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Pastor’s Letter

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

During our week of prayer in January this year we looked at a prayer meeting that took place two thousand years ago. It happened in Jerusalem after Peter and John were forbidden by the religious authorities from preaching the Gospel. You can read about this in Acts 4:23-31. What lessons can we learn from this gathering for our own meetings?

Firstly, it was a prayer meeting born out of need. In an emergency these believers had nowhere else to turn but the Lord. Maybe our problem today is that we have so many contingency plans that keep us ‘from taking it to the Lord in prayer’ as our first port of call.As we see the clouds of opposition gathering on the horizon, let us avail ourselves of petitioning not just our local MP but our heavenly Father.As Leonard Ravenhill put it,“The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees”. May we ever remember that: When all things seem against us To drive us to despair We know one gate is open One ear will hear our prayer Oswald Allen 1847

Secondly, as they prayed they were all of one accord. It did not mean that they

were in full agreement in every point of detail – unity is not uniformity.The concert of prayer did not consist of everyone singing with the same voice but different ones (bass as well as sopranos!) creating a beautiful harmony.A song of praise to God the Father as Sovereign Ruler; that God the Son would be magnified as God the Holy Spirit moved in saving power. See how they even quoted promises of Scripture to plead before the Lord.We can learn from this, not to pull in different directions but pull together on the rope of the promises praying to the Triune God for His salvation to visit us.

Finally, in crying to God they concentrated on one specific request – that He would grant them boldness in preaching the Word. Instead of praying for the opposition to cease or even for the Lord’s protection they were asking for something that would bring greater persecution upon them! How puny and self-centred are our prayers in comparison. May the Lord teach us to pray big prayers, prayers that cost us. Phillip Brooks wrote ‘Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.’ Oh how we need greater power upon the Word – as it is

P r e a ch i n g D i a r y

Sundays 10.45am & 6.00pm

Mondays Bible study: 7.30pm

February

February

4th*, 11th 18th† 25th

The Pastor The Pastor Rev. Jeremy Bailey [Port Talbot]

March 4th*, 11th 18th†, 25th 30th†

The Pastor The Pastor The Pastor [Good Friday]

April 1st* 8th 15th†, 22nd 29th

The Pastor [Easter] Rev. Steven Darby [Cefn Hengoed] The Pastor The Pastor

* Evening Communion;

5th 12th, 19th 26th

Home Bible Studies The Pastor The Pastor

March 5th 12th, 19th 29th

Home Bible Studies The Pastor The Pastor

April 9th 16th 23rd 30th

Home Bible Studies AGM The Pastor The Pastor

Morning Communion

preached and in our witness! Not a natural boldness but the supernatural anointing of the Holy Spirit working in the context of our weakness. John Berridge (that eccentric 18th century preacher) put it well in his hymn: The means of grace are in my hand, The blessing is at God’s command, Who must the work fulfill … I cannot speak a proper word, Nor think aright, but from the Lord Preparing heart and tongue … I see it now, and do confess My utter need of Jesus’ grace And of His Spirit’s light; …

What happened as a result of this prayer meeting? We are told,“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness”, v 31. May the Lord hear our prayers, and not just shake buildings but shake our hearts and awaken His church form her state of slumber to spread the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ in Holy Spirit power.

Yours in Him, Wyn Hughes

Gower houseparty Nicholaston House, Oxwich, Gower Friday evening to Sunday (after lunch), 27th - 29th April A time of teaching and fellowship in a lovely peaceful location All welcome (no age restrictions) Ministry led by the Rev Chris Rees (Narberth) Excellent facilities including ensuite bedrooms, many with fantastic views, and a conservatory to relax in and enjoy panoramic views Book early! For further information, contact Sarah Lloyd: mob 07711765300; email sarahjlloyd10@gmail.com

Material for the next issue must be in the editors’ hands by 11th March in order to avoid delay in publication.

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In their own words … A number of our young people were baptized in November and here are some of their testimonies.

Harry Cross

I was brought up in a Christian family and have been going to church from a young age. Because of this, I never really doubted the existence of God and believed everything I was taught at church. However, none of this really interested me. Everything else just seemed much more interesting and I just thought the Christian life was a waste of time. I didn’t want to let go of what I had.

The change started when I was at the age of around 12 or 13, when I started to put more trust in the Lord. It felt really reassuring to have someone watching over me and guiding me through all my troubles. My mind,

Polly Cross

I’m not sure when I was converted as it was so gradual, which makes sense as I grew up in a Christian family but I do know when I got my assurance. Before I did, I had always believed in Jesus which made it difficult for me because I never doubted anything in the Bible but I could never tell if I was saved or not.

When I got my assurance, I was 13 years old and a few people had mentioned that they could see something working in me and that never left my mind as I was affected by it spiritually. I don’t know why but I didn’t do anything about it, that is until one Sunday about a year

Marianna Cross

I was brought up in a Christian home, so hearing the gospel every Sunday was normal to me; I went to Sunday school every morning and I went to the service in the evenings.When I was 6 years old, we sang Be Still My Soul and the line “through thorny ways leads to a joyful end” really stuck with me and I remember being really anxious. I thought that everyone in my family will have that “joyful end” of eternal life and I wouldn’t. So that night, I prayed on my own for the first time and asked God for forgiveness because I knew I wasn’t perfect. After praying, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace in my heart and I knew that I was saved. However, I didn’t change as a

however, was still flooded with doubts. I would always think that I wasn’t ready or I just wasn’t good enough. I would continue to suffer from these doubts for around four years, up until senior camp 2017.This whole experience was a huge blessing for me and it was there that I learned what being a Christian is all about. I learned that all my doubts were nonsense. So, one night at camp, I prayed to God, asking for forgiveness, assurance and to get rid of the doubts that proved to be so much of a burden for me.And just like that, I could no longer doubt, the small feeling at the back of my head had vanished completely, and I finally knew for sure that I was accepted as one of God’s own. ago in an evening service. It was a communion service and as I looked over at the communion table it got me thinking about how I still didn’t know if I was Christian yet, so I said a quick prayer right before the service started that God would tell me if I was a Christian and if I was ready to take communion. In the middle of the preaching God spoke to me and reminded me of the way I live my life and how I loved the Lord. Right then I knew I was saved without any doubt in my mind and I also knew I was ready to take communion that evening.

person because I was so young. I carried on misbehaving in Sunday school and for years, I struggled with doubts and prayed often that God will give me assurance so I would know that, like my family, I have a place in Heaven. I’ve been going to church camps every summer since I was 9 or 10 and they have been the highlight of my year every year. I got my assurance on Junior Camp when I was 12, after hearing someone else’s testimony on how they were converted. Since then, I’ve been taking communion and my faith in God is constantly getting stronger so I decided to get baptised last November.

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Around the world in 2017 The mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the peoples beyond Israel (= the “Gentiles”) should be fellow heirs, of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel (see Ephesians 3:4-6) We praise and thank our God for all that He has accomplished through His servants, our missionaries, in this past year. Here is a brief review of the Gospel being taken to the peoples beyond Israel. We start in Haiti, move across Africa to the Far East, and then through Europe. Haiti

Martinez and Immacula (“Emma”) Jovin have been active in God’s service for over half a century. In that time hundreds have come to faith in Haiti, 10 new churches have been established, also homes for boys and girls, clinics, conferences and camps and many different projects to teach the people and help the poor of the land. Haiti has suffered from natural disasters on a regular basis, but also from powerful satanic forces, criminal gangs, corrupt politics and severely poor infrastructure. But the Gospel has flourished and we hear regularly of children and adults coming to faith.The time has now come for Martinez to take a step back now that he is in his late 70s, and from January 2018, a new board has been set up to handle the responsibilities of the Bethesda Fellowship.Their son, Rev Daniel Jovin, has agreed to be chair of the new board of about 10 people to oversee this great work. Africa

Cameroon Rev Anatole Lordon continues to minister God’s Word in several churches in the area of Douala where he and Claudie and their family live. He is also the local manager of the Barnabas Centre which is a resource centre for Gospel outreach.The Centre occupies a precious piece of land in Douala and local business have tried twice to commandeer it for their own purposes, but each time the Lord has graciously overcome their attempts to grab it.Anatole teaches geology at the University of Buea which is in the English speaking region of the country, where there has been considerable tension and disruption, with demonstrations – sometimes violent, resulting in multiple deaths – against the dominant French-

speaking government. Claudie continues to work in the administration at Douala University; their little girl,Ann Mercy is now 7; David is now at the University and Marc Donald wrote his BEPC (GCSEs) last year.

Our other interest in Cameroon is with the Meta people with their new New Testament in their mother tongue. It was launched in 2014 after the foundational linguistic and literacy work done by our Klaus and Janice Spreda, with the translation completed by a local team led by Rev John Fokwa.We understand that their New Testament is being used in the churches and at home.The political tensions prevented Paul Tench from visiting the area, but he hopes to visit soon to see the progress in the work and seek to encourage people in their use of their Scriptures.

Kenya Dr Judy Luhombo has made an invaluable contribution to the work of Africa Rural Trainers (ART) these past two years.ART has a programme of training poor pastors who do not have the finance to undertake formal Bible College training.They meet once a month for a week under the supervision of trainers who use ART training manuals. Judy has composed about 15 of these high quality, practical, comprehensive manuals which have been much appreciated. Please pray for Judy as she considers what the Lord would have her do in the future.

Kenya has suffered in a number of ways this past year – politically, and economically through drought and famine. Members of the church raised over £4,000 to help the Matumaini Rehabilitation Centre to feed their children and staff.This is where Anita Piroozi has served in the past. There are also areas of a more sensitive nature in Africa where our people have been serving.

Indonesia The Fayu Project has been supported by the church for more than 30 years, initially through Klaus-Peter and Doris Kügler, but more recently through a young American missionary with Wycliffe.

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A number of workshops have been held at which local Fayu men have been trained in telling Biblical narratives that have been newly translated.This is the beginning of a project to produce a modest programme of Bible translation.

Our greatest sadness of the past year was the loss of our dear brother Bhaskar Rao; please pray that the Lord would guide His people about further training of pastors in India.There are also areas of a more sensitive nature in Asia where our people have been serving. Europe

Spain Rev Eddy Muskus is one of four pastors in a church in Valencia called La Parroquia Evangelica Jesus el Señor. Helen, his wife, works as a midwife in a local hospital, and their two sons are both in higher education.They have seen the Lord save a good number of people, who have then go on to be baptized.There is a fine Gospel ministry there, with outreach to local people through a weekly ‘soup kitchen’. Eddy is also involved with a Spanish publishing house that focusses on good Reformed literature. Our pastor visited them last November.They wrote: “We give also thanks for Rev Wyn Hughes’ visit to Valencia last year. It was an encouragement to spend time together sharing our thoughts for the future and bonding for stronger and fruitful relationships”. France David Morrish has continued his ministry of encouragement and counselling to Navigator staff in France. He spends some time each month visiting places where a Navigator team is working. He is otherwise involved with international students with Friends International in Southampton, and with a group of elderly folk at Above Bar Church in Southampton.We were sad to hear of his mother passing away last year; a couple of people from Heath were able to attend her funeral. He himself is due to ‘retire’ soon after a lifetime of service in France. Emmanuel and Esther Durand worship in a small evangelical church in Cognin near Chambéry.Their congregation has


Megan Roberts in the Philippines

‘It’s more fun in the Philippines!’ – a term widely used in the Philippines. Having spent 2 months there, travelling by motorbike, jeepney, tricycle, in the back of a pick-up truck; experiencing lots of new foods, weather, way of life and culture there, I can definitely say I agree!

Last Summer I went to the Philippines for a short-term mission with OMF. I wanted do this to serve God abroad before starting a job.

The Philippines has a population of 100 million. 71% is Roman Catholic, 8-12% are evangelical Christians, and the rest is made up of small cults, sects and Muslims.

My time was split between two different ministries. During the first half I went to the island of Mindanao in the South, and visited 3 different dormitories, spending a week in each.These dormitories are for Christian young people from the Manobo tribe to stay in so they can go to school, as their villages in the mountains are very remote.The work amongst the Manobo people started around 40-50 years ago, and there are now over 60 churches.The work includes church planting, film evangelism, medical work and help accessing education.The Manobo people themselves are now running evangelistic events and sending out their own missionaries to other areas in the mountains, as well as a Bible school to train Pastors for their churches. It was amazing to see how the gospel has spread and people have been saved from a previously unreached people group.

I spent my time in the dormitories leading devotions, teaching English and getting to know the students, spending time with them in conversations and teaching them games. Devotions began at 4.30/5.00am, which took some getting used to! I loved hearing the students singing at this time in the morning as they would truly sing from their hearts, even though the sun hadn’t yet risen! (Filipinos love to sing!)

Living conditions in the dormitories were very basic, with a bucket of water for a shower, a basin for a toilet, and a fire to cook on.Their ability to speak English varied in the different dormitories, meaning the language barrier also varied, even though I learnt a little of their language Cebuano!

L-R:Teaching in a Manobo school. 10 hours in a pick-up truck to Manoboland! Manobo students in a dormitory. Manobo young people.

It was a very interesting experience teaching English in a local school near one of the dormitories, being the first foreigner in the school. It was very rare for me not to be stared at, said ‘hi’ to, and asked to have a photo with, being the only white person around!

In one of the dormitories I met a 16-yearold girl who became a Christian in the past year. Her mother believes in animism (the main religion in the mountains of Mindanao, believing that all things have a spirit or soul) and her father something else, but she started going to the Catholic church with some other family members when she was young. Last year she felt led to go to the Baptist church instead as she didn’t feel it right worshipping Mary as well as God.When she went to the Baptist church she was saved and she knows the Lord has guided her through all of this. Her mother believes in many gods and worships and sacrifices offerings on land she believes Satan has made. She knows that what her parents believe isn’t right because the Bible says so, and so she prays that they would be saved and continues to trust God. It was so refreshing to see how the Lord was working through her, especially when she hadn’t had any Christian influence before a year ago, yet she has really grasped the gospel and shows it in her life.

I learnt a lot from the missionary couple who organised my time in Mindanao.They have worked amongst the Manobos for the last 30-40 years.They had a real servanthearted attitude and love for Christ, wanting to share Him with others at every opportunity. It was a privilege to meet them.

I learnt a lot from God’s faithfulness and answers to prayer, and the people’s trust in God in Mindanao. In one of the dormitories there were town anniversary events. During one such event some policemen turned up in combat gear with big guns, but had apparently come just to ensure my safety! On one occasion, there was a risk of the NPA (communist rebels) entering the town, but God protected us, and taught me to trust in Him more, remembering He’s in control.

I spent the second half of the trip in the Faith Academy in Manila doing speech

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therapy.The Faith Academy is an international school predominantly for missionary children.This was totally different to life and the experiences in Mindanao! The school represents more than 20 nationalities, but mainly Koreans, Americans and Filipinos. Being an Englishspeaking school, it was much easier to communicate! It was amazing to see how God had planned my trip, as parents and teachers in the school kept saying it was a real answer to prayer me being there as they can’t really access a Speech Therapist for their children. I was thankful that I could be of some help even though for a relatively short time! Whilst I was in the school I stayed with 2 American missionary ladies who taught in the school. It was so lovely to stay with them and meant that I was able to meet and spend time with quite a few other missionaries in the school. It was interesting being in such a Christian environment in the school, where they have Bible lessons and chapel during the week.At the end of one assessment session, the child’s parents asked how they could pray for me, and then prayed for the teacher and me! It was so lovely but such a surreal experience being so different to work in the UK!

I really enjoyed my time in the Philippines and am very thankful to God for the opportunity to go. I learnt so much from the people’s trust in God, generosity, inclusivity and hospitality. It was a real privilege to have a taste of things to come when we praise God with every nation, tongue and tribe in our Heavenly home! So much materialism distracts us in the Western world; I learnt a lot from the people’s generosity when they have much less than us in terms of material things, but are so much more thankful than we are. I was reminded that our true happiness only comes in Christ our Saviour and we’re all awaiting a better Heavenly country, where we have a city prepared for us. Thank you very much for all your prayers and support whilst I was away – I really enjoyed receiving emails from many of you, being reminded of our family in Christ, for which I am very thankful to God, and know that God kept me through many things because of those prayers and His goodness!


Carwyn Shires in Moldova

Thank you very much for your prayers for me while I was in Moldova before Christmas. I was able to spend just over five weeks there from November until mid-December. Many have asked what I did whilst I was out there and I hope very briefly to mention some of these things.

Those of us who have been to Moldova over the years or visited other countries where God has been powerfully at work will often have ‘Jericho-wall’ style accounts to retell on our return. But as with the Old Testament saints there are often more ordinary ‘mundane’ times. It reminds me a bit of the time after Sunday lunch before the Sunday evening service.These periods can often be dangerous for the Christian as we can fall into a slumber. However it has been my experience both in Moldova and in the UK whilst we plod, God is still working; and if we look carefully we can still see the traces of his handiwork as expressed in the well known carol,‘O little town of Bethlehem’ How silently, how silently The wondrous gift is given So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heaven No ear may hear His coming But in this world of sin Where meek souls will receive him still The dear Christ enters in.

So I do not return with tales of giants slain, or strongholds being captured. However I do come back able to say of our friends there “dal i gredu” (still believing); that is they are persevering, and going on with Him, often in the face of difficulties.

In the run up to my arrival they had a few health issues with some of the men and women we support in the houses and so some of my time was taken up with these problems. Over the years we have undertaken an annual health review

with each of the individuals in the houses to make sure that their health needs are being met. Often people with learning disabilities have problems accessing health services in the UK and so one can imagine that in Moldova, where access to good medical care is poor across the board, this can be even more challenging. In such circumstances our friends are forced to rely completely on the Great Physician to meet these needs - and He does.

As many of you will be aware we are looking for new staff to work with Casa Mea. My frequent worrying was kept in check by the confidence of our sisters there that God will indeed raise up workers. So often we turn to man made solutions, rather than having calm confidence and patient perseverance in our Captain. Please do continue to keep this matter very much in your prayers that the Lord would raise up people to fill these roles.

We were able to visit the institution in the North twice during my time there. During our first visit we were able to distribute some clothes that had been given. On our second visit we were joined by visitors from Bath and Swansea who had been staying with us and so were able to hold a short service in the institution. Again it can be easy to forget that in between the excitement of the weeks of camp, life continues for those who live there.Again to see the Christians there in the midst of suffering is a really testimony.

The final event I wanted to mention was our visit to the Russian church in Chisinau. We went there at the request of visitors. Many of you have heard about this church from Maureen. It is one of those thrilling accounts which always fans the flames of the heart, stirring us to know God as they do.The church was built by hand during the communist period and reminds me so much of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of

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Fratele Grigori

Jerusalem. Everybody was involved.The young people would come home from work and go straight to the building site, often grabbing at best a few hours’ sleep somewhere amongst the rubble.And don’t think the more advanced in age were excluded! Age was no barrier - all put their shoulders to the work of their Lord (picture below left).

Such a love for the Lord and for His house. Such a jealousy for His church. They gave of their time, their resources, their energy! This challenges me! And there is no way this could have been done in human strength.This is a case of Daniel 11:32,“the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”.They even held the first wedding there before the church was finished! Fratele Grigori who recounted the history for us said that despite the surroundings there was such joy in that wedding.This was better than any other wedding he has been to (picture below). Fratele Grigori who at 70 still conducts the choir, works as a caretaker and zips around the place faster than a 21 year old said:“We are thankful to the Lord that we know He is coming quickly to receive His church”. I think the word that sums up this visit for me is ‘perseverance’. May God grant that each one of us ‘run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finished of our faith’.


Books The Pursuit by Mike Mellor

EVANGELISM. I wonder what comes into your mind when you think of that word?

Do you think,“Well, it is imperative that such a work is done, and that is why I pray and support the pastor, elders, missionaries and evangelists that are involved in such a work”. Now that is highly commendable BUT the work of evangelising the lost requires other names to be added to the above list – namely yours and mine.

In the introduction to his book the author makes the following comment “… as Christians we are indwelt by this glorious Being and have been enlisted to serve and represent Him all our days on earth”. “…Just as the Saviour came on a mission to “seek and to save the lost” we too are to have His heart of compassion and, filled with His Spirit, are to daily seek after those who are, tragically, doing their utmost to avoid being found…”.The author is aware that “Not everyone is an evangelist but everyone is called to be a witness for Christ (Acts 1 v 8)”. One of his aims in writing the book, he tells us, is “that the joyful, at times euphoric experience of being led by the Lord in eyeball-to-eyeball, heartbeat-to-heartbeat evangelism, might become a regular way of life.” I don’t know about you, but I have to regularly keep before me, not only the need for a Christlike compassion for the lost, but the realisation that a lost sinner really is condemned to hell eternally, and that there is no second chance for anybody beyond the grave.“Ironically”, says the author,“we evangelicals hold firm convictions regarding the fact that all are lost and heading for an eternity in hell without salvation through Jesus Christ.” “But somehow this solemn truth doesn’t seem to reach our hearts and compel us to go out in rescue mode as it ought”. Now he gives reasons for this – fear of man, fear of losing our reputations, etc, but then he brings the encouragement “We are not expected to go in our own strength, but to seek that power from on high.” Our dependency on the Holy Spirit, working with us and through us, runs through the book, reminding us that, when we go to witness to the lost, we must

Medicine for the Soul: Exploring harmony with God by Eifion Evans

Luke,William Williams Pantycelyn, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J. C. Ryle all have two things in common. Firstly, they were physicians with a concern for their neighbour’s wellbeing. But it is no coincidence that our Lord often calls those with a burden for the body into those with a burden for the soul; they became soul-physicians.Trained as a pharmacist, Eifion Evans writes within this tradition.This excellent little book contains thirty short essays which seek to provide remedies for spiritual ailments. I suggest that the reader visits this small cabinet once a day; they are not long, and the experiential and practical nature of each section will prove to be medicine for your soul.These meditations will help the Christian who

go in partnership with God.“In our evangelism we must be partners with the Holy Spirit, presenting the Gospel, but relying on the Holy Spirit of God to do the convicting and the converting”.

I think one of the most compelling things for me regarding the book was to be reminded that seeking the lost was not something we should feel we have to do, but that it should be the inevitable overflow of the love we have ourselves experienced.“When the Spirit fills a person,“overflow” is natural and spontaneous; there is an inner compulsion to pass on the good news, to take the lifesaving antidote to those who are sick and dying”.

Did the book challenge me regarding witnessing? Yes it did, but not in a “guilt trip” way.

Did the book encourage me to witness? Yes it did, because it reminded me, that to openly witness for Christ can be a blessing, not only to the one witnessed to, but also to the one who is doing the witnessing, as it strengthens his faith and emboldens him to carry on in the task – whatever the response.

I believe this book should be essential reading for all of us, for our responsibility as saved sinners to evangelise the lost is clearly set out for us in the Scriptures:“… that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 1 v 9).The book closes by the author underlining this responsibility:“Each and every Christian has been commissioned to represent Jesus in this fear-filled, hopeless world and to speak of Him to our perishing generation. They have no-one else.Whether it means crossing the room, the road, or the globe, we are all on mission.The question is:“are you available”. Isaiah’s answer to that question was “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6 v 8). May God give us grace to enable us too to respond in the same way.This book will help you to do that. Wyn Evans

is suffering from doubt, disillusionment, confusion, spiritual depression, loneliness or just needs a listening ear. Ultimately, Dr Evans reminds us that there is still a balm in Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22) and that the Great Physician of Bethesda’s pool (John 5) still passes by. Call on Him (Luke 18:38) and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Nathan Munday

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Tom Wright and the search for truth: a theological evaluation by Tom Holland (Apiary Publishing, 2017)

Dr N T (Tom) Wright is a brilliant and prolific Christian author with a wide readership on both sides of the Atlantic. He is English and was at one time the Bishop of Durham. He has described himself as an evangelical. He has courted controversy with his comments “that the Reformers got it wrong on justification by faith”. He was at one time a key proponent of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul”. The subject of this book is a heavyweight theologian with impressive credentials and a compelling writing style. Who then is the author who has been prepared to put his head above the parapet and lock horns with this literary giant? Dr Tom Holland is a former Baptist pastor in Hertfordshire. He now lives in Bridgend and was for many years a New Testament specialist at what is now Union School of Theology and is the author of several books on Pauline Theology. This is a very important book but won’t be a must-read for everybody. It is nearly 500 pages long with numerous footnotes and deals with sometimes complex theological arguments. As for church leaders in evangelical churches, this volume could be a God-send in vindicating our Reformation history, strengthening our confidence in the Word of God and cautioning against unconscious reliance on extra-biblical material. Tom Holland convincingly exposes Wright’s claim that Saul of Tarsus had been a zealot (a political activist against Rome) as highly unlikely. The author questions Tom Wright’s assumption that Paul imbibed the dominant Greco-Roman culture in his thinking and writing. Instead he shows how the apostle faithfully follows the Old Testament scriptures and uses them as a

template for his writings. He also warns against Wright’s use of intertestamental literature for more than historical, cultural and social information. One inter-testamental text that Tom Wright sees as crucial is 4 Maccabees. From this he views Jesus’ death as that of a martyr in the place of the Jewish nation. Tom Holland by contrast views Christ’s death in the historical context of the Passover – a New Exodus in which the First Born dies to liberate Jewish and Gentile sinners from the bondage of Satan. Wright uses Paul’s definition of justification in Galatians (“how the true people of God are to be justified”) as the only one in use elsewhere in the epistles. Along the way he dismisses the Reformers’ explanation of justification as God’s declaration of righteousness because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection in the place of sinners. Dr Holland shows that the Reformers’ use of justification was broader than the merely forensic. Indeed, Holland goes on to show Paul’s use of no fewer than nine different meanings. The author shows that Wright’s argument ignores key texts which substantiate the Reformers’ claims. Finally,Wright has overlooked the theme of the Divine Marriage in the New Testament. His failure to do so leaves him with a version of salvation that has not brought assurance but a doctrine of works salvation. Kerry Orchard

A Call to Extraordinary Prayer : Recharging your Prayer Life through the Book of Acts by Steve Nation: Christian Focus, 2017

Please read this!

The publisher, Christian Focus, asked me some months ago to write an endorsement of a new book they intended to publish. I was interested. But when I saw the title, I hesitated. In fact, seeing the sub-title I was dubious whether I could endorse it. Now you need an explanation! The book's title is: A Call to Extraordinary Prayer : Recharging your Prayer Life through the Book of Acts. Dubious? Yes. I feared it would be simplistic, send Christians on a guilt trip and fail to handle the Biblical text responsibly.After reading this small, user-friendly, book, I realised my initial fears were misplaced.And to my surprise, I enjoyed the book. I was also encouraged and challenged through it, so I happily gave my endorsement. Why am I writing about it? There are three reasons for doing so.The first is that the author writes simply in underlining key prayer-texts in Acts and he does so competently without technical language.A second reason for telling you about the book is that it is well illustrated, pastoral and Biblical.The

content is rich but heart warming. The third reason for commending the book is that it encourages Christians and churches to pray without making us feel guilty. Be clear, however, concerning the author's intention. He wants churches and believers everywhere to re-establish, rather than neglect or weaken the link between the ministry of the Word and prayer. He warns: '...only in humble dependence on God will our churches function faithfully.As we plant and water, it is ongoing and dependent prayer that connects with the extraordinary God who can do it and for us what we could never do in our life and ministry' (p.14) You have heard it before, I guess! Nevertheless, dare I urge you all to buy or share and read this book? More importantly, let 's put its Biblical message into practice in our lives and churches. Eryl Davies

Summer Service and Short Term opportunities Take time to rest and relax and have a holiday. Then, if you have some free time that you can spare for serving the Lord in some way, look for this leaflet which gives some ideas. Christian organizations are always looking for volunteers to help them in their work and would be glad of your service.We have contacted those that we have had a lot to do with in recent years, and you can trust the people who run them.There are others too of course.

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In most cases, you would have to find your own financial support, so you need to plan ahead. In most cases too, people have come back from these opportunities full of thanksgiving at seeing what God has done, for the experience that have had, and the fellowship they enjoyed with other Christians. This was certainly Megan’s experience; and we are grateful to her for putting this little leaflet together. Redeem the time – “making most of your time” (NASB, Eph 5:16)


The Incomparable CHRIST... He came from the bosom of the FATHER to the bosom of a woman He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of Man that we might become sons of GOD. He came from heaven where the rivers never freeze, frosts never chill the air, flowers never fade and no one is ever sick. No undertakers and no graveyards for no one ever dies...no one is ever buried. He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, raised in obscurity, only once crossed the boundary of the land, in childhood He had no wealth nor influence and had no training nor education. His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluential. In infancy He startled a king; in boyhood He puzzled the doctors; in manhood ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a bookyet not all the libraries of the country could hold the books that have been written about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme of more songs than all song writers combined. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has. He never practiced medicine, and yet He healed more broken hearts than doctors broken bodies. He never marshalled an army, drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun, yet no leader ever made more volunteers who have under His orders made rebels stack arms or surrender without a shot being fired. He is the Star of astronomy, the Rock of geology, the Lion and the Lamb of zoology, the Harmoniser of all discords and the Healer of all diseases. Great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him, Satan could not seduce Him, death could not destroy Him, the grave could not hold Him. He laid aside His purple robe for a peasant’s gown. He was rich yet for our sake He became poor. How poor? Ask Mary! Ask the Wise Men! He slept in another's manger, He cruised the lake in another's boat, He rode on another man's donkey, He was buried in another man's tomb.All failed but He never....The ever Perfect One. He is the Chiefest among ten thousand...HE IS ALTOGETHER LOVELY....HE IS OUR SAVIOUR. Evangelist Sam Jones (1846-1906), an American Methodist preacher

To him who has loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Rev. 1 v 6. Amen and amen. O Saviour, I have nought to plead on earth beneath or heaven above, but just my own exceeding need and Your exceeding love. The need will soon be passed and gone exceeding great but quickly o'er. Your love unbought is all Your own and lasts forever more. Jane Crewdson (1860)

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Church magazine feb mar 2018  

Online version of our church magazine

Church magazine feb mar 2018  

Online version of our church magazine

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