You have probably noticed that we are in the middle of the football World Cup finals. Depending on when you read this, one of several things could have happened:
- England won the World Cup
- England were knocked out of the World Cup
- A team faced penalties and won
- A team faced penalties and lost
Football is dominating the headlines, the tv and the radio at the moment. Some people, like me, will love that, others, like my wife, will not. Whatever your thoughts on the “beautiful game” please bear with me for a little while as we consider some of the phrases and terms you might associate with a football match, but also can be applied to our lives too.
A game going to penalties is probably one of the most nerve-wracking experiences for a fan and probably for the players too. We don’t know what the outcome will be. You hope that your team will score and the other team will miss, that your goalkeeper will be the hero having saved at least one. There are two words that are important to the Christian there, penalty and saved.
In life we go through many different experiences, some good, some not so good, some of our choosing, some not. We make our own decisions and sometime we make bad choices, we get ourselves into trouble; doing things, saying things we know we shouldn’t. The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. In other words we all do wrong. Importantly, the Bible also tells us the result of that sin; the wages of sin is death. The penalty we face for the wrongdoing, the sin in our life is to be separated from God forever, an eternity facing the consequences of the actions of our life; the wages for our sin.
However, we can be saved. Saved from this lost eternity, reconciled with God and welcomed one day into a wonderful place he has prepared for us in heaven.
How? Simply by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, his son. The Bible tells us that whilst we were still sinners Christ died for us. He died in order that our sins could be punished, but he rose again to overcome the penalty of sin; death. He came to give us eternal life. He gives the greatest gift you could ever receive; your salvation.
So as the World Cup continues, look at the cross on the flag of England and think of the work that the Lord Jesus did for you on a cross at Calvary and ask yourself “am I saved from the penalty of my sins?”
There are still spaces left on camp this year, so if you haven’t already, get your application form in now.
Last month the world was presented with a spectacular event. On Saturday 19 May 2018, attention was focused on the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which was held in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. On the morning of the wedding it was announced that the Queen had conferred a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. Consequently, Prince Harry is His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle has become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. After the wedding ceremony, they commenced a procession in the Ascot Landau carriage pulled by two Windsor Grey horses.
This reminded me of a far more stunning sequence of Royal events that will occur in the future, but the precise timing has not been revealed. The first event is the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) to his wife, the Church (all real Christians). A marriage supper is then prepared to celebrate this occasion. Prior to all this, the Lord Jesus will have rescued Christians away from the impending 7-year Tribulation on earth. We are not granted a Dukedom, but are made “unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). Jesus Christ will be established as the King of Kings, universally seen returning from heaven to the Mount Olivet in Israel. He is established as the victorious Sovereign to reign on earth for 1,000 years from Jerusalem, and we will reign with Him. He will arrive riding a white horse, and his entourage will be armies on white horses. All His enemies (those who do not accept Him as Lord and Saviour) will be instantaneously defeated by Him. The apostle Paul informs Christians “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
The apostle John is the only New Testament writer to use the Lord Jesus’ title “the Lamb”, firstly reporting Him being announced by John the Baptist as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Lord Jesus is the sacrifice and His blood, which was shed when He died on the cross, secures our freedom from the penalty and power of sin. Emphasising the importance of faith, the apostle Paul refers to Jesus Christ as the One “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13). Have you trusted the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? If so, you can look forward with great anticipation to the marriage of the Lamb celebrations and those ensuing glorious and victorious events. If not, only judgement awaits. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Therefore “being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8, 9).
Michael Sparkes (Committee member & Junior Camp Support worker)
For some people, this time of year is the final revision period for GCSE exams – when all the learning and work eventually equates to a grade. The key to a good grade is to be prepared.
In my old English classroom there used to be a phrase on the wall, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.
…could I suggest that this applies spiritually too. God gives us this life time, whether long or short, to prepare for eternity. “Prepare to meet thy God (Amos 4v12)” “God… commandeth all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17v30)”
Are you prepared for eternity? Heaven or hell are the only two outcomes. We are all sinners and do not meet God’s holy standards. But, through repentance (turning from sin to God) and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who died on the cross for sinners, and rose again, we can have eternal life as a gift. “The gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6v23)”
I wish all those who are taking exams in the coming days all the best. But I trust all who are reading this are prepared for eternity. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16v31)”.
Looking forward to seeing all those who will be at the camp rally in June and at the camps this summer God willing (get your forms in quick)!
Chocolate eggs. Bunnies. Spring flowers. These are the things many people think of when it comes to Easter time – and indeed they are all things I am fond of too! However, the real meaning of Easter is often hidden away – the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
A recent news story told of a police officer in France who was prepared to swap places with a hostage in a supermarket, and ultimately lost his life. The Lord Jesus did so much more than this for us when he took our place on the cross, taking on himself the punishment for our sins so that we can be forgiven. ‘”He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”‘ 2 Peter 2:24
The story doesn’t end there. Jesus rose from the dead the third day and is now a living Saviour, seated at the right hand of God and awaiting the day when he will call his people to himself.
Jesus gave so much for us. Have you ever accepted for yourself what he has done, asking him to be your Saviour and committing your life to live for and serve Him? Then you will know what it is to ‘have life, and have it to the full.’ John 10:10
The 1st of March in 2018 is the meteorological first day of spring. However, the arrival of the “Beast from the East” weather will ensure that it will be more like winter than spring.
Did you know our cycle of winter and summer, cold and heat, sowing and reaping is one of the earliest promises God made to men and women? After the flood in Genesis, God said this to Noah “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen 8:22).
Spring is, however, just around the corner. The days are getting longer and, as the sun rises earlier and sets later, its warmth will begin to disperse the cold and cause the daffodils and other spring flowers to blossom. The birds will start singing and the leaves will begin to grow on the trees. These are all the evidence of the new life in our natural world.
As we watch the new life unfold all around us, it reminds of the new life that God wants each person in His world to have. The Bible says that because of our sin we are under the judgment and penalty of death. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3v23). He also tells is that “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). If we have not believed that the Lord Jesus died for our sin and asked His forgiveness, then this is our position before God.
Just like the advent of spring, brings hope for warmer brighter weather, so the Apostle Paul has words of hope for us regarding our sins. I have only quoted the first part of the Romans 6 v23, listen to what the second part tells us – “The gift of God is eternal life”. This gift is possible because of the death of the Lord Jesus upon the Cross. Paul tells us that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
In 2 Corinthians 5 verse 17 we read this, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. Have you believed in the Lord Jesus? If not, believe in Him today and not only will you enjoy the new life of spring, but you will also enjoy God’s new life, a life that begins now and will be enjoyed throughout eternity.
David & Mary Honeyball
I want to share a little piece I read recently – does it ring a bell?
Do you ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our mobile phone?
What if we carried it around in our bag or pocket?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we turned back to get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn’t manage without it?
What if we used it when we travelled, to show us the way?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go… hmm… where is my Bible?
Oh, and two more things…
You never have to worry about the battery dying because it has eternal life.
And, unlike our mobile phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because GOD has already paid the bill!
Makes you stop and think ‘where are my priorities?’
And no missed calls!
“How can a young man (or woman) keep his/her way pure? By guarding it according to your word” Ps 119 v 9 ESV
“I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” Ps 119 v 11 ESV
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)