Just a thought –
Rev Steve’s message for July
Just a thought… July 2020
Well this is it, my final Hunstanton Newsletter article and I cannot believe how time has flown. I look back and it only seems five minutes since we were unpacking and getting ready for a new and exciting adventure in the West Norfolk area. Now it is nearly over (beginning of August) and for each of us a new adventure must begin.
Saying goodbye for whatever reason is difficult; saying goodbye to you who have shared my six year journey is doubly difficult. I do not find it easy leaving but I go forward into retirement because of the way you have always encouraged me to be confident in myself even though there were times when not everything went to plan (well nothing ever did go to plan at any service did it!!).
There is a poem I read the other day which actually says all that I want to say. It was written by Emily (only name given) and it begins like this:-
You helped me laugh
you dried my tears
because of you I have no fears
Together we live
together we grow
teaching each other what we must know………….
And over the past six years I believe we did all these things; we have taught each other, grown together, laughed together and yes at times cried together. But most of all we have worshipped a God whom we are able to put all our trust in together. And it is because of that trust I am leaving Heacham. I trust that he has called me to undertake as yet things unknown in my retirement, but He has called me away for a reason and I must honour that call, just as the new Minister Rev Richman Ncube will honour his call.
So it just leaves me to say thank you; thank you for helping me through my time here with patience; thank you for watching over and praying for me and the family during times of trouble; and thank you for six years of friendship, kindness and a willingness to walk the road together. I will never forget it.
I wish you every blessing and pray that the coming years will be ones of joy, hope, peace and growth beyond your dreams.
(Rev Steve Oliver)
Rev Steve’s Message for June
Just a thought…….
Over the next few weeks, Jill and I will be busily packing away everything ready to move to retire to Barningham (Suffolk). This, you might think, is the important part of moving house, but in fact having started I have come to realise one thing; it is not what I am packing that is important, it is what I am going to throw away.
There is so much I have accumulated over the past six years that it should be quite easy to fill black bags ready to go to the landfill site and recycling items to go to the Recycling Centre, but in all honesty I am finding it really hard to choose. Many of the things collected have a memory attached; they speak of moments of joy and sadness, laughter and tears, and much speaks of six very happy years spent with all of you in Hunstanton.
When you think about it our lives are very much like this. We accumulate so much that it can be hard to find the wood for the trees, to decide what is important to our life on this earth and what isn’t. But trying to decide what matters is not so easy. Of course family and friends, and enough money to live on are vitally important but what about the rest. Do we strive for things and then just store them in cupboards or garages; do we collect all the worries of the world and store them to the point of guilt because there is little we can do to change things?
Jesus was very clear about what we should keep and what we should throw away. He said to his disciples, as he says to us “do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear”……….”For it is the nations of the world that strive after these thing, and your father knows you need them. Instead strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
Jesus does not mean us to throw everything away; he is just asking us to consider what is important and what is not. Is God the centre of our life? Can we trust God enough to be able to know what to strive for and what to give up? The final sentence of that particular reading in Luke 12 perhaps answers it for us. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So what will I throw away from all the things I have accumulated over the past six years; I have no idea as yet. But what I do know is that the things I take with me will remind me of all of you and of the time we shared together in striving for the Kingdom, just as Jesus asked us to do.
Rev Steve’s Message for May……
Yesterday evening I was working in the garden; nothing remarkable about that you might think, (mind you Jill would), but whilst I was cutting the grass and weeding and cutting down brambles, which were determined to get their own back, the thought came to me about what Jesus said concerning the wonders of creation and how we treat each day.
Why worry says Jesus:-
Look at the birds, they do not sow seeds, gather a harvest and put it into barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?
Look how the wild flowers grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves….it is God who clothes the wild grass – grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? How little faith you have!……So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
If only it was that easy, yet throughout the gospels Jesus tells us to have faith, that whatever may be troubling us should be put into the hands of God for his guidance. I wish I could tell you that that is what I do. Don’t get me wrong I truly believe that is the only way matters can be resolved, but like many of you I sometimes lie awake at night worrying about the what ifs; and in the morning is anything resolved? Not at all, and because I haven’t slept the worries just get bigger.
Yet when I have exhausted myself and the solutions, I place it all with God, and sure enough and as long as my patience holds, an answer comes; He doesn’t always give me the easy option but I know that when it comes it will be the right direction and path to take.
I have never really liked gardening, but it has proved to be a great way to reflect on God and I thoroughly recommend it. Through seeing His creation at close quarters you begin to realise exactly what Jesus was saying; and yes, though we may worry in the dark of night, we can be assured that He was with us in our yesterday, He will be with us in our today and He will be with us in those tomorrows where our faith will be strengthened and our troubles rested.
When Jesus left his disciples for the last time, they too were troubled about what would happen in their tomorrow; and what was their tomorrow – Pentecost, so I need not say any more about what happens when Jesus says “Do not worry about tomorrow” as it will indeed look after itself.
Rev Steve’s Easter Message
Jesus is risen from the dead, Hallelujah!
What a wonderful day; let’s rejoice that Jesus has risen from the dead; let’s rejoice that even with the cloud we are all under at present, we can have hope, hope in the God who knows the frailty of this life and the amazing message of the life that is available in Him.
The resurrection story tells us that good will always overcome evil; love will overcome hate and peace will overcome turmoil and despair. It’s a story for today!
It is hard for any of us to understand how Jesus rose from the dead. We know what happened…the stone was rolled away, the burial clothes were left inside, and an angel was awaiting those who searched. We know that when the women ran to tell the disciples Peter had to be the first to put his head in to see if it was true and after that we know that Jesus appeared to Mary in the garden. These facts we know, but what happened inside the tomb before the stone was rolled away, we will never know.
But the fact is we don’t need to know. That knowledge is not about physical proof, but about faith; it is not about the mental capacity to think but about the capacity of the heart to believe and to love. Our faith in Jesus is heightened and strengthened by the words He spoke to Thomas when he said “Happy are those who did not see and believed”. I believe in Him because of what He did for me at Easter; the cross was supposed to be the end, but it was only the beginning.
And it was only the beginning because resurrection also means revival, and it is to that word we can turn for our continuing hope. Revival of a world that will come out of the chaos it is in today; revival in a belief that God is in charge of His creation and not us; revival in a faith in Jesus who taught us how to live and to love and a revival in the Spirit who moves us to a new beginning and fills us with the living water of life in Christ.
So, let’s be thankful for this day, let’s celebrate this day that has made us who we are. It doesn’t mean we have forgotten what is happening in the world, we are giving it resurrection hope and assurance of its revival.
I wish you all a blessed Easter
As I write this I am very conscious that the season of Lent is getting ever closer and for many people Lent is seen as a time when people of faith give up some particular food or activity and dress themselves in sackcloth and ashes as they lead to the great celebration of Easter. This is a great discipline, but nigh on impossible if my efforts have anything to go by. But Lent must be seen to be more than this for people of faith and of none. It must involve reflection on life and the implications of having a new/revitalised understanding of God.
At present the Hunstanton Growing Church Mission Team are reflecting on where our church should be heading both in its mission to our communities and our growth as the body of Christ on a journey of faith and discovery. There have been some interesting and searching suggestions which need much prayer and further discussion. There are other discussions on our ability to listen for the still small voice God which will lead us to a new understanding and a new vision of faith in our community.
Lent is about reflection and I believe this year is about all of us looking at ourselves and asking what does God want of us and where our gifts can be used best for His purposes. So if you are wondering what exactly faith is all about then please come along to the events we will be holding in the coming months as I am sure it will give you pause for thought on the new life it brings.
I suppose I am saying that:-
LIFE ISN’T ABOUT FINDING YOURSELF,
DISCOVERING WHO GOD CREATED YOU TO BE
(Rev. Steve Oliver, Minister)