The Fourth Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 2

Quick Notes

Message from Margaret and Dick Shaw, “Thankyou to everyone who so generously supported our charity sale last Friday and Saturday.  We have raised £240.70 for Cransley Hospice.” 

Next Sunday morning’s service (16th) is going to be different.  We are sharing in the Baptist Union Assembly Service and through the wonders of modern technology we intend to project it onto the large screen at church.  The service is from 10.30am to 11.30am

As a contribution to the Ascension Day service at St Peter and St Paul on 13th May (part of “They Kingdom Come” – see below), Rev David Walsh is asking local church leaders to record a short 90 second reflection on “what you feel God has been teaching you and your church over the past year?”.  I have still to work out my contribution, but two areas that have come to mind are firstly the importance of prayer and ensuring the anchor of our faith is firmly in God’s love, secondly the value of working at fellowship in whatever way we can.  If you’d been asked - what would you say? 

I came across this insight about what God is teaching us from John Piper, “What God is doing in the coronavirus is showing us - graphically, painfully - that nothing in this world gives the security and satisfaction that we find in the infinite greatness and worth of Jesus.  This global pandemic takes away our freedom of movement, our business activity, and our face-to-face relations.  It takes away our security and our comfort.  And, in the end, it may take away our lives.  The reason God exposes us to such losses is to rouse us to rely on Christ.”

Zoom Bible Study

We are continuing with Zoom Bible Study fortnightly.  The next one is on Wednesday 12th May, at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start, and we are continuing our wander through Romans.

Romans 1 v.18-32, wrong choices lead to being trapped by sin

All are welcome to join - please ask Laura for details. Or if you prefer to do this Bible Study at home, then read the passages several times and consider the following questions.

  1. The phrase “There but for the grace of God, go I” is based on a statement by the sixteenth-century English Reformer John Bradford and links to 1 Corinthians 15 v.10.  What does this phrase mean to you?
  2. In the passage Paul describes the downward spiral of sin.  Do you agree with this analysis, “What they at first choose to do, they are finally unable to avoid” (John Ziesler)? 
  3. Paul starts by mentioning the wrath of God (v.1), how do you see the outworking of this in the passage?  Note verses 24, 26, 28, what do you understand by God letting people go their own way and suffering the consequences?
  4. The overall theme of Romans is the righteousness of God, why do you think Paul had to begin with the unrighteousness of people?

The next Bible Study will be on 26th May.

Reflection

From Phillip based on Luke 11 v.1-13
“How much more will your Father in heaven give?”

Over the past few chapters, we have been looking at the phrase “How much more” and the places where it occurs in the Bible.  This week’s phrase comes in the context of praying and asking.  It is at the end of a section in Luke’s gospel where the disciples ask Jesus to teach them about prayer and Jesus responds by teaching them his prayer - the Lord’s Prayer.  It is perhaps lost on us as we extensively use it, but to the first Christians a striking thing about the Lord’s prayer was the title used for God.  For Jesus taught them not to address God as Yahweh or Lord, but to use a personal family term – Father.  In fact, the original is even more intimate for a better translation of the word that Jesus used, Abba, would be to say Dad or even Daddy

All of us as children know that there were times when we asked for things from our parents and one of the privileges of being a parent is to be able to give to your children.  As I say, to my daughter Beth, “darling when I realised I was going to have a daughter, I knew it would be an expensive business - and in that you have never disappointed me!”  I say it as a joke, but seriously though, part of the joy for me as a parent has been to give things and help my children.  If that is true of me, how much more will my heavenly Dad give to those who ask.

The nub of the problem though is that we do not ask.  There could be many reasons for this but let me consider a few.  We do not ask because –

  • We are not sure where we stand with God.  A story is told about a little boy who went to church with his grandma.  Grandma knelt to pray, and not wanting to be left out, the little boy knelt beside her.  After a few seconds had passed he whispered to her, “Grandma, who are we hiding from?”  God does not want us to hide from him.  As I have already explained God wants us to call him “Dad” so we can ask because we are part of his family, his beloved children, and he enjoys giving us good things. (verses 11-13).
  • We fear that God will disapprove of our requests.  In the parable when Jesus talked about asking, verses 5-8, there is no suggestion that the friend disapproved or thought the actual request was ridiculous.  Indeed, persistence was praised, and the request was granted.
  • We consider prayer for ourselves to be selfish prayer.  Yet how can it be selfish when God wants to give things to us.  In some ways it could be considered selfish and bad manners to refuse.
  • We find it hard to trust God for an answer.  Jesus tells us that our requests will be answered, perhaps not instantly, but they will be answered and in the meantime the instruction is to ask, seek and knock, or more accurately, keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking.
  • We do not have the habit of regular prayer.  “Prayer”, as the old hymn says, “is the Christian’s vital breath.”  If we are not praying and talking to our heavenly Father, then he is not able to meet our needs.  In another parable about asking, the parable of the Persistent widow (Luke 18 v1-8), Jesus again praises persistence.  This time the persistence of a widow in appealing to a judge for justice.  Yet the parable finishes with a sad reflection from Jesus wondering if he will find such faith on the earth when he returns.

God wants us to pray.  He wants us to talk to him as our heavenly Father and through prayer he wants us to have a living relationship with him.  Like any parent he wants to mould us and pour out good things on us, and just like us, as parents, have pleasure in giving, so God is pleased to be able to give good things to his children. 

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (v 13)

The sad fact is though, if we do not ask things of God then we are denying him the pleasure in giving to us. 


Dates

23rd May Pentecost Sunday - service outside on the car park.  Possibly with coffee outside afterwards – if there are a few people who would organise this?

13th to 23rd May “Thy Kingdom Come”, between Ascension (13th) and Pentecost (23rd) there is a wave of prayer across the UK and around the world - praying that people will know Jesus.  I still have a few journals and children’s digital activity packs to give away, but not many.

In Kettering there are two actual events

  • Prayer Walk, Tuesday 18th, 10.45 for 11.00am, starting from outside Fuller Baptist Church, walking in groups of up to 6.
  • Time of Prayer, Wednesday 19th, 11.00am 11.45am, at Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

Please pray for our Mission of the Month – Christian Aid.


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The Fourth Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 1
The first chapter of the Fourth Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the congregation of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 16
The sixteenth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the gathering flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 15
The fifteenth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the gathering flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle, Chapter 14
The fourteenth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the gathering flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 13
The thirteenth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the gathering flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 12
The twelfth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 11
The eleventh chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 10
The tenth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 9
The ninth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 8
The eighth chapter of the Third Epistle from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church.

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