Last week, we were looking at the word NEW. We talked about a NEW Year and a NEW start. Well this week I still want to look not so much at the word NEW but the letters which make up the word new – N E W.
This week, Misty (my dog) and I were out and about for lots of different walks. We’ve been round Beverley where we live, we’ve been down into Newtownards town centre, we’ve been to the beach but a few days ago we were in the woods.
We love it here. Sometimes it’s good to just stop and take a moment and think about what’s going on around you and while Misty was off exploring, I started thinking about the trees. Trees are made up of roots, the trunk, branches, twigs and leaves. The roots of the trees are mostly underground, but they all interconnect. They have different functions, one has access to water, another to nutrients, some to sunlight. The trees grow together, thrive together and give shelter to each other not to mention all the animals which live in the woods.
Just like the trees, we all need each other especially in these strange days of Coronavirus and lockdown. We need to look out for each other, care for each other, shelter each other from life’s storms just as Jesus taught us to in the bible. So if you are missing your friends from school – most likely they are missing you too – so keep in touch, find out how they are. Tell them you miss them. If we support and look out for each other, we will get through these difficult days. This goes for us not only as individuals but also as families, as a church, as a town, as a country.
Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with the letters from the word new. Well let’s jumble them up to W N E . . . . . . .
E ach other
BUT it’s also important to remember that we need God to help us and he is there for us each and every day.
Thank you that you are always there for us through the good times and the bad. Open my heart to be a good friend. Help me to look out for others and to treatthem the way you did with kindness, caring and love.
New Year/New Start
Happy NEW Year! Welcome back! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with your families and got everything you wished for.
This week, I want to look at the word “NEW”.
New can mean “recently made or brought into being” for example a new toy or a new car. Or it can be a “new” kind of something such as a new star in the sky which the 3 wise men saw.
It can mean a new version of something which was changed for the better – sometimes we see packaging which says “new and improved”
When it comes to the phrase “New Year”, it means a new cycle or to put it another way – a new beginning. It’s a chance to start over. A time to try to do things better than last year. Have your heard of a New Years Resolution?? This is a kind of promise. At the beginning of the year, we do all sorts of things such as promise ourselves we will get fit, lose weight, give up chocolate and eat more healthy food, do our homework before we switch on the TV or computer games, keep our room tidy – you get the picture!
Today, I want to talk about another beginning. It’s better than the beginning of a New Year. It’s a new life with Jesus. In the bible, we read about a man called John The Baptist. He went all around the countryside telling people all about Jesus and about a new beginning they could have if they simply asked Jesus into their lives, turn away from sin and simply try again.
So at the beginning of this new year let’s focus on Jesus and ask him to help us in the days and months to come to live as he would want us to.
Why not print off and colour your very own calendar for 2021.
Advent 4 – Love
This week in our advent wreath, we lit the 4th candle. This is the candle of love.
Christmas is a time to show our love for others. What ways can we do this?? Well, its not just about giving presents. We can show love by helping each other and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Our shoebox appeal is a wonderful example of showing love to others but it can also be something as simple as calling on a neighbour or a friend who is lonely and finding lockdown hard. Or perhaps helping a complete stranger.
Christmas is a great time to show love because God showed his love for us by sending his son Jesus. Remember the verse in John 3 v 16
“For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
Thank you for your amazing love. For sending your Son to earth to show us, by example, how to love others. This Christmas in particular, there are so many people who are hurting because they can’t be with their loved ones. Help us to reach out and show them them your love so that they may know that you are with them now and always.
Finally, this year, we are not able to have a Christmas service in church for the Sunday school children but we do have our special service going out on YouTube later on today. Last year we sang this wonderful song – so please take some time, click on the link, listen to the words and maybe sing along
Advent – Joy
Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well. As we continue our countdown to Christmas, let’s look at the Advent wreath and see how many candles are lit. That’s right 2 now today we light the 3rd candle which represents joy.
Sometimes in the run up to Christmas we get so caught up in maybe exams at school, shopping, writing Christmas cards, decorating our trees that we forget about joy.
When Jesus was born an angel appeared to the shepherds in the fields telling them that they brought “good news of great joy”. And what was the joyful news – that Jesus was born. When we open our hearts to Jesus, his love enters in and fills us with true joy – not in the material things in life like money or a nice house but joy in knowing that Jesus loves us and that he will come again and take us to a place of great joy. So as Christmas draws near, may we joyfully look forward to the celebration of Jesus’s birthday.
Below is a colouring in sheet for you!
Advent – Hope
How many of you like birthdays? Do you get excited about your birthday? Maybe you have a party and invite your friends to come along and celebrate with you. And then, of course, there are the presents -not to mention cake!!!
December marks a very special birthday. Do you know whose birthday I’m talking about? That’s right – JESUS. In church we are excited about celebrating Jesus’s birthday and we start counting the days down 4 weeks in advance. This special time is called ADVENT which means coming or arrival. When Jesus came into the world, it was the best gift any of us could ever have received as he was born to save us.
Do any of you have an advent calendar or an advent wreath at home. These things help us to count down the days until Jesus’s birth. Now, do you know why the wreath is in the shape of a circle? Well a circle has no end and no beginning and this reminds us of God. You will notice that the wreath is usually green this speaks of the hope that we have in God. The hope of renewal and eternal life.
You may have noticed in this morning’s service that we lit the first candle – the candle of hope. The candle represents all the years of hoping and waiting for Jesus’s birth. Jesus is our hope. He died on the cross to save us and give us everlasting life.
Why not click on the link below, print off and colour in the first candle.
In America, this coming Thursday (26th November) is a national holiday known as Thanksgiving. It originated as a harvest festival and to this day the centrepiece of the celebrations is a Thanksgiving Dinner. This dinner traditionally consists of foods and dishes which are common in America such as turkey, potatoes, squash, corn, green beans, cranberries and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is regarded as the beginning of the autumn-winter holiday season, along with Christmas and New Year in American culture.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather family and friends and give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy on a daily basis. Thanksgiving is a day to praise God and thank him for his blessings.
This got me thinking. How often do we actually stop and say thank you to God. Its so easy to get wrapped up in school and family life and all the different activities that go with these. At the moment with all the lockdown restrictions we feel trapped, frustrated, bored and yes even lonely and yet we have so much to be thankful for – toys, clothes, food on the table, a nice home, family and friends nearby, our health.
Very often, when we pray to God we spend our time asking him for things such as help or patience or guidance but do we ever remember to say thank you? So let us take some time during the next week to remember to say thank you to God.
I have a special place called “The Mum Shed” at the bottom of my garden. Its my little haven – a space where I can read, do my tapestry, chat to friends, pray or quite simply sit and listen to the birds. In it I have a small plaque which reads
A Thank You Prayer
Thank you for being there for me. Thank you that we can talk to you anytime, anywhere and that you will always listen. Thank you for your goodness and the many blessings you give to each and every one of us. Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times. Thank you for your love and care, your mercy and grace. Thank you that you will never leave us.
Forgive us when we don’t thank you enough for all that you do and all you have given. Renew us and fill us with your joy and peace.
Do you know what this flower is called??
That’s right – it’s a poppy. You see a lot of them at this time of year, especially last Sunday which was called “Remembrance Sunday”. Remembrance Sunday is always the Sunday closest to Armistice Day which is on the 11th November.
Why 11th November? Well that’s because it marks the day World War One ended at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month. And why the poppy? Well, that’s because poppies grew wild in the fields where many of the soldiers from the first world war are buried. It’s important that we remember and honour those soldiers because they gave their lives so that we could enjoy the freedom we have today.
Now we enjoy a lot of freedom – maybe not so much at the moment with lockdown but in the grand scheme of things we do. We are free to choose where we live, what we eat, where we go, what we want to be when we grow up. We are free to come to church and to worship God. But just as it was in the war, freedom comes at a cost. We all do bad things in our lives that we call sin. But the really good news is that Jesus died for us on the cross to take away our sin and give us freedom and peace.
So this week as we remember and thank God for those who fought in the war, let us also remember to thank God for Jesus who died on the cross to take away our sins and make us free.
If you have some time this week, why not try this craft to help you remember:
Poppy paper plate craft
Simply get a paper plate. Draw a small circle in the middle using a jam jar lid. Taking a pair of scissors, cut out sections of the plate to make the shape below. If you find this difficult ask your parents, grandparents or even a big sister or brother to help you. Then either paint the plate or perhaps get some red and black tissue paper and stick it onto the plate to make a poppy.
If you do decide to give this a go, why not send your pictures in to Gavin and we will put them up on our website. In the meantime, stay safe and see you again soon.
Next we have Faith
To be faithful means to be reliable or trustworthy.
To represent faith I have chosen the star fruit
Now you may think it’s a bit weird choosing a star fruit but many years before Jesus was born, God promised through his prophets to send his son – the Messiah. And what did God use as a sign? A magnificent star in sky which was seen by the shepherds in the fields and it lead the 3 wise men to the baby Jesus. It was a sign of God’s faithfulness, that he kept his promise.
Likewise for us being faithful is being dependable, trustworthy and loyal in our relationship with God and other people around us.
Lastly we have Gentleness and Self Control
Now for gentleness I have chosen a kiwi fruit. A kiwi looks all rough and tough on the outside with its brown and kind of hairy skin. But when you cut into it you find the lovely juicy sweet green flesh.
Gentleness describes the way we should treat others. A gentle person avoids confrontation. Its when you choose not to harm others either by what you say or do. Jesus sets us a good example he prayed for the people who despised him and wished to harm him and he forgave them. We therefore need to follow God’s example and be gentle with others and show them love.
Now very often when we are angry at something or someone we can lose our temper or our self control. This is the ability to control our feelings and desires. When someone is mean to us we lash out at them and may do or say things that we later regret. Or maybe we want something so badly we will do anything to get it and that includes hurting those we love the most. But Jesus teaches us to use our self control and not lose it. So when we find ourselves in a difficult situation think about what Jesus would do.
So this bring us to the end of our Fruits of the Spirit. Can you remember them all??
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faith, Gentleness and Self Control. Here a link to the song which will help you to remember.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the fruit of the Spirit. We ask you to help us live each quality of the fruit of the spirit. Help us to show love and joy. Help us to have peace and show patience and kindness. Lord, helps us demonstrate faithfulness and gentleness and finally help us to have self control. Please help us show others your love by teaching us your ways and growing us as your children.
Please help us Lord to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in the various situations you put us in. Help us to use the fruit of the spirit to show others what your love looks like. In Jesus name, Amen.
Now for a bit of fun – here is the link to a fruits of the spirit game which you can print off and play at home
Kindness and Goodness!
This week we are looking at the next 2 fruits of the spirit which are “Goodness” and “Kindness”.
For goodness I have chosen the apple. Perhaps you have heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Maybe your mum of dad say it to you. Basically, it means that eating an apple, or fruits and vegetables in general, are good for your health and indeed help improve your health and therefore you don’t need to go to see the doctor.
In the same way that an apple is good for us, God wants us to do good deeds for others. This may be helping your brother or sister with their homework, maybe helping your mum or dad around the house, calling in with a neighbour or elderly relative, praying for someone. So, remember the next time you eat an apple at break time that it is a reminder of God’s goodness to us and how he wants us to share that goodness with others.
Now for kindness, I have chosen plums. In my sister’s garden there is a fairly small and insignificant looking plum tree but every summer it is absolutely full of beautiful plums. My sister picks these and makes jam and chutney, she freezes some, gives some to her neighbours. There is so much fruit every single year that she almost struggles to use it all.
Now when I think of kindness I think of God’s kindness. He looks out for us and wants the best for us today and every day. In the same way God wants us to be kind and loving towards others. In the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verse 31-42 it says “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you”
Hello Boys and Girls and Welcome Back
If you have been watching the online services, you will know that Gavin has been talking about “The Fruits of the Spirit”. Now we are going to have a little look at this also and hopefully at the end come up with some fun activities for you to do at home. But what are fruits of the spirit?
Everyone has a favourite fruit – right? Some people like apples, some like citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins, tangerines. Some like berries – strawberries, raspberries. Some like more exotic fruits such as pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit. We have so much choice.
So I thought it would be fun to find a piece of fruit to represent each of the fruits of the spirit.
So what does it mean when Paul in the bible talks about “Fruits of the Spirit . Well he is talking about the fruits that grow in our lives. When we are following Jesus – people will be able to see these fruits in us. What are the “Fruits of the Spirit”?? Can you name them??
Well, let’s start with love. When I think about the word love I think of a heart – so the fruit I have chosen is a strawberry because it is red just like a heart. Think of someone that loves you no matter what. You can make mistakes and it doesn’t matter what you look like they still love you. God loves us too – no matter what. God wants us to love others and he wants us to love him and to share his love with the world.
Have a think about how you can show love to others. Maybe its as simple as sharing a toy, talking to the new person at school who has no friends. Filling a shoebox for Samaritans Purse is a great way of showing love to others.
Next we have Joy. I think we should use the orange to represent joy. If you peel an orange into segments and place the segment on its side – it kind of looks like a smile – like this
Joy is all about smiles and the happiness that God gives us. Joy is knowing that no matter what happens, good or bad, God is in control. Even when we are sad, we can have joy knowing that God is looking out for us.
Next is peace.
For peace I have chosen grapes – mainly because peace sounds like peas and peas are small and round (sorry I know this is a bit strange but it’s just how my mind works!!)
When we think of peace, we usually think of no more fighting or war.
Sometimes when life is really busy we just want some peace. Maybe you have heard of the phrase “peace and quiet” – some time out to forget about everything that’s going on in your life. But peace is also something we can share. When we get to know God really well, he gives us a sense of peace. This is like a calmness inside. We can bring peace to bad situations by doing good and loving others.
For patience, I have chosen a pineapple. Pineapples are not particularly hard to grow however the plant will not produce fruit until it is at least 2 years old. Even when the flower appears, the time from the first flower to the edible fruit is approximately 6-7 months – now that is a long time to wait and requires a lot of patience. In the end however you are able to enjoy the one of the sweetest juiciest fruits you have ever tasted.
Now, we all face moments in our lives when our patience wears thin – either with ourselves, others and even sometimes with God. Maybe we don’t want to wait until we can have that new toy or phone or maybe you’ve prayed to God to help you with a situation but nothing has changed. Being patient is a vital part of trusting God – knowing that he has a plan for each and every one of us. What we want is not necessarily what God wants for us. God does answer prayers – but we have to be patient.
Sunday School meets every Sunday during the second half of our morning worship service after the children’s address and hymn.
There are two age groups:
- Senior Sunday School for girls and boys from school years 4 to 7; and
- Beginners for girls and boys from school years 1 to 3.
With support from the whole congregation, we filled 117 shoeboxes for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child 2019 Appeal. The boxes from Regent Street Presbyterian Church were delivered to children in the Middle East. Thank you to everyone who helped!
Last year Sunday School raised £337 in our Brown Money Appeal. This was given to Homestart to help with the excellent work they do in the local community.
This year, money raised from the appeal is going to Christian Aid. Our target is to see how many animal gifts we can buy – sheep, goats, chickens etc. If you would like to help, our brown money appeal box can be found in the church vestibule at the left hand side as you enter.
Many thanks to everyone who contributes.