Well believe it or not Christmas is not far away. I remember the time, many years ago, when Christmas Eve would arrive and there I would go off to bed with my pillowcase trying to stay awake to get just a glimpse of Father Christmas. Could I stay awake? Not a chance.
But wow when I woke in the morning, how thrilled I was to see that pillowcase full of presents. Father Christmas had been!
But how Christmas has changed for me in older age. How I can now remember one who came not to bring presents but to bring hope to a lost world, one who came to bring peace not as the world gives, one who came to bring joy to the heart of man. And one who came to give his life as a ransom for many.
What a saviour we remember at this time of year, one who was rich yet for your sakes He became poor that you and I through his poverty might be rich (2 Corinthians 8v9)
And may we all remember the message the angel brought to the shepherds;
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour who is Christ the Lord.”
‘Unto you’ means YOU, whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, wherever you’re from, He longs to be, if he isn’t already, YOUR saviour and Lord.
May you receive him into your heart and life this Christmas time
In our local newspaper last week it was officially declared that our local town of Ely has the most hit bridge in the whole of Britain!!!
Despite numerous large signs and warnings, it seems time and time again, vehicles too large to pass under hit the bridge. They fail to take heed of the warning and leave it too late to turn around.
This reminds me of the warnings given in the Bible about sin and the judgement to come.
The Bible says we must prepare to meet God. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” and makes it clear that “the wages of Sin is death”. Sin demands death and eternal separation from God.
While we are all sinners the Bible speaks of a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who out of love for you and I, willingly went to the cross and bore the full punishment for sin. He was and is the only one who is perfect and He alone could declare “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.
The reason that so many people hit the bridge in Ely is because they fail to take note of the warning and carry on going the wrong way. If you have never trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour you too are going the wrong way. You are on the broad road that leads to destruction. The Bible says we must turn from our sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
It is a wonderful thing to be a Christian knowing that you have your sins forgiven and peace with God. To know that you are no longer in danger but are safely on your way to Heaven. While the Christian life may not always be easy it is encouraging to know that you have one who will never leave you and is with you every step of the way of your Christian Journey.
Senior Camp Leader
Now we have reached September we have left summer behind. Camp for this year is finished and the field is cleared. We look forward to meeting up with you all at Hebron Chapel in Costessey on September 16. Do make an effort to come.
For our summer camps we had 70 campers and 60 leaders and workers. We had a very happy time on each camp.
All have been affected by camp. All have thought about Jesus in a different way.
Some have responded to Jesus as Saviour; one girl was baptised in the sea; questions were asked and many felt closer to God during the different weeks or weekend.
Even those of us who have been Christians for a long time came away encouraged and challenged.
If you became a Christian it is important you make the effort to meet with other Christians at a church and regularly read your Bible so you can grow.
Perhaps you left camp not prepared to make this step – perhaps you still do not feel you believe – continue to question.
Perhaps you feel you should be baptised – speak to your church leaders and let your camp leader know.
Whatever your position, keep in touch with your camp leaders.
The Bible makes the statement, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’. (John 3 v 16)
On junior camp we learned the words of Jesus in John 14 v 1 – 6. Jesus said to those who trusted Him, ‘I go to prepare a place for you’. What is heaven like? It is where Jesus IS and where sin ISN’T – what a wonderful place. Jesus then goes on to say, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father but by me’.
He claims to be the only way to God. That could sound presumptious but He has shown His authority and power by His death and resurrection! No-one else has made claims like that because no-one else has died and risen again!
Have YOU trusted Him as Saviour so you know the certainty of sins forgiven and a place in heaven?
John Leftley (Commie Junior camp)
Finally CAMP 2017 has arrived and lots of you will have already been on Camp this year – I hope you all had a good time, and perhaps have been challenged or encouraged by the studies in the Bible. This is the reason why we hold Camp each year, so that all of us might hear something from God, as well as enjoying all that Camp has to offer (treks up the Bump, Ultimate Frisbee on the beach, and of course Camp porridge!).
Many characters in the Bible started their experience of God in a similar way. Think about Samuel in the Old Testament. You can read about his emergence to become a prophet of God in 1 Samuel chapters 1-3. But although he started his “work” with Eli the priest at a very young age, we read in 1 Samuel 3 v 7 that “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” Before he could truly serve God, he had to come to know Him personally, to be able to recognise the Lord’s voice and follow Him.
God called Samuel three times but he assumed it was Eli speaking! Eventually Eli explained to Samuel that it was the Lord – how to recognise and respond to His voice. This was a significant milestone in Samuel’s story. Similarly, God calls all of us to respond to the message of the gospel (that Jesus died for our sins so that we might have eternal life), and part of the work of Camp is to explain that “call” so that we can each respond individually. How many times have you heard God’s call?
Most likely when you read this, Camp will be a recent memory. What have you heard this year? No doubt you’ll have read the Bible on Camp, but have you heard God calling you? Samuel’s reply to God’s call was “speak, for your servant hears.” So far, he had been Eli’s servant, but now he is prepared to report to God direct.
Samuel was still a young man at this stage, but his youth did not mean he could not serve God or that God could not speak to him. But notice ch 3 v 19 “and Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him” – there was progress in his life with God, and more than that v20 “and all Israel… knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.” Samuel’s progress was evident to God, but there was also no doubt from the people either.
Just like a walk from Camp up the Bump, we shouldn’t be content with staying on the Camp site but to achieve higher ground – making progress in knowing God, the higher we go, the better the view! Just like a couple walking on the beach, we should come to recognise the Lord walking with us – and realising that one set of footprints from time to time means not that He had left us, but that He carried us. And just like the lifeguard hut at West Runton needs a solid foundation rather than the collapsing sandy cliffs, so we can establish our lives upon Christ’s teaching.
Here’s the point:- what will you do with what you’ve heard at Camp 2017? Will you respond to God’s “call” and put your faith in Jesus Christ and become a Christian? Perhaps you’ve already done this – in which case what progress have you made? Are you “growing” as a Christian, and can others see this progress? God had much work to do through Samuel, and He has lots to do through you as well.
Jon (Young Christians’ Camp Leader)
Making your Choice
The month of June has now started. At the end of next month, Camp 2017 starts with the Senior Camp for the 15-18 year olds. After this, there is the Young Christians’ Camp for the 14-20 age group. The Junior Camp for 9-11’s and then the Teen Camp for 12-14’s follow. You need to decide which Camp you will attend and submit your application with an appropriate payment. There are currently plenty of places available, but places are limited. So the earlier you apply, the better.
This month includes the date set for the UK general election. This provides eligible people with the opportunity to vote for a member of parliament. The outcome nationally leads to a new government being formed to rule over us for a period.
We might not be eligible to vote in a general election regarding our temporary secular government. However, we can each make a decision that will affect permanently our spiritual government and eternal destiny. When we repent and trust Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are forgiven and transferred into His kingdom. “[God the Father] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:13-14)
With our concern for young people, the recent atrocities in Manchester, where young people were targeted, were particularly painful. These were a reminder of the brevity and fragility of life. We all, younger people included, have to be ready for eternity now. “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured [helped] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
The application for Camp requires a payment. The required payment for salvation is a redemption price. That has already been paid “[Christ Jesus] gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).
The children of Israel were presented with two options many years ago. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). The Lord Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). What choice have we made?
Committee Member and Support Leader on Junior Camp
The clocks have changed, the daffodils are out and it’s getting just a little warmer. Spring is definitely here and just a signal that summer is not too far away. And with summer, comes another year of Young People’s Bible camp. Are you planning to be there this year?
Whilst the changing seasons give us things to look forward to, they also remind us that time passes by quickly and things in life don’t last forever.
The Bible reminds us of this in 1 Peter 1:24-25:
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
It is good to remember that God’s word is lasting, sure and reliable. But the greatest thing to remember is that God’s word reveals the gospel, the good news of forgiveness, peace with God and eternal life. God has declared it and the Lord Jesus died on the cross to make it all possible.
This great message will be preached at Young People’s Bible Camp this year. But you don’t have to wait until camp. You can call on the Lord Jesus for salvation right now.
At the end of this month, we have the privilege of celebrating “Mothering Sunday” or should it be “Mother’s Day”?
“Mothering Sunday” originated in the United Kingdom as a Christian Festival. It occurs on the 4th Sunday in Lent and has been celebrated since the 16th Century. When children were in Service, it was a day that was allowed for them to return home to see their Mothers and to spend time sharing a meal with them and the rest of the family.
“Mother’s Day” is an American term and occurs on the 2nd Sunday in May and is celebrated in the same way, with gifts and cards for Mothers.
Whichever you like to call it (and the phrases are often used interchangeably in the United Kingdom), it is a time to remember and to thank our Mothers. We thank them for all that they have done throughout the previous year for us. This is often done with cards, gifts and visits.
This reminds me of another time that is important to us. The greatest gift that we could be given, was the Lord Jesus dying on the cross. Not long ago, we remembered His birth at Christmas, and next month we will remember His dying on the cross at Easter.
Because of our sinful and rebellious nature, we are unable to communicate with God. This was not what God had envisioned in the beginning of the World. He wanted to be able to commune with man (Genesis 3v18), but because Adam had disobeyed God, sin was in the way.
When Adam sinned, Genesis records the beginning of a series of promises about a coming deliverer. That person is revealed to us in the New Testament as The Lord Jesus. He is presented to us as God’s gift to this world and as the only one who can take away our sin. We discover that he was a perfect Man. He was unable to sin, He didn’t have sinful thoughts, do sinful deeds, or speak wrong or hurtful words. He didn’t lie, speak in anger, or plot against those who wanted Him dead (1 Pet 2v22).
He gave His life at Calvary so that our sins can be taken away and we can have a close relationship with God. This can be achieved by asking for His forgiveness and asking Him to be our Saviour. We can, therefore, be assured that when we die, we will go to be with Him and not face a life in Hell, a place of eternal judgement.
This is the Gift that is freely given for us. We didn’t deserve it, in contrast to our Mothers who make many sacrifices for us.
What will you do with this Gift?
David & Mary Honeyball
Junior Camp 2
I wonder how many of you have made New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of this new year. The beginning of a week/month/year can be a convenient starting point for something different or new. However, if we place too much emphasis on the timing we are going to be disappointed because nine times out of ten we fail with our efforts but there is someone who never fails us and doesn’t wait for the beginning of a year, week, etc.
Galatians 4 v 4 says that when the time was right Christ was born. We don’t know the date – but in all likelihood not 25 December. The purpose of His coming was to draw people in true repentance to Himself and back into a right relationship with God the Father. When this happens 2 Corinthians 5 v 17 tells us we are a new creation in Christ. Forget your resolutions and attempts to do things in your own strength. This passage also tells us that in Christ ‘the old is gone, all things are made new’ and Philippians 4 v 13 says ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.’
As 2017 begins think about where you stand before God. Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years, just a few years or you’re considering what Christ has done for you, He can and will be with you throughout the year – if you ask. Why not ask Him for it to be a year where you grow closer to Him and more like Him day by day.
Committee member and cook, Senior Camp
Several months ago, when visiting a local supermarket, it was clear that they were encouraging you to prepare for Christmas early by displaying a variety of Christmas products.
But I wonder if you have prepared for eternity?
There was a man the Lord Jesus spoke of (Luke 12v16) who had everything he thought he would ever need, but he failed to think upon his soul (the part of us that lives for ever – all eternity). You may feel you have everything you need; a nice house, family, friends, toys, gadgets, education etc. but do you have eternal life?
Jesus Christ, God’s Son went to the cross of Calvary and died for you, bearing the punishment for sin, which He did not deserve. God was satisfied with His Son’s death on the cross, and on the third day, God raised Him from the dead. If we turn from our sin to God, and put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross for us, then we can be saved and have eternal life.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” Ezekiel 18v20
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” John 10v10
You may be preparing, and looking forward to Christmas, which only lasts for a day, but are you prepared and ready for eternity, which lasts forever.
Senior Camp leader
We are all back in the normal routine of school or college or work and will be confronted by people who ridicule the idea of God. I read this real life story recently.
A taxi driver discovered he was carrying a Christian minister and thought he would have some fun.
‘I feel sorry for people like you’ he said. ‘There you are with your Bibles and churches,and looking forward to some comfort and reward at the end of all your effort – only to find out at the end there was nothing there at all!’
He had a good laugh and I let him enjoy his joke. Then I had my own laugh.
‘Just suppose you are right and that I am deluded – I still have the advantage over you. I am convinced – in my delusion – that life isn’t a product of chance; believing – in my delusion – that I’m here for a purpose and that a man called Jesus has overcome evil and death and had forgiven my sins and given me eternal life. And then if you are right and I go out like a light I won’t even have the disappointment of knowing I was deluded!’
‘But if I’m right and you are wrong you are the real loser! There you are living trying to make sense of this short life keeping cheerful as possible until your energy gives out and you die. You are in for a dreadful shock as you are confronted by the person you have denied all your life and realise all you have lived for has been wasted!’
‘Supposing these things could make you think!’
We don’t have to suppose as we know there is enough evidence from the life and death of Jesus. He came into our world just because there is a life to prepare for and He is the only one who can open the way to heaven. If you know Jesus as saviour you know your future in heaven is secure. That is better than any ‘just suppose……..’
John wrote this in his first letter (1 John ch5 v13)
‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life’.
John Leftley (J1 Commie)