• Resurrection
    Resurrection. What’s it about? Well, first of all, it has to be about Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s vindication of everything that Jesus did and accomplished, from the cradle to the Cross. I’m penning this from the Middle East, where I’m teaching at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, in Beirut.  Over the border, 50 miles north east of me, there are children starving and being bombed. Less than 70 miles to the south, in Galilee, is the place where Jesus was bodily taken up, His humanity made alive and sealed, His life and our eternity knitted together forever. This is the world we live in. Bloody. Torn. Beauty defiled. And it is into this context of brokenness that the resurrection breaks in and changes the very fabric of our Universe. Jesus is the centre of it all, the pivotal point of the Cosmos. Everything was made for Him. Everything came about through Him. Nothing came into existence, in the Universe, without Him. So when He was raised up from the tomb, in His human body, the nature of the Cosmos was changed eternally. Don’t think that resurrection is just a distant dream. It is breaking in now. Because of Jesus, the fabric of reality is being invaded by life that is eternal. Miracles happen. Here in the Middle East Jesus meets with people in dreams and visions. People who have never been told about Jesus encounter him as He reveals Himself to them. The Jesus who wept over Lazarus weeps over the children and the refugees; and invades their present reality with resurrection power, with tokens of help and healing and hope. There are Christians here, around me, whose lives are invested in bringing the presence of resurrection hope to the desperate and the destitute and the dying. I can see this new life with my own eyes. There is resurrection life breaking out around me. Therefore I pray that this resurrection power will continue to be expressed here in Lebanon and also among us, His people in Scotland. May you be a bearer of His life. May the power, of His resurrection, work in and through you too. May God be glorified, as the mighty power by which Jesus was raised from the dead finds a willing conduit in you and in our ministry together. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the Dead Ephesians 1.19-20 Rev Dr Jim Purves Mission and Ministry Advisor Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • Fearless
    To be fearless, for a believer, is not to know no fear; but to act, with boldness and trust, in the face of fear. As a child, I marvelled at the stories of Christians who circumnavigated the globe as missionaries, called by God and fearless in the face of famine, illness, and physical violence. Today, I cannot imagine the faith and courage of those mission personnel who take their families to live in places like Afghanistan, where there is regular violence against Westerners. In our partnership with Eden teams (more on our eden teams here), we invite Scottish Baptists to move onto the poorest housing estates, as servants of God, seeking an opportunity to serve and witness in the name of Jesus. This past week, I visited the team in Hillhead (Kirkintilloch) and talked with parents who have moved, with their infant children, into streets with known dealers and addicts. They are discovering what it means for them to be fearless, as the follow the call of God on their life. The need, however, is far greater than that found in just a couple of locations. Can you imagine what our witness would be like if we, Scottish Baptists, were known for our fearlessness? All of our networks and neighbourhoods are calling out for disciples of Christ to be fearless in their witness and service: a people who will remember the often repeated commandment and promise of God, “Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This year, our Assembly will unpack aspects of discipleship in relation to this word, “Fearless.” We will be joined by Teun Van der Leer, Rector of the Dutch Baptist Seminary, who will be exploring our Baptist roots and the fearless witness of early Baptists. Rosey McFarlane, Pastor of Pastoral Care & Prayer at Stirling Baptist Church (watch Alan's interview with Rossey), will be helping us reflect on fearless prayer and how we might grow in boldness in and through prayer. Kang-San Tan, General Director of BMS World Mission, will close our Assembly with an exploration of the topic, ‘fearless mission’, reflecting on what it looks like today for us to participate in the mission of God with a Godly boldness. Let us pursue and walk this path together, in Jesus’ name. Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • Pre-Accredited Ministers
    Last month all 34 of our pre-accredited ministers gathered in a snowy Pitlochry. Every January we hold a three-day conference as part of our commitment to give a high level of support to these men and women in the first years of ministry. A number of things struck me about these 34: their enthusiasm, their commitment, their considerable gifts, skills and abilities, their growth year-on-year and their deep desire to be faithful servants of Jesus. I also noticed their age. One third of the group are in their twenties and one third are in their thirties. It’s good news that a high percentage of our newest pastors bring the can-do attitude, the energy and the high expectations of younger adults into the leadership of our churches.  Moreover, at a time when we are recognising as a family of churches God’s call to invest in young adults, it’s significant that we have so many pre-accredited leaders who are part of the generation that is on our hearts. We often remember Paul’s words to Timothy: ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’ Our pre-accredited ministers are setting us a great example. This is a time for celebrating what they bring to our churches and keeping our eyes (and hearts) open for the other young adults God is raising up to lead and serve in these days. Rev Martin Hodson Ministry Development Coordinator Baptist Union of Scotland
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