The Sunday morning meeting was conducted by Major Nigel Schultz who focused on the theme ‘What next?’.
We were reminded how, when Jesus went into Heaven the disciples were left in the upper room to wait for what was to happen next. Following the Natural Church Development (NCD) survey and results we need to seek the Holy Spirit’s leading as to what to do next. It’s been a very interesting week with the starting of three prayer initiatives; Prayer School study, the Prayer Chain and the Prayer Walk each of which will be reported on this website during the week and inspired by the NCD follow up. Nigel showed us a map of Chatham and suggested that part of our prayers should be to bring God to each street in Chatham – but this will take time and may not be in our lifetime.
The Singing Company sang ‘A heart to change the world’ and the song ‘Tis religion that can give’ inspired us to walk in the light of God. Major Nigel outlined the prayer activity of the Corps which happens every day of the week and said we are a praying church. We need to be mobilised and go out into the community to share the Good News. The story for the children illustrated how the gold miners panned for gold and in one area the miners were excited about finding gold and wanted to keep it a secret but it showed on their faces. Likewise, the precious grace of God shown to us should be shown on our faces so that Christ is seen in us.
The Bible reading Matthew 28:16-20 was the basis for the message. The Songsters sang ‘Breathe …and be still’ which was a forerunner to Nigel’s message. When God has provided for us – what next? The disciples in the upper room prayed and sang psalms.
Major Nigel in his message said: ‘I have had a few days holiday and wanted to see more of East Anglia, especially Norwich Cathedral. I had in mind walking the labyrinth there. We shared in morning prayers and then went to the labyrinth not knowing whether we should walk on the grass or the stones. At the entrance to the labyrinth (seen in photos on the screen) there was an explanation of how to walk (on the grass) and cast your burdens on Jesus as you go, praying on the way. When you reach the centre, or not quite, the path leads to the outer circle again and then back towards the centre where it is time to spend with God before following the path outwards having been filled with God’s Spirit. When we started walking there was nobody walking there but then suddenly there seemed to be other people joining in but they hadn’t spent time finding out what it was all about.
I found that a challenge came to me from the labyrinth that the Christian life is like this. Non-Christians wonder what on earth we are doing when we get up early on Sunday to go to church. Other people in society may follow what we do but not find Jesus. Other people may came to church and find Jesus but then give up. This was a time for me to observe what other people do. We need to be an example of Jesus in this world today so that others may receive salvation and grace. Then we need to go out into the community to make disciples. We have to be disciples and inducted into the church fellowship and be baptized in the name of the Father , Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus gave the disciples a recipe for prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. Use this and other songs and words to guide you as you walk as Christians.
Song 672 ‘Saviour if my feet have faltered’ was a helpful song of response and the meeting ended with the singing of the Founder’s song No 509 ‘O boundless salvation’.
The evening meeting was conducted by Major Judy who planned the meeting around Prisons Week: 8 – 14 October 2017.
Paul and Wendy Scoulding, who used to be Prison Officers, and Joan West, who is still a member of the Prison Chaplaincy service, chose their favourite songs and were invited to take part in the meeting. Major Judy chose Song 911 ‘My soul is full of joy’ before introducing the theme using Philippians 3:12 (MSG). I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
A Songster quartet sang ‘Amazing Grace’ before Paul Scoulding prayed for prisons, prisoners and those who work in prisons around the world. Song 34 ‘I believe that God the Father’ reminded us that we believe in transformation of the hearts of men by God. The Band ministered with the bright arrangement of ‘Stand up for Jesus’. Judy read the Bible reading from the Message: Philippians 3:1-14 (in place of Wendy who had a voice problem).
Joan West chose the song ‘I, the Lord of sea and sky’ as the chorus words spoke to her many years ago, and still do. Here I am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard You calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your ‘prisoners’ (instead of ‘people’) in my heart. Joan then gave her testimony, telling of the many years she has been visiting prisons after extensive training. She has worked in four prisons but has visited twenty-five. She told of stories how prisoners had confided in her and asked her for prayers. Prayer was offered over her. The Songster’s ministry was the song ‘Sing, love and live’.
Major Judy in her message said: ‘I sometimes watch Judge Judy on tv and in one episode there were certain phrases used ‘Madam, you are not listening to me’. ‘Madam, you are not listening to me’. ‘Madam you are not listening to me. It’s not about you!’ I wonder how many times God says to us: ‘My child, you are not listening to me’. In your experience, have you had people who don’t listen to what you say but talk over you or look over your shoulder and are distracted? Paul says ‘I don’t mind repeating what I’ve written in earlier letters. Hope you don’t mind but it’s better to be safe than sorry and I really need you to hear what I say’. Since we believe God speaks to us today, we need to listen to Him. What kind of listener are you? Some pretend to listen. Passive listeners attend church, go to bible study, go to prayer meetings but they tune God out of their lives and don’t listen. The selective listener listens to what they want to hear. Everything else applies to other people. Active listeners obtain information, share interests, share emotions. They tune their ears to hear regardless of what God says. They want to know if they are doing right and are willing to change. Paul might have been a selective listener. It took the Damascus Road experience to turn him into an active listener.
We may think that what we do is important but – it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. Our primary reason for being here is to develop our personal relationship with Jesus. It’s not about you! Are you listening? Our personal relationship is our primary goal – to know Him and be like Him. It’s not about you. It’s about Him. Paul tore up all his credentials as he realised he was still a sinner and needed God. Paul was still hungry for a deeper relationship with Jesus because it was all about Jesus. He was full of gratitude to Jesus. Are you actively listening? It’s not about us, Chatham Salvation Army with our mission statement and our ambitions. God wants us to know Him. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him.
The cd Amazing grace (Chris Tomlin) (chosen by Wendy) gave time for reflection and response before the final song (Paul’s choice) ‘To God be the glory’.
Thank you for visiting our website. Don’t forget to come next Sunday at 4 pm to our Music Night with Kerry Sampson and Nicholas Lester – vocal soloists.
Have a blessed week.