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Wymondham Baptist Church
Queen Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, NR18 0AY
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Archive for February, 2012

The stones will cry out

 

I’m Trisha and I’d like to invite you to join me on a journey of discovery! My prayer is that as you come with me Father will speak to you in the everyday things of your life too.

When I was approached to write this journey, as one should, I checked with Father God before tapping any words on my laptop. If it was wrong then He must say NO but if it was right someone would give me a stone during the coming week. An unusual request yes, but stay – all will become clear.

Why a stone I hear you ask. I simply love God and all that He has made. Mountains, animals, birds, the beauty of nature and all within, I find wonder – even His Word. That’s my personal loving and ‘knows me well’ Father God!

One ‘All-Age’ Sunday service recently had a theme of listening to God.  One lady spoke about what things made her think of God’s greatness. She invited others to come forward and say a few words and choose an item from her tray of mixed pine cones and shells among other things.

 

As I listened, I sensed Father’s urge to tell of something which happened the previous week. Yet to do so would embarrass me, so He’d have to confirm it first. Immediately another lady spoke about her visit to the coast with her children, who collected stones on the beach. This was the confirmation I was looking for!

Apprehensively I stood and gave a short account of the net curtains that I needed to shorten. They say measure twice and cut once – I did. After two days of hard work I finished two sets and put them on their rods on the windows. I was stupefied! They were 3” too short! I asked the Lord where I had gone wrong. I finished by saying that we often ‘do’ things for God thinking we are right, but in fact we are wrong. Was this for me alone? Embarrassed I chose a gnarled, black, gritty shape with what looked like rusty iron in the middle. It looked a bit like I felt.

However, as the morning went on, it became clear that ‘listening to God’ was the crux of many problems followers of Christ battle daily with! We set about ‘doing’ stuff in the hope of perhaps seeing the ‘Church’ grow. We hold prayer meetings which become powerless mumblings without anticipation. Meetings, events and groups crowd the annual calendar. Sermons on loving, serving and mission are right but give a low priority to two most important factors – repentance and listening! Not just to God but to each other.

So we think we’re doing everything right for God but in fact we fall short of what God really wants of us. Take Saul on the road to Damascus. He believed 100% that he was right to hunt down his own people, kill them ruthlessly for their faith in the Christ. He followed the Law to the letter. But when he came up against and met the risen Christ, he certainly came up short.

My testimony was not just about ME but the ‘Church’ the Bride of Christ. When the invite came to bring you ‘The stones will cry out’, it is what led me to seek confirmation by asking for another stone. Can you imagine? My heart skipped a beat when my hubby, (without provocation or knowing this) passed me a stone within two days of this prayer? That’s my heavenly ‘knowing me well’ Father God!

I became a follower of Jesus in August 1978 and very soon this new relationship with the Great Shepherd became exhilarating and empowering. As I grew in the ways of Father God, my expectancy was rewarded and I saw many incredible things which I’ll save for another day. I promise I will tell you!

Jesus, on His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, told the Pharisees when they instructed him to command the disciples to stop praising God for the miracles they’d seen Him do, said:  “I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, even the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40)

As a young Christian I frequently came across stones of various shapes, sizes and materials. Some rough and ragged; smooth and shiny; pretty coloured and gem encrusted ones. I knew nothing of the names of these stones I simply thought they were beautiful. After about my fifth find, I was given a book to read: ‘Hinds feet on high places’ by Hannah Hannard.

It is beautifully based on “The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me walk upon mine high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19, Psalm 18:33, II Samuel 22:34). “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7).

It’s an allegory dramatizing God’s yearning to see His children led on to new heights of love, joy, and victory. It depicts the life of Much-Afraid a young orphan girl living with relatives in the house of Fearing in the Valley of Humiliation.

She is filled with shame and longs to go with the Shepherd who has called her to go with him to the high place. There he has promised she will be given a new name. However, she has a crooked mouth and feet and lives in fear which makes the journey difficult, especially as the Fearing clan go after her with a vengeance.

She is accompanied by two companions – Sorrow and Suffering. Along the way and at each stopping place she is given a precious stone, marking the event and the lesson learnt. Oh reader – what a book! There were places I clearly identified with, so much so that I wept.

Over the years Father has taught me many things and I have been slow to learn. I’ve been in the wilderness; the valleys; the mountain tops; the sea of disappointments; held by shackles of guilt. At each stage a new stone came into my possession also! I still have them, labelled and awaiting their debut. It is these stones which cry out and of which I will be sharing with you.

I urge you reader to ‘Seek Him with ALL your heart and KNOW Him’. Father God meets us in the little things of life so that we may sense His leading and direction for our lives. It’s about being obedient to being involved in God’s ministry and not creating our own.

The stone which hubby gave me was a slate stone! I had prayed for a pretty one. Maybe Father will be showing me more things very soon.

God bless you my friend, do come back won’t you? Send me your feedback so that I know you are encouraged and if you should need prayer, please join with me in the following. God bless you.

Trisha

Prayer

Father God, forgive me for the times I do not trust you, or listen to you. I want to know you more with all my heart, mind and soul. You know me well, better than I know myself. Please see the burden I carry and help me to lay at the foot of the cross and leave it with you. For I believe you hear me and will answer when I call. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Wednesday February 29th, 2012 in General News | Comments Off

Sticks and stones

A couple of Sundays back Shirley turned up at church with a tray of stones, sticks, shells, pinecones, and various other bits collected from nature.

I soon found myself sharing a story of when I’d taken Sunshine and Bright (my daughters) to the seaside the last day of February half-term – in the wind and rain – and we’d spent a very long time enjoying the stones that covered the beach  at Gorleston.

So Trisha took this as her cue to come forward and say her own piece. Stones have always played a special role for Trisha as mementos of her Christian walk, and she said she wished she could tell us all the stories her collection means to her.

So I rang her up the next day, and asked her to share.

Trisha likes to talk. :-) I like to talk to Trisha.

She’s got loads of stories, and she’s going to be sharing them here. We get the first one tonight, along with a bit of an introduction of what’s on her mind and heart.

Here you go! Enjoy!

Wednesday February 29th, 2012 in Website | Comments Off

We say we’re like ‘family’

Just watching church people over the last week, it occurs to me that behaving like ‘family’ doesn’t mean everything’s happy all the time.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kOHLp4yZjlM/TYtV8whitCI/AAAAAAAAAOc/_vE_715Jewg/s1600/Free-Family-Tree-Search-3.jpg

Families are messy. They make messes, they complain, and relationships are complicated.

Why are we surprised when church gets that way?

In our blood/marriage families, we expect this, and love through it, and stick with it anyway.

Here’s some examples I’ve seen this week of really messy, real family love:

  • Everyone staying behind and waiting, watching, to make sure the paramedics properly look after one of our own who had a funny turn during the service
  • Delighted clapping for the performance that is off-key–when we can hear it, that is–with messed up words, and nervous stares at the ceiling
  • Paco turning up, unexpected, with a coffee for me when I looked tired and cold
  • M, J, C and others helping someone make their own meals, and make them take their medicine, even when they don’t want to
  • Kids moving furniture to make tents, buses, schools, and caves
  • Everyone moving furniture together to set up for Little Acorns
  • My own A banging Helen’s A over the head with a fairy wand
  • Strong men helping almost-strong women move speakers out of the way
  • Someone stuck in the kitchen, making drinks and washing up (but enjoying the company and the chat while they do)
  • Someone (a mum, of course!) putting out new loo rolls
  • Karen and Nigel visiting someone who needed them
  • Margit understanding when I asked her to unexpectedly change her plans
  • Someone taking the kids out to play, so the adults can concentrate
  • Someone making sure the bills get paid
  • Someone (often the same people every time) clearing up and doing the cleaning
  • Someone lurking in the background, hoping to get away unnoticed
  • All of us missing someone who isn’t there

And some things we can expect:

  • Things will get broken, and someone will be cross
  • Someone will want their own way
  • Someone won’t be ready to talk
  • Someone will misunderstand
  • Someone will mess up
  • Someone will leave us

We’re doing an awful lot right, but there are always things to learn from. Having a good look at how we are a family, warts and all, will help us accept it when our blemishes show.

Your  own family knows you’re not perfect. When church people set ourselves or others up with expectations of of our own perfection, then we are making sure everyone feels inferior.

Be honest. Things are great  sometimes, and sometimes they’re not. Love us anyway. Let us love you anyway. That’s what families do.

What are some examples you’ve seen of us being family, for better or for worse?

Sunday February 26th, 2012 in General News | Comments Off