After the ordination service on Sunday, the congregation began discussing the evening’s events. All were very encouraged by the hymns of praise, prayers, promises and preaching. The right balance, many said, between encouragement and challenge as they recounted the main points of the sermon to stay alert, to be strong and to show mercy. The sermon was taken from Jude verses 17-23 and while directed at the new elders of the church was also relevant for all believers. We were reminded to stay alert for many wolves will come to the sheep seeking to devour them. Such false teachers will tell us to obey our natural instincts and walk away from the doctrine of the Bible. Like guards on sentry we were encouraged to keep ourselves clean and our weapon (the Bible) ready, and stay alert. Alongside this the next point told us all to stay strong – but not in our fleshly strength. Our strength was to come from the Lord, in building our faith in Jesus and praying in the Holy Spirit and staying in the love of God. This strength would be required within the church if we are to love and help each other as we should. The final sermon point -Be merciful – brought balance to the weapons, guards and strength. We were reminded how blind we were before the Lord revealed himself to us. How slowly we have grown in our faith. How patient God has been with us. How much mercy we have received and needed. While we are to hate every corrupting effect of sin we are to be merciful to others wanting them to be saved from the fire. As the congregation reflect on God’s word we pray that our church will grow in these matters of great importance.
Our harvest mission has come to an end at Tartaraghan PC and I wanted to share some highlights and reminders of the week past.
Henry Coulter joined at the men’s meeting on Wednesday. It was great to hear what International Meeting Point are getting up to on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. We were reminded that the world is a broken place causing many to be displaced from their country or to cause many of our own to end up homeless. But that the church can help those in need with food, shelter, education, fellowship and bible teaching. Henry thanked TPC for their contribution to the untied appeal which allows The International Meeting Point to continue its work and asked if any have an old bike they would like to donate he would gladly receive them. Click here to talk to someone about how to do this.
For our Ladies night we welcomed Rebecca Finlay who has been serving as a women’s worker at West Kirk Presbyterian Church and West Kirk Community Project (WKCP) on the Shankill Road in Belfast. Rebecca brought her down to earth attitude and her real life stories about the people of the Shankill Road. She was able to speak about a mixture of hope, despair, humour and many examples of God’s work in the lives of so many people and was a real joy and encouragement to listen to. Please pray for Rebecca as she continues to build relationships and bring the gospel to this local community.
Friday night we had Jeff Gawn with us. While the GB choir lead us in praise song Jeff opened the bible at 1 Peter 1:22 – 2:3. He taught us from this text that Christians are to grow up. Like a first year student getting his first blazer which drowns him, he will grow up into it. So Christians are to grow up in their salvation through obedience to the truth, loving others sincerely and ridding themselves of sins. This blazer of salvation will drown the Christian at the start but as they feed on spiritual milk they will grow up into it. The last thought from Jeff was to ask if we had in fact put the blazer on at all?
On Saturday night Trevor Matthews from Faith Mission joined us. He preached from Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43 the Parable of the Weeds. Trevor reminded us to pause and be thankful for the harvest that God provided for us this year but also for the harvest that is to come. This harvest will be at the end of the age when Jesus will return with his angels and gather His people to him like wheat is gathered into a farmer’s barn. Trevor took the time to explain and warn that Jesus also talked about the weeds growing amongst the wheat. At this end of age harvest all those who have rejected Jesus and His gospel will be gathered too, like weeds, and thrown into the fire.
On the Lords Day Rev Philip McKelvey opened the bible at Habakkuk 3 to explain that while life is hard God is good. He talked about how we have an example in the prophet Habakkuk who wrestled with God through prayer, through communion with Him. This brought patience and perseverance to Habakkuk knowing that Babylon would bring destruction on his people and contentment knowing that God is just and in charge. And through our communion with God, which at times means a wrestling in prayer with Him, we will find our strength and joy during these hard times.
That evening Charlie Anderson from ECM joined us for our evening service. He opened the bible at Colossians 1:3-8 and showed us that the gospel bears fruit in hearing it and understanding the “grace of God in truth”. This fruit was shown in the Colossians through faith, hope and love and Charlie showed us that even in the gospel starved countries of Bosnia and other eastern European countries these gospel fruits are evident in people who have been transformed by the power of the gospel. Charlie encouraged us to continue to seek to know the unknowable – the grace of God in truth, “this love that surpasses knowledge”.
Prayer is an amazing privilege, but it’s also really hard work (the apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match!) PrayerMate is an award-winning Christian prayer app that seeks to help you actually pray for all the people and causes you care about.
For more details check out https://www.prayermate.net
See the attached for your consideration – NI voiceless A5
TPC enjoyed another exciting and busy holiday bible club. It was great to see so many children join us each night. The singing was loud, the bible story of Elisha was edifying, the craft and memory verses were great opportunities to learn biblical truths and the games was the usual high energy affair! The last night was exclusive to p6+ and was taken by the youth club leaders to show the older kids how the club works. Some of the existing youth club members came down to help that night which was really welcomed.
One memory verse from the week was from Proverbs 3 “trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Our hope is that this verse will stay with the children and as they grow up they will see their need for Christ and learn to trust Him for salvation and for life’s paths.
The Sunday sermon “We need to meditate” had some great advice on how we can meditate on God’s Word. Here’s the last couple of slides:
How to Mediate:
Fill your mind with God’s word (this is unlike what the world calls meditation) & Mutter the Word – Joshua 1 v 8 tells us to keep the word in our mouth / on our lips. Then think about it and reflect upon it.
Ask – How does it affect head, heart, hand?
Make time for deliberate meditation – a time, place, posture, focus/plan.
Joel Beeke’s studies on the puritan writings led to his 7 point plan of how to meditate:
- pray for the power to focus your mind on the Word with faith.
- read the Bible and initially select a verse or two.
- memorize – repeat those verses to yourself.
- think about what those verses say & imply.
- stir affections unto love, desire, grief, hope, zeal, and joy as appropriate. Preach & apply the word to yourself.
- do what the text requires, making holy resolutions for the glory of God.
- pray for God’s help, give thanks for graces given, and sing praise to God.
We could perhaps reduce this to a 3 point plan wrapped in prayer:
Pray for the power to focus your mind on the Word with faith.
- Head – read the Bible and select a verse or two; memorize by muttering; think about what those verses say and imply.
- Heart – stir up your affections unto love, desire, grief, hope, zeal, joy, etc – as appropriate.
- Hand -arouse your soul to the specific duty which the text requires – holy resolutions for the glory of God. Joshua 1 v 8 also tells us to do what God’s word tells us to do.
Pray – for divine help, give thanks for graces given, and sing praise to God – Colossians 3 v 16-17.
Meditation leads to detachment from sin & attachment to God, and our neighbour.
The church BBQ will take place this Friday at the Faith Mission Centre, Mahon Road. The BBQ is open to all so we hope to see the whole congregation down. Food will be from 7pm and there will be games for the kids, big and small. Friends of the congregation are welcome so please feel free to invite people. You can share this blog or try the old fashioned way of just saying to someone.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ESV
Last Sunday the congregation enjoyed our morning and evening services led by the children of our church. With Kaitlyn Cornett and Evie McComb leading the morning and evening services the children sang praises (with a bit of dancing), read scripture and recited bible passages from memory. A strong theme emerged from the day, which has evidently been taught to our children by our faithful Sunday School teachers, that we all need to put our trust in the Lord Jesus for everything. For salvation and for life. This message was reinforced in the songs and scripture.
The proverb quoted above tells us an important truth. That children are teachable and can be set in a direction that they are unlikely to deviate from in later life. The majority of experts agree this path is largely determined by the parents. Through the parent’s example, whether through intentional teaching or by just doing life together, a child will forge out their path to life or ruin. With such high stakes at risk the church aims to support the parents in their training; to hopefully compliment and reinforce the parents teaching as they point their child along the path to life.
The children showed us on Sunday the fruit of such training as they showed understanding of what the bible teaches and how we are all capable of memorising scripture. What was also evident was the pleasure they got from receiving approval and encouragement from their parents. So as the Sunday School year comes to an end we thank our Sunday School teachers for all their hard work and we encourage our parents to keep training their children. This can be done in no better way than showing your child that you love Jesus.
GB display this Friday
Here’s a reminder that the highly anticipated GB display is on this Friday at 7pm. This means Youth Club will not be on but all are welcome to come a show their support to the GB girls.
Sunday School update:
Our Sunday School has produced a helpful information leaflet telling us what they are about, what they do and some important dates to remember. Click the link to access the leaflet.