Minister’s Letter – Nov 2017

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! (2nd Corinthians 5: 16-19 NIVUK)

I have recently been reflecting on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

It was on 31st October 1517 that Martin Luther is alleged to have nailed his 95 theses to the doors of Wittenberg Cathedral: this moment is considered the starting point in the Reformation. I say “alleged” because it is some doubt as to the truth of this story; some consider it is a myth which was told many years after the fact.

Whether Martin Luther nailed anything to anything else is, however, irrelevant: what is relevant is that we live with the consequences of the Reformation today. Even our denomination owes its existence to the Reformation! One major theme of the Reformation was a desire for the Church to return to doing things God’s way. Over many centuries, the institution of the church had become corrupt: The Reformers reacted against this corruption, and desired to return to a more biblical expression of Church.

In a way, this mirrors our experience of faith in Christ, as Paul explain above: our old self (corrupt and sinful) is removed, and replaced by a new creation: one which free of sin, and therefore is considered right before God. We do not view this self from an earthly perspective because, while we live in this world, we will continue to live sinfully, no matter how hard we try. Instead, we view this from a heavenly perspective: while we are waiting for God to fully put our world right, we are confident that because of Jesus, He already sees us as sin-free, holy and blameless in His sight.

Where does this leave us in the Church today?

I think it gives us this challenge: do we actively share this message with our community, parish and world? Through our words and deeds, do the people around us know that we are already a new creation in Christ, and that they can be too if they believe in Him?

I hope and pray that, as we move forward together, into my second year as minister of Clincarthill Church, that we will all ensure that we live and share this message with our world; that through Christ, we are a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here!

May God bless you,

Stuart

 

Minister’s Letter – Oct 2017

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3: 12-14 NIVUK)

I’ve been reflecting recently on how we, as Christians, go about sharing our faith with the world.

As part of God’s Church, God calls each one of us to serve Him. We serve in a way which best suits the gifts God has given us. The one area to which all Christians are universally called serve God is that of sharing our faith. No one who is a follower of Jesus is exempt from this call: we are tasked with telling the world about Him. How do we fulfil this call from God?

On one level, it is quite simple: we take time to understand the Gospel, and then we take any opportunity we get to tell it to others. We can tell them about God’s love and forgiveness; about how Jesus’ death means we are brought back to God; about how His resurrection is a promise of new life to all who believe. But is it simple enough to tell others this? Do we need to do more?

I chose the verses above to start this letter because I believe it is not just our words that matter when we share the Gospel: our actions matter too.

Paul gives a short list in these verses, explaining the qualities he would expect to see in Christians: compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. He urges us to forgive one another, in the same way, God has forgiven us. He tasks us with adopting an attitude of love, which brings all these qualities together.

It is incredibly important that we, as followers of Jesus, live in this way. If we do not, I fear there may be those in our world who ask, “How can God truly love us, if His people cannot love one another?”

Let us encourage one another in love, forgive one another readily, and respond to God’s call to share our faith in a compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient way!

May God bless you,
Stuart

Robin Mark Concert – 15th Sept 2017

Robin Mark is in concert in Clincarthill Church, 1220 Cathcart Road, Glasgow G42 9EU on Friday 15th September 2017 at 7.30pm.

Robin is a christian singer, songwriter, worship leader, and recording artist who has written several songs sung throughout the world. He is best known for his songs “Days of Elijah”, “Revival”, “All for Jesus”, “The Wonder of The Cross”, “Not by Might” and many more. He has released thirteen albums in total with sales of over two million worldwide

Tickets cost £10

Minister’s Letter – Sept 2017

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!
(2nd Corinthians 5: 16-17 NIVUK)

Sometimes we all need a fresh start. It could be with a project (work or personal!): we’ve been involved for too long, become too bogged down in the detail, and to make progress we need to wipe things clean and start again.

More seriously, it could be the need for a fresh start in a relationship. For a variety of reasons, we might need to take a step back from another person, wipe the slate clean, and almost say, “let’s start again!”

While a fresh start can sometimes come from unfortunate circumstances, they can give us a sense of excitement and anticipation: from the new start point, we look ahead with a sense that anything is possible!

We’re at a stage of fresh-starts in our congregation. We are all returning from our summer break, groups are restarting, people are getting back into the “swing of things”, and I hope we are looking ahead to the latter part of 2017 and asking, “God, what do you have in store for us?”

As followers of Jesus, we all have experienced a fresh start. Paul captured this in the verses about: because we are in Christ, we are no longer the old, sinful creation, but a new one! Because Jesus died for our sins, we are no longer our old, sinful selves; but through faith are being made new in Him. Because Jesus came back from the dead, we have this promise that one day, God will complete His work and we will be made completely new in mind, body and spirit.

There are people in our world who desperately need a fresh start; and we can offer it to them through Jesus Christ! I hope, therefore, that as we look ahead in anticipation and excitement to our new-start as things restart after the summer break, that we will also be on the lookout for those in our community to whom we can minister and share the good news that they can have a fresh start through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

May God bless you,

Stuart

A-Blaze Holiday Club

This year, the Clincarthill Holiday club team presents ‘A-Blaze’, providing an opportunity to learn about God and his Son, Jesus, through a variety of fire based stories from the bible.

A-Blaze will run from 10 am to 12 noon on Monday 31st July to Friday 4th August 2017, and is open to all children about to enter Primaries 1-7. Please bring your child along any morning to join in the fun.

We will be having a fun filled programme of sports, dance, crafts and messy games, with Clincarthill Puppets also making an appearance.

A family service at 11am on Sunday 6th August will round off the week’s events and we would encourage you to come along.

Here is the Registration Form which should be completed and brought along on the first morning that you come.  Holiday-Club-2017-Reg & health-form

We look forward to seeing you.

Mary MacCallum
Holiday Club Co-ordinator
email:  youth@clincarthill.org.uk

Minister’s Letter – May 2017

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

(Revelation 2:7, 11, 17 & 29; 3:6, 13 & 22 NIVUK)

As you can see from the number of verse references, this verse appears in all the letters to the churches in Revelation.

It is a call from Jesus to each church to hear what it is He has to say to them. This is, of course, different depending on the circumstances of each church. We began exploring each of these letters at the end of April, so in our Sunday worship, we will learn exactly what Jesus said to each church, and why He said it.

As God’s church in the present, we don’t have specific letters written to us, telling us exactly what Jesus would say to us. That’s part of the reason we need to look back to God’s Word: by studying and applying Scripture, we get a sense of what Jesus would say to us today.

I would, however, suggest that Jesus does still speak specifically to His people today, through the power and prompting of the Holy Spirit (although, any personal message from God should be measured against His message in Scripture, because sometimes we can make mistakes! God would not call us to do something which contradicts Scripture, for example).

We have been listening to what the Spirit is saying to our church for the past 6 months, and I think we are making progress! There is a sense that God’s Spirit has been leading our church in a direction which requires us to be more missional in our outlook and ministry.

What does being “more missional” look like? Well, that’s the challenge for the next 6 months: we need to keep listening for what the Spirit is saying to our church, and trust He will lead us to the kind of ministry we need to exercise, in order for our church to flourish for God.

There are exciting times ahead: so, let’s keep listening!

God bless you,

Stuart

Minister’s Letter – April 2017

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10: 14-15 NIVUK)

Dear friends,

I want you to think about this question before reading on: what can we do to help our church to grow?

It’s an important question: one which is being increasingly asked as we witness the decline of the Church in “the West”. Numbers attending Sunday worship continues to decrease, and in general, people are less interested in religious belief.

Considering this, how do we answer the above question?

There are several different options before us: this is partly why 2017 is a year of reflection for us. We are giving ourselves the time and space to better understand our context, parish and culture, and allow these things to shape our ministry and mission.

What we do and how we minister is important; but these things alone will not help our church to grow. Lasting church growth comes from one thing alone: believing in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

How do people find out about Jesus Christ, the love of God, and all this means for us? Only if we tell them! That was Paul’s encouragement to the church in Rome, and it’s still his encouragement to us today.

If we truly desire to see our congregation grow, then we must be prepared to tell people about what God offers them through Jesus Christ. Only that will make a lasting impact on someone’s life, and make a lasting impact on our congregation.

May God bless you,

Stuart

Rev, Stuart Love

Minister’s Letter – March 2017

As I write this, it is Shrove Tuesday, and I am looking forward to justifiably having some pancakes for my supper! That means that tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, is the start of the season of Lent: the period in the Church calendar which leads us towards Easter.

I wonder if you’ve decided to give something up for Lent? Because that’s what we do for Lent, isn’t it? Give up smoking, or coffee, or chocolate?

Certainly, the perception of our culture is that this is what Lent is about: giving up “something bad for us”. And don’t get me wrong: there is no harm in self-discipline or taking less of something we know isn’t good for us (I include myself in this – I could certainly do with eating more healthily!). But, if we think this is all that Lent is about, I am afraid we’ve missed the point.

The 40 days of Lent are meant to reflect the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting (which is why we sometimes “give something up” for Lent) and being tempted by the devil. This was a time of, among other things, spiritual testing for Jesus, and He came out of it in the best way: He showed His complete devotion to God’s plan and purpose.

If Jesus experienced spiritual testing during this time, then perhaps it would be better for us to spend this time focusing on our faith, rather than “giving something up”? It doesn’t need to be anything too difficult either! What if you committed to reading a chapter of the Bible each of the next 40 days? (You could read all the Gospel of Mark and Luke if you try that!) Or, if you don’t already, could you make sure to spend time in prayer each morning and night? I am certain that giving your faith this kind of attention will have a positive impact on your relationship with God.

Others may wish to do something more adventurous. There are various ways you can “take something up” instead of “giving something up” this Lent.  Groups like 40 Acts and Christian Aid encourage us to do something to support and benefit others, rather than just focussing on ourselves. You can find these, and many other resources online (or if you prefer you can speak to me, and I can tell you more).

Whatever you do over the coming weeks of Lent, it is my sincere hope and prayer that God blesses you, as you focus your time and energies on your relationship with Him.

God bless,

Stuart