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Minister’s Page

 



Minister: Rev. Raheel Arif

Tel: 01324 819149

Holy Week Centerpiece Created by Lilly Lewin
Experiencing Holy Week by yourself, with family, kids, youth
group etc, and even together on line!
To download click on this link

Raheel will also  be delivering a video message on his Facebook page at  11.30 am on a Sunday.
A facebook account is required to access.
Link:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/815604555526629/

A YouTube channel to store all the videos has been created to make access easier for those who do not have facebook.
The new link below will take you directly to the channel where all the videos will be visible as they become available.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNfu0lE7AYM97QfvFq75h1w

Raheels Weekly Message

Sunday 29th March 2020

Dear friends, good morning, Hope you will all be safe in God’s grace.
Last Sunday I spoke about different ways to reach out to others in Christ’ love and care.
I spoke about encouragement: that we should encourage others in the midst of this situation, and I also said that we can help others by calming their fears and thirdly I said that we should spread faith instead of worry.
Today, I will continue speaking about other things that we can do and that can help others in Christ in the midst of self-isolation and lockdown. So what another thing we can do is that,  

We should Bless Others with Our Blessings

We can support each other by sharing our blessings. Those of us who are well and have has stocked up food more than our own survival at this time or had foresight to buy ahead of time, should be willing to share our surplus with those around you. Bible tells us to bless others when we are able to,
In Genesis 12:2, God promised Abraham to bless him and make him great when he asked him to leave his home and He has found a great nation through him and blessed other nations because of him.
We know that God has blessed us and is keep blessing us ,therefore, at this time, if we can share or offer our overstock with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbours, God will bless us more and it is a way to share our blessings with others. 
And Matthew in 7:12 encourages us and says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and Prophets.”
This is a Golden Rule to follow at this time. “Do to others what you don’t want done to you.” Jesus makes it more significant and I know it is a difficult initiative to do when we have shortages of food or food supplies but if we stocked up for months and months if we can share some of it at this time, it will make a difference in somebody’s life and we can bless others in this way which is an act of goodness and mercy in God’s sight.
Likewise, Luke 3:11, where it is written “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” This verse also encourages us to share extra food and supplies with those who may be in need.

Another way we can help our community is to act generously.

2 Corinthians 9:6 remind us, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
People may hesitate to give generously to God or others if they worry about having enough money left over to meet their own needs. Paul assures us that God is able to meet our needs. The person who gives only a little will receive only a little in return and those who generously give will receive generously.
So, don’t let a lack of faith keep you from giving freely and generously.
Consider ordering supplies for those who may not have the resources to buy ahead and have them deliver to their homes. Or see about picking up groceries and supplies for those who are afraid or at high risk.
Think about possibly ways that you can help other such as order and pay for a pizza or other meals to be delivered and left at someone’s doorstep.
With schools closed, parents who are on the frontline may be struggling to find babysitters. Help out by watching a child, even if it's only for a few hours or a day and if it is safe for the child and you.
Or offer to walk a pet of your neighbours who may be at high risk to be out-and-about

Next we can trust God with What We Have.

We can find amazing stories of God’s provision in the Bible, like that of Elisha when there was a great famine in the region of Gilgal in 2 Kings 4:38-40, and when there were not enough ingredients available during a food crisis.
Elisha like a chief chef instructed the servants to put on a large pot and cook some stew. He asked one servant to go out into the fields and gather some herbs as much as he could and cut them up for stew. But as they began to eat it, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” They could not eat that stew. Elisha stayed calm, cool, and confident and said, ‘Get some flour.’ He put it into the pot and said, ‘Serve it to the people to eat.’ And there was nothing harmful in the pot”.
I am not recommending you to gather poisonous herbs for cooking, but if we can prepare dishes to distribute to others, trusting God to help it be healthy and nourishing.
Even if usual ingredients are not available, we can ask God’s help in creating a satisfying meal with what we have in our hands.

And finally, we should ask God for help to increase our resources.

Most of us don’t ask God for help. But maybe if we ask, God might just surprise us. Like how Andrew asked Jesus in John 6:9 to help where it is written, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Undaunted by his question of how they could possibly feed a hungry multitude with such a small amount of food, “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish”.
And then we see that everyone ate – 5000, and even filled 12 baskets of leftover.
Similarly, we may have little but we can take what little we have and ask God to turn it into something bigger.
Likewise during Elisha’s food shortage, God increased twenty loaves of bread to feed more than 100 men, along with leftovers. Still in today’s setting many of us don’t ask God to help stretch our resources. So, we should ask God’s blessing upon what we have and ask him to stretch our resources.
May God help us to share our resources with others in need around us.

Prayer: A prayer that may be helpful in these difficult times:
God, we are living through difficult times,
when fear and worry can overwhelm some,
while others ignore good advice,
may we all work together
to get through this pandemic
as safely and as carefully as we can.

We are thankful for all those people
whose job it is to help and assist,
particularly for doctors and nurses,
carers and support staff,
putting themselves at risk
in order to fulfil their calling
to bring healing.
May they know that their work is life-saving,
and may they be protected and resourced.

We are also thankful for those people
Who are often overlooked but are there to make society work:
from delivery drivers to supermarket stockers,
from school staff to volunteer visitors,
and all manner of other roles in-between.
May they know they are valued and honoured,
and that we uplift them for their work that
they bring to our communities.

We recognise that we are called at the moment
to look out for ourselves and those closest to us,
we are challenged to keep a healthy distance, physically,
from each other,
but may that not discourage us from making connections,
building new friendships,
tending existing relationships,
through all the tools we now have in our hands,
from a phone call to a WhatsApp,
from an email to a postcard.
May we use this opportunity to build community,
to look out for one another,
not to be blind to the needs of our neighbour,
but to find ways to help.

We know that there will be lots of people and families
who will be struggling over these next months,
with tensions due to family circumstances,
with loneliness and isolation,
with money worries and job security fears,
and we hold them close in their anxiety.
May we provide encouragement and support
as best we can in this difficult times.

We also pray for those who are unwell at this time,
for those with raised anxiety
due to their age or underlying health conditions,
for those who are currently infected with COVID-19,
and for the families of those who have died.
May we offer kindness and hopefulness,
even in the darkest of moments.

And when we emerge from the other end
of this pandemic,
a vaccine having been found,
may we not lose sight of the power that comes
when we work together
to be good neighbours.

Let us remember Jesus’ answer to the question,
“Which of all the commandments is most important?”
He replied:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.
Love your neighbour as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Amen.

Benediction: May the Spirit of God remains with you.
May it keep you safe at this time.
May it give you hope and companionship at this time of isolation and lockdown.
And so may the blessings of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with now and forevermore. Amen

Blessing that we sing at the end of our services,
May God’s blessings surround you each day,
As you trust Him and walk in His way.
May His presence within you guard you and keep you from sin,
go in peace, go in joy, go in love.

With God’s help we will get through this difficult time together.
We need to practice faith, hope and love more and more at this time.
So God be with you and keep safe.