• Everything Will Be All Right In The End
    Many times I’ve been watching a film and the characters seem to be lurching from crisis to crisis. But in the back of my mind I know everything is going to be all right in the end. The problems will finally be resolved, there will be a twist in the tale or a turn of events that brings the plot to a satisfactory, even joyful, conclusion. It can sound simplistic to say to a friend in a crisis, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be all right in the end,’ because often that’s not what happens. In life things can go from bad to worse with signs of hope nowhere to be found. Well, almost nowhere. The events of Easter, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus, give us eternal hope. Jesus entered the depths of human experience, crucified, dead and buried. This appeared to be the end…and everything was not all right. But on the third day God raised Jesus to life, inaugurating the new creation in which all death will be defeated and we will rise to share in the renewal of all things. That will mark the end of history and everything will be definitely and finally all right. Right now we are well aware that things are not all as they should be; it’s like the world is groaning in expectation of something better to come. Easter is the breakthrough moment when the hope of glory breaks into the sorrow of the present. The resurrection of Jesus promises us that ultimately he will ‘transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body’ (Phil. 3.20). So for now, if everything in your life is not all right it means one simple thing: it is not yet the end. Rev Martin Hodson Ministry Development Coordinator Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • 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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