“Can you spare any change please?”

Although we’ve been having our shopping delivered, last week we had to pop to our local Tesco. There’s often a man stood outside asking for “any spare change please”. He’s very quiet, stands very still, and almost whispers his request – very different to others down there who can get quite rude when you say “sorry”. I’ve felt drawn to speak to him for a few weeks now, having a feeling that God’s got something planned, but not done so. On this occasion,

I felt it was the right time and so told him I had no cash but asked if there was anything I could buy him. His face lit up and he said , “thank you SO much, that’s really kind, could you get me a bottle of cola please?” – and I did. When I gave it him he was so very please. I asked his name and he said it was Peter. I don’t know Peter’s background, or why he’s asking for money but I do know that God’s drawn me to him for a reason. I’ve not seen him since but I now have something to work on.

My sermon for our on-line service last week was about God’s power and authority demonstrated in Jesus. I wonder, using a rating of 1 – 10, how much power and authority does God have in your life? On this occasion Jesus delivered a man from being tormented by an evil spirit but, as many of us know, he made the blind see; the lame, walk; the mute, speak; and healed many, many diseases and sickness. This wasn’t just because he was a good teacher, healer etc – it was because He did these things with the power and authority that He received from His Father. It’s exactly the same power and authority that He demonstrates in the lives of men, women and children today. Many of us in the Rivers Team can testify to what Jesus has done/is doing in our life today. We all like to think we have control of our lives don’t we? but, actually, during times such as we’re living in at the moment where we can’t visit friends and family; visit someone in hospital; have our own medical needs met; cant even shop properly etc etc, it’s bound to make us feel as though we have no control. In my sermon, I asked people to think about a question, “what difference might the power and authority of God make in my life?” and, “what difference might it make in my friends life?, my neighbours life? my family’s life?” I can’t answer these questions for you but perhaps you’d consider thinking about them yourself – I have – and I can’t help but wondering what difference the power and authority of God might make in Peter’s life.

Denise

My Trip Out

Well what exciting news!! I had a telephone call from the NHS Call Centre on Friday to tell me I was able to have a vaccine against Covid 19. After a couple of questions, confirming I was the right person to have this injection, I had a choice of where I would go. The appointment was for Saturday morning, (next day). How thrilling, I was being given the ‘so longed for’ vaccine.

Of course, this was excellent news, so I phoned around family and friends letting them know my good news. When I phoned Anthea Underhill, we found out our appointments were at the same Centre and only two minutes apart, so we travelled together.

Slightly nervous, we were greeted at the gateway, by a gentleman setting out the procedure of where we should park the car and where we should then go. We were met at the main door by a friendly lady, making sure we had appointments and all details were correct and she then made sure we used the sanitiser. We were then ushered into the “main hall”. People couldn’t have been more helpful. Each time a person moved, their vacated seat was thoroughly cleaned. The whole set up was brilliant, methodically organised and ministered by very caring staff and volunteers, with a clear warning that we must carry on protecting ourselves, sanitising hands, wearing masks and following the rules.

Who would have thought having an injection would prove so ‘newsworthy’.

God bless, take care and we will soon be meeting together as The Rivers Team.

Linda Read

Live Lent online meetings

Thumbnail - LiveLent 2021To accompany our Lent series ‘God’s Story, Our Story’, on Wednesday evenings at 7.30-9.00pm throughout lent Rev. Philip will be hosting a Lent Study via the Zoom meeting platform.

It will take the theme of our Sunday service and explore it further through a mixture of biblical reflection, small group discussion and practical application, prayer, worship and fellowship. It will start on 17th February, which is Ash Wednesday and marks the start of Lent, and run weekly until 31st March.

The meeting details are:
https://zoom.us/j/93095908501?pwd=RVhtTmwzc3lPZkI4TlJVSmVsZy9pdz09
Meeting ID: 930 9590 8501 Passcode: 667673

If you haven’t used zoom before and want to attend it is very easy to do so, as long as you have internet access and either a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC with a webcam and microphone. If you need help setting this up please ask and we can get someone to help with that.

If you haven’t already done so can we encourage you to also join in the daily reflections through lent, which are available by email, via an app on your smartphone, tablet or smart-speaker, or as a printed booklet, meaning they can be accessible to everyone in whatever format will suit them best.

You can sign up for the daily reflections by email here, download the App from the App Store if you use iphone/ipad or Google Play if you use Android, or you can request a copy of the printed booklet from Linda Read.

Kind regards
Philip
Rev. Philip Barringer
Pioneer Minister.

The Rivers Team Guide to Writing Your Faith Story.

Thumbnail - LiveLent 2021Through Lent we will be following the Church of England series ‘God’s story – Our story’ and looking at how we are witnesses to the work of God in the world and in our own lives. As part of this we would like to encourage you to write down your ‘Faith Story’.

There are a number of reasons why this is a useful thing to do, including providing an opportunity for self-reflection, looking back but also considering the learning that has taken place or actions needed. If you have done this before it is still good to update your story to keep it relevant, and for it to be as much about the present as the past.

Spending a little time writing your story is also good preparation for how you share your experience with other people. Being confident in our own story helps us to find the links and connections with people as you talk to them, and recognise shared events or similarities that, with their permission, offer an opportunity to tell them more about what you believe.

Keep it simple, authentic, honest, and because we know our God is there in all circumstances (struggles and high points), try to identify how He was at work and how you know this.

If you don’t know where to start here are a few ideas that might help,

  • Think of your story as a time-line, writing the significant events in chronological order.
  • Think of your faith in bursts. As you remember key events, write them on post-it notes over a couple of days, and then shuffle the notes round into the order of your story.
  • Set a timer and give yourself two minutes to write down your Faith Story (focus on the really important/stand out parts and maybe use bullet points). Then go back with no time limit and reflect deeper on one or two parts.
  • Draw three boxes, give them the titles ‘what I was like before I knew Jesus’, ‘how I came to know Jesus’ and, ‘what I am like now I know Jesus’. Make the boxes different sizes according to your age or how long you have been a Christian, for example if you became a Christian a long time ago you might need a bigger box for writing about your life since getting to know Jesus.
  • Split your page in half and write on one side ‘before’ and on the other side ‘after’. Make a list of differences and similarities in your life before and after knowing Jesus as a starting point for writing your story.
  • Answer some of these questions – How did Jesus come into your life? How has life changed since knowing God? What difference has knowing Jesus made? What does the Good News of Jesus mean to you? How is Jesus working in your life today?
  • Or simply begin to write in whatever format you feel comfortable with, paper and pen/digital device, and feel free to doodle or illustrate some parts.

Once you have reflected on this you may want to focus in on one particular aspect or a recurring theme from your story.

Our witness or testimony is not limited to how we came to faith, it is an ongoing thing. Particularly if you have been a Christian for a long time, how you came to faith may be less important than how your faith has developed and what God has done in and through you.

Work on around 250 words and allow the word limit to help you focus in on the ‘big story’ within your story, and try to avoid using Christian Jargon, look for words that someone who does not yet know Jesus or have a Christian heritage will understand.

We are all unique and our stories are all different, no right or wrong, no less important, or valid than another, the one consistent thing is our loving God. If you feel able to share your story, please email it to the Rivers Team Office as we are hoping to record a selection of these ‘Faith Stories’ to enhance our online services during Lent.

Please be encouraged to take part in this, sharing your personal story in this way will be a blessing to the Church and great witness to other people.

God Bless.

Live Lent

Thumbnail - LiveLent 2021Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent is on 17th February, and over the season of Lent we are going to be following a series #Live Lent: God’s Story, Our Story which will incorporate our Sunday teaching and daily reflections. It is aimed at encouraging us to think about our calling, how to share our faith and to reflect on the difference Christ makes in our lives.

We witness to God’s story and the impact this has made to our story so that others might also find their story taking on new meaning in the light of God’s love. While the current restrictions on daily life necessitated by the pandemic present significant challenges, the suffering and isolation many continue to face make the need for us to share God’s love with our communities greater than ever. Rather than just being a Lenten discipline, this year’s #LiveLent is a joyful invitation to make witness a normal part of the Christian life, the natural overflow of a life lived in devotion to Christ.

The daily reflections are available by email, via an app on your smartphone or tablet, or as a printed booklet, meaning they can be accessible to everyone in whatever format will suit them best. I therefore want to encourage you all to enage with this by either:

Also as part of our online service and the weekly newsheet over this period we would like to share some of your own stories of how you met Jesus, who introduced you to him and how, and what difference he has made in your life. So can I also ask you all to reflect on this, write your story down and share it with us. We aren’t looking for sermons or theological essays, just a short (probably about 250 words) and simple account that is true to you. For those who are happy to do so we will then look to record some of these.

 

Kind regards

Philip

 

Rev. Philip Barringer

Pioneer Minister.

The Rivers Team Ministry

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

One parish - five communities

Brinsworth ¨ Catcliffe ¨ Treeton ¨ Tinsley ¨ Waverley.

 

A Church that is alive and actively engaging in our communities, where people are coming to faith, growing in discipleship, worshipping Jesus, supporting each other and serving God through the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

A great time to go fishing

by Denise Cryer

1200px-Bank_Of_River_A_Fisherman_Is_Waiting_For_Fish_(186744883)If there’s one thing lock-down has taught me, it’s that now is a great time to go fishing! Not by making a long journey to a good carp-lake, but by fishing in a pond nearer to home. As Christians, we’re given a great opportunity to become fishers of men – sharing Christ’s message to the world. Jesus said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:14).

There’s a good chance, at the moment, that our friends, family and neighbours are struggling, in other words, the fish are readily available, if only we are willing to go catch them. I’m not sure what the fishermen of Jesus’ time were like but I presume there were similarities with the fishermen of today. That they had a rod/net, bait, tackle and most importantly, patience. Though
our times might be different, the intention is the same: to catch fish.

God has equipped each one of us to fish; through the sharing of our testimony, sharing Gospel promises and encouraging scriptures, prayer, practical help etc. Let’s never think that we don’t have what it takes to fish because God has given us all the tools we need. In my experience and speaking as someone who’s resisted fishing many times because I’ve not wanted to say the wrong thing, or not known what to pray or how to help, or just been afraid to open my mouth at all, I can honestly say, each time I’ve gone fishing, it’s got a little bit easier! As I’ve studied God; His word; His character; His will, and as I’ve got braver in “casting our my line”, the more comfortable I’ve become in fishing. I’ve learned to fish “whatever the weather”, even though there are times when I’m not sure I’m using the right bait.

With every day that passes, people are struggling with feelings and emotions that they’ve never had to deal with before. People are wondering where it’s all leading; asking why it’s happening and “where’s God in all this”; they’re dealing with illness and bereavement under very difficult circumstances. Many are very unsettled at the moment and if we don’t go fishing now, I think it will be a long time before the pond’s as well stocked as it is right now. Let’s follow Jesus, and get fishing!

Denise (Cryer)

What’s in a Name?

 

dvickersBy David Arthur Vickers

My niece was born in 1998 and my brother and his wife chose to call her Alexandra Grace. On his way to register her name, my brother expressed his feelings in adding a third name, Joy. She was his bundle of joy. Names are an important part of our identity. We usually keep them for life. They mark our right of ownership and can be used to trace our lineage.

There are many Bible characters who do change their names. Abram (“exalted father”) became Abraham “(father of multitudes”) even when he and his wife were very old. He believed God. When he told his wife, she laughed at him. When their son was born, he was called Isaac (“She laughed). When Isaac’s son, Jacob was born he was clutching the heel of his twin brother, Esau. His name means “grasping the heels of”. He later proved to be a bit of heel in his life. Always destined to be second to his brother, he deceived his now blind father, Isaac, to bless him as his inheritor instead of Esau. The descendants of Esau and Jacob would always be in conflict. But later in life, Jacob spends a night wrestling with an unknown man, said to be an angel. In the morning he is given the name, Israel (“contended with God”). As Israel, he When the Jewish nation was exiled under king Xerxes, the Jewess Hadassah (“myrtle tree) achieved stardom by become Queen Esther (Persian – “star”)

In the New Testament, the great and feared man Saul became the humble apostle, Paul (“small”). Paul’s companion, Joseph was more widely known by his nickname, Barnabas (“son of encouragement”) because he was encouragement to many.

My name is David Arthur which is translated as being loved and royalty. 34 years after being given that name, by God’s love, I was invited into His royal family. (Never call me Dave) I feel my given Christian name was part of God’s plan for me. Not all of us like our own names. Be assured that God has His own name for you and you will learn it when you meet Him face-to-face. “..You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” (Isaiah 62:2-3)

When you pray, pray for individuals by name when you can. But remember that God knows every single person on earth by name and loves each one equally.

David Arthur Vickers

 

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