Lord’s Larder Ministry Update – Mat Callaghan

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CHRISTMAS APPEAL 2015

www.ycstyeovil.org.uk/christmas

Thank you all so much! Again this year we have had a wonderful response from churches, schools and individuals to our Harvest Appeal this year, despite the state of the economy.  Thanks to everyone for supporting The Lord’s Larder at Harvest time!

As you know, it has been our custom to provide special Christmas parcels to encourage people, individuals, or families, who are experiencing the effects of poverty. These parcels do make a difference in the community, showing those who receive a Lord’s Larder Christmas Parcel that there are people who do care.

We are now enclosing our Christmas list to ask if you would be willing to help us make Christmas special for the many people who will receive a Lord’s Larder Christmas Parcel this year.

Last year we gave out with your help, 300 Christmas Parcels containing a total of 5339 items going out to help 366 adults and 316 children.

Lord’s Larder Foodbank

Christmas shopping list

   

Christmas puddings

Slabs of Christmas cake

Mince pies (in date for Christmas)

Custard

Chocolate Biscuits Fingers

Coffee    Drinking Chocolate

Tins of Fruit /Cream

Large Tins of Ham /Tins Salmon

Tins of Stewed Steak

Trifle mixes /Meringue nests

Peanuts / Nuts

Cheese Biscuits

Cake / Cake Slices (in date)

Jam    Honey

Fruit Juices

   Sweets

Chocolate

  Christmas Party Crackers

All donations of Christmas food gifts need to be well in date, and be delivered to the Lord’s Larder at the GateWay by the end of November to ensure we can put it in this years Christmas parcels.

Thanks

Mat Callaghan

Angry Jesus – Mark 1:40-45

Have you ever had one of those awkward situations where someone you know who is always calm, together, patient, kind and quiet, suddenly loses it? For whatever reason they suddenly crack and start shouting, raging, even swearing.

Its awkward right? No one quite knows how to react. Maybe you laugh a little, maybe you sit there stunned not knowing what to do. Maybe you just look shocked at everyone else there because this is so out of character.

Well in Mark 1 we have that sort of situation, because Jesus loses it a little. Or maybe a lot. He is met by a leper who begs him to heal him, stating ‘if you want to you can heal me’ which on the face of it seems like a statement of faith. But we are told that Jesus is indignant. The greek word means angry or provoked to anger. It then goes on to say that after Jesus healed him he cast him out (same word used my Mark to describe Jesus casting out demons) and then says that he strongly admonished him. And this greek word means ‘to snort with anger’.

Jesus is snorting with anger!

It is a common theme in Mark that Jesus challenges the oppressive systems of power that crush, exclude and condemn people. Both political systems and religious systems. Jesus hates the extortion of people that impoverish and destroy. And he also hates how God is used as the symbol and cause of this system. The belief that God was punishing people for their sin by causing sickness, excluding them from society, denying them access to the temple and demanding their livelihood as the price of forgiveness. But this is the system that was dominant in Jerusalem and Israel, and this is the system he sets himself against repeatedly.

But I think that some of Jesus anger is aimed at the leper himself. It is him he casts out and snorts at with anger. So what does this leper do to cause such a reaction?

It seems to me that Jesus is offended by the tone of the lepers request, because it seems to suggest that Jesus might not really want to heal him. If God made him sick in the first place, then God is the only one who can heal him, but does he really want to? So it is a statement of faith that Jesus is divine, the messiah or God, but as a consequence it is laced with doubt? Doubt of Jesus’ desire to heal, because God is a god who afflicts rather than heals. God is a god who judges and condems rather than loves and forgives, so if God thinks this guy is sinful then why would he want to heal him.

These are all reasonable questions If God is the god portrayed by the priests and politicians. But Gods not like that.

The leper isn’t questioning Jesus ability to heal, he is questioning his desire to heal, and I think this angers him, because God always chooses healing over sickness. He always chooses life over death. He always chooses love over hate, he always chooses justice over suffering. This presents us with all sorts of questions therefore when we pray for healing and don’t see it.

It causes us all sorts of struggle when we encounter death, injustice or pain. None of this fits easy into theological theories. But lets start by knowing Gods heart. Lets start by recognising that God is always good. Always for us. Always with us. And then……. Ask all the questions you like.

Blessed for a purpose…and the opposite – Mark 1:21-28

One thing that has become more and more clear to me over recent years is that we are not chosen by God simply so that we can smugly count ourselves as being among ‘the chosen’. Like Abraham, we are blessed by God in order to be a blessing to the world. “I will bless you… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:2-3). Our ‘election’ is for the purpose of our vocation – a crucial fact that the people of God in the Old Testament often seemed to have missed. And sadly as new covenant people we are also prone to miss the point. The life & love of God is poured into us that we may pour it out to those around. We are overwhelmed by his grace so that we may be those who demonstrate overwhelming grace. We are loved so that we can love. We forgive as we ourselves have been forgiven.

And what has that got to do with our teaching from Mark? Based on how the spiritual powers confronted and opposed Jesus, it seems to me that at every step our enemy seeks to invert, to reverse, God’s ways. Where God invites, the enemy seeks to coerce. Where Jesus calls, the enemy seeks to compel. Where the Spirit inspires, the enemy seeks to manipulate. And where God graciously draws us into partnership in his loving purposes, the enemy seeks to corral and dominate us into advancing his hateful schemes.

For where God blesses people so that they become a blessing, the enemy seeks to control people such that they in turn become controlling. If we want to recognise where the enemy is gaining a foothold, whether in our own lives or the lives of those around us, we do well to watch for tell-tale signs of ‘control’. Wherever the enemy can gain some measure of control over people, they will start replicating this characteristic. Rather than the blessed becoming a blessing, the controlled become the controlling; the victim becomes the victimiser.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57) There are few things as beautiful as seeing the transformation that occurs when the negative cycle gets broken and people are set free to fulfil their true vocation; where we freely give to others the life that we have freely received. (Mt 10:8)

Coffee Shop Ministry Update – Sean Pybus

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I’ll start with Team news: The coffee shop has changed recently with a new member joining us! Phawni is a ray of sunshine and always seems to have a smile on her face.

Phawni

Everyone from the Coffee Shop had a lovely day celebrating the marriage of Rosie and Chris back in September.  I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating the newlyweds!

Chris and Rosie

The road closures at Brunswick Street have affected the Gateway Coffee Shop, business is open as usual and you can access the coffee shop by following diversions for the Octagon and past the Vauxhall Garage and up.

We’re looking forward to the roads being open again really soon.  In the meantime please do still come to see us.

The coffee shop continues to serve groups and individuals; regular groups include a craft group, the church leaders, mum’s and toddlers, walkers, aswell as individuals and two’s or three’s chatting over a cappuccino and carrot cake.   Everyone is welcome so come to the Gateway Coffee Shop for a laid back ambience with great customer service and great Kingdom Coffee, of course.

We serve hot meals from 11.30 to 14.30 and are still open until 4.30 for cake, toasted teacakes, ice creams, beans on toast or sandwiches.  Look on the special’s board for homemade soups and more.

Due to the success of previous years we are bringing the Christmas Lunch Menu back from Monday 7th December to Friday 11th December.   Booking is essential, ring or pop in to book.

Menu:

  • Chestnut, parsnip and bacon soup £3.75
  • Full Roast Turkey lunch with all the trimmings £9.00
  • Chestnut, spinach and blue cheese en croute £7.50
  • Turkey, brie and cranberry panini £4.75

We look forward to seeing you in the coffee shop again soon.

Sean

Coffee Shop Manager

 

 

Thankfulness – Millie Chant

In our busy lives it is very easy to become focused on the problems immediately in front of us. To process and evaluate our experiences from a negative place, ‘This thing is great but…’ or ‘this would be much better if…’ We become complacent in acknowledging the things in our lives that are beautiful and blessed. We build habits of noticing flaws first, of judging others and dismissing the good things in our lives as random one off occurrences.

There came a point for me when I decided I didn’t want to think like this anymore. I had noticed patterns in my thoughts that were making God less. I would ask God “why me? Why is everything so hard for me?” I focused on the difficulties in front of me and let a lot of the blessings that God was giving me pass me by. Actually, I let a lot of what God was saying to me pass me by. God was shouting at me “I’m here! I am with you!” and I was so caught up in solving my own problems that I forgot to stop, listen, and take note. And so I began to think about how I could make God more, more present, more glorified, and give him all the credit. So I made a commitment to writing something that I was thankful for every day, whether it was that the sun was shining or that I had spent quality time with those close to me. It took a while to get into the rhythm, as it does any time you are building a habit, but I began to notice changes in my attitude. I started looking out for the things that I would write down that evening as I was walking my day to day life. Instead of writing one or two lines I was writing more like a paragraph, listing the things that I was thankful for that day and explaining how they made me feel. They became less like hasty notes and more like heartfelt prayers, expressing truly deep gratefulness for the people in my life, the conversations I had had, and the things I had experienced.

It made such a difference. I feel so much more connected to God because I’m taking the time to think about all the incredible things he has done for me, the beauty of creation, and the amazing people he has put in my life. It shifts my focus from the challenges I’m facing and stops them from consuming my thoughts all the time, allowing me to spend more time enjoying life. Some days I am thankful for the smallest things, but by making sure that I do it every day I go to bed with a more positive mind set, and recognise that there is so much in my life to be thankful for. My question of “why me?” becomes more focused around “what did I do to deserve these blessings?” By practicing being thankful every day for the past 8 months I have built a habit of searching for God in the everyday, and that has given space for God to speak into my life in a way that didn’t happen before.

Somewhere else – Mark 1:35-39

I am a big fan of ‘the apprentice’. I know it is a little staged and edited to generate a reaction, but I love watching these over confident, over ambitious, averagely talented, young men and women as they try and prove they are worthy of of Lord Sugar’s trust to go into business with them.

I remember one episode where the task involved selling some food items the team had created. The were given a site to sell from, but also could send people out and about in other locations to try and secure sales. On this occasion the team had a good spot and trade was steady, but for some reason they decided to abandon the spot given to them and go out on foot to another area to secure more sales. This went badly and resulted in them losing the task and facing the wrath of Lord Sugar in the boardroom.

Why had they gone somewhere else when they had an excellent site that was working well? Inevitably the project manager was fired for making such a bad call.

In this passage in Mark we see Jesus making a similar call. He is one day into his ministry and it has involved countless healings, casting out demons and crowds of people getting very excited about following Him. And so in verse 37 we see the disciples finding him in his solitary place and exclaiming that everyone is looking for Him. Day one has been huge and the ministry is off to a flyer. He now has everyone in the town talking about him, telling stories of his healings, and amassing to see more of this messiah. This can only go down as a raging success, and yet when the disciples find him and tell him of the mass hysteria, his response is

‘lets go somewhere else.’

Why? Why not stay and build on the success of day one? Why not meet the needs of the people who are crying out for him? Why not gather more disciples or converts or activists? Why not plant a church?

Jesus would not win the apprentice

Instead he goes somewhere else. To more villages. To the surrounding area. Because Jesus is not coming to establish an empire in opposition to the roman empire. He is not trying to build a new Jerusalem or centre of a new religion. He is establishing a movement. Something dynamic, fluid, interactive, relational and subversive. And it is not happening in the power bases of the cities, but rather in the villages. On the fringes. On the edges. He is not fighting power with power or empire with empire. This kingdom is different. This kingdom is about the outsiders, the marginalised, the weak, the poor, the anonymous, the hidden. This kingdom is about grace, love, forgiveness, peace and hope. This kingdom does not fit with the patterns of the world.

This kingdom is about sacrifice.

Healing the whole – Mark 1:29-34

Healing is a difficult subject. It can become quite emotive or controversial. Sometimes I meet people who have been healed miraculously and their stories have really shaped their lives and are a cornerstone of their relationship with God. Sometimes I encounter people who get really excited about healing stories and use them to evidence how great God is, but often they retell stories they have heard, or other peoples stories and so some of the power is lost. I also meet people who have been hurt. People who have not been healed and struggle with being prayed for anymore as the disappointment is difficult to deal with. People who have prayed and prayed for healing for someone else only for that person to not be healed, and even die.

Healing is difficult.

One of the aspects of this passage in Mark that inspires me is that healing embraces the whole person. It doesn’t just impact them physically, but socially, politically, spiritually and more. Often in Mark we see that the actions of Jesus don’t just deal with the physical aspect but also challenges the systemic oppression, be that religious or political. The sickness hasn’t just impacted the person physically, but also ostracised them from society, excluded them from the religious system, and damaged their family, their opportunities and their status. So when Jesus heals them, he addresses these other areas as well. Simon Peters mother in law is able to return to her role in the family and in society, and in turn restore the honour of her family in receiving and honouring a guest. The spiritual afflictions (demonic) and physical afflictions (sickness) seem to be connected and so Jesus deals with both as appropriate.

Healing seems to be not only a revelation of who Jesus is and who God is, but also it rehumanises the dehumanised. It reconnects the ostracised. It restores the excluded and re-integrates the dis-integrated.

Maybe when we heal today, we should increasingly look to heal the whole person, body, mind, spirit and heart. Familial, social, religious and political. And we should increasingly allow God to heal and restore us in all those same aspects of our being. Because this is the work of the kingdom. Wholeness and whole heartedness is the journey we are invited into.

CAP Ministry Update Steve Hart

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I’ve been in the role as the Centre manager for 10 months and it’s been a very exciting journey, being invited into the homes of those who have contacted CAP at head office in Bradford (0800 328 0006) and helping them journey out of debt!  Of the 16 homes I’ve visited, 2 have become debt free, 1 of which became a Christian!

There are so many stories I could share so let me talk about L&H and their 3 children.  It was clear at my first visit, where I explain the process, answer any questions and address any concerns, that both L&H were very keen to receive CAP’s help.  Circumstances beyond their control meant they needed help.  At the second visit, we went through a Fact Finder document and got together all the paperwork I need to send to Bradford.  At the third visit, I was able to present them with a budget that CAP head office had put together, which meant they were now on their journey with CAP of repaying their debt over a period of 2.5 years.

It only took 22 days to go from the first visit to presenting them with the budget, though not every situation flows as easily as this.  It meant they needed to work hard and tighten their belts, indeed if they could anymore!  L needed to find a job and as we prayed at each visit, L’s journey took him to finding a job in the village where he lives, which makes life so much easier for the family.

The occasional need for a Lord’s Larder food parcel was very welcome, and the last time I dropped one off, I received a text from H stating, “I just wanted to tell you, after getting the children from school, J (oldest son) helped me open the food bags and J’s words were wow Steve is awesome!”  Encouraging words from a child, which took me back to my childhood where I had experienced the very same joy in a very similar situation!

Because the need is so great in the Yeovil and surrounding area, we are now booked up to visit people into January 2016!  It must be so difficult for people to buck up the courage, ring CAP and then be told that they will have to wait until a few months’ time.  But we try to keep in contact with them and encourage them all we can before the first visit.

Which brings me onto our current greatest 2 needs.  We are about to start advertising for a paid debt coach who will be working 2 days per week, enabling the debt coaches in the Yeovil Centre to make more visits, therefore, hopefully reducing the time between someone ringing CAP and one of us making the first visit.

Secondly, when we visit homes, we need to take with us Befrienders, those who will continue the relationship and bring help where necessary, once the budget visit is complete with their debt coach.  So if this is something you may be interested in and would like to know more about, please contact me on stevehart@capuk.org or you can speak to me anytime.

In my recent weekly update I wrote: Just maybe there are no limits as to what God can do in Yeovil through Christians Against Poverty and the church working together.  We are helping to build the Kingdom of God.  We are reflecting the Kingdom of God and trying to keep the poor at the heart of who we are.  I truly believe this and if you want to be more involved, please come and chat to me or you may want me to come and share at a group you belong to.  Thank you for your support.