February on the subject of service and, as I was wandering around the house, the line came, unbidden, into my head ‘They also serve who only stand and wait’. I was familiar with the words and have often heard them quoted (usually out of context it seems!) but that was about it so I did some research.
It transpires that the words are the final line of a poem (a sonnet in fact) by the seventeenth century poet John Milton (1608-1674). Born in London, Milton was a protestant Christian and intellectual speaking several languages. He was a graduate of Cambridge University. He travelled abroad quite a lot and was a school teacher as well as a poet and author of many pamphlets on different subjects. He lived through the turbulence of the English Civil War and the period when the land was ruled by Oliver Cromwell before reverting to a monarchy under Charles II.
Sadly, John Milton lost his sight by the age of 43. Most of us have heard of Milton’s most famous work ‘Paradise Lost’, written after he became blind, but the line that came to my mind is from a poem, also written when he was blind, which one editor entitled ‘On his blindness’. Here it is:
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
I found myself wondering what he meant. He seems to be referring to the loss of his sight and the effect it has had on his ability to serve God. This must be a very real concern to many Christians who are prevented, by ill-health, disability, advancing years and so on, from being as active in the service of God as they have been in the past or would like to be. He seems to pose the question as to whether God is going to take him to task for what he isn’t able to do. But then he reflects that God doesn’t need his labour or his gifts. He refers to Jesus’ words in Matthew 11 where Jesus says “come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Milton says those who bear that ‘mild yoke’ are those who serve God best.
It seems to me that Milton is arguing that what God requires of us is to live as obedient Christians simply serving God as best we may in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We may not be able to rush around ‘o’er land and ocean without rest’ but, no matter, says Milton – ‘they also serve who only stand and wait’. I’ve come across this line being used to attempt to justify inaction – laziness really. It seems pretty clear that isn’t what Milton means. The words should be an encouragement to the person whose circumstances are such that they are honestly prevented from many spheres of service for God in which they might otherwise be engaged. We serve no heartless tyrant with impossible expectations but one who is ‘gentle and lowly in heart’.
By Alan Battley
Youth Culture by Chris Taylor (10th Feb 19) Open Close
On 9thFebruary six of us attended a Newday event called Youth Culture We joined a large group from New Frontiers churches at the 02 in London, in being equipped on the challenges the youth in this country are facing at this time.
This was an eye opener for me in hearing what is going on in the minds and lives of the youth. We had teaching about anxiety, gang culture, pornography and wisdom.
Joel Virgo opened up with a powerful thought-provoking sermon on the wisdom of God. I might add that this was one of the best talks I’ve heard Joel speak, with down to earth advice plus Godly wisdom which comes out of the Word of God. This was mind blowing and challenged my own parenting plus my view on this youthful generation.
Paula Hall shared about the addiction and cycle of pornography with some practical advice on how to deal with this but the bottom line was just how acceptable this stuff is in society today.
Ben Lindsey shared about the new charity he has started to help equip the church for those youth involved in knife crime and violence Power The Fight This is so challenging to hear of the problems which is in truth in most places in this country. My own upbringing in Barking/ Dagenham over 30 years ago had elements of gang culture but it’s nothing like what I was hearing at this conference.
Will Van Der Hart shared about mental health and the effects this is truly having on our youth today. I managed to buy one of his books about worry. He was honest and shared from his own place of being but also tried to dispel the myth of mental health.
Ben Rowe made a fresh challenge to the churches at the end on how to respond to this and that Jesus Christ calls us as a church to be the light of the world in helping those in need. He used a great comparison about Joshua in the Bible not just running up to the walls of Jericho and kicking the wall but rather he waited for God to reveal the plans and purposes on how to overcome the problem.
What did I learn from this? I feel we need to respond to help, we run Fever at Bethel which does draw alongside the youth at Bethel Christian Fellowship and they are doing a fantastic job to help those who they reach but how do we help others who we don’t have contact with? That is the question which I am pondering now….
By Chris Taylor (Pastor at BCF)
A dedicated life and a renewed mind by Keith Taylor Open Close
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