• Messengers of Hope
    Throughout the Bible there is a concept of God using messengers to communicate with his own people and others. Whilst he speaks directly to key individuals, those individuals are regularly used to convey the message to a larger audience, like Moses and Jonah. As the New Testament unfolds, John the Baptist’s message of repentance prepares the way for Jesus. Progressing through the New Testament, we encounter a variety of messengers who take messages between churches. People like Paul, Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, Tychicus and many others. In Acts 15, the church in Antioch selects some messengers to go to Jerusalem to explore the key question of gentile conversion. By the end of the council, the church in Jerusalem selects Judas and Silas as messengers who travel to other churches, telling them what has been agreed. This year at our Assembly, October 26-27, we are asking churches to think of the people they send as messengers rather than delegates! People whose primary role will be to share an encouragement, challenge, story or opportunity that flows from the ministry of your local church. Messengers who can also return to your church with news, challenge and opportunities that have been discovered during our time together. Each church will be given the opportunity to share a key message via a 1 minute video, recorded on a phone and uploaded on our YouTube channel. Churches can also choose to write a letter, or tweet a message on social media to Assembly. Every messenger will be given a chance to share key stories and challenges from their local church with other messengers. We also want to ensure that we begin to hear some younger voices at Assembly. To encourage this we have decided that for this year, church messengers under the age of 30 may attend for free. We hope this will encourage many churches to entrust the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the local church to one younger adult among their team of messengers. I pray that in recapturing this Baptist tradition of sending messengers to meet one another, we might increase our vision for being intentionally relational, and that each of our churches will be encouraged by the stories we hear of God at work in our nation. Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • Warming hearts in Winter
    Winter has arrived! Wind, wet and snow. After the festive season, it’s back to ‘auld clathes and porridge’. And for many folk, it’s a misery that brings few signs of spring coming. The gap between the richest and poorest increases, benefits are tightened and food banks grow. Heath services are strained and local councils face demands for the care of the elderly and the cure of broken lives. An increasingly secularised society where values for good behaviour are held captive to celebrity lifestyles. Never, since the 1950’s, has there been a better season for Christian witness! Believing and receiving the Promises of God, looking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, hoping on New Heaven and New Earth. We have something real and tangible to offer friends, family, colleagues and neighbours For what we offer, as Baptists, is something to warm and welcome the weary and care-worn. Churches built on Bible truths. Jesus at the Centre. A commitment to strong bonds of fellowship and mutual support. An invitation to step into the light and love of Jesus Christ, whose radiance can melt the coldest heart. Around us, there is no longer a clear expectation of prosperity, either with or without Brexit. In the middle of winter, let’s warm our hearts before the God of grace, in prayer. Let’s feed afresh on the Lord, in the Gospel. Let’s reach out to folks, showing them love and support. What an opportunity such a winter brings. Rev Dr Jim Purves Mission and Ministry Advisor Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • Resolve
    “How do I become the better version of myself?” is the question behind many of the New Year’s resolutions being made. Gym membership will be taken out, dance classes signed up to by couples realising they need to do more together, diets will be started. As a nation we will resolve to get fitter, healthier, more loving, and our intentions are sincere. Within churches, people will resolve to read the entire Bible in a year, (I’ve set out to do it several times and managed it once), to grow in their discipleship, to pray more, to give more, to increase their witness, in summary to demonstrate in a clear way that Jesus is their Lord. Like those on a diet, temptation will come quickly to rob us of our best intentions. Our time, money and focus will be stretched and something will have to give. What will it be? In Acts 3 and 4 we read the story where Peter and John heal a man who is looking for some money to feed himself. They boldly state that healing comes in Jesus’ name and unsurprisingly, the crowd who gather to witness the miracle are curious to find out more. The controllers of the public space, who police what is deemed polite to talk about, recognise that their act of kindness, the miracle of healing cannot be denied but that they must not speak about Jesus. They declare that they can do no such thing and then return to the church for worship, prayer, teaching and refreshing to restore their resolve. There are many who are happy for us to serve the nation of Scotland, to spend our time demonstrating the power of God in acts of kindness, generosity and in the outworking of his miraculous power but they would also seek to police the spaces and conversations where these acts are carried out. May we strengthen our resolve to not only serve in the name of Jesus but to speak out his name and his truth as the one who can truly help people “become the better version of myself.” Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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