20 November 2020
Berea Congregational Church Pastoral Letter No. 32 20 November 2020
Berea Congregational Church
Pastoral Letter No. 32
20 November 2020
Dear Family and friends of the Berea Congregational Church,
As mentioned last week, we held our final Deacons Meeting for the year. A number of important decisions were taken especially looking forward to the New Year. Early in the New Year we will be stopping the showing of the recorded service on Sunday and return to our usual worship format with full congregation participation. So start loosening up your voices so we will sing with the enthusiasm that worship needs. We will also start having fellowship in the hall after the service.
When schools reopen our Sunday school will meet again. In January the leadership will plan the church calendar for the year. On Christmas Day our Worship will be with full congregational participation and our prayer is that for those who have not yet returned to church on Sundays you will join us for this special celebration. We will give you further information later on how we will maintain Covid-19 safety measures. All these plans are conditional upon the status of the authority’s safety regulations at the time.
A further exciting decision is that the church will be purchasing a video camera and in the New Year our services will be recorded live for distribution to the homes for the aged that have been receiving DVDs of our pre-recorded services. Those who are confined to their homes will have access to the live recordings as well. Please pray about all the great news above and be ready to share in long awaited return to normal church activities.
Last week I mentioned the 58th wedding anniversary of Malcom and Heather Impson. I subsequently found out that Aubrey and Shirley Claassen had celebrated their 54th anniversary on November 5th. Our sincere congratulations go to them as well. I am sad to report that our dear Dawn Impson has taken seriously ill and has been admitted to hospital for emergency surgery. Please keep her and the family in your prayers.
May God bless and protect you and your loved ones,
Food for Thought … “A pastor never gets to say “I’m off duty”. Never gets to punch out at 5. Never gets to have a normal schedule. We don’t know how many sleepless nights they spend on their knees praying for their church. How much opposition they face? How many family opportunities they miss to meet with hurting people. We can’t carry their burden for them but we can do what the Bible tells us to: Pray for them. Encourage them. Support them. By blessing them we will only be blessed in return”
21 Elizabeth Peddie 073 250 9997
21 Heather Thompson 083 390 4632
23 Clement Abrahams 031 208 6622
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, I am confessing that I find it hard to pray, that I find myself saying the same prayer day after day, that I forget very easily whom I am speaking to. First of all, forgive me that I allow important things to distract me, that I take the extra time I often need in the morning from my quiet time, that in the evening I wait until I am so tired that my attention is no longer with you.
Holy Spirit, thank you that I can know you pray for me. Teach me to pray with childish faith, constantly with the joy you ask of me.I ask this in you name. Amen
In one of his ‘letters to Malcolm’, the writer C.S. Lewis mentions an upsetting truth:
‘Prayer is bothersome. We are always glad for an excuse not to pray. If we have finished praying, we are relieved – there is a holiday feeling for the rest of the day. We are reluctant to start praying. We are happy when we have finished. While we are praying – but not when we read a book or complete a crossword – the smallest things can distract us.’
(Prayer: Letters to Malcolm)
While reading this, I am shocked by the recognition – he is talking about me! It is really difficult for me to pray. In the morning I am often so rushed that my prayer is hurried and some evenings I am so tired that I often fall asleep while I am praying. On top of this, the content of my prayers is so similar – and so self-centred.
In the New Testament we often read that Jesus prays alone and sometime spends the whole night in prayer. That is also the secret of the phenomenal success of his preaching – he spoke to his Father about everything and always put his Father’s will ahead of his own, even if it clashed with what he wanted. In John 14:12-13, Jesus assures the disciples:
‘I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to be the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.’
We can take this promise as our own if we are prepared to learn to pray!
How sadly I am lacking in my own prayer life compare to that of Jesus. Is this perhaps also true of you? Will you be prepared to make copies of the prayers you prayed this morning and tonight and give them to your friends to read? How much time do you spend in prayer every day? Is prayer a bother or a joy? Do you experience that your prayers are answered or do you often feel that you pray against the ceiling
Fortunately, it is never too late to make work of your prayers. Don’t you want to confess your reluctance to pray right now and, like the disciples, ask Jesus for help – he can teach you to pray today, just as he did for his disciples.
-This excerpt was written by Nina Smit is used by permission of Struik Christian Media
To pray is difficult
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.
When he finished, one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples
Pandora’s Box - The old story about Pandora tells how she was sent to earth with a box which she had been instructed to guard but never open. Curiosity got the better of her. She lifted the lid and out escaped all the evils and sorrows of mankind.
What is often forgotten is that something remained safe inside the box. What was it? It was hope and it has been there ever since. THAT is the real lesson the myth of Pandora’s Box. - Francis Gay