Friday, 4 October 2013

Footpaths by Marion Densham

During our lovely summer this year, I spent a day walking part of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which I’d not done previously. Despite a good map, book and leaflets, I became unsure of the way out of Milford Haven. I knew how important it was to follow the ‘Acorn’ signs, but they disappeared. Despite me seeing various footpath signs I felt sure I should wait for the Acorn one – but none appeared. Eventually I realised I ought to ask someone who had local knowledge and I was soon on the right track and, much further along the road, sure enough, the Acorn appeared!

This got me thinking about my Christian life and the times when I’ve come to a crossroads, or been unsure about a decision to make and I’ve valued sharing with a trusted friend or Pastor for their prayer and advice. Despite our map and guidebook (The Bible) and circumstances etc., sometimes it helps to check I out with a person who has ‘local’ knowledge, i.e. someone who has already walked that path or a wise person in God

“a wise man listens to advice”
(Proverbs 12:15)

I’m glad I asked for help that day, it saved me wasting more time following various dead ends!

iOS 7 by Joel Pridmore

If you are a social media user then, like myself, you inevitably got fed up of seeing tweets and statuses on Wednesday and Thursday about iOS7.

iOS7 is the new updated Operating System for Apple iPhones and iPads. It is like getting a new version of Windows for your PC that has the same core purpose but incorporates a fresh looking design, updated technology and new features.

I use Apple products but haven’t updated just yet! I am happy with them as they are and am content to watch others get frustrated with the glitches in the new system before upgrading when they are sorted!

It is inevitable, however, that within the next couple of weeks, I will simply have to upgrade! If I don’t, my iPhone and iPad will not lose their core purpose or functions, but they will quickly become out of tune with th e rest of the technological world that they are a part of. I will lose touch with the way that people are using the same gadgets, even though mine have the capability to update.

Churches can be in danger of failing to keep in touch with the world they are a part of. Their core purpose and functions may remain, but their interaction and ‘interface’ becomes outdated and out of touch. Don’t misunderstand me here… The core function and purpose are more important than the means of communicating and embodying them… But we mustn’t be frightened of finding new, fresh and up to date ways to express and embody eternal truths.

The Gospel will never change, but the way we communicate and live it has to. Otherwise our churches become irrelevant, un-engaging and less effective to the world we live in.

“How can they hear if nobody tells them?”

(Romans 10:14)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Dedication… by Grandpa Paul & Uncle Andy Dolloway

Dedication, Dedication, Dedication, that’s what you need...

...are words from the popular theme tune for Roy Castle’s 1970s entertainment show: Record Breakers.

It continued “…if you wanna be the best, if you wanna beat the rest, oh-oh dedication’s what you need.” This still very much applies today.

Mo Farah, the British long-distance runner, endured four years of a gruelling training regime before the 2012 Olympics: high altitude running, a strict diet and even an underwater treadmill for recovery… day after day after day. His dedication paid off with two gold medals!

Today, Eva Alys Dumbrill is having her dedication. At just under 8 months old she’s a little young to run for 10,000m gold. Though one day maybe!

The biblical meaning of dedication is when a place, object or person is set apart to fulfil an exclusive God-given purpose.

Whatever Eva’s may be, as a loving grandpa and uncle, we will be joining with Lucy and Ed in making a public commitment to help raise Eva in the knowledge, goodness and love of God.

To be all that God has made her to be.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Great I Am Blogspot by Joel Pridmore

One of the songs that people really connected with at Rivercamp was 'The Great I Am' by Jared Anderson from New Life Curch, Colorado Springs. The words have been circulating in my mind throughout this week. In the first verse it says 'I want to be close, close to your side, where heaven is real and death is a lie.' This has been a fresh thought in our household: that death is a lie. We have been contemplating this, especially in the midst of having several close family members passing into eternity during this year.

They say the only certain thing in life is death, but the truth us that Christ came that we may have life forever. It is obviously true that these mortal bodies that carry us around will give up at some stage but what is more real: this temporary physical life or the eternal spiritual one?

I remember being struck by a thought I read in a book some time ago. I think it was ‘The Gift of Pain’ by Phillip Yancey & Dr Paul Brand. The thought being that Christ doesn't give us an easy way to deal with death; He gives us a way to overcome it!

At the burning bush, God revealed himself to Moses as 'I Am who I Am' - that is an eternal ongoing tense - he always was, is, and always will be the Great I Am. And through Christ we can be with Him forever.

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

(Exodus 3:14)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

RIVER by Joel Pridmore

The word ‘River’ covers a wide spectrum of things. What are you on about? You may ask – Surely it just means a flow of freshwater flowing from a spring toward the sea. Well ok, fair enough – but think about the broad range of experiences that covers! Tiny trickles of a fresh spring, small streams at the bottom of the garden, wide canyons and valleys rushing with rapids, huge waterfalls with enough power to drive and crush huge masses, the tidally up and down estuary where salt water and fresh water meet as it joins the sea.

In his book in the Old Testament, Ezekiel paints a word picture for us of a river flowing from the temple. Within the picture the water gets deeper and deeper and there is abundant life wherever it flows. Eventually it meets the Dead Sea with its life-giving flow and death is overcome with life.

I believe there are different times, season and ‘depths’ of God that we experience at different times in our lives. For me, Ezekiel’s river speaks, at least in part, of the Holy Spirit.

For those who are Rivercamp for the first time this week, they may spend the first day wondering where the river is!!! If they are expecting a natural river, they might be disappointed. The ‘River’ in ‘Rivercamp’ is no physical but spiritual – the Holy Spirit.

May God take us deeper and deeper in our experience of His Spirit and may we flow with Him bringing life to that which is dying wherever we go.

“… so where the river flows everything will live.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

Monday, 19 August 2013

All You Need is Love. By Barbara Stone

A few months ago after Alison's message "You are what you eat" where she spoke about filling your life with Jesus. I decided on a new routine so that I can set aside more time each day to read the Bible and pray. I wanted to get to grips with The Bible on my Kindle so I could bring it to church with me and look up passages etc.

I tried to search for books in the Bible on the Kindle but couldn’t. I passed it on to my husband to sort out, which is what I usually do. I asked him to search for Corinthians.

Anyway, even he couldn't search as it turned out not to be a searchable version. He sent the Bible to my Ipad to try there and when it came through it was open at 1 Corinthians 13. "Now abideth these three - faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love." He hadn't done it and he tried to explain to me about interfaces and stuff but I knew who had found it for me!

Early last year I asked you all to pray for Chris my son and my husband Roger who hadn't spoken to each other for over a year. It worked!!

Since then it's been a case of building up the relationship again, which has involved a lot of faith, hope and love. We know Jesus is always there for us, His children but it takes a lot of faith, hope, love and prayer to make the relationship work as it does of any relationship - the more time and effort you put in, the better it is. Thank goodness He doesn't give up on us and will give us a second chance when we fail him.

I've been playing Matt Redman songs a lot this week (and ElimSound of course). ‘Never once’ has been on mind all the time. “Never once did we ever walked alone, never once did you leave us on our own" he is faithful never giving up on us.

Chris has come to stay with us a few times this year and he wants to thank everyone for praying for him.

As for me, I'm still not devoting as much time to my relationship with Jesus as I should but I'm getting there and I know he won't give up on me.

Straw from the Ground. Blogspot by Liew Shan Berg

“By this we know love; that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)

Dear friends, thank you all for your prayers for me while I was away doing the Engage summer placement with Christians Against Poverty. Working with the charity was a privilege indeed.

On our first day, when each of us received our files stating which team/department we will be working in, I was quite disappointed to find that I was working with Facilities, the team that maintains the building, does the post, move heavy stuff, set up for events, you name it! They're what I call the “can do anything” and “can do everything” team!

The reason for my disappointed was because I was hoping to work with a team which would have some bearing on my studies. But the moment I was musing in my heart about this, the LORD brought to my mind the conversation which the Catholic priest had with Brother Lawrence (recorded in his book Practicing the Presence of God) wherein Brother Lawrence expressed: “That he was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of GOD, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His gifts.” I was convicted of my selfishness.

The LORD reminded me that I am at the charity for Him and that the work which I will engage in is HIS work. So, I asked the LORD to help me to love my brothers and sisters at the charity and be a blessing to them. I thank God, that I was able to bless my brothers and sisters and pray with them.

My friends, let us set our gaze on His lovely face this week. However important or trivial the task before us, let us seek to love and worship Him when we are about it. Let us only be motivated by His love in all things. =)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

TENby, Dates & Tapestries
Blogspot by Cass & Joel Pridmore

On Thursday this week we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.

Dates such as anniversaries and birthdays hold special significance in our calendars and give us opportunity to consider the picture of our lives.

On this date in 2003 we were enjoying our honeymoon in the auspicious surroundings of a static caravan in Tenby… so, ten years on, we headed back to Tenby again for a repeat date with Fecci’s superb fish and chips with curry sauce! As we ate, we reflected on our journey so far – the good times and the bad times! Dates like these are landmarks when we can thank God for His faithfulness and His forgiveness. We have seen both of these significantly weaved into our picture in our ten years.

Hindsight, they say, is a beautiful thing – and there are always going to be things that you would have done differently. However, these are often the times when you will grow the most and when we can experience the grace of God. Our mistakes need not hold us back; often God takes our mistakes and uses them for benefit. There are also memories that we wish we could go back to. Good times from the past can seem so appealing, but cannot hold the things you’ve learned and there is always a new day waiting for you.

When you have key dates in your own calendar, take a moment to see how God has weaved your good times and the bad times into the beautiful tapestry of your life.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”

(Romans 8:28)

Monday, 29 July 2013

'Swings and Squash' by Amy Dutton

‘Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.’ (Hebrews 6 v 1)

Somehow I’ve reached that age when lots of my friends are getting married and are ‘offspring-ing’ all over the country and suddenly I feel compelled to grow up a little. Becoming a grown up is scary by the way. I still forget to do little things like check labels on clothes that say, “Please don't wash me with red things, I'm white, stupid,” and never ever seem to own milk or bread. I'm clinging onto childhood by the skin of my teeth; I still love swings and jelly snakes and blackcurrant squash. It makes me think though. How many of us grasp onto childhood in our faith? Yes, ‘childlike faith’ is a beautiful thing, but are we using this as an excuse for a faith that requires no responsibility? Are we waiting for a set of over-zealous asparagus in Veggie Tales to help us get to know our Creator, or are I...willing to make the effort to further my relationship with our Father, asking what, where and how he wants us to be? How much more is there for us to discover as we step out from a Sunday school, spoon-fed faith. Where will God send us when we respond? Who does He want us to stand alongside and what gifts does He long for us to use to glorify His name? Yes, it’s easy to envy children, but childhood is only for a time. With growing up comes responsibility, but also adventure beyond the walls of the playground or your imagination. I know I am too easily persuaded to sit in comfortable immaturity rather than living the wild, abandoned life that reflects His character in me...are you?

'Teddy Bear’s Picnic' by Joel Pridmore

This time next week, we will hopefully be getting ready to head to the beach for a church picnic!

I am hoping that it will be a time of deep inner healing for me as I have experienced picnic-oriented trauma this week.

On Tuesday we went to catch a few songs at the bandstand where our very own Colin (who was 60 yesterday!!!) was playing as part of the Aberystwyth Silver Band. We were enjoying the show and Lydia was dancing away. And then… Christine volunteered me to sing a song along with the band… ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic.’ My attempts to refuse were entirely futile and to my horror I found myself in front of a crowd of people I didn’t know, singing a song that it turns out I don’t know, in a key that was not good for my vocal range, and that felt like it lasted about 2 hours! Sound bad? Trust me… it was worse. I can’t remember being that embarrassed in years! It wasn’t even good enough to be funny for the onlookers. It was SO BAD!

As we cycled home (with Lydia screaming in her seat on the back of my bike because we had stopped her dancing) I realised how healthy for my soul it was to have been taken so far out of my comfort zone and to feel so ridiculous in front of those people – it really did my heart good to be so humbled!

By the time I got home I had started to forgive Cathryn for crying with laughter through the whole traumatic event and Amy for videoing it on her phone. In time, perhaps the wounds will heal – but if anyone tries to sing that song in front of me at our picnic next week… Don’t be surprised if you end up in the water. You have been warned.

James4:6 …‘God opposes the proud
    but shows favour to the humble.’

‘A44’ BlogSpot by Joel Pridmore

This is easily one of my favourite roads; you know… the one to Rhayader. God taught me something as I journeyed along it on Wednesday.

I was on a tight schedule heading to Cefn Lea for a gathering of people from across Wales, and I got stuck behind some slow moving ‘pootler’ as we called them in my family when I was growing up! It was a beautiful day and the sun was making those mountains and streams look even more glorious than usual. Not that I knew anything about it myself… all I could think about was trying to get past this blinking slow car in front of me.

I was totally missing the beauty around me. That’s when I felt the Holy Spirit say… “Wait a minute, chill out and enjoy the journey.”

I was allowing this small unimportant obstacle in front of me to completely steal the enjoyment and wonder of some of my favourite scenery in the world!

Let’s choose this week to ensure that we stop for a moment and enjoy the journey. Take a look around you and think about the innumerable blessings that God has given you. Look to the left and the right of your own car and celebrate the beauty and the blessings in the lives of those around you. Look to the North and the South and see what God has done and is doing. Take a breath for a second and enjoy the journey whatever small obstacles are affecting your journey.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

(Psalm 46:10)

'The ‘State’ of Christians These Days' by Joel Pridmore

Sunday 9 June 2013

.When I say the state of Christians, I am not talking about the poor fashion choices that have sometimes been considered synonymous with Christianity! I’m not even talking about the problems facing the Church or the poor media image of the Church that are often all too evident – sometimes (sadly) justifiably.

In light of this week’s political developments with the same sex marriage bill passing through the House of Lords and Her Majesty the Queen’s alleged undermining of her coronation oath as ‘Defender of the Faith.’ I wonder… Can there be such a thing as a Christian State? If so, is it a good thing? Especially given that I see no political intent in Christ’s life and teaching and the Church (capital C) so often seems to thrive where the culture around is hostile.

There is a place where the perfect Christian state exists. In this place, Gods ways are perfectly observed and His will always accomplished. That place is Heaven. We must remember that Heaven is where our true citizenship lies as believers. We can seek to ensure our voice is heard in declaring the truth of God’s words. We can warn the world around us of the dangers of going against the Lord’s ways. But more than this, we must live lives that embody God’s commands as revealed in Christ – Above all, loving God and loving one another. Whether it is by way of politics or by way of simple acts of selfless love, there needs to be more evidence of the Kingdom of God being manifest in our lives and in the communities that we are a part of.

"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:20- 21).

Lord, we pray You will help us manifest your goodness and Your kingdom as we seek to love you and to love our community.

'Give a Dog a Good Name' BlogSpot by Brian Garrod

Sunday 2 June 2013

As many of you know, we have heard the patter of tiny feet in our family recently. Four feet and a waggly tail to be precise – a puppy. We decided to call him Idris – a solid, old-fashioned, distinctly Welsh name. If you like this name, good on you for having excellent taste. If you don’t, yah boo sucks :-P

We had a lot of trouble choosing his name. I had some good ideas but nobody else in the family seemed to agree with me. My first suggestion was “Woof” because I reckoned it would be the only name the puppy could say for himself. Then if he got himself lost he could tell everyone who he is.

That got me thinking about the kind of names I’d like to be shouting all over the neighbourhood if he did get lost. Shouting “hey, Sweetie, come over here” would possibly attract the wrong kind of attention. Working on the same basis, I also thought “Free Food” would be a good choice. You might not get your dog back but at least it would provoke a positive response. A certain Pastor’s wife took this a step further by suggesting we call him “Jesus Saves”. Nice one Cathryn!

But there is a serious point here. The Bible says that “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2: 10-11). There is power in the name of Jesus for our salvation. All you need to do is call for Jesus. Call his name in the darkness and he will bring you into his glorious light!

'Holy Go…’ By Joel Pridmore

Sunday 19 May 2013

According to the Christian Calendar, today is Pentecost Sunday. Elim is a family of Pentecostal churches representing about 550 churches in the UK and many more overseas. So what do we mean when we say we are Pentecostal? Basically that we believe that the Holy Spirit empowerment that the believers experienced at Pentecost is every bit as real, available and needed today as it was all those years ago in the ‘Upper Room.’
We believe in two baptisms for believers. We will celebrate water baptism next week with two people who have been given new life. It symbolises the cleansing of our sin that we receive through Jesus and of our sharing in His death and resurrection as we go under and rise from the water. The other baptism is referred to by John the Baptist as being ‘baptised with the Holy Spirit and with fire’ through Jesus.
Elim started as an evangelistic initiative nearly 100 years ago, and we must continue to realize today that the purpose of being baptised in the Holy Spirit is the power to live the life of a witness. It is not simply so that we can stand in a church building and feel blessed or look spiritual, but that we will be empowered to reach this world with the good news of Jesus Christ. Go to as many meetings as you can, but if there is no evangelistic fruit, then it may be questionable whether it was the Holy Spirit that was at work in you! To quote George Werver at this year’s Elim Bible Week: “The Holy Ghost equals a Holy Go… We must evangelise or suffocate.”

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2-4)

‘MEGA CHURCH’ by Joel Pridmore

Sunday 5 May 2013

This time last week (if you ignore the 7 hour time difference), I found myself in the main auditorium of one of America’s so-called ‘Mega Churches.’ New Life is the church family for around 6000 people in Colorado Springs. It exceeded my expectations.

One of the most fantastic things that we have appreciated about Elim Aberystwyth since we moved here in the summer is the sense of family. I heard that word time and again during the ‘More tea Vicar’ initiative as I asked what people valued most about our church.

I believe God’s plan for us as a church includes growth… spiritually, in maturity, in influence and numerically. I don’t know if we will ever reach the 6000 mark but I do believe He wants us to grow! My concern about this was the question: How do we protect our sense of family?

New Life in Colorado Springs exceeded my expectations… The incredible facilities, the amazing sound system, the spiritual depth and so on. But what impressed me most was that it felt like family.

I realised that the sense of family is not all about how many people are in that community, but in how individuals are with one another. It is less about sharing a room and more about shared values. Small communities can exist within the huge community, which make it feel like home for anyone and everyone.

I believe our church is going to become a spiritual home to hundreds within our locality. We must keep the sense of family that we enjoy by sharing the love of God we have received with anyone and everyone. That is what makes a church mega!

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

'Pray As You Go’ By Joel Pridmore

Sunday 28 April 2013

Am I the only one who feels somewhat incomplete when I don’t have my mobile phone in my pocket?
How did we get to that stage? I remember having to go up the road to the phone box to even make a call on the landline!!!

I may be around 3500 miles away from your meeting this morning, but the incredible thing is that if we wanted to, we could have a live video-link and talk as if we were in the same room!

Cathryn often a sings children’s song around our house that she learned in Uganda with the words ‘Telephone to Jesus, telephone to Jesus everyday, telephone to Jesus every day. Hello!’ – If you ask her she will gladly sing it to you this morning ;-)

The song is a bit of fun, but the incredible fact is that our communication to the Lord is even more accessible and instant than any technology will ever achieve! He is ready and waiting for us at any time, and promises to always be there when we call on His name. Our mobile phone Apps may offer us all we could ever want, when we want it, but Jesus is in reality all we need. In fact He describes us as branches that are intrinsically connected to Him as the vine (John 4). He even says that apart from Him we can do no good thing.

I am challenged to ensure that I make a priority of my time with God, when I can spend so much time talking, texting and emailing on gadgets that are supposedly meant to save me time.

I think the gadgets are fantastic, but we must keep our priorities right.

'Motivation' By Christine Harrison

Sunday 31 March 2013

I was recently able to attend the Aspire ladies event at the Elim church in Cardiff with some other ladies from our church. The lady speaking was Lara Martin, she had a wonderful testimony and an equally wonderful singing voice.

Lara’s theme for the day was: What does it mean to minister to the Lord? She mentioned Joanna, Suzanna and Mary… They were all healed by Jesus and wanted to give to Him in return (Luke 8:1-3). They had all had an encounter with God that changed them, but also a relationship with God that continually sustained them.

What motivates the most..?

An encounter with God,
or a relationship with Him?

Some of us go to meetings like this and try to live on a high, but we need to spend time with God to develop a relationship with Him.

When Colin and I first started seeing each other, we would arrange to meet and look forward to that time to really get to know each other. So it should be with us making time for Jesus – even if you do have to write it in your diary!!!

These women followed Jesus, even to His death, and afterwards they went to His tomb and to the garden because they still wanted to be able to serve Him. In the same way, we all need to choose to develop and relationship with Jesus – to talk to Him, anywhere and any time – not just when we are in church.

'Salt, Light and Hoodies' by Brian Garrod

Sunday 24 March 2013

I’ve started wearing hoodies. It’s probably my age. It must be either that I am trying to recapture my youth by ‘getting down with the kids’ or that I now need clothes that are good and roomy to accommodate my expanding waistline.

There are two hoodies in my vast wardrobe: a black one that says ‘I believe’ and a dark blue one that says ‘Joio Byw’ (Enjoy Life). Each of these is statement I want to make to the world. People are supposed to come up to me and say “so what is it you believe?” when I wear the black one or “Wyt ti’n joio byw?” (Do you enjoy life?) when I’m in the dark blue. Actually it’s more often “What the Dickens does that mean – is it Welsh?” but at least it’s an ice breaker.

So guess which one works the best? I have had no end of people coming up to me asking about the ‘Joio Byw’ hoodie but absolutely no one asking about the ‘I Believe’ one. It’s a bit of a puzzler but I think I’ve worked out why. I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘I Believe’ is just too threatening. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows not to mention it. The hoodie just says “Beware of the God botherer … do not allow yourself to get to drawn into meaningful conversation by mentioning it”.

And this is the lesson I’ve learned. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in this world (Matt 5: 13-16) but sometimes we can be too salty or too bright. As a result, we end up missing opportunities to proclaim Christ because the world is too canny to let us do it. Someone who eats food that is too salty will simply spit it out! When you shine a light in someone’s face they will try to shield their eyes with their hand.

So perhaps the better strategy is to take it gently. As Saint Paul said “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22b). So from now on I will wear the ‘Joio Byw’ hoodie during the week and save ‘I Believe’ for Sundays. Then, when people see my hoodie and ask me “Do you enjoy life?”, I will say “Yes, I do … and I’ll tell you why … it’s because I have a friend in Jesus …”

And I do. And what a friend he is!

'Llais Rwgbi' by Joel Pridmore

Sunday 17 March

posted 19 Mar 2013 09:27 by Elim Aberystwyth
Apparently there was a rugby match yesterday!

You will rarely see a man more passionate than a rugby loving Welshman supporting his country in a key game against the English!

I have been told that men don't like to sing in public and that we shouldn't put expectation on them to sing in our church meetings… Nonsense! Didn't you see the players and crowds blasting out those national anthems? If you give men something to sing about, they will sing!

It is not the singing but the style and subject that may be sometimes the problem. Many of our modern songs can be introspective and ‘soft’. Perhaps we need more bold songs that proclaim the truth and victory of our mighty God, rather than the self focused songs we have often become used to.

Why will men sing so readily at the rugby?

Sport evokes this level of passion for supporters as the team they identify with does battle against their foe. Oh that we men would sing with such fire in our hearts as we celebrate that the battle is won and shout aloud that our God reigns victorious!

As for yesterday's match... If I haven't mentioned it today then well done Wales... if I have then just be thankful we didn't start the service with a chorus of Swing Low!

'Shout unto God with a voice of triumph’
(Psalm 47:1)

‘Mothering Sunday Blogspot’ By our newest mum, Lucy Dumbrill

10 March 2013

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world (John 16:21)

I entered the chaotic world of motherhood 8 weeks ago so the immense joy and privilege of becoming a 'mum' is still sinking in! My life has changed for the better yet the worry and anguish naturally felt for your child begins before they even leave the womb. As pregnancy took over my body (never to be quite the same again!) maternal worries and concerns for my unborn baby entered my mind. Just as in everyday life, motherhood is filled with wonderful blessings but inevitably tinged with anguish along the way.

As Christians we all suffer as a result of living in this fallen world, but when we accept Jesus into our lives we stand to receive the greatest joy: the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. In the meantime, if we choose to live in the power of the Holy Spirit we can experience that joy now with the assurance that our earthly suffering is only temporary (phew!)

No doubt I'll always suffer motherly angst towards my daughter - is she safe, happy, healthy?! - but to know that she might one day be born again into a living relationship with Jesus, with the hope of eternal salvation, would be my ultimate motherhood joy!

‘Dydd Gŵyl Dewi’ by Joel Pridmore

3 March 2013

Did you feel the earth move? As we celebrated St David’s day on Friday, I heard again the most famous story about Saint David preaching to a huge crowd and the ground rising up, creating a hill so everyone had a better chance of hearing him. Did this really happen? I don’t know. Is it possible? With God… absolutely! I have heard this story before, but I hadn’t heard about one of his other miracles... the dove.

Saint David is often depicted with a dove on his shoulder. This dove is believed to have rested on him when he preached the good news of Jesus. One secular commentator has suggested that this story represents the most pointless miracle ever. Clearly this commentator is unaware of the significance of the dove. Many understand the dove to simply represent peace, but the true meaning is much more profound. Biblically we know that the dove is representative of the Holy Spirit.

When we have the presence of God, anything is possible, whether it is in the form of the ground moving miraculously, or in faithfully serving God day by day. If you take one lesson from the things we hear about St David, let it be reliance upon and a treasuring of the presence of God in our lives.

Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’ (Luke 18:27)

‘OSCARS’ by Joel Pridmore

24 February 2013

Has the word ‘Oscar’ ever been uttered or written in the media as much as last week? Of course, there is the usual furore surrounding the Academy Awards, with the 85th annual awards taking place tonight. This week, however, another Oscar has been the centre of attention. In 1983 the movie ‘Blade Runner’ was nominated for two academy awards but didn’t win any – an injustice in many fan’s eyes. 30 years later almost to the day and the world has been watching as justice is sought surrounding the man dubbed the real-life blade runner as he faces charges for pre-meditated murder. South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius, has been dubbed heroic for his sporting success, despite having been born with a condition meaning both legs were amputated as an 11 month old baby. At London 2012, he reached perhaps the highest point of his career by becoming the first double amputee to run in the Olympic Games. Six months later and he is facing what is surely the lowest point of his life.

On his shoulder Oscar has a tattoo of the passage from Corinthians where Paul speaks about the discipline required to compete in a race and applies this to the spiritual discipline required for the sake of the gospel.

Pistorius clearly knows what it is to train his body to compete and win races. The Hollywood stars clearly know the discipline it takes to be the best and win Academy Awards. But the bad news for them is that if their discipline is confined to their gifting, then their crown, or award, is one that will not last. The hype of their success in the media is fragile and its fragility has been so well illustrated this week.

What are you training for? Worldly or eternal reward?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

Wait a minute! by Cass Pridmore

17 February 2013

There are so many things that I could write about this week from looking at the news. From the horse meat scandal to the Pope stepping down. All MASSIVE things that are important for us as Christians to pray into and to stand out ground if the time comes.

However, for me it has been a week to take stock of my life. It is so easy to go from week to week, trudging like treacle through the same routines… Getting up, going to work, cleaning, washing, sorting meals, doing dishes, watching telly and going to bed. On and on life goes with a glimmer of escapism every now and again in the means of an episode of ‘Call the Midwife’ or a shopping trip to Next. (MOTD or Question Time might be your thing)

A busy life ticks on well enough… we are all busy being busy.

However, we have been called, we have a purpose. As I see my children grow and change before my very eyes, I have come to the realisation that time really does fly. Set yourself some goals this week…book you prayer slots with your Heavenly Father in your diary. Bake that cake for your neighbour that you’ve been meaning to do. Start that Bible Study that you’ve been meaning to do for years. Catch hold of the hopes and dreams from your youth and start to run with them. Most of all take some time to be still and enjoy God!

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

Great Brittle (redefining marriage) by Joel Pridmore

10 February 2013

This week marks a redefining moment in our society. In redefining marriage, we redefine family; the glue that holds societies together. This glue that once made Britain Great is becoming more and more brittle – are we coming unstuck?

One of our expressed purposes as a church is to love people – all people. No matter who they are, where they’ve come from or what they have done, we love them – we must not compromise on that! This, however, absolutely does not mean that we have to agree with people’s actions or ungodly world views.

The 1967 act to allow abortions was carried in the name of countering the horrific back street and self-administered abortions that were taking place. Today, however, abortion is used as a form of contraception and we see around 200,000 unborn children in the UK killed every year before they have taken a breath.

I wonder what we will be saying in 40 years time about the effect of the same-sex marriage bill of 2013. Both abortion and same sex marriage are issues where so called ‘rights’ have been exalted above what is ‘right.’

I am not sure if there is such a thing as a politically Christian nation, as following Christ can never be a legislative matter, but if that has ever been an appropriate description of the UK then it is no longer. The MPs, who we voted into Parliament, have made it abundantly clear this week that minority lobbying in the name of equal rights is more important than God’s ways.

From a societal point of view, we Christians are now a marginalised minority group whose lobbying is sometimes labelled old fashioned and bigoted, but thankfully our eternal reality is as the victorious heirs of the Kingdom of heaven.

No matter what society looks like around us, we must stand up for truth & resolve to establish His Kingdom and its values on Earth.

He remains good, no matter what is happening around us. Thank God that we can place our feet on solid ground and our future and eternal destiny is secure despite the crumbling of society we are facing.

White as Snow by Joel Pridmore

20 January 2013

Apparently it has snowed in the last couple of weeks! The news and internet social networks were full of little else but pictures and stories about people encountering the white stuff. To open the curtains in the morning and see everything covered in fresh snow is a truly beautiful sight. There is something amazing about familiar scenery looking so dramatically different and so pure and clean. Let us not become so familiar with the landscape of our lives that we lose the wonder of the fact that God has made us as fresh and clean as the snow. What a mystery that despite our sin and weakness, God looks at us through the lens of the price that Jesus paid for us at the cross and sees us as righteous and pure. As the hymn writer said: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” Or in the words of the propet Isaiah…

“though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18)

2013 Priorities by Joel Pridmore

11 January 2013

A new year always gives us opportunity to assess our priorities and refocus. A wise person once said “If you aim at nothing, you hit nothing.” I wonder what you are aiming for this year… a new car? a new job? a new house? These are all important aspects of life and are good practical targets, but should they be our main underlying priority and focus? Over the Christmas period I was forced to contemplate what is really important. A close friend and relative of ours died suddenly and unexpectedly. Thankfully we know she loved Jesus and that she is now with Him forever, but she leaves behind a huge gap in the lives of her friends and family, especially her husband and young daughter. There are no easy answers as to why something like this happens, but we have to believe that God is good in the midst of everything and ensure that we take stock of what really is important. Let 2013 be a year for you of focusing on your relationship with God and with people. Jesus makes it very clear what the most important priorities are for us.

… an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:35-39)

Fairytale Christmas by Joel Pridmore

16 December 2012

Some see the Christmas story as a nice old fairytale that we tell once a year, that has little or no truth or relevance to real life today. This could not be further from the truth. Much of what is portrayed in the media and in nativity plays has been tailored to fit people’s desire for a nice story and to hold onto long held traditions. The mystery of the incarnation is deeper than that of any SciFi fantasy. God, yes, God Himself became human! And not as some world famous Super Hero, but as a tiny baby, born the same way as you and I. Who could think up such a ludicrous plot for a story line? Only God himself could have initiated such a glorious plan to reconcile us to Himself. Jesus humbled Himself and stepped down from the glory of Heaven to rescue us from our sin and to offer us life in all its fullness. Our young people have given us a taste of how the Nativity might look if it took place today. I hope that you will understand that the truth and importance of Christ’s birth is every bit as real today as it was in first century Palestine.
“And you shall give him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21)

Changing the World

9 December 2012

This morning’s service has been put together and presented by the wonderful students that are a part of the family here at Elim Aberystwyth. Whilst I was helping the musicians and singers prepare on Thursday evening, I was reminded again what a privilege is to be involved in the lives of these young men and women. Students have come from all over the globe to this fantastic town to gain academic success. I sincerely believe, however, that they will leave with something far more important – A greater understanding of their identity and destiny in Christ. During my time at University, the church I went to took a big risk and entrusted me with great responsibility and opportunity. I know that if we can do the same for our students, not only will we enjoy the benefits and fruits now, we can also help to release them into their incredible futures. If you sow an encouraging word in the ear, or a tasty Sunday lunch in stomach of a student today, you could be investing in the life of tomorrow’s world changing politicians and leaders.

Backward to forward

30 November 2012

This week I had the opportunity to meet a man who had a huge impact on my journey into faith and my early journey as a musician and worship leader. I was at a songwriter’s event and met Paul Oakley (Because of You, There is a Voice That Must Be Heard and It’s All About You Jesus). He was leading worship in the youth meetings at Stoneleigh Bible Week in 1996 where God broke into my life and changed me forever. In fact, I was not just changed – I received a new life, I was born again. I’d love to tell you that I have been the perfect Christian ever since then, but I’m afraid that I have not always lived the life that God desires. The amazing thing is that He has never given up on me, and whether you like it or not, the same is true for you! It is almost too good to believe, and though we often fail to understand it, this is the truth as revealed in scripture. Whatever happened yesterday, or even 50 years ago, God has good plans for your future. If we can be driven by Christ’s love, overflow with love and realise that faith / just / works, as we have talked about over the past few weeks, then God’s Kingdom will be established in even greater measure in Aberystwyth.

Disney Dreams

19 November 2012

Last week my mum fulfilled a dream and took my sister, myself and our families to DisneyLand Paris. I wasn’t sure it was going to be worth the hassle and cost, but we went… for the sake of mum and the children you understand! I didn’t expect to be blown away myself and spend the following couple of days missing a place I’d only visited for 3 days! The sheer number of amazing experiences, the parades and shows, the excitement of the rides, the looks on the children’s faces, the quality and attention to detail in everything, seeing my mum snatch a hug with Goofy, meeting all the Disney stars, and mostly the wonderful intense enjoyment of irreplaceable family time. As the week progressed I reflected on the impact this had on me and focused my attention to an immeasurably more glorious place. If DisneyLand is so enchanting, then how much more captivated ought we to be with the Kingdom that we are receiving? The best thing about it is that HE is there and through faith in Christ, we can be too – forever. I am so thankful to God for such a wonderful holiday, but it really was nothing compared to what He has given us in His eternal Kingdom.

“…giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Col 1:12)

Remembrance Day

11 November 2012

I find that issues of War and military action are very difficult to make sense of from a faith point of view. In my mind, I am an idealist; I like to dream about how things can and should be. Obviously, when I am thinking with this idealist head, war should never be an option. Unfortunately we do not live in such an ideal world and it is difficult to maintain such a dream when it means standing aside and watching injustice and oppression do their worst. Our minds also daren’t imagine what our world would look like if our troops had not fought the battles that they have. Whatever your political or personal views are on this subject, I do hope that you will appreciate the opportunity today to honour and give respect to those whose lives have been lost in battle. We cannot help but reflect gratefully upon Jesus’ own words

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)


4 November 2012

I always feel sad when I see children dressed up in scary costumes at this time of year. It strikes me that October 31st has been hijacked by commercial powers and that the very serious and dark spiritual world is made to look attractive and fun. This is echoed and compounded by some computer games and children’s literature that glamorise and make light of witchcraft. We must protect our children from the risk of developing a fascination with these things. The fantastic reality is that Jesus has overcome the devil at the cross and we don’t need to fear any demon or any spiritual force or power. Greater is He that’s living in us than he that is in the world.

May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:11-14)