We Remember

We Remember

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

We Remember

By Chris Griffiths, Jubilee Church Wirral

11am on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Silence falls across the nation as people stand and sit in quiet contemplation and remembrance. We remember the sacrifice made by men and women to give us the freedom we have today, and we remember the cost of that sacrifice to civilians and soldiers. We might also use the silent opportunity to pray for areas of the world where there is conflict today and for the innocents around.

I’ve had the duty of leading this time in many different supermarkets over the years and I have always been moved by the fellowship shown and support to each other. It is also the case that two minutes can seem a lot longer than 120 seconds when we stop the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and pause and reflect. But that’s a small amount of time out of a day to make a significant and life changing difference.

As Christians we frequently remember the greatest sacrifice of all, Jesus the Son of God, coming to earth to give up His life to pay the price for our sins. Our monthly communion meeting takes bread and juice which we eat and drink as we read His instructions to us in Luke 22

V17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said “Take this and divide it among you”………

V19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

And so, we remember. We remember that God’s love for us was, and is, so great that He made the sacrifice once and for all. He laid down his life for us as John writes

1 John 3 V16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us

So how do we respond to this? Do we give up our own lives to Him in part or completely? Do we hold onto our past in a way that holds back the future God has planned for us?

I want to encourage you today to take two minutes and to use this time to remember why His sacrifice was made (to reconcile you with God) and to sacrifice to Him every part of your life, trusting in His faithfulness and love. We remember His promises from Jeremiah 29:

V11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

We remember.

Chris Griffiths of Jubilee Church Wirral

Chris Griffiths, Jubilee Church Wirral

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Friends

Friends

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Friends

By Helen O’Brien, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

Matthew Perry (second left), who played Chandler Bing in 90s sitcom Friends, died recently.

As I’m sure that most of you are aware, Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing in 90s sitcom Friends, died recently.

There has been much grief expressed on social media.

This got me thinking about friendship. I have been carried by my friends recently and I wasn’t sure I could write about this but here goes.

Friendship is important to all humans. There are many stories in the Bible of friendships. David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3), Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17), Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 2:49), to name but a few. 

How can you get good friends?

1. Pray. 

Have you ever met someone and thought, “oh I like this person, I think we could be friends,” but a few weeks later they say something that makes you look at them in a different way and you pull back. They might be a cat person but you are a dog person. You might vote Green Party and they don’t vote. On the surface it’s relatively trivial but it becomes a barrier to friendship. 

The Bible advises caution when choosing friends. Proverbs 12:26 says “The righteous choose their friends carefully…” but is something so minor worth missing out on what might become a deep friendship? Before you pull away, pray. Ask God for wisdom about who to befriend. 

2. Be intentional.

There was a bunch of older mums at Kez and Mikey’s primary school. We agreed we would stay friends regardless of whether our kids were friends or not. 

3. Invest your time and energy.

Friends are precious things and friendships require tending like gardens. The more we tend a garden the more beautiful it becomes, the same is true of friendships.

4. Don’t require perfection.

Jesus surrounded himself with 12 close friends, but his best friends were two argumentative sisters and their brother. Perfect friends don’t exist

5. Be prepared to be vulnerable.

Great friends look after you when you can’t look after yourself. This last month my friends have held me in prayer, literally held me while I sobbed, fed me meals when cooking was the last thing I could do, fed me chocolate biscuits, taken me out and blessed me, not pried, just prayed. They have prayed when I couldn’t.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend Proverbs 27:17

One friend, when she saw me in McDonald’s car park, gave me the Bible verses 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 

Other fast food restaurants are available, but you won’t get words of comfort like that from anywhere other than a Godly friend quoting the Bible.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. Job 6:14

I hope that soon, when I am stronger I can pay my friends back, but do you know what, I bet each and every one of them will say I don’t owe them anything, because that’s what friends do. 

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is a great friend, my best friend.  He will never leave us or forsake us 

Deuteronomy 31:6; 31:8 (NIV): The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Hebrews 13:5:  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

But when you need a tissue and a hug, or someone to tell you your hair is a mess and your feet smell, a here-and-now person is a blessing from God. 

I thank God for all of my friends and pray that you will be blessed with good Godly friends too.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Helen O’Brien with her husband Mick

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Evangelism – does it scare you?

Evangelism – does it scare you?

Blogs
Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Evangelism – does it scare you?

By Andrew Greenhalgh, Jubilee Church Wirral

Is this what you picture when you think of being an evangelist?

How do you feel about evangelism?

Maybe it makes you feel slightly queasy, in that “I know it’s important and that God wants us to be evangelists but I can’t bear the thought of doing it myself” kind of way.

Maybe you’ve decided that you don’t feel called to evangelise, that God hasn’t chosen to gift you with that particular talent. Or maybe you’ve never really thought about it at all.

If thinking about evangelising makes you feel queasy, then I completely understand. Not just because doing something new is always nerve-wracking, but because “evangelism” conjures up images of people standing on street corners and shouting at passers-by.

If you’ve decided that God hasn’t called you to evangelise, then I understand that, too.

But isn’t saying “God hasn’t called me to do that” just an easy way out of doing something we don’t want to do?

A way of saying how much you believe in God while simultaneously ducking out of doing anything you don’t actually want to do?

I believe that we’re all called to evangelise, and that ultimately we are all evangelists, whether we like it or not.

Why? If you come to church regularly, then the chances are that at least some of your friends, colleagues and neighbours think of you as a Christian. That means their view of God is at least partially shaped by you and the way you live your life. That makes you an evangelist.

If I’m right and we’re all called to be evangelists, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple, painless way of evangelising? A way that helped Jubilee specifically as well as spreading the word of God?

There is.
Five or six days a week, Jubilee Church Wirral posts on Facebook and Instagram. Our posts range from news announcements to encouraging Bible verses.

We want these posts to reach as many people as possible, because:

– We want to grow Jubilee as a church
– We want to bring people to God
– We want to support and encourage those who have come to God already

Sounds good, right?

Here’s how you can help.

Every time anybody likes, comments on or shares a Jubilee post on Facebook or Instagram, more people see that post as a result. It’s that simple.

For the past two and a half years, we’ve had a small but faithful band of people who try their best to like, comment and share our posts – and for those people we are truly grateful.

But the more people who get involved, the more people we can reach – and the more people we can bring to God.

Can you help?

Our regular band of commenters receive a WhatsApp message every time we post, with a link through to the post itself. If you’d like to join that group, send me a message on 07714 102661.

If that sounds a bit too much of a commitment and you’re already in too many WhatsApp groups to mention, then all we ask is this:

Every time you see a Jubilee post on Facebook or Instagram, ‘like’ it, comment on it, or, better still, share it.

Not only will you be helping Jubilee, you’ll be helping bring people to God.

You’ll be evangelising.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Andrew Greenhalgh, Jubilee Church Wirral

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The parable of the lost sheep

The parable of the lost sheep

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

The parable of the lost sheep

By Dawne Cooper, Jubilee Church Wirral

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to go away for a few days to Somerset.

We were enjoying coming back from the cricket, along the winding lanes, when suddenly a loose sheep appeared in the middle of the road. Just as we were passing it, the farmer arrived in his jeep to come and rescue this wandering sheep.

It was a timely reminder of the parable of the lost sheep.

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Luke 15:1-7 ESV

There’s a few things we can take from this:

  1. God loves you more than you can possibly imagine. You’re so important to Him, that He will leave the other 99 to come and find you. If you leave Him (like this sheep did in Somerset) and choose to live life your own way, He will follow you to the ends of the earth (like the Somerset farmer did.) He’ll stay by your side, no matter what. And quite amazingly, there’s nothing you can do that will stop Him from loving you!
  2. You are always welcome to His kingdom! The second you stop running and turn to Him, He’ll open His arms and celebrate your return. As we watched this wandering sheep on our holiday, we noticed it start to head back towards the direction of the farmer. You could imagine the relief and joy of this farmer as his sheep was coming back to him. If a humble farmer would be feeling like this, how much more joy and celebration would your Father in heaven be feeling when you choose to tun to him?!

The last point I’d like to make on this is that God never gives up on you! Wow! Let me say that again… God never gives up on you! In a world where we’ve become so used to people giving up on us at the slightest inconvenience, this can be difficult to comprehend, but it’s so true. 

All you have to do is turn to Him and ask forgiveness. Here you will find God has mercy on you and this mercy endures forever.

 

I’ve chosen this video to go with the blog because it encapsulates everything that I am saying.

“Who am I that the King of the world would give one single thought about my broken heart?

Who am I that the God of all grace wipes the tears from my face and says, ‘Come as you are’?

You paid the price, You took the cross, You gave Your life and You did it all with me on Your mind”

WOW! Just wow!

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Dawne Cooper, Jubilee Church Wirral

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Jesus the speaking one

Jesus the speaking one

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Jesus the speaking one

By Dave Frodsham, lead elder, Jubilee Church Wirral

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you don’t know anyone and everyone seems to be talking to someone?

How did you feel? Perhaps you have been to a meeting and as you look around the only the person not talking is someone you don’t know. This person seems to be the complete opposite of who you are in every way and you think the conversation is going to be difficult.

In John 3 we read how Jesus engaged in conversation with Nicodemus – a male Jewish leader, part of a group of people who were suspicious of Jesus but who should have known better.

He came to Jesus at night, possibly so the other Jewish leaders didn’t know.

Jesus was happy to speak to him as a Jewish man but he is quite straight with him and doesn’t make it easy.

John 3:3-4 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

In John chapter 4 we see Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman – someone whom a Jewish man would normally have nothing to do with.

The Jews hated the Samaritans but this woman was also full of shame. As we find out later, she had had five husbands.

Jesus crosses not only racial and cultural divides but also the moral divide. He initiates the contact by asking for a drink.

He shows that the gospel is for all people and should reach across what divides us. Are we prepared to follow his example?

In Galatians 3:28–29. Paul says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (ESV)

So, let us look at what Jesus said to her and why we could use it as an example to follow. The woman replies to His request by questioning why he is talking to her and he offers her living water instead.

She wonders how he will get this water and Jesus continues the conversation by drawing out the woman and what she is thirsting for.

He says that the water He gives will satisfy her thirst for ever! In John 7:37 Jesus says to all: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (ESV)

Going back to the woman at the well, she now wants this water but it’s still thinking in natural terms. It’s good to help people with practical needs but we mustn’t neglect helping them with spiritual needs too. Jesus now changes his tack and says, “Go and call your husband.”

The woman answers, “I have no husband” and Jesus affirms her and says, “Yes, you’re right, you do not have a husband – for you’ve had five husbands and the man you are living with is not your husband!”

I am sure at this point, the woman pauses, and then answers “Sir, I see you’re a prophet,” but wants to the change the topic of conversation as this is a subject she doesn’t want to discuss.

So she asks a religious question in reply. “We are told we have to worship in Jerusalem and not here where our fathers worshipped. Why is that?”

“You worship what you don’t know,” says Jesus, “or you thirst for the wrong thing. A time is coming when it won’t matter where you worship, just who.”

She knows who is expected and answers, “When the Messiah comes, he will tell us all things.”

Jesus then declares “I am He who is speaking to you.”

Jesus enters into a conversation with someone who is not expecting it but is expecting the Messiah. Are you expecting him to speak? He is the speaking one – are you hearing what he is saying to you?

Start with: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”

Much love and God bless you,

Dave

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Dave Frodsham, Jubilee Church Wirral

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Loss and God’s care

Loss and God’s care

Blogs
Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Loss and God’s care

By Yvonne Martin, Jubilee Church Wirral

My mind is a jumble of thoughts. I feel like I’m a jumble of emotions.

What can I bring out of how I am feeling and what I’m thinking right now, to encourage the church?! There are so many verses in the Bible about God’s comfort and care, so that’s the best I can bring.

As many of you know, I lost my Mum in January. She’d been struggling with Pulmonary Fibrosis for a few years and for the last 18 months battled through the chronic pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Suddenly in November last year we were told that the chest infection she had picked up was very rare and severe and despite finally finding the correct antibiotics, she was too compromised to fight it and nothing more could be done for her. She went home to die.

I’m still grieving. I cope, I carry on, but there’s times when I still cry as I think about nursing her in those final days and about how much I miss talking to her. I generally feel quite sad and not very joyful.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”
Matthew 6:8 “…Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

My mum with Asher

Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

My mum with Asher, Zach and Vernon

I’m also facing another loss. That of our eldest son, leaving home at the beginning of September to start a Degree Apprenticeship with Pfizer, based in Kent. He’ll be 19 soon but he’s still a boy who needs reminding to clear up after himself!

There’s so much about Asher that I’m proud of and thankful for – most of all his love for Jesus and willingness to serve in the church; his confidence that he’s going to do what God has provided for him to do next. He’s worked hard at school and it’s paid off; he’s done really well to get the apprenticeship he wanted. He knows that God is with him guiding his next steps.

The downside for us though is that it’s a six-hour drive away. This doesn’t seem to bother him however and he seems ready to spread his wings and fly the nest.

Matthew 6:33 “ But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

In the eulogy I wrote for my Mum’s funeral, this is one of the things that I appreciated and praised her for – when I was leaving home at 18, she always encouraged me; never expressing doubt or reservation in my decisions, even when I announced at 16 that I was heading for Africa, and as I went overseas in my 20s.

She had given me to God as a baby – I was very premature and being 1972, it was very touch and go, whether I would live. She knew that children are a gift from God, given to us for a short time and knew God would look after me my whole life. I am only now realising how hard that is – to let go of our children and trust God with their future.

I have heard the still small voice of God whisper to me “I’ve got him” as I cried thinking about Asher leaving. But it is still the pain of loss I am feeling.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

So my encouragement to us all is this: God knows, He’s with us and He cares. He’s not going to take away the hard thing that I face. He probably won’t take away the hard things that you face. He wants us to lean on Him, learn from Him, find comfort in Him. It’s about trusting Him, believing His words “I will be with you.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”

 
Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral 

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