Every day throughout Lockdown we would like to inspire you with some thoughts from members of our church family.
Todays thought comes to us from John Booth
Many people hit a bad patch at some point in their lives. I lost my identity approximately 33 years ago and went from being ‘happy go lucky’ to being cynical and sad. God brought me out of that place and fully restored me.
I always carry a mental picture of me climbing a mountain & looking up at Jesus who is reaching down to grab my hand. He has never let go and has given me peace & joy in life, regardless of the situation. If you are in a similar place, reach up! He will never let go. John 14:27 says “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” (Good News Translation).
I’ve had several encounters in the past but one, in particular, stands out and still sends shivers down my spine when I think of it. One of Chris’ friends asked me if I would collect a washing machine she had just bought and take it to her new cottage in a village at the other side of Skipton, and I said that was no problem. The guy selling it said he’d give me a hand to get it into my car (an estate at the time) but that he didn’t know how I would manage to get it out on my own (it was a big commercial washer). I said I’ll worry about that when I get there and set off to the new house. On the way I realised there was no way I was going to be able to lift it on my own and so I prayed for help all the way to the village. I arrived at dusk, the village had one main street and I could see all the way from the top to the bottom – it was deserted. I pulled up outside the cottage and was stood looking at the washer thinking “it’s down to me now” when I felt a tap on my shoulder, I froze, I’d just looked up & down for help and there was no-one in sight! I turned around and there stood a tall, slim man with long black hair to his shoulders and a crucifix in one ear. He smiled and said, “can I help you?” I was shaking but said “I’m trying to get this into the cottage” and he said, “let me help you” (all the time I was shaking inside). We got the washer into place and he smiled and said, “is there anything else I can help you with?” I said, “no but thank you” and he turned and walked to the door. I followed to thank him again, but the street was empty, and no-one was anywhere in sight.
James 1:6 says when you ask him, pray without doubting. Be sure that you really expect him to answer.
Bio: Hi, I’m John, I’ve been married to Chris for over 30 years and we’ve been members of the light church almost since the beginning. I gave my life to Jesus 26 years ago.
We have a son and 3 daughters from previous marriages and between us we have 9 grandkids and 10 great grandkids. I retired at 70 (and don’t know where the last 12 years have gone!). Cycling has been a big part of my life, having been a member of a cycling club and ridden coast to coast a couple of times. I love the simple things in life such as gardening and going out walking in the countryside.
Todays thought comes to us from Ann Murgatroyd
When a storm enters your life, keep on going, riding it knowing God is with you however strong those waves and winds may be.
Jerimiah 29 v 11: This is the passage I turn to and speaks great volume in my life.
For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord “It’s not to harm you but to prosper you” in all we do.
Over the years Phill & I have had to ride and go through quite a number of storms in our life, but I always turn to this verse knowing God is my Rock, my Protector, and my Armour.
2019/2020- In this period of time we have experienced two massive major hurricanes and storms in our life.
2019: My daughter Angela was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 44, what a roller coaster this has been, one minute they were operating the next minute they could only treat with radiotherapy/chemo. This was such a testing time, but just putting our faith and trust in God we rode through the storm, yes still riding the small waves, but God has been faithful answered prayers from the church family and very close friends.
2020: Phill & I went to New Zealand in Dec for a much-needed break, but we had no idea that a hurricane was brewing. First I was admitted to hospital 3 days after arriving at Leanne’s house, flights cancelled owing to COVID, and a Big Big storm when Phill had a major stroke and me being prepared that if he pulled through, then he would be parallelized down his right side. But through this time on my own, I knew God was with us holding us up above the waves, and our church family and special friends were all in prayer, also believing and putting their trust in our Amazing Faithful God.
Our God did perform that MIRACLE and Phill is the walking Miracle.
Whatever storm/hurricane you are going through never, never stop putting your trust and believing in our amazing God, he is your father who loves you so much. Never doubt what our amazing God can do, just believe and trust in him
God is my ROCK and always will be. He can be your ROCK just believe in him
All Our Love and see you when we finally get back to the UK
Ann & Phill
Bio: I have been a Christian for 35 years and a member of the Light Church since in started 11 years ago this October.
I have been married to Phill for 25 years this month.
I have 2 amazing daughters Angela ( who is a member of Light Church) and Leanne who lives in New Zealand. Leanne’s son Nathan who is 9 is our only grandchild.
Phill & I have volunteered and served within the church since becoming Christians. We have also volunteered for the last 26 years at Martin House Children’s Hospice in Boston Spa.
We live in Addingham but at present owing to certain situations we have been staying in New Zealand since Dec 2019.
Todays thought comes to us from Rachael Koszalinski
Like most of us, I have experienced many thoughts throughout the past couple of months.
Most recently, I discovered a wonderful approach for knocking those times when worrying feels a little loud and a little in the way of enjoying all the things we love.
From watching family members work tirelessly to keep the country moving, I spent a lot of energy trying to work out the most productive way of utilising all the free time that I’d been given on furlough, but just couldn’t seem to shake the thought that, ‘whatever I do will be a wasteful use of time.’ I had a long sit down, prayed to God and came to a fulfilling resolution:
The utilisation of time is unique to the person experiencing it. God will continue to give us the opportunities we need to walk with him.
What happens in this time will be different for each of us and build on our individual relationship with God.
When I began to stop thinking about searching for the ‘best’ use of my time, that was the moment when things really started to become clear!
Bio: Hi, I’m Rachael. Just turned 27, I come from Sheffield and moved to Bradford two years ago to live with my fiance Joey. We met during a Music Production degree in Leeds eight years ago - how time flies!
After experiencing the loss of a school mate, I searched for answers and found my faith at the age of 14 and have witnessed God working through my life in incredible ways.
You’ll find me working at Bradford Christian School, providing support where needed. Otherwise, I’m either walking the hills of Bradford with my dog or hidden away in a studio playing with crazy sound waves!
An introvert by nature, it’s not often that I find myself sharing a thought and so, I do hope this offers a fresh perspective for encouragement.
Todays thought comes to us from Bev Reed
God’s faithfulness is one aspect of being a Christian that has never disappointed. Especially through this challenging time. God is always available to listen, comfort and restore. At times his faithfulness can be overwhelming.
We’re self employed, so have had lots of new challenges to face through this season of life. BUT our trust in God has not faltered. He is faithful every day. He makes a way where there seems to be no answer or way at times. No matter what you have to face. Jesus has the answer.
Psalm 16 has been a psalm that I have read lots of times in recent weeks. It gives a picture of the life God wants for us.
Verse 1 - says that when we know him we are protected. “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge”. Very apt at this time in particular. There’s nothing better than knowing that God is watching over us and we’re safe in him.
Verses 5-6. “Lord you are my portion, my cup of blessing, you hold my future. Knowing God means we can praise him, no matter where we are in life.
V 7-8. “I will bless the Lord who guides me, I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is beside me. These words in particular have been such a comfort and encouragement to me.
I could go on for the whole Psalm; there is so much in this small, but very significant Psalm, which our family has been so blessed with.
When David wrote this Psalm he too had lots of troubles, but he knew and trusted God and you can too. God is no respecter of persons. You are precious in his sight. Hope this brought encouragement for you to keep on keeping on.
In the words of The Blessing (The Reed households New favourite worship song). May the Lord bless you and keep you, make his face to shine upon you.
Bio: Hi, I’m Bev Reed. Married to Ian for nearly 31 years now. We’ve been at Light Church for ages. We’ve 2 girls 23 & 20 and 2 foster boys 12 & 13. Life is busy like it is for us all, and
at times can be too busy as every mum knows only too well. When I’m not being a Teacher, Caterer, nurse, or Psychologist I like to read, go walking and listen to music.
Todays thought comes to us from Shagufta Rashid
Coronavirus, Pandemic, Lockdown, Social distancing, suddenly these words and phrases began to echo round the World as the Covid-19 virus spread from country to country, as no disease has ever spread before.
I just want to look at ‘Coping with fear’
The opposite of faith is not doubt. It is fear!
But what is the impact on our Christian brothers and sisters, many of them poor, many of them persecuted?
For example, a partially sighted widow in Pakistan, she and her 3 daughters work as domestic helpers in other people’s homes. But when Pakistan went into lockdown they could no longer work and had no income. Their wages had been too low to set aside any savings. This widow’s only son used to try to support the family by begging on the streets. But social distancing means this is now illegal.
Hundreds and thousands of Pakistani Christians face the same plight as this widow, who did low paid jobs, in factories, brick-kilns and auto rickshaw drivers, now staying at home to stop the virus spreading.
The same is true for many other countries where Christians are poor and despised.
They are looking to God and their brothers and sisters in Christ to stand with them in the face of the troubles Coronavirus has brought into their lives!
In the western world we don’t have fear like those countries, where Christians are in the minority.
Let’s look at this example in the bible, (Mark 4:35-41)
One night, as the disciples were rowing across the Sea of Galilee, a sudden storm blew up. The disciples were frightened. They were vulnerable and powerless. Jesus was sleeping at the back, did not stir, even when the waves breaking over the small boat began filling it with water. He seemed not to care.
Many things can contribute to our fears: a sudden and overwhelming event, uncertainty about the future, a sense of powerlessness and inability to control what will happen.
An unknown deadly virus, a force outside of our control which has suddenly come upon us, is creating FEAR. HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?
The Bible teaches us about FEAR. To trust in God and not to be afraid.
It also speaks of another kind of Fear, the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10)
After Jesus had calmed the wind and waves, the frightened disciples became terrified with the Fear of the Lord.
As followers of Christ, we are not meant to live in the grip of destructive Fear.
For perfect love casts out Fear (1 John 4:18).
A reference from the bible, how to cope with FEAR,
Discipline our minds not to give way to emotions of FEAR, ‘for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of Power, Love, and of a Sound mind’ (2 Tim 1:7).
We can, by God’s grace, train ourselves to trust him, to rely on his love and his power, and banish our fears.
I just like to conclude by saying, that how much I have enjoyed reading everybody’s thought of the day.
I have come to know people better by reading their Bio, and truly blessed.
Bio: I was born in Pakistan, and came to the UK as a young teenager in 1968. I have 3 younger siblings, Tarzan, Cezar and Bushra. (Tarzan and Bushra are part of Light church). I am married, with 3 handsome boys. My husband is a Muslim, and we have been married for 42 years.
I have 3 grandchildren, Joshua (10) Maya (4) and Arya (1). Maya and Arya are sisters, and live in Birmingham. Josh lives in Halifax. I have missed them so much during lockdown! My boys and my grandchildren are the love of my life.
I am semi retired, work 3 full days for Dixons Academies, as an Education Social Worker.
I have been coming to Light Church since 2014, and feel very much part of the church family.
I enjoy cooking, gardening, and spending time with my grandchildren.
Today’s thought comes to us from Barbara Naylor
In Genesis 1 we’re told about all that God did in creating the heavens and the earth. Verse 16 tells us about Him creating the sun and the moon then, almost as an afterthought, we’re told that, He also made the stars.
I love stargazing! From as far back as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by astronomy!Even now I look at the night sky and stand in awe at the wonder of creation knowing that everything we can see (and everything we can’t see) is held safely in God’s hands.
The Hubble Space Telescope has afforded us some amazing incites into our part of the universe and beyond. I’ve had one of its photos as the background picture on my computer for a while now. It goes by the catchy title of NGC 3370 or, as I found out last week, it’s actually called the Silverado Galaxy.
One day, when I was gazing on this incredible sight, God revealed something amazing! In the top right hand corner is a cross shape made of stars (or it could be other galaxies)! We know that artists sign their work and, it appears, our Creator is no different – He has signed His handiwork with the symbol of His love for us!
He has also put His signature on, or more accurately in, us. We are held together by cross-shaped cell adhesion molecules called Laminin! (Don’t be impressed - I looked it up). But, doesn’t that just blow your mind?? No wonder King David exclaimed in Psalm 139: 14…. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
So, if there are times during this lockdown that you feel more like you’re on a rollercoaster ride in a storm than having a relaxing day in the sun, remember, the One who made the stars and calmed the storm is the One who holds us in the palm of His hand and says to us “Fear not”.
Bio: Hi I’m Barbara. I’ve been married to Richard for the last 49 years and we have one son, Simon, who is married to Yuki and they live in Kyoto. We also have two ab fab Godsons, William and Peter, whom we love to bits. Music has been part of my life since I was a child – from the time my cousins introduced me to “King Creole” by Elvis Presley (I still love that song!) to the time I first heard a modern worship song - until now. I love worshipping and the “Blessing” song has, recently, become one of the latest in a long line of favourites. We have been coming to the Light Church since March 2019. How time flies!!
Todays thought comes to us from Emma Restrick
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart – Psalm 37:4
During lockdown, I’ve been working through a course called ‘Questions for Jesus’ by Tony Stoltzfus which is about deepening your heart-to-heart connection with Jesus and understanding the desires of your heart.
This course teaches you how to pray to Jesus from your desires.
I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learnt from this course.
We all have desires (something we are longing for, needing, wishing to happen) and only God can fully satisfy these desires.
Tony breaks this down into sixteen desires covering four topics:
1. Connection – to be loved, to have joy, to be known and to have worth (like in great
2. Stability – to belong, have comfort, have security and peace
3. Competence – feeling able to do something well - having approval, having recognition, goodness, coming through things
4. Achievement – having significance, having freedom, being challenged and having justice.
Tony then goes onto talking about how our brain functions in two sides.
In the rational brain (left side), we reason, think about things logically and analyse things.
In the emotion brain (right side), we process our thoughts and feelings, have instincts and intuition, we’re creative and enjoy music and arts.
When we read God’s Word (Bible), we learn the truth about God, His goodness, sacrifice and love.
However, we need to feel God’s presence through the Holy Spirit to and experience His touch when listening to him and through what we read. When both sides of our brain work together like this, it builds our faith and as we grow in faith, we can receive God’s healing and freedom in areas where we are struggling.
Part of my journey is that I struggled with approval.
Growing up I knew that I was loved (shown in action), but not often told. I heard more of the criticism and never felt I was good enough.
So I spent my life with the ‘approval’ desire unmet and this led to an unhealthy people pleasing pattern, seeking approval from others constantly, always striving for approval in friendships, school, work and Church.
I’m learning more and more to ask God what He thinks about me, what He wants to say to me and how He sees me as I need to know His truth and this course has helped me further that journey.
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – John 8:32
Why don’t you ask God one or two of these questions today and see what He says to you?
1. Jesus, what do I do that captivates you? (connection - love desire)
2. Jesus, what do you like about being my friend? (stability - belonging desire)
3. Jesus, what did I do today that made you smile? (competence - approval desire)
4. Jesus, what is a gift I can give to you that nobody else can? (achievement - significance desire)
Bio: Hi, I’m Emma. I have been married to Steve for four years and part of the Light Church for three years.
I grew up in Otley and was very much a ‘Leeds Girl’ who loved clubbing in my twenties!
When coming back into a closer relationship with God at 26, I moved to Bradford, and loved it and haven’t left!
In lockdown, you’ll find me on a zoom call either with family, friends, work, worship group or doing pilates.
I’m loving pottering in the garden when it’s sunny and you’ll also find me enjoying the odd game or two of rummikub or sorting something!
Todays thought comes to us from Gaz Thompson
Bio: Husband to Beth, Father to Isabella and Pepper the cat.
I joined The Light Church back in 2015. I run our Debt Centre, Job Club and Life Skills over 3 days a week. I also work for CAP, 2 days a week creating content and training for a network of speakers, as well as throwing together our Thoughts for the Day, editing preaches, updating the website and our social media channels.
In my spare time you will find me playing video games, spending time with my girls or touring the country speaking & sharing my testimony at churches, mens breakfasts and conferences with GT Ministries, which also hold wrestling events with the gospel as the centerpiece.
I have been a Pro Wrestler for 10 years under the name of Gareth Angel and have won championships all over the UK. I also dabble in acting, radio and tv appearances and whatever new shiny thing I come across.
I pray you all enjoy my thoughts.
Today’s Thought for the Day starts off at the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone!
Where the trade winds of the northern hemisphere of the earth meet the trade winds of the southern hemisphere of the earth, approximately at the equator, there is a place where there is NO wind. That place is known as the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone. You may have heard of it referred to as the Doldrums.
I have never experienced this place but it is well documented and if you are a person who sails around the world you know ALL about it, in fact you do everything you can to minimise its effect of your journey and how long you spend in this zone.
Before encountering this zone, you will have been sailing along, enjoying the ride, making great progress and then all of a sudden, the wind is gone. Added to the challenge of no wind is the fact that you are now in the hottest place, the equator. Sailors can get stuck in this place for weeks on end.
You will be getting hot and bothered, it is stiflingly hot below decks and too hot on deck. You won’t know what to do with your time, water might be running low, you may start hallucinating due to the heat and unchanging horizon. If you are racing other yachts you will be imagining them getting ahead of you and feeling under pressure.
Here is the definition of the doldrums we are perhaps more familiar with – “a state or period of stagnation or depression”. Are you in the doldrums? Are you feeling that life has stopped? Maybe you are not making progress in your job, your relationships, maybe you think back to times with God that were amazing, where all your prayers were instantly answered, where time with him was so fresh and vibrant, maybe you were used mightily by him – where have those days gone? We know that God doesn’t change, so if someone has moved it must be US!
What to do?
Elijah understood. He had experienced great things with God, now he’s running for his life, into the desert to die! God met him, fed him, encouraged him to sleep, repeated the process and then he ran for 40 days and 40 nights, (1Kin19:1-9).
Joseph understood. Enjoying life then found himself sold to foreigners and living in a foreign land, a servant, then in prison but with a glimmer of hope to get out, that came to nothing for two years, then promotion and ruled a nation, (Gen 37-50).
Timothy understood. Mother a believer but father not. All-in for Jesus, recognised by Paul and became a travelling and ministry companion, referred to him as a son. Maybe went ‘off the boil’ a bit, lacked confidence, had to be stirred up!
It’s OK to rest in God, it’s OK to wait for Him
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psa 27:14
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word, I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psa 130:5-6
However, sometimes he is waiting for us!
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. “
Wherever you are at, God loves you and is committed to you. If you need to rest, then rest in his peace. If it’s wait, then wait in expectation. If it’s to get going, then fan into flame!
Bio: My name is David Parkinson and I have been coming to the Light Church for a while. Married to Wendy and father of three sons, Jon, James & Sam. I spent 33 years of my life selling fruit and vegetables on the Leicester Wholesale Fruit Market. Moved to Bradford in 2014 to serve at Christians Against Poverty.
Todays thought comes to us from Keira Carnie
I have been very lucky during lockdown, so much that I have really wrestled with my privilege and how I should view it and use it. Having a little extra time on my hands I have been doing a study on Joseph with some friends. It’s been a timely reminder to see how God is faithful during a very unjust time for Joseph. I wanted to share part of a study.
Genesis 40 - The Cupbearer and the baker
Joseph had already been sold to slavery, twice, and now he found himself in Pharoh’s prison all because he ran away from temptation! Two of Pharoah’s officials came into the same prison as Joseph. How did Joseph deal with these two who had also angered the King?
V14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.
‘Why do you look sad today?’ (v7) Joseph asked. Joseph is in the most unjust situation I can think of. Yet these 2 officials come in and he sees they are sad. He doesn’t wallow in his self-pity and instead asks them about how they are feeling.
Joseph uses his gifts of interpreting dreams to encourage the cupbearer and baker. V8-18.
Joseph asks to be remembered on the cupbearers release from prison.
Joseph is hopeful that these people will help him be released from prison. He has helped them by using his gift from God even during his own suffering.
Joseph was let down. Someone he thought was put into his life who could help him, forgot his kindness and his own story. Joseph probably felt taken advantage of and hopeless.
V23 ‘The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.’
If people who fail you can’t ultimately prevent God’s plan for you, how does this free you to let go of bitterness and unforgiveness toward them?
Reading on through Joseph you know his situation does change, he isn’t only released from prison but very quickly he becomes 2nd in command and … the rest is history! God is faithful to him.
Year 2020 may have been the year you were going to finally ………. (fill in the gap with your ambition/ exciting adventure/ will for your life).
During this time where you may have been let down by an employer, the government, a family member etc God is still faithful. Covid-19 has clearly stopped many plans, hurt many people, made permanent changes to peoples lives. You may have thought there is no way I am going to reach that destination you prayed and worked so hard for.
I have made decisions where I feel I have missed an opportunity and not grabbed something by both hands. I have most definitely been hesitant, doubtful and tried to prevent God’s plan for my life. This passage shows that no one, not even myself, can stop God’s plan in my life. He is faithful, full of grace and forgiveness. Therefore we must also forgive and show grace those who do forget us and let us down.
The year 2020 (or 2021) may still be the year you …………………………….. and it’ll be amazing it happens because God is right at the front of it!
Bio: Hi I’m Keira. Originally from Essex but have lived many areas ‘down south’. I came to Bradford and The Light church 2 years ago when I got the job as TLG classroom teacher for the Education Centre. I used to be a dance/ performing arts teacher and have enjoyed having a little more free time and energy to dance during lockdown (poor neighbours!) I will annoyingly tell anyone who will listen that before coming to Bradford I was Tour Leader for the African Children’s Choir and got to experience God’s generosity in abundance! Over the years I thought God was calling me to work in Africa but Bradford has definitely now taken over and I’m not planning on going anywhere.
Todays thought comes to us from Jo Hastings
“From the ends of the earth I cry out to you, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock which is higher than I”. (Psalm 61:2)
A few years ago I went white water rafting and there was a point where we got out of the boat and went down the rapids on a bodyboard. It was mostly a lot of fun but on one run I got sucked under the water for a lot longer than I was comfortable with. I lost my grip on the board, everything was spinning, I couldn’t work out which way was up and I wasn’t sure how much longer I could hold my breath. As I surfaced, still panicking, one of the instructors pulled me to the side out of the current and helped me scramble up onto a rock so I could get my breath back.
This is what I picture when I read this verse. I picture God taking hold of me, pulling me out of the rapids and leading me onto a rock where I can rest with him. This year has been a really difficult one for me and there are many times when I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and unable to see God in it all. I know that he has not abandoned me though, and that if I cry out to him he will lead me to a place where I can rest in him and see things from a different perspective. Sometimes I’ve needed other people to help me get to that point but God has always been faithful in providing people to help and support me, many of whom have been part of the Light Church.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Cry out to God and ask him to lead you to a place where you can rest with him and get a new perspective. Are you doing well at the moment? Great! Ask God if you can be his hands and feet to support others who are feeling overwhelmed and struggling. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Bio: I’m Jo, I’m married to Elisha and we first joined the Light Church in 2016 when we moved to Bradford for our jobs. We recently spent 10 months in New Zealand before returning to Bradford last summer (a huge answer to prayer as I was originally told there were no jobs in my speciality in West Yorkshire!) When I’m not working as a doctor I’m usually drawing, crocheting, doing acrobatics or practising one of my many other circus hobbies.
Today’s thought comes to us from Dan Lane
During this time my family have been getting to grips with WhatsApp. Including my grandmother who’s well into her 80’s. Group chat, photos of our 18 month old Charlie and the Church of England phone line have been a lifeline to her.
The new found connectivity between us first highlighted how COVID is not treating everyone equally. Kim and I are juggling two jobs, full time child care, and expecting our second child in five weeks time. Life feels busier than ever.
In contrast, everyone else in my family is either retired or unable to work due to COVID. They are time rich, and struggling to know how to fill their days sometimes, whilst experiencing times of loneliness. A very different, but also very real challenge. We’re not all in the same boat.
Kim and I have not been directly impacted by COVID. We’re not on the frontline, and thankfully we’ve not lost anyone close to us. However not everyone is so fortunate. We have friends who’ve lost loved ones. People from Black, Asian and Minority ethnic communities are disproportionally impacted. Frontline NHS staff and other key workers are exposed to greater risk than those of us with the privilege to be working from home, and staying alert. We’re not all in the same boat.
Although my family and I go to the same church as you all, we’re not all going to be in the same boat. Despite all that separates us, all that’s different in our experience of this season, what we do have in common is a God who is the same, yesterday today and forever*.
A God who brings a great hope. An anchor in the storm** of what ever we’re facing.
A God who will keep us in perfect peace if our eyes remain steadfast upon him***
Bio: Dan, Kim, Charlie and bump, Living in Baildon, both working for CAP and Light Church members for 2 years. You’d normally find us out and about in Yorkshire, visiting farm animals and seeing the sights. Right now you’ll find us mostly at home.
Todays thought comes to us from Lydia Jacobs
Hello friends! I’m so inspired by all of your amazing thoughts for the day and feel really blessed to share my own small tale with you…
Sometime early on in lockdown I had finished a book of daily devotions and it was time again to pick a new one. Well, the irony of ‘Anywhere but Nineveh’ screamed to me. A devotional on Jonah’s wild journey while we’re not even allowed to leave the house? Priceless.
Now, I don’t know about you, but up until this point Jonah has always sounded like a children’s story to me. If you’ve seen enough VeggieTales, maybe you too picture Jonah as a disobedient asparagus. Never in my life did I expect to be so utterly dumbfounded and challenged.
Over the past few weeks Jonah has morphed into the most messy and relatable person I have ever studied. His battle with ugly emotions/attitudes and conflicting desire to love God whole heartedly, beautifully parallels how I’ve been feeling the past few weeks and if I’m being honest, most of my life.
God has spent this time revealing to me where I’ve been a little ‘Jonah-ish’ in my time. Like all of us, there’s been times I’ve felt so wronged and betrayed. However, I was a ‘good Christian girly’ and proudly turned the other cheek. Having shown such underserved grace I turned to God, “Well Lord, I did as you said, did you see? I turned the other cheek. Only you, Lord, may judge them… and it’s finally time for you to smite them.” [Sits in the shade with a bag of popcorn anxiously anticipating.]
Oh dear. Perhaps I haven’t forgiven quite so graciously as I imagined. God has so plainly shown me, like only God does, what my ‘Ninevahs’ are. The anger and hurt I need to sacrifice in order to give Him true control over my life. The book of Jonah is not a VeggieTales special, my friends. It holds a deep reflection of the human desire to hold on to pain and wrong-doings and the seeming unjustness of forgiving those you’d rather not. How beautiful it is, that Jesus, wholly God and wholly HUMAN, does not think this way about you and I. He knows us inside out and yet forgives us so graciously and without hesitation. How beautiful would life be if we strived to be more like Him in this way.
May I encourage you to take a pause from whatever it is you’re doing these days (from what I can see, most of you are becoming master bakers!) and ask yourself, or if you’re feeling really brave, ask God ‘where/what/who is my Ninevah?’ and maybe start to unravel whatever it is that stops you from receiving His perfect peace. I can now see that there’s never a perfect time to do these things, now’s as good a time as any.
P.S I am SO looking forward to seeing you all again!
Bio: Hello! I’m Lydia, most people call me Lyd, and a few people call my Bin-Lyd. I am 20 years old and I’ve been at the Light Church for 10 years now and have been in involved with the worship team for the past 6. I hate to admit, but I haven’t cooked or baked one thing this whole lockdown.
Todays thought comes to us from Charlene Curtis
Be you and only you
I am my worst critic, so I had to come up with something to deter myself from dwelling on, or criticising myself.
I always try to remember this quote,
Do not dwell on the past,
Do not dream of the future,
Concentrate the mind on the present moment.
You can’t change what you did, don’t waste your time on the what ifs. It’s not going to get you or anyone else anywhere.
The future will be what it is, if you think you’re not going to be happy with it, then do something about it now (the present)
I always get told, find yourself, discover who you are, you’re not just a mum or a daughter, you are you too.
Granted these were wise words spoken, but I’ve started to see I have to start to discover who God created me to be, and his purpose for me.
When the lockdown was announced I was a train wreck, I hate routine and all I kept hearing about were daily timetables, lesson plans, meal plans, (though planning meals for week is a great way to go!) &grocery lists. My head was spinning. So I sat and I planned our days out for the week.
Safe to say it wasn’t for either of us. Trying to get Evie-Mae to sit still for 5 min is hard enough never mind for hours a day to homeschool! Tantrums became a daily (hourly) thing; tears from us both. I prayed that something had to give. Give me the strength lord. Why can’t I do this Lord?
Then the penny dropped!
Neither of us were created for this. Me and Evie were not created to be a teacher or home schooled in any way what so ever. (Believe it or not but we’re not God, and we’re not great at everything)
So from that day I scrapped the timetable and things are being done in a way God created me to do it
-Learning sums dressed as a fairy using cushions
-Writing skills in the bath
Basically anything where I could use my imagination and BE ME again.
My point to remember is this: We probably/hopefully won’t ever be in this situation again in our lives. We may not want to be in this situation but we are, somake the most of it, BUT do not push yourself to be anyone but who GOD created us all to be: DIFFERENT. If the glove doesn’t fit then God didn’t create it for you.
So to round things together, do not be afraid because you may be different to what others may be or do.
Jeremiah 1:8 ‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.
There is a purpose for everyone here, but it will take time. Finding your purpose is not easy but it’s the most fulfilling thing you can do with your life.
‘ And we know That in all things god works for the good of those who love him, Who have been called according to his purpose’
Bio: Hi, I’m Charlene, mum to Evie-Mae (5) who you will probably see sat at the front of the stage dancing. I was born and raised in Bradford. Too much of a homely girl to move away from my family. I gave my life to Christ in February 2016 just after attending a START course at St James church, which is where I have been attending until I co-joined the Light church in 2019. Normally you will find us both crafting away, in parks, zoos, or on coffee dates wherever we can. We are not a very stay at home family at all.
Todays thought comes to us from Peter Snell
Unfamiliar perspectives on familiar places
The world looks different upside down. Try it!
It doesn’t matter that the thing you’re looking at is the same. You now see it differently, notice things on the underside of your sofa or bookcase….
You’re learning from adopting a different perspective.
I discovered the power of this a few weeks ago, walking an unfamiliar path near my home in Baildon. Approaching the top of a hill, I turned to take in the view. To my surprise I couldn’t work out what I was seeing, even though it looked so familiar.
I scratched my head and puzzled over the map, trying to decide if I was looking at Idle or Otley. It didn’t matter that I’d seen both places countless times, because I’d never viewed them from this perspective.
Bit by bit, my head started to piece it all together. It was Idle after all! And there was the train bridge across the valley. Through this unfamiliar view, I gained an insight into a familiar place that no map could give me.
Coronavirus is an upside down time. It’s disorienting, confusing and difficult. But just maybe, if we take the time to stop and take in the view, it can give us unfamiliar perspectives on familiar places in our spiritual lives. Perhaps you’re praying different prayers, asking different questions, or are just aware of needing God in new and unfamiliar ways.
The temptation is to look to the end, some date in June or July when things start to change. But if we never stop to take in the view, we’ll miss the chance for an unfamiliar perspective on a familiar place. A perspective that only comes on the journey.
Why not take a moment today to stop, look up, and reflect on what you’re ‘seeing’?
What if an unfamiliar perspective on a familiar place is waiting for you?
Bio: I grew up on the Isle of Wight, but moved North when I was 18 to York and then Bradford in 2014 to work for CAP. A year later I moved to New Zealand, where I met my Scottish wife Eilidh, and together we moved back to Bradford and joined the Light Church in 2018.
Some of my favourite things include cycling, coffee, cooking & the Yorkshire dales
Todays thought comes to us from Brian King
Isaiah 43 v18/19
Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
First let me thank everyone for their ‘Thought for the day’. I’m sure we all agree how encouraging, thought provoking and challenging they have all been.
I know the passage I have picked starts by telling us not to dwell on the past but for me this year there has been some key moments which have all come together just recently ...
Firstly, our first Sunday morning gathering this year started by someone pointing out that it was 2020 and this number has always been used in Opticians terms as a significantly good benchmark to aim at for someone wanting a really good vision - a 20/20 vision. This was going to be a significant year in the life of the church.
Secondly, Matt told us shortly after becoming senior leading of the Light Church that he felt the Church was entering a new season and so would be seeking God’s guidance on how to build on the already thriving community work and to look at building up church family relationships and discipleship.
Thirdly, Covid 19 struck and the ‘norm’ suddenly stopped and we now wonder what the ‘new norm’ will look like. So what has all this to do with Isaiah 43 v18/19? Well, for months I have been getting these verses over and over again, they were mentioned in talks, sermons and prophecies I have listened to, why? Were they for me or for the church? I came to realise that they were for me but now with COVID 19 I realise they were also relevant to the church. Did I share them with Matt or the other leaders, no, and I regret that. You see Matt has mentioned recently that he is seeking God’s guidance for the way forward and no matter how insignificant we may think a verse or a picture is to us if we can’t get it out of our mind then we must share it with Matt or the other leaders for them to discern and weigh up its significance. But we will have done our bit in being faithful and trustworthy to God in how small or large he gives us. You see we might think it’s just us with this verse or picture, but just think if others have exactly the same but also, as I did, do nothing with it, then Matt has no idea that God is ‘clearly speaking’ to the whole church. So let me encourage you as we remember Jesus picked a ‘down to earth motley crew’ to impact the world. He also chose you and me to be His voice, hands and feet to serve Him in ways we may never have imagined at the outset. It starts by ‘getting out of the boat’ like Peter, getting our feet wet, because we stepped out in faith and it can start by responding to what the Holy Spirit is prompting you with today.
May God Bless You and Keep you (I feel a song coming on !)
Bio: I was born at an early age into a Methodist family. Met Sue who I always thought ‘I was boxing above my weight’ I knew it was true love because her mum wouldn’t let me take her out on my 350cc Triumph motorcycle so I sold it !!! I married her in 1970 then got a free transfer to the Church of England. 2 amazing children Lisa and Victoria, became churchwarden, then years later became a Christian at a Billy Graham mission in Sheffield during 1985. I also now have 3 grandchildren, Deanna, Jenna and Emerson. Then we left after 50 years and joined the Light Church April 2019. The journey continues…
Todays thought comes to us from Carol Ball
As life as we know it suddenly changed, I felt The Lord impress on me two things. Firstly, this is not a time to just survive, but a time to thrive. The dictionary definition of thrive is to grow or develop well or vigorously.
Secondly, He was calling me into a deeper, more intimate, trusting and “childlike” relationship with Him.
Initially, I recognised and felt the need to say sorry for allowing distractions and the “busyness” of life, to draw me away from Him. From my heartfelt cry He responded through a little book called “I am with you” by Father John Woolley. One morning these words jumped off the page at me! “How much it means to me when one of My children, responding to a prompting of My Spirit, asks to live closer to me. The response to that request is automatic. Forces to draw closer our spirits are then at work”.
In the days that followed He gently ushered me into the silence and solitude - a truly safe place. Through His Word He reminded me of His deep and life transforming love for me. I am learning again how to truly befriend the silence as it really does encourage fullness in His presence. In divine silence, love rests secure…
I believe God is looking for us as His church, to use this season to thrive. To become a people whose hearts and affections are completely turned towards Him. A people who keep Him first place in their lives. Holiness seems important to God as he mentions it over 600 times in the bible. In 1 Peter 2 v 9 He tells us.. “We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. That we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of the darkness into His marvellous light.”
As The Light Church our aim has always been to be filled to overflowing with love for Him and for people. In John 1:16 we are encouraged to ” Let our light shine before men in such a way that they will see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven”.
My prayer is that as we “thrive” both as individuals and as a church family in our love for Him and each other, many people will come to know Him and Jesus will indeed be glorified.
Acts 2:47 (The Passion Translation).
“They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life”.
Bio: I am Carol. I’ve been a Christian almost 20 years and at the Light Church from the beginning. I have one son Sam and am “Nannie” to Martha Grace aged 5. I delight in spending time with my precious family and friends. It is my absolute privilege to have worked at Christians Against Poverty for over 12 years. I have witnessed God do amazing things through this ministry and the local church. It is such a blessing to see lives being transformed on a daily basis through the love of God and His people.
Todays thought comes to us from Pete McMahon
Lockdown is hard and I’m struggling with it. As someone who likes to remain strong and stoic in adversity, it’s difficult for me to admit that for me lockdown has been and continues to be a real struggle.
As people made in the image of God, the ultimate relational being, we are made for relationship. We are relational creatures not designed to be socially distant. And whilst there have been many positives of lockdown and opportunities to appreciate simple blessings (‘Corona-bonuses’ as they’ve been coined in our house) that perhaps previously would have gone unnoticed or even not happened, for many, if not all, of us lockdown has brought with it significant burdens and worries - money, health, and social isolation to name but a few.
For me, I am acutely aware that both Marie-Elisabeth’s and my respective families are missing out on seeing Lucy growing up, which saddens me greatly. I have no idea when we will be able to see them again; there’s nothing I can do about it; it’s out of my control. My way of dealing with this has been to keep busy, to fill my time with all sorts of things I can get done - I’ve created and completed so many ‘To Do’ lists - but no matter how many tasks I complete, the burden of separation from family still weighs heavily on me.
Because keeping busy isn’t the answer.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Jesus is speaking to those who are weary and burdened from trying (and failing) to follow all the pharisaic laws, straining to keep a set of rules they were not designed to fulfill. He invites them to come to Him, weary as they are, and to discover a new way of living - the way we were designed to live: not striving to satisfy a rule book, but living in relationship with God the Father, through Christ the Son, in the power of the Spirit.
In just the same way, Jesus invites us all to come to Him just as we are: weary and heavy-laden, suffering, struggling. There’s no pretence needed, no achievement needed. He simply invites us to come to Him as we are. And in doing so, we will find rest for our souls - refreshment, strengthening, reinvigoration through relationship with the Giver of Life. And though our burdens will not magically disappear - Jesus does not say that (lockdown will still be in place tomorrow) - in regularly coming to Jesus our batteries will be divinely recharged, our tanks refilled, and our reserves replenished.
Lockdown is hard, but in Jesus we have all that we need to get through it.
Bio: Hi, my name is Pete. I’m husband to Marie-Elisabeth and father to Lucy. We moved up to Bradford two and half years ago when I started working at CAP and have been coming to The Light Church since then. Before moving to Yorkshire, I studied theology in London and worked for three years as the Assistant Pastor at a church in Highbury. In my spare time, you’ll most likely find me playing/watching/reading about sport (most notably Plymouth Argyle) whilst listening to country music.
Todays thought comes to us from Nigel Ferreira
In this season of COVID 19 we all find ourselves with more time to spare and doing activities we do not normally make the time for. Opportunities arise that challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, and in my case the results are rewarding, so be encouraged. I’m from a family who’s artistic and creative and I recently found myself at a place needing to exercise this self-suppressed trait and not make excuses.
Colossians 3:10. ...(instead), put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
This stirs my faith to believe that I have the DNA of the Creator in me therefore I too will be creative. I’m also encouraged by Romans 4:17 (..calling forth the things that aren’t back to life).
So, I’ve taken part in a number of activities and enjoyed the process as well as the result. One such was portrait drawing exercises with my family (first blindfolded, then another, with our non-dominant hand while looking). My daughter who I drew loved my drawings and has put them on her wall.
2Peter1:3 -we have been given everything we need for life and Godliness.
There may be gifts and talents in us of a different type that only get discovered in strange times and they may take different shapes -deeper listening, compassion, kindness, patience…but can only be performed from a place of *peace in your heart.
Isaiah 26:3 -God will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him
Bio: Hi, I’m Nigel Ferreira. I’ve been with the LightChurch since inception. I’m so blessed, my lovely Wendy and I have 3 amazing, faith-filled children -Nathan, Hannah and Sophie and 2 American granddaughters (thank God for video calls).
I was born and raised in Trinidad, the last child among our ‘Great 8’ (siblings), and became a committed Christian when I was in Canada, studying opticianry. A few years later, I met Wendy while at Bradford Uni in ‘89, but soon returned to Trinidad, not with a diploma but a marriage certificate and a wife. After an adventurous 13 years we’ve since settled back in Bradford.
I never take for granted my Father’s guiding presence along our journey.
Today’s thought comes to us from Sharon Mitchell
At the beginning of the lock down period we were away on holiday arriving back on the Tuesday morning after it started. I was never so pleased to see home! All the time we were away talk about when or if we’d get home circulated and I’ve never felt so distant from my kids and the feeling of not being able to get to grips with my business totally overwhelmed me! So I said to the Lord , what do you want me to read now I’m at home, ‘Job’ he said ‘what!’ I thought! Here is a man trying to make sense out of something that he’s not able to get to grips with, that’s not his fault and he can’t make sense of it. Then come the experts , friends with insight to try to help him out of the misery of losing everything, his business, family , money, home, and they’re not doing a great job. I feel that God in the same way is using this time to pare back, strip away the distractions and make us listen to him, only him not the people with the best theories or the science guys but his voice that just as he spoke creation into being , one word from him will heal our world because he is Almighty God. He is my centre, my source the stable foundation. Work, money , all these things move around him and for this time we are not distracted by them.
Give in to God, come to terms with him and everything will turn out just fine.
Let him tell you what to do; take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty and he’ll rebuild your life.
Clean house of everything evil.
Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury.
God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine.
Amen to that!
Bio: My name is Sharon Mitchell-like Eastenders - I’m married to Chris, not Phil!, I have 2 grown up boys and a granddaughter who is 2 and a half and a step-daughter who was due to get married soon. I’ve been at the Light since day 1 and serve on the prayer team. I’m to be found walking my Bonnie girl , dog, in the woods or cooking a new recipe in the kitchen. I work for myself as a podiatrist.
Todays thought comes to us from Gemma Parker
Go with, not without.
Right now, we’re all feeling the pain of ‘going without’. Seeing loved ones, trips out, being in the office or at school - these are all things many of us are really missing and, I’m sure most of you will agree, it’s been really tough.
While I’m just about adjusting to this new-normal, I’ve still found myself longing for those things from God - for Him to return life to how it was. With the recent warm weather, I want nothing more than a trip to a beer garden with friends… “Imagine the frivolity of hopping in the car and taking a drive to the coast! Hmm, on that note I could also do with some new summer clothes… oh how I miss shopping. Lord, I pray for these things to come again!”
Now, of course I’m being very flippant here. Yet, God still challenged me recently: am I longing for the gifts that God can give me, more than the presence of the gift-giver Himself? When we are longing for something, we are so easily drawn to focussing in on what we want - listing our requests, rather than simply coming to the Lord in worship and praise, and desiring Him alone.
The people of Israel found themselves in a similar frame of mind during their walk in the wilderness in Exodus 17. God had shown them amazing proof of His love and presence when He parted the Red Sea and drowned their enemies behind them. And while they praised God for His protection and deliverance, this quickly turned to grumbling. The Israelites, like us, had unmet expectations. When God’s miracles slowed down, they stopped trusting Him and started doing things their own way.
While we are going without, it is easy to feel far from God and to turn our backs somewhat. When our attention shifts from what we have to what we don’t have — from what God has done to what He hasn’t yet done – we can be left feeling dissatisfied with and, worryingly, disappointed in Him.
But, the presence of God is worth so much more than any promise or gift.
The way God cares for us today might be different from the way He cared for us yesterday (or in the way he cared for the Israelites in the book of Exodus!). There will be days when prayers aren’t answered. But, don’t focus on what you’re missing out on, for He has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Don’t give up seeking God’s glory, and ask yourself: “Is God’s presence enough for me?” Are we using this time not to hone in on the things we are most looking forward to again, or are we focusing on God’s presence in the wilderness of the here and now?
This message must come with a bit of a disclaimer: disassociating God from His gifts isn’t the solution. We should view them as extensions of His love and grace. His gifts to us are not ‘gods’ (idols) —but they are God’s, so when they do come enjoy them in praise and worship of Him, knowing that God Himself is by far the greatest gift.
Bio: Hi, I’m Gemma and have been a member of The Light Church for around 7 years. You will probably know my husband Edd more than me - he’s often gracing the stage at church with his slick hairstyle (and preaching!). You may have seen me serving refreshments though - I pride myself on making a good cuppa! In December, we welcomed our son Reuben into the world so I’m currently on maternity leave, but I work at the incredible charity TLG as their Brand and Design Lead - which I love!
Todays thought comes to us from Wendy Parkinson
I would like to pray the Lords prayer over you all. How I have kept this so short, God is the only one who knows.
Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Thank you God that you know us by name. You first choose us and shaped us in our mother’s womb. No matter what parents we were born with, known or unknown, YOU surround us with Your love, YOU delight in us, strengthen us and rejoice over us, like no other parent could. Those that have been good and bad.
Hallowed Be Your Name.
In your name we find all we need. There are SO many, but I know Your name covers us like a blanket.
El Shaddi. Lord God Almighty.
Jehovah Nissi. The Lord my Banner.
Yahweh. Lord Jehovah.
Jehovah Raph. The Lord that Heals.
Only Your name can take our broken pieces and turn them into something beautiful.
You are our best friend, our shepherd.
Your Kingdom Come.
You are always close to us even when we are not aware. Bring Heaven down to Earth. Let us have new ears to hear Your voice, let us see Your Spirit in all your creation in a new way, here on Earth. Let us find rest in You in places in our life like never before. Do a New Thing with us.
Your Will Be Done.
Lord there is NO Thing that we go through that you don’t know. Let us seek Your will in all we do, rest and have peace knowing You have us in the palm of Your hand. Nothing is impossible for You.
On Earth As It Is In Heaven.
All our brokenness, fear, rejection, insecurities, our cries, our pain are in Your son Jesus, here on Earth.
Thank you for Your invitation to come to You here on Earth in the land of the living.
Give Us Today Our Daily Bread.
Thank You that everyday is fresh and new with all we need. Your promises, Your provision, Your kindness, Your love, Your protection and if I don’t feel it I can rest knowing You are working them through on my behalf.
Forgive Us Our Debts.
Your son, our best friend, our saviour, died once and for all for our sins. Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and we worship You for clearing our name and declaring us innocent. Your goodness and forgiveness will pursue us all the days of our lives.
As We Also Forgive Our Debtors.
Lord give us strength and power to forgive those that have caused us pain and heartache. For forgiveness unlocks our freedom and spirit for generations.
Lead Us Not Into Temptation.
Lord cover us with your banner of protection. Let us choose You and Your right path, so we can receive Your blessing.
Deliver Us From The evil one.
Lord there is always enough in You. Give us ears to hear, a nudge in our spirit so we can walk your way, covered by The Blood of Jesus and protected with Your armour.
For Thine Is The Kingdom and The Glory.
Everything and everyone belongs to You God. You claim the world for yourself. Let us rest, knowing You always know best.
The Power and He Glory.
Holy Spirit I pray, that You anoint us with new gifts and the fire of The Holy Spirit to fall afresh on us today. I pray You surprise us with something new today and may Your Glory cause Your face to shine on us with a smile.
Forever and Ever AMEN.
Everyday Your promises are yes and Amen. THANK YOU.
AMEN, so be it Lord, it is so and so it be.
Hi, I am Wendy Parkinson, Married to David, we have 3 sons. 2 live in London and 1 in Mexico City. Lived in Bradford 6 years, love it. I love people, entertaining, I love laughing, gardening, definitely not taking life and myself too seriously. P.S Dave says I have a telephone ministry.
Todays thought comes to us from Liz Priestley
Well, that’s another birthday behind me! I’m now in the age group that has no upper limit, and so far past ‘three-score years and ten’ that harking back to the past, and starting sentences with ‘I remember when’, is pretty much expected
No surprise, then, that Lockdown has been an excuse for doing nostalgia in a big way, starting with our huge photographic slide collection, and - surprise, surprise! – finding a precious and encouraging ‘I remember when’.
The man pictured here is Jack Haddow, and it was taken at a home-group picnic back in the 1980s.
Some of you might remember Jack - a lovely man, long gone to be with the Lord – and in this photo he’s just a couple of years older than I am now .
Jack was a Scot and became a Christian aged just 8 years old. Growing up in a Brethren church, he loved God, loved the Bible, and lived a life devoted to God in his personal, church and home life.
When we met him in the late 70s, I remember him describing himself in his earlier years as ‘very dour’ – a word we don’t often hear, meaning persistently severe, stern and gloomy. But the Jack we got to know in our church home-group was far from dour – something had radically changed.
We saw him often, even went on holiday together, and found him one of the least dour people we’d ever met. He was a man of many spiritual gifts, which he often used in church and group meetings, and was a constant source of encouragement, wisdom, full of love, joy and the Holy Spirit.
So, what had happened?
Aged 70, having reached his sell-by date of ‘three-score years and ten’, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and his whole life radically changed. Such an encouragement to me at this stage in my life!
For the next twenty-plus years Jack was gripped by a vision of building the Kingdom of God here on earth. He absolutely overflowed with faith and love, a first-responder in a season of rapid change in the church, and always open to the Holy Spirit.
Two memories stand out.
When Jack was over 80, Bryn Jones, our senior elder, outlined a big change for the church, a serious disturbance in the status quo. After the meeting, I saw Jack almost run to Bryn, grab him in a bear hug and say, ‘I’m right with you, brother!’ I think I was the only person who heard him, but that little scene has always stuck in my mind.
He was a Caleb, a father, a mentor and support to the leaders, and a friend to all.
Caleb says this in Joshua 14:
‘Here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day.’
My favourite memory is a story I heard from the horse’s mouth – first from Jack himself, and then from the other party in the event, a foreign student who lived in our area.
It was a standing joke that Jack was on the front row every night at all our Bible Weeks. He almost camped out there. Yes, he wanted to be at the front – but it was also close to the exit for the loos.
One day, after a little sortie during the meeting, he noticed our Malaysian friend standing outside on the grass, looking quite upset. He asked if he could help, and she told him she’d been spooked by people singing in tongues during the worship. Although she’d recently been filled with the Holy Spirit and had spoken in tongues herself, friends back in her home church in Malaysia had recently written to warn her off, telling her it was not a good thing. ‘I have so many questions’, she said.
Jack offered to try and answer some of them, ‘But first,‘ he said, ‘let’s just commit this conversation to God and ask for His help .’ Then he just began to pray in tongues, asking God for wisdom.
When he finished, he said, ‘What do you need to know?’
‘Nothing,’ she said. ‘When you prayed, you were praising God, not just in my language, but in the dialect of my village. All my questions are answered.’’
I find that so inspiring! I want to see these things in my day! Jack was an old man of 70 when the Holy Spirit blew on through – changing a self-confessed dry old stick into a fire that never went out. At 80 he was still being used by God through spiritual gifts. Who knows what he can do through us, even on a trip to the bathroom!
As far as God is concerned we have no sell-by, use-by date. We are not at the back of God’s cupboard, too old to be used, but too expensive to chuck out! God wants to take off the lid and spread us around – we’re his essential store cupboard, his Tabasco, peanut butter, saffron, olive oil, rosemary, basil, honey, – Marmite!
In the dialect of our village - Ee, by gum, kids - God i’n’t finished wi’ us yet!
Hi, I’m Liz - married to Alan, my best pal for almost half a century, Mum to Esther and David, and Grandma to two lovely boys at the other side of the world. Alan & I have been part of the Light Church from its early days. Not ready to retire - so much going on in the church! Also loving being part of a therapeutic community of quilters and crafters.
Today’s thought comes to us from Lois Wooffitt
Ezra is 22 months and recently we have been teaching him the game of hide and seek. It’s incredibly cute watching him hide, sometimes by simply covering his eyes, often hiding in the same place (behind the curtain). As I count from 1 to 10 and say those well known words “ready or not, here I come”. I felt God say to me recently, ‘I’m ready, are you’?
I don’t know what your walk with God has been like up to this point or even during this current crisis but for me I felt like I was becoming stagnant. I didn’t feel I was growing. Now, I feel like I have a fresh appetite for the word. I’m currently doing a 30 day challenge to put the word before the world, I would really recommend it (well watered women). I often fail but I’m encouraged that my passion is growing. I’m sure that as a result, I’ve felt God speak to me more.
David, when speaking with Solomon said “Know the God of your Father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever”. 1 Chronicles 28:9
Though at present it’s not challenging to find Ezra when he hides (thankfully). Likewise, it’s not a challenge to find God either, he promises us when we seek Him, we will find Him.
Though it’s not hard to find Ezra, it still however equires effort, I still need to take action. I have to go and seek him out.
As I walk around the house saying are you under the sofa? No… are you under the cushion? No…whilst hearing Ezra’s squeals of elation and then the sheer joy at simply being found. It made me think, God must have so much more delight when we seek Him. Knowing that when we do, we will find Him.
I would encourage you to do a study on the word ‘Seek’ here are some good places to start. 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 29:13, Matt 7:7-8 and Like 19:10
My hope is that once lockdown is over, I still treasure my time alone with God. Studying his word, not just reading it. That as a nation we would humble ourselves, turn from our old way of living, seek God’s forgiveness and experience the healing only he can bring.
Today God I ask that you give us all fresh revelation of who you are. That we would hear your voice above the noise and that we would delight to be in your presence, above anyone else’s.
Bio: Hi I’m Lois Wooffitt. I’m married to Ian and we have a son called Ezra. We have been coming to the Light Church for a little over 2 years now.I love discovering new beautiful places and sitting in the sun. Being creative, spending time with friends and family and watching Ezra learn new things. I also work part-time from home as an Area Manager for Christians Against Poverty
Todays thought comes to us from Louise Hargreaves
During lockdown I found myself thinking that I should be doing more. I’m busy with helping the kids with their school work and working part time from home but I’ve felt a pressure to be accomplishing more. I should be praying more for this terrible pandemic, more involved in the community, making more effort to stay in touch with friends and family, doing house projects, teaching the kids how to do more housework, the list is endless! Somehow what I was doing didn’t feel productive enough. Was I achieving everything I should? What if I didn’t make good enough use of this time? What if I missed loads of opportunities to do amazing things?!
One morning I listened to a talk from “The Mind And Soul Foundation” (a charity exploring Christianity and mental health). It was all about how our understanding of identity and value is often achievement based. I could relate to that! This lockdown period was an opportunity to discover that my value doesn’t come from something I earn. I am loved and worthy and valued just as I am (such a hard concept to grasp!). At the end of Ephesians 1 it talks about how Christ fills us. If his fullness fills us then he completes us and we are enough….whatever we achieve
or don’t achieve. I was so encouraged to be reminded that I am enough. I don’t have to prove anything. I don’t need to become more amazing and neither do you. You are already amazing and you are enough.
Bio: I moved to Bradford back in 1998 to start work as a Speech and Language Therapist. Tony and I met, married in 2000 and then joined Ywam a few months later. We did a Family DTS in Scotland then travelled with a Ywam community around Europe for a few months. During this time we felt God call us to Amsterdam and we moved to “The Cleft” in the Red Light district where we raised a young family and worked with Ywam for 4 years. After moving back to the UK in 2007 I’ve been involved with Prayer Spaces in Schools and worked in the pastoral team at a primary school and now as a breastfeeding support worker. In September I’m going back to uni to study Midwifery which is both exciting and terrifying! Tony and I have 4 children (Amaris 17, George 15, Nathanael 13 and Josiah 10) and we’re so glad we started coming to Light Church last summer!
Todays thought comes to us from Lorna Noakes
Now for those who don’t know me, I’m a 100mph type of girl!
I struggle to sit, be still, be quiet!
So for me personally this lockdown hasn’t been easy but I must be grateful and I am, and these are a few things I’m grateful for in this current situation…..
More time to question my faith.
More time to spend with Daniel and Riley.
Got to know our neighbour’s.
And got some job’s done around the house.
One night as I was drifting off to sleep(I’m still and quiet), trying my best to drift off I’m not a great sleeper!
I hear psalm 20, psalm 20!!
I’m like no I want to go to sleep father, please!
May I add this has NEVER happened to me before in my journey with my faith!
But I couldn’t shake the voice off.
So up I get out of bed, grab my bible, and read the psalm!
Wow, I was amazed!
I’ve done a fair bit of crying in this lockdown, and what’s the first 2 lines!
In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry!
Well every time I have my meltdown episode I calm myself down by talking to god(while usually blubbering at the same time)
For me personally this is a time of trouble, I never thought anything like this would happen! and I still feel like it’s very surreal.
It’s so sad what’s happening all over the world at the minute.
So many things are going to be affected with this and after it.
It goes on to say….
May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.
Now for me, it’s not just about me, us, our family.
My heart desires that the world does not suffer too much after this in many aspects of things.
When we pray as a family which is mainly at Riley’s bedtime in our heart we desire and hope there is some succession in our prayer for…..
Anyone that’s ill
(Yes I have a mental list I’m a bit OCD)
We give thanks for having a roof over our head and food.
It says-May the Lord answer all your prayers!
He may not answer your prayers like right now this instant(sometimes he does, he has for me)
And he most definitely answered my cry for help more times than I can remember!
It goes on to say but we boast in the name of the lord our god.
And that’s what I do and will boast when this lockdown is over, that for me personally it’s my faith, and particularly this psalm, that is getting me through this time.
Give victory to our king. O Lord!
Bio: Hi all I’m Lorna, I’ve been part of the light church since the beginning, over 10 years now.
I serve on kids, have since the beginning and love it, love seeing all the kids growing.
I’m married to Daniel, Stepmum to Riley. I’m a self employed hairdresser. I love my job and I’m missing it terribly.
Todays thought comes to us from Marie-Elisabeth McMahon
When praying about what to bring today I kept on thinking of a passage from Shauna Niequist’s book Bittersweet.
‘I learned about waves when I was little, swimming in Lake Michigan in navy blue water under a clear sky and the most important thing I learned was this: if you try to stand and face the wave, it will smash you to bits, but if you trust the water and let it carry you, there’s nothing sweeter And a couple of decades later, that’s what I’m learning to be true about life, too. If you dig in and fight the change you’re facing, it will indeed smash you to you bits. It will hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you…. But if you can find it within yourself, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment, to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you’ll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there’s nothing truly sweeter.’ -Shauna Niequist
We are all facing waves right now, and I think it’s safe to say we’d rather not be facing this particular wave. When this whole thing started I found myself just hunkering down, waiting for it to pass and if I got to do a little more baking in the meanwhile- bonus! However the timeline is changing and I know I need to change my approach. in the past few weeks the Lord has been challenging me that instead of running from this I need to embrace it. Not embrace what’s going wrong, but embracing His work through and around it. Even though I don’t believe this pandemic is ‘from’ God I believe God will not waste it and will allow it to bring out good things. In my own life it’s looked like issues surfacing and having the space to start to work through them (fun!). “Embracing the wave” will look different for everyone. For me it’s a season of fully acknowledging the pain and the loss of this season, and then looking to where the shift is taking me. This doesn’t mean giving in to despair, but rather than fighting the change trusting God that the place he takes us will be good because He is good.
Bio: Hi! I’m Marie-Elisabeth McMahon and I’m originally from Anchorage, Alaska. I came to the UK 10 years ago to study counselling and met my husband Pete. After a few years in London we moved up to Bradford 2 years ago and love it up North! This December Lucy Grace was born and made us a trio. I love watching and discussing shows, all things Disney, going on good long walks, and finding fun places to eat brunch.
Todays thought comes to us from Victoria Gore
My thought for the day is centred around anchors. This image and particularly the worship song “You are my anchor” (which I’ll play at the end of this message) has been a comfort to me at various times throughout my life, and is especially important to me now.
To realise the worth of an anchor, you need to the feel the storm. When you think of an anchor, you picture the heavy object tied to a ship that keeps it secure. It provides a firm foundation and security. In the bible the anchor is used to represent God and faith, it keeps us steadfast and gives us hope during the trials and storms of life. As Christians we have a hope of truly knowing that whatever we go through, God is there right beside us and is in control of everything. He keeps us secure in Him through the storms of life, like the anchor does for the ship. We may be moved by the waves, blown about by the wind, but we will be safe and secure in Him.
Hebrews 6:19 says…We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Jeremiah 29:11 says…”For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”
Isaiah 26:3 says…You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
So today I pray that we will feel in perfect peace as our minds are steadfast and anchored in the promise of our Lord and saviour, and feel truly secure in Him.
Let’s reflect on this as we listen to the song “You are my anchor”.
Bio: Hi, I’m Victoria. I’ve been part of the light church for 3 1/2 years now. I’ve been married to Steve for 20 years and have 3 amazing children, Deanna who is nearly 15, Jenna who has just had her birthday in lockdown and is 12 and Emerson who is 5. I have owned an Optometrist practice in Queensbury for 14 years. I love meeting people at work and looking after their eye health. When I’m not working or with my family, I love singing (especially in worship) and spending time with friends. I also accompany Deanna (and more recently Emerson) to dance competitions all over the country. They keep me very busy!!
Todays thought comes to us from Nick Clarke
Hello Light Church…let me start with a question to you individually. Where is your faith level at right now? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 represents hanging on by your fingertips & 10, you’re riding high?
If I’m honest with myself, my, ‘faith in God’ levels often fluctuate along the scale, (and none more so than recently, as I will go on to explain) but I know, deep down, that’s more about where my feelings and emotions lie moment to moment - nothing to do with the lack of God’s living spirit in my life. I have to remind myself of the truth written in Romans 8, that ‘nothing’ can separate us from the love of God - isn’t that the best encouragement? He will never leave us or forsake us, despite our own variances.
Separation in the human sense, can be a hard thing to endure - we’re having to experience & endure this right now aren’t we? ‘Lockdown’, ‘isolation’, ‘social distancing’ and, ‘shielding’ are all negative states to be in and, contra I believe, to what we were created to be - ‘together’!
Some of you know, but most probably won’t, that our daughter Nicola (Nix) got married at the end of April this year - what a wonderful occasion it was. However, when I tell you that the wedding was in Switzerland (where Nix lives) and that we, as parents, despite all arrangements in place, were prevented from attending the wedding due to the current pandemic, you might get a sense of our ‘separation hurt’?! Emotions were certainly running high on the day, but praise God for technology - we were able to be ‘zoomed’ into the wedding celebrations and really felt included in the ceremony and, part of the special day after all. All this, despite the physical separation.
Testing times such as this recent, real life example and, deeper separation experiences such as the loss of a loved one, certainly do affect our strength of faith. In Hebrews 11, it tells us that, faith is the sure and certain hope of what is to come, but not yet seen. ‘Hope’, I believe, is another crucial factor for us not to lose sight of in these unprecedented times.
I hope, that this will encourage you, as it has me, that there is a new day coming when the physical separation will end and we can draw close together again - Family, friends, Church, work colleagues and social celebrations. How this will look, time will only tell? But, for now, keep your faith strong - look on to that new day and draw strength, knowing God is always with you by His spirit.
Psalm 30 says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”. Some of our individual night experiences are longer than others - weeks, months, maybe years? Have the faith to look beyond to what is not yet seen - the JOY that IS coming. God bless.
Bio: My name is Nick Clarke, proud Bradford boy, born & bred & lifelong Bradford City fan (currently in my 50th season). Married to Sue for 36 years & father of Simon & Nicola, doting Grandad to Rose & Jamie.
I’ve been attending Light Church pretty much since inception and am currently part of the kids work team, leading in Lightning. I’m blessed to be able to class myself as ‘early retired’ and, love walking in the beautiful countryside around Cullingworth, where we recently moved house to.
Todays thought comes to us from James Dennison
Sometimes when times are hard and you have to scrimp and scrape to make ends meet I always think of the story of the donuts.
A man was going to the airport to a meeting in America, he was in good time so he went to the cafe for a coffee and a small bag of donuts, he went and sat down at a table put his suitcase next to his chair with his coat on top, he then drank his coffee and picked out a donut from the bag on the table, the guy sitting opposite also reached out and grabbed the bag of donuts took one out and put the bag back into the middle.
Confused and unsure if he should say anything to this guy he just smiled and nodded his head this went on for about 10 minutes until the guy opposite got up for his flight bit before he left he took out another donut broke it in half put the other half back in the bag and just smiled said goodbye and left, very confused and angry he then realised his flight was also due so he then got up and grabbed his coat and there on top of his suitcase was HIS bag of donuts.
The other guy wasn’t stealing his donuts he was sharing them.
Remember folks God owns all the donuts if you have 10 but you only need 9, give one to someone who needs it more than you do; the church, foodbank, missionary’s, some people hold on to the pound so hard it makes the queen cry.
Keep safe everyone and keep praying
Hi Light Church family, I have been brought up in a Christian household so I’ve always known something of God but I didn’t accept it till I was 14 thanks to a mission in Bradford with j.john that’s when I stood up for Christ and decided to follow him. 7 years later I found my future wife and we got married in 1996, 21 years later along with my wife and kids we started coming to the light church and we’ve never looked back, it’s a privilege and an honour to be part of it and also to work at the foodbank. We have had a few difficult years recently along with nearly losing our house, losing my job and being in debt but with the help of CAP and the church we are now at the end of the tunnel and we can now keep our heads above the water, we still have our tests along the way but God is always there walking beside us.
Todays thought comes to us from Joanna Martin
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
When I was a young girl, through to being a young adult, I would wake up each morning and lay awake listening for any sound that indicated my Dad had got up. If I hadn’t woke before him, then the sound of his footsteps down stairs would wake me, and regardless of how tired I felt, I couldn’t wait to get up and have breakfast with him! He would read UCB word for the day, and parts of the bible. He would pray with me and talk to me about the things that concerned me, and threatened to consume my young mind. This short time spent with my Dad in the quietness and stillness of the morning was something I cherished and came to rely on. No matter what kind of day lay ahead of me at school or at work, I knew that I could face it once I’d had my strength replenished by those moments.
Now, a little older and no longer in the same house as my Parents, I find myself rising early each morning to spend time with my Heavenly Father. I read my notes (UCB, or bible app plans) and my Bible, and spend time in prayer. These times are so precious! I can wake in the morning feeling afraid, anxious or sad (especially in this current situation!)- but His mercies are new every morning! I come away from my time with him with my strength replenished, or at the very least comforted.
So, I encourage you if possible, in the quietness of each morning, to listen for your Heavenly Father’s footsteps, because He has risen (in more ways than one!) Read your Bible and notes, talk to Him as you would to anyone you trust, and listen for His gentle whispers that will sooth and comfort you. As you do, I pray that you will experience the soothing comfort that only Jesus can offer, and that He will overwhelm you with delight!
“Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.”
Psalms 94:19 TPT
Hi I’m Joanna Martin (or Jo as most people call me). I am Wife to Lindon, Mother to Harrison and Philippa, and daughter to Steve and Janette Sheldon. I was born and bred in Bradford, and have been at the Light Church for about 10 years now.
I am in many respects your ‘average Jo’ - I love the simple things in life such as been out in the sunshine, surrounded by nature and spending time with family. I work (as a Foot Health Practitioner) and the rest of the time I spend being ‘Mummy’.
A character in the Bible I find myself drawn to is Ruth - I think because she embodies what I value and aspire to be with the help of Jesus: full of love, integrity, compassion, devotion, gentleness and kindness… although I hope not to lose a husband in order to achieve it!
Todays thought comes to us from Jonny Viner
Without wanting to state the obvious, Lockdown has brought many changes to our way of life. Some of these changes will have been really challenging for us. Some of us will have faced changes to our employment either working from home, being furloughed, or even seeing work dry up completely. On top of this, the social distancing that we have been asked to comply with will have meant that regular routines for many of us will now be completely different. Other changes will have been more annoying. The lack of availability of loo roll and flour and having to queue to get into shops spring to mind. Some changes may have even been welcomed like the change of pace in life or getting to know your neighbours better and realising that the local community is actually really supportive. I have also been able to watch some TV shows that I didn’t really have time to watch before and I have been both enthralled and disturbed by the bizarre world of Joe Exotic…
One thing that has not changed is God, His love remains faithful, His peace restores us and the hope that is found in Him is something that we can hold onto. Some people will have found the last few weeks a great opportunity to rest in Gods presence, others may have found finding Gods presence a real challenge. However you feel in this time I would encourage you to find a moment to look to God in some way today. When we truly look to God our first response should be to be in awe as His love surrounds, supports and revives us. Psalm 100 has been a real help in putting my focus on God in the last few weeks.
1 Shout out praises to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship[b] the Lord with joy.
Enter his presence with joyful singing.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us and we belong to him,[c]
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give him thanks.
Praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His loyal love endures,[d]
and he is faithful through all generations.[e]
I would encourage you to consider what has changed for you in recent weeks. Look for changes that have been good as well as things that have been challenging. Bring all of these things before the Lord and spend some time praying and worshipping God using this Psalm as a springboard.
You may find this easy to do but you may find this challenging, my hope for you is that when you look beyond your current situation and catch a glimpse of God all other things will become insignificant and you will find some peace.
My prayer is that the Lord will meet you in your praise and that God will bring hope to you in your challenge today.
Hey there, my name is Jonny and I live over in Nab Wood. I have been part of Light Church for the past 4 and a half years. I’m married to Gill and we have a 7 year old boy called Aiden. I work as a Debt Advisor for CAP and my wife works for TLG. Outside of this I love listening to podcasts, music, and Leeds United (but don’t hold that last one against me, I’m actually a pretty decent chap!)
Todays thought comes to us from Grace Moxon
One day at a time:
Matthew 6:34 (MSG): “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to plan and I love to organise (just see our tupperware cupboard). But in this time, I’ve found God drawing me to just take one day at a time. In a period of so much uncertainty, where many plans are out the window, I think we’ve been given a perfect chance to practice this more simple way of living.
I’ve been finding it really helpful to start my day with three things:
As I’ve developed this practice of coming to him each day, trusting that he’ll have what I need for that day, it has helped me not get ahead of myself and try to figure out tomorrow - trusting that when the next day, or season, comes he in his sovereignty will give me all that I need.
Lords prayer - asking him for my daily bread
Gratitude - in the midst of the day ahead, thinking about what I can be thankful for
Casting my burdens - praying and telling God about the things that are weighing more heavily and then placing them in his hands
I’ve seen countless answers to prayer and Gods intervention when he’s needed to and been so encouraged that God absolutely is, and always will be in control. This is very freeing and allows us to rejoice and be glad in each day, whatever it may bring.
I love corrie ten booms quote on this topic:
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength - carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
As you come to God each day, telling him about what’s going on - what you’re thankful for, what your more concerned about, he’ll walk through each day with you providing the support that you need. This scripture and this quote encourages us to fully embrace the day ahead, good or bad, with God and not to worry about the next.
Hi I’m Grace, and I’ve been coming to the light church for just under 4 years. I’m originally from Nottingham, studied psychology at York Uni (fell in love with Yorkshire), moved to Bradford for the CAP internship and have stayed here ever since. I lead a light group with Helen Hiorns, and we also live together in Shipley. You’ll probably find me hanging out with friends, baking, out in nature, reading, doing watercolour or watching videos of golden retrievers.
Todays thought comes to us from Tarzan Almas
Bio: I am Tarzan, I have been married to Jyotika for 37 years. We have 3 grown-up children, Tom, Sabrina, and Preeya. I am a proud granddad of 5 grandsons, Elijah, Josiah, Asher, Isaac, and Jesse.
I enjoy a blessed life which includes walking, swimming, serving God’s people, developing my understanding of scripture, and playing with my grandchildren.
Todays thought comes to us from Hildegard Hepworth
It’s difficult for all of us this time and moment and I just want to share my thoughts of the day. Mathew 6.vers 33 but first seek his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well .I love this verse it keeps me so on track with God. I know When I give this day to the lord I can be at peace. Where we are now New year New resolutions made ,New things good Things are going to happen. BUT we do not know God’s will and plans fully, just trust God whatever happens we Have our redeemer Jesus .On 5th January Matt Barlow our pastor spoke on Isaiah 43:verse 18-19 forget the former things, I am making away in the wilderness and streams in wasteland. I was excited and Will thought this year is going to be good and everything Is coming our way ,maybe some of you felt the same. But Oh Wow! Look what happened, We are in lock down and, didn’t see this coming .On 8th March Matt Barlow our pastor spoke again on building strong families and the early church in homes, and that Jesus also had a small group ( his disciples) Colossians 4.v 15, churches in their homes .And that Has actually happened now, “so let’s us spur on one and another” it says in Hebrew 10.v24. I always make notes otherwise I forget, So want to thank you Matt, we can start seeing through Now, like a little window that God will not leave us or forsake us, his word the bible is truth Hebr4.v12 Gods word is alive and active, Be encouraged and be strong and be blessed in Jesus name. Amen
Bio: Hildegardmarried to Gary Blessed With 3 children ,One son and two daughters, 8 grandchildren all together.
We live in idle and Have been coming to the light church for about 8 to 9 years, love to be part of this friendly and community active church, It’s been a blessing to serve in children’s ministry and welcome team . I am hairdresser working from home and Also mobile, love people, I like gardening and outdoors
Todays thought comes to us from Sue King
2 Chronicles 7 verse 14.
‘If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’
This verse of scripture spoke to me many years ago and set me on a journey of personal and cooperate prayer.
What does spending time with God really mean….....
Have you ever wondered what spending time with Our Heavenly Father means?
Do you think this is a ‘Churchy’ saying?
When we attend church we all say prayers and sing songs and hymns to worship God; but during the week leading up to Sunday do we really spend time with God in worship and prayer or do we use a get out clause - ‘we are too busy to give Him our time’.
Billy Graham , a great evangelist and preacher once quoted these very memorable words ...’If you are too busy to spend a little time with God each day in personal prayer and worship and reading your bibles, then we are busier than God intended us to be.’
Taking time and sitting quietly and just talking to God and reflecting on where we are in our lives, just like we talk to our family, friends or our next door neighbours really can perform wonders for our souls and beings.
If we tell God all our troubles and concerns whilst also thanking Him for all he does for us, we will be surprised how much better we really feel. You know he is always there to listen to our requests, prayers and concerns. He never moves away from us. It is us who move away from Him. Also sitting and listening to God is so important. He often ‘pops’ bible verses, songs and thoughts into our minds that we feel we should act upon or share with others. I have learnt , over a period of time, that if I step out in faith and share things God is so gracious and faithful.
Answers to our prayers and requests are not always instantaneous nor what we would like or expect. Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’, sometimes ‘no’ and on other occasions it could be ‘wait’. It is not always the right time. But we can be assured that our God always knows what is the best for us.
We are now in my favourite season of the year ’Spring’, when I love to watch my garden come out of hibernation and come back to life.
I pray that we can give God some of our time- or more of our time each day and spend this precious time quietly talking and listening to Him. We may be surprised at the outcome. ‘Our God works in mysterious ways ,His wonders to perform’.
Sue King born in Thornton, Bradford and lived in this picturesque village forever.
Gave my life to Jesus during a Church army mission at the age of 10. Married to Brian in 1970 and celebrate our Golden Wedding this year. We have two wonderful daughters, Lisa and Victoria, and three precious grand children, Deanna, Jenna and Emerson.
Worked at Bradford magistrates court before having family. Then for 25 years worked at Heaton Royds special school in Shipley helping and teaching children with special needs ...I loved this work. Semi-retired 11years ago and now work part time for our daughter in her Opticians Practise in Queensbury. I love gardening and baking ,spending time with our family and also accompanying Brian and watching him play indoor and outdoor bowls.(I make the tea and coffee!!)
We have been part of the Light Church for a year and feel very much ‘at home’.
Todays thought comes to us from Sam Tarr - be inspired by the fact that Sam wrote this prior to Matt’s preach on Sunday. Clearly God is speaking!
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my [c]groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My [d]vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. [e]Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;
And You forgave the [f]guilt of my sin. Selah.
6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You [g]in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with [h]songs of deliverance. Selah.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart
Unlike the common perspective on confession and sin, that is a gloomy approach, which is so easy to fall into; this Psalm is celebratory. Often we as Christians can put off confession as it may put off the mood we try to maintain. This should not be the case, as this Psalm talks about confession as the alleviation of a burden.
David narrows this burden down to four things - “transgression” (breaking a command), “sin” (missing the mark of what God intends for us), “iniquity” (the guilt and fogginess inside when there should be openness and clarity with God) and “deceit” (the vain failure to admit your sin and the reality of your situation). The next two verses detail what it is like to live trying to hide things from God - clearly no way to live. Only when David brings these four things before God do we see why this is a Psalm of celebration, and the “blessedness” - he acknowledges his sin, and his weariness is replaced by praise. Confession can be compared to unclogging a drain - only when we remove the stuff that isn’t meant to be there can the drain do its job. In the same way, when we acknowledge the stuff that shouldn’t be in our lives (those four things we looked at earlier), we can become properly working servants of God, and our relationship with him is restored - and living water flows through us. The darkness and heaviness of this life are replaced by the protection and imminent presence of God. God does not ask that we confess as Christians to pay off a debt to himself, as though he is some angry broker, but that we can experience the joy and relief of casting off our burden, and instead have the easy yoke and light burden of Christ.
The importance of confession in a relationship with God is massive - otherwise we will greatly hinder our walk with him. In Job 42, Job comes full circle in terms of his relationship with God. He goes from a shallow, transactional and obligation based view of the lord, where he gives God his loyalty and gets a family, land and good health in response; to finally witnessing God for who he is. “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear”, he says, “but now my eye sees you. Therefore I retract, and repent in dust and ashes”. We can see that, when he truly sees God for who he is, his reaction is to immediately repent. The light of God’s glory reveals all of our blemishes. Therefore if we are not honest with God through confession we will stop ourselves getting to know him, as if we aren’t repenting, we aren’t seeing more of him - they are two sides of the same coin.
When we turn to John 21, where Peter is restored to Jesus, we see none of the deceit described in Psalm 32, which muddies the waters of relationship with God. Perhaps this is because Peter has already hit rock bottom - Jesus not only knows that Peter denied him three times and abandoned him to a horrific death, but he predicted it. Jesus asks Peter “do you love (agape) me”, to which Peter responds
“Lord, you know that I love (philia) you”. The term agape refers to the fullness of love in God; whereas philia refers to a sort of brotherly affection, the sort of love found in friendship. Jesus again asks “do you love me”, Peter responds again
“you know that I am your friend”. Now, Jesus asks a different question -
“Simon, son of John, am I your friend?”.
Peter tells him “Yes Lord, you know that I am your friend”
“Shepherd my sheep,” says Jesus. It is crucial that we are honest with God not only about our sin but our whole relationship with him - as only then can we tend his flock. Let us not fall into spiritual pride, delusion or sentimentality.
We know that when Jesus died he defeated the powers of darkness - sin and shame have no hold on us, we are freed. Therefore when we are confronted next by the fact of our own sin, let us not stop with repenting beside Job in dust and ashes, for which there are certainly times, but let us also join Peter in being honest to God and saying “Yes, lord, you know that I am your friend” - the victory Christ won over shame on the cross demands this of us.
I’m Sam, a member of the Light Church Youth group. I am a student at Immanuel College sixth form.
Todays thought comes to us from Kate Hart
Now, I’m a massive fan of kindness; receiving it, being it. So at a time like this, my mind goes into overdrive. Who needs a phone call, eggs, an encouraging message, a loo roll or a neighbourly chat over the fence? And how can we support neighbours, family, charities, small businesses, or missionary friends overseas? Suddenly I find myself feeling guilty, frustrated, and over-burdened.
But this is not how it is meant to be.
In Light Group the other week, we looked at the theme of water throughout the Bible, ultimately pointing to Jesus being the water of life: life that he’s made available for thirsty people. People’s thirst can be all the more obvious at a time like this - we see a thirst for security, hope, peace and contentment, amongst many other things, in our world.
So our next question should be, how can we, as God’s followers, bring this water to thirsty people? As Christians, we know that we have been called to be channels for this living water - like a kind of human irrigation system for our world.
But in my heart, I find myself saying, ‘Lord, I’m exhausted! I’m weary of trying to do good and share your living water.’ Many of my normal tools for ‘doing good’ have also been taken away at this time - like my time (I have two very small children) or just being able to get out and about.
And then God speaks - phew! Kate, it’s OK to feel dry and weary. Remember, you are not the water, the producer of the water or the solution for people’s thirst; I am. You need to connect to the source of the water: me.
If you’ve been running on empty, I’d encourage you to meditate on this Psalm today. And I pray that through regularly connecting to the source - whatever that looks like for you - out of your heart shall then ‘flow rivers of living water’ (John 7:38) that our communities, our nation and our world so desperately need.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Hi, I’m Kate! Married to Pete and mother to Noah (2) and Isobel (nearly 1). Needless to say it’s been a busy couple of years! We moved to Baildon, from Leeds, 3 years ago and totally love it here. These days, you will generally find us feeding ducks along the canal or exploring the rocks on Shipley Glen. What a beautiful part of the world we live in!
Todays thought comes to us from Rob Garratt
Scripture: Lamentations 5:21 Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old. (NASB)
During this season I was drawn, rather unusually for me, (and probably for you too!!) to read Lamentations. The setting, for this Old Testament book, was a really disastrous time for Israel (586BC). They had repeatedly turned away from loving and following God and were living totally for themselves. And now they were reaping what they had sown. Towards the end of the book, there is a heartfelt cry to God to restore them to Himself so that they could be restored back to spiritual, physical, and material prosperity. They had come to recognise that the latter could not happen without first a restored relationship with God.
In these days (which I personally don’t think are days of His judgement as it was in Lamentations) I believe God’s purpose is to have us press the reset button in three areas:
May this direct our thoughts, reflections, and prayers today – that we should say from our hearts “O Lord restore us into right relationship with yourself so that we may be restored into all that you have for us, into the full abundance of life just as you planned and promised (John 10:10).
Raised a Shropshire lad – as a teenager worked for a number of years on a farm during school holidays and weekends – thus the rolling accent! When a first-year student in Brighton back in 1969 Jesus got hold of me radically and he’s never let go!
Married to and partnering with Jane for over 45 years. We have three great children – all who follow Jesus. In 2007 we left our employment (I was a consultant civil engineer and Jane an insolvency debt counsellor for CAP) and established an international voluntary charity which you know about – 5000Plus. We have been with the Light Church family since 2010 and Food Bank volunteers shortly after its inception.
Todays thought comes to us from Danny Bullen
Bio: I was born in the Netherlands and moved to Yorkshire when I was young. I have been a member of the Light Church since it began with my parents David and Reina. My beautiful wife Sarah works as the Youth Leader for our church and I work for Hope Park Workspaces as a Business Development Lead, helping to generate profit for the amazing work of TLG. I enjoy travelling, going to gigs, anything to do with football (especially Ajax) and meeting new people.
Todays thought comes to us from Furaha Mussanzi
Bio: Furaha, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo moved to Bradford as a refugee with her family in 2002 after escaping the deadliest African war that claimed the lives of over 6 million people. She comes from a big family with 6 siblings and lives with her retired parents Ben and Kongosi, two of the most important people in her life who have instilled in her faith, courage, and banter. She manages the Millside Centre, a community centre in the heart of Bradford which is run by Reach Beyond, a Christian charity dedicated to being the voice and hands of Jesus by meeting the needs of vulnerable people in the city; something she feels deeply called to. She finds joy in co-leading the central light group and creating a safe space where genuine community is built and people can encounter God deeper. In her spare time, you’ll find her in the kitchen trying out new recipes, making YouTube videos, or face-timing her long-distant siblings and friends.
Todays thought comes to us from Josie Barlow
I’m reading a beautifully poetic book called ‘A thousand gifts’ by Anne Voskamp which Jenny Biglands gave me for my birthday.
It’s one woman’s account of having grown up in the shadow of tragedy as her 4-year-old sister was killed by a delivery van on her farm.
Tragedy, hardship, and fear can squeeze grace, thankfulness, and joy out of life and she is living dull and hard.
Then she is dared by a friend to write a thousand things to be thankful for and as she starts to recognise small moments, to name them and thank God for them, these moments turn into the sacred, cathedral spaces of time.
God fills these small everyday moments with his presence and this practice begins to transform her heart so she discovers grace and joy in the everyday.
‘The Holy Grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be - unbelievable – possible! The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.’
She learns that she can see God in the smallest of moments by being thankful.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5
I’ve started the journey too. I’ve got to 50, here are some of them.
Enveloped by spring aired sheets
Picking flowers from the garden
Sitting eyes shut in the sun
Rescuing food and turning into something delicious
Welcoming my kids home from school
Woodland paths through bluebells
Green eyes and golden curls of my beloved.
Cycling fast downhill over fields, the dog racing ahead.
Warming feet on an outside fire
I dare you to start today. What small moment can you wonder at and give thanks to
God for. For all good and perfect things come from God above.
23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. I Thess 5
Bio: I’m Josie and married to Matt and have 2 teenagers - Eve (16) and Jed (14) and we have Amy Tyson as a lodger. I love having dinner with friends, being creative with food, paint, fabric, words, and stories. I love walking in our bluebells woods by the river, up Shipley glen to the trig point, riding my mountain bike, and playing tennis. I am also loving my job as Foodbank Manager and count myself lucky as an extreme extrovert being able to still see and work with my Foodbank and church family! The things I’m looking forward to most after lockdown has ended are walking to the pub along the canal, playing tennis, having a huge freedom from Lockdown party, going to France on holiday with my extended family (it is in August - we must hope)! I do have a few health issues - I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which means I sometimes have complete brain fog which means you might find me vacantly staring and won’t be able to remember your name - but I can remember a story you’ve told me. So if I do that to you - it’s not you - it’s me!
Todays thought comes to us from Gareth Jones
Bio: Served at the Light Church for 10 years. Married to Heather and have two children Ffion and Osian.
Todays thought comes to us from Rachel Woodrow
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that
person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
There have been many times in our lives when things haven’t gone as planned and seasons
where nothing seems to be the way we expect at all (as I am sure many of you will relate).
Most recently, a garden makeover (an expensive one at that!) resulted in poor workmanship
and planning by the chap carrying out the work and a massive disappointment for us. We
had budgeted and planned for the best part of 15 years to have what we hoped would be the
garden we had dreamed of for so long.
But it wasn’t to be! Yes, we now had a wonderful space after 200 tonnes of earth had been
excavated but a huge new wall structure, not correctly built and now bowing severely, was
not part of the plan! We liaised with the garden chap and gave him an extra 4 months to
rectify this before our daughter visited from Australia at the end of April (not happening now
either!). The updates from him have become less and less frequent and he has been nowhere
to be seen for quite a few weeks and the remedy work hasn’t even started yet!
However, we have carried on regardless – planting out in pots has begun, the BBQ cleaned
(not that we can have anyone round to join us any time soon!) and plans continue on working
around the faults to make the garden still usable for the summer.
God teaches us that out of difficult and disappointing situations, good will always come. We
now look out on that same garden and instead now see new growth, colour, birds and nature
returning. What was a huge, ugly monstrosity now looks settled and rustic and no longer
offensive. The situation has not been rectified but is being looked at through fresh eyes and
changed hearts. God has worked on us through this whole situation. He has guided us into
gracious conversations with our garden worker when things went wrong, built up patience
levels (boy, have we needed it!), restored hope and helped us carry on with our plans
regardless of the situation around us.
Today, as we reflect on the current situations people are facing across the globe our
problematic garden seems to pale into insignificance! In this season, where there is so much
uncertainty and fear around us, we can choose to have an attitude of hope, positivity and trust
in the One who knows all. He will not leave us, let us down or disappoint us. Life can be full
of disappointments but we can always fix our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful, and trust in Him.
He will never let us down. Jesus is our rock, our firm foundation.
We can look to the current situation amongst our communities, places of work and families
with fresh eyes to look for gracious conversations, where you can see good coming out of bad
and where you can be a source of encouragement to someone. We have hope that whatever
God puts us through now will bring us out of the end stronger, more faith-filled and reliant on
the one who is, and is to come. The circumstances we are in may not change, but we can
change our perspective.
God is in control and has the best plans for us even when we, in our “human-ness”, cannot
see how these can be brought about. He will never falter or waiver and whatever trials
(however big or small) life throws at you, you will be able to look back and see God at work
through that situation and more importantly in you, and through you.
Bio: Woody and I have been part of The Light Church since 2010. We have been together for 19
years and been married since August 2010. We live in Thornton.
I work as a secretary to the dietitians at Bradford Royal Infirmary and have worked there for
23 years. Woody is a Community Engagement Co-ordinator at Shine, West Bowling and has
been in this role for the last 8 years. Our daughter, Hannah, is currently living near
Melbourne, Australia with her partner, Jamie.
We enjoy camping and walking and generally love being out and about in Yorkshire (God’s
own county!). I like to read and we both enjoy music, cooking and getting together with our
Todays thought comes to us from Alicia Chapman
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”
Hi, I’m Alicia. I was born in London, grew up in the Midlands, and moved to Bradford two and a half years ago to work for Christians Against Poverty. Despite the running joke that it’ll be Scotland next (as I keep edging North) Yorkshire has well and truly won this Southerner’s heart, so I think I’ll stick around.
The proud inventor of the “ch” diet, (chicken, cheese, chorizo, chocolate… is there anything that starts with “ch” that’s not delicious!?) I’m partial to a warm blanket and time with fluffy, four-legged friends of all varieties. If you need to find me, I’ll be the only adult at the local petting farm without a child – unashamedly waiting for my turn to feed the lambs in the queue of toddlers and confused parents.
Todays thought comes to us from Steve Restrick
Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives -
especially the ability to prophesy.
1 Corinthians 14:1NLT
Faith doesnt come through effort, it comes through surrender…
The first time I became aware that Papa God spoke to me, was as a boy, 7 yrs old, from a non
church family. I began a journey searching for my identity and purpose.
As a young man at 21yrs old, God again spoke directly to my heart and I surrendered my heart to
Him. It has been a journey of romance, for over 40 years, where God has revealed His heart and
purpose to me, and His heart for others and of learning to speak out what God shows me in His
word, both written and spoken.
Faith is the Prophetic anointing to call out destiny, call out the gold in other people’s lives…
To desire the gift of prophecy is to desire to be a people who hear the voice of the Lord…
It is to cultivate a lifestyle where we hear His voice and think His thoughts…
Let love be your highest goal! - The prophetic is one of the greatest tools of love we have.
Revelation is given not just to inspire prophetic gifts, but to help us to live with a connection to how
God feels and what He thinks…
To see people the way God longs for them to be seen, and from that revelation to treat them out of
His culture of love, so they will want to be the version of themselves we see…
Prophetic ministry is about you being a gateway to Gods thoughts, emotions, and heart for
others… through your connection to Him.
It takes no anointing to see whats wrong in peoples lives. Tell them something they don’t know!
Let’s see the gold in them and tell them.
I remain a learner, as I continue to follow Jesus, making love my highest goal, and eagerly desire
the gifts of His Spirit, to help others on this journey of divine romance.
One, who prophesies, strengthens others, encourages them and comforts them. 1 Corinthians 14: 3
Please enjoy this song from Hillsong Worship - I Surrender
Bio: I am married to the lovely Emma, and moved to Bradford 4 years ago after our honeymoon in Skiathos. We have been part of The Light Church family for 2 years. Emma works at CAP as a Debt Advisor; I run my own business as a Gas Engineer. I love the outdoors, walking or motorcycling in the countryside. Emma loves being at home and is never bored! We enjoy quality time with friends and family, adventures, which includes travelling and exploring new places and making memories, which I photograph and Emma turns into beautiful Photo books.
Todays thought comes from Jenny Biglands
‘May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is’ (Ephesians 3:17-18)
If you could choose any place to live, where would it be? For me, it would have to be surrounded by trees, I love them, I work in and live by them and go to them whenever I need space and time with God. At the moment the cherry trees are bursting out with pink and white pompoms weighing down their branches, and the beech leaves are unfolding, revealing such vibrancy that it looks like a toddler picked their colour from an illuminous paint pallet.
Maybe it’s partly because of my infatuation with this aspect of God’s creation that draws me to scriptures that speak of them. In my chosen passage we are particularly reminded of the importance of roots as a way of connecting to the infinite love of our creator God. It is true and widely known that the roots can suck up the nutrients and water from the soil to help its growth but we also know that deep and wide roots create stability and strength to support the tree through all seasons. And so, as we seek out and draw on the love of God, we will gain spiritual strength and resource to cope with the storms of life that we experience above the ground. And as trees are fundamental to the protection of the soil against erosion, God’s love will be held within and around our roots as we create space for new growth and sapling trees to spring up!
So, to finish let me pray for us all that we would be grounded by God’s life-giving love, that it would both nourish and strengthen us in this time and may we trust that it has no limits or end, whatever the future my hold.
My name is Jenny, I am married to the lovely John Biglands and have two kids, Ellie (13) and Josiah (10) who constantly surprise me and teach me more about myself than I thought possible!
Just over a year ago we decided to take our kids out of school and begin a home education adventure. Alongside this I work part-time, co-running an organisation called ‘Rooted’
Todays thoughts comes from Eilidh Snell
‘But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer’ Luke 5:15. Throughout the gospels Jesus had a rhythm of retreating just to spend time in the Eremos! Eremos was the Greek word used to describe what is translated in English as ‘the desert place’, ‘the lonely place’ or the ‘quiet place’. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve been thrown into a quiet place, a desert place!
Matthew 26:36 “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “sit here, while I go over there to pray”. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me”. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayer, saying “My father, it it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will”.
As I’ve reflected on this passage over the last couple of weeks I’ve been struck by 3 very simple things:
The quiet place is a place where we encounter emotions! Jesus was sad (understatement!). It says he was “very sorrowful, even to death”, in other translations it says “my soul is crushed” and “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow”. Jesus was overwhelmed with sadness, and he processed his emotions in the quiet place.
Jesus knew what he needed when he experienced these emotions- familiarity (the garden of Gethsemane), time alone with God (“sit here while I go over there to pray”) and close relationships (He took Peter and two sons of Zebedee with him).
He comes to a place of yeilding- ‘not as I will, but as you will’. Even in the midst of pain and troubled thoughts, Jesus was willing to let it go and trust God’s will.
Lockdown has forced me to slow down long enough for my emotions to catch up- uncertaintly, disappointment, gratitude, boredom, sadness, joy, fear, peace and expectancy! I struggle with quiet, I struggle to be in my own company for long periods of time, and honestly I struggle with praying alone, but in this time of unexpected quiet with so many emotions, I feel God has given me an invitation to meet him in the emotion and go deeper! He’s reminded me to ‘pray about everything’ and ‘cast all my worrys on him’ in solitude. While it’s been uncomfortable, it has been wonderfully life giving. As I process and continue to do so, I’m finding myself being brought into a deeper place of peace and trust in my incredible God!
Emotions are hard, especially the negative ones, but I believe that invitation is there for us all, to meet our sovereign God, our comforting father, our loving friend, in the eremos, in the midst of our emotion. And my prayer is that as a result of meeting him in the quiet place, as a body we will be brought into a deeper place of peace and a deeper place of trust.
Hi I’m Eilidh, and I’ve been at the light Church for almost 2 years now! Originally from bonnie Scotland, I moved to Bradford with my husband Peter 2 years ago after moving back from New Zealand where we had been working for CAP! I now work for CAP here in the UK managing a team in our head office and also volunteering as a Debt Coach in our fabulous debt centre! When I’m not in lockdown you’ll find me drinking coffee, eating good food, baking, walking in the countryside or having a good ole blether with great friends! While in lock down you’ll find me convincing Peter that we should get a dog!
Today’s thought comes from Janette Sheldon
Recently I’ve been reading Connilyn Cossettes “ Out from Egypt” books and this coincided with my Bible App readings from Exodus and Numbers about the time when the Israelites were camped under the Holy Mountain (Sinai) where God met Moses and spoke to his people.
The Israelites were so vulnerable and dependent on God for everything….their food, water, protection ....their very lives on a day to day basis. Deliberate sin met, on several occasions, with Gods wrath and terrifying consequences. The sense of fear and awe of the Most Holy Mighty God must have been a tangible daily experience.
It seems today that we are beginning to have a taste of the same vulnerability . All our usual securities are threatened and we are reminded just how powerless we are and how dependent on God we are.
God Overshadowed his people with a cloak of protection and guidance in the form of a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day. It was a sign of His presence with them and when He moved they moved.
Today that same power and presence is within us…He just asks that we submit to His will and trust Him in the midst of uncertainty and fear. We are safe under His Holy Overshadowing because of Jesus sacrifice for us and that allows us into His awesome presence to glimpse his glory.
Have confidence in your Mighty God
He will overshadow you with His love and protection
Look to Him…. Move in Him ...Move with Him
Psalm 91 v 1-2
“We live within the shadow of the Almighty sheltered by the God who is above all gods
This I declare that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety. He is my God and I am trusting in
Holy Overshadowing by Graham Kendrick
I’m married to Steve and work with him in a small family label printing business. We have been at the Light Church over 10 years.
We’ve two children… Joanna married to Lindon with two children Harrison and Philippa, and Adam who lives in Whitby with wife Maria and two girls Meredith and Felicity.
I love being out in the sunshine in the countryside or seaside enjoying nature or working in my garden. Other loves include singing classical choral music with my choir and enjoying campervan holidays and picnics with Steve and our wonderful grandchildren!
Todays thought comes to us from Angus McNab
Matthew Chapter 5 verse 6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
What’s in a word? I’m frequently drawn to the first few verses of the Sermon on the Mount. They are some of the most beautiful words ever spoken or written- beautiful and yet deeply challenging and disturbing. Jesus tells us for example that the things we naturally feel we should possess and therefore strive for- status, wealth, security are not what will bring us true fulfillment.
The word “righteousness” for me was a loaded word growing up. As a young Christian, I absorbed the culture of my church family where the word was very much linked to “holiness”- being set apart, not being contaminated by the things of this world. It felt like a word more linked to what I shouldn’t do than what I should.
So years later, it was a revelation when I found out that a more correct translation for the word righteousness is “justice”. The original Hebrew word is full of the biblical concept of all humanity being equal in God’s eyes and God’s vision for a world free of unfairness, oppression and soured relationships. Try substituting justice for righteousness in this verse and the others at the start of the great sermon on the mount. And in fact, most other times when the word righteousness is used in the New Testament.
A few years ago, I spent a summer asking God to shift my thinking about the centrality of justice to His character and the Kingdom He wants us as His church to bring into being here on Earth. As I pondered, I started to realise this would be a lifelong journey, not only in terms of understanding but also of shifting how I live and encourage others to live. A few months later, I found myself sitting in a cage for two days in Shipley town centre, fasting and encouraging passers-by to think about why we shouldn’t need foodbanks in 21st Century Britain.
This journey continues to throw up difficult questions: How very far is the way we live (individually, as a family, as a nation) from the way God would have us live our lives? How much does this pain God, especially when our action (or inaction) causes others to suffer? How much am I prepared to give up to help to bring in God’s Kingdom of justice and mercy?
While I still feel like a child starting out on this journey, it is one that fills me with hope. God’s Kingdom is so much greater than my small individual life. It is absolutely worth surrendering all for. So today, I pray that we would all know what it is to be filled as we hunger and thirst for God’s justice.
Angus lives happily in Shipley with his wife Carol, and children Daniel and Kate. The household includes Carol’s niece and parents and Rosie the dog. He works for Hope Housing in Bradford, helping to house people who are homeless. Please contact him to talk about ways of working with Hope Housing – leasing a house to them or becoming a host, for example.
In his spare time, Angus is constructing a prototype strawbale studio in his back garden.
Todays thought comes to us from Rae Morfin
Watch it below
Bio: Rae decided to give her life to God and follow Him at the age of 5 and has never even once
regretted this in 40 years. She has been around at The Light for about 10 years and has
enjoyed leading the kids and youth in various ways during that time. She is married to the
wonderful Tim Morfin, and is enjoying the extra time together the ‘lockdown’ season has brought
for them with their boys; Ben, Josh, Dan, and friend + lodger Terry. Her work involves heading
up Therapeutic Practice at TLG (Transforming Lives for Good), a new venture after recently
handing over leadership of TLG’s Volunteer Programmes. She’s pretty much fascinated by
everyone and loves being curious, chatting, creating, reading, going outside, singing or whistling
(I know - I’m sorry!), chocolate and fun.
Todays thought comes to us from Sam Aspinall
Colossians 1:15-20 NIV
“15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
It goes without saying, we are living in difficult times. Amidst the grief and suffering of the crisis we are currently facing it can be tough to notice how God is working in the world. At times this can make him seem distant and potentially “invisible”.
During this lockdown I have been making the most of the good weather we have been blessed with by walking down to the nearby woods every few days. It is here where I sense God’s presence the most, despite his invisibility. The tranquility and majesty of his creation is enough to remind me how great he is, and it brings to mind the words of Paul in Colossians.
Paul states that Jesus “is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. Personally I find this verse amazing, as it demonstrates that God didn’t just create the world we live in, he is also continuously maintaining it. He is ensuring that the planets stay in motion, that the tiny atoms making up our bodies are held together, that we are able to breathe in and out constantly.
So I feel like this passage can be a great encouragement to our lives at the moment. Jesus holds everything together all the time, he has this crisis under control and in time he will “reconcile to himself all things” in order to make peace in the end.
Hi Light Church, my name is Sam, I’m 17 years old, and I live with my parents and two younger brothers. Me and my family have been coming to the Light Church for around 9 years now. I’m currently a student in the middle of my A-levels, hoping to do physics at university afterwards. Apart from science, I have a great passion for music, both listening to it and playing my piano and guitar. I gave my life to Christ 5 years ago and have enjoyed leading talks at the youth light group recently.
Todays thought comes to us from Bronwyn Maclean
Isaiah 32 v 17
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest
Isaiah 26 v 3
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Are you anxious or are you at peace? I think it’s fair to say that many of us have felt shaken by the disruption to our way of life in the past fortnight. I’ll be honest, I have struggled to adjust to some changes made necessary to protect against the spread of Coronavirus. In the midst of this upheaval, I learned that a close family member back in Northern Ireland had received a terminal diagnosis and one short week later they have now sadly passed away. I have found it really quite difficult to be separated by distance at this time. Having the option of being physically with family taken away has caused a lot of anxiety and unrest within me.
Now more than ever I have needed God’s strength to cling to His promise of peace. I love to study the different names of God and the titles fulfilled in Jesus for reassurance of His character. One name for God in the Old Testament is Yahweh Shalom. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, means much more than the absence of conflict but rather it invites an idea of wholeness and restoration. We often refer to Jesus as the Prince of Peace; this title is translated from Sar Shalom and actually appears in Isaiah 9. Whilst it does not appear directly in the New Testament we know that Jesus fulfills this title as Paul assured the church in Ephesus “[Jesus] himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2 v 14).
In chapter 32, Isaiah writes that “the fruit of righteousness will be peace and the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever”. This is such a challenge for our contemporary culture. Everywhere in our headlines, we see fear and anxiety ruling the day. Like the virus fear is contagious and it isn’t productive. When I read these verses in Isaiah recently it caused me to stop and reflect: “Have I subconsciously been spreading fear? Have I been listening more to the news and my social media feed than I have been tuning into time with God?” Of course, there is a place for us to share our true emotions and worries at such a difficult time, especially in an authentic Christian community. But surely as a church, we want to be a people marked by knowing Jesus himself as our peace and carrying that to those around us? Each person’s situation is unique and this pandemic will not affect us equally; there is, of course, genuine cause for concern and worry for many. My prayer is that we carefully guard the media we consume, make conscious decisions of how we steer conversations and actively seek to encourage our souls each day. God is gracious and kind and by His Spirit, He will help us enjoy His peace as we focus on His Word.
Today I encourage you to meditate on Isaiah 26 and 32. As you respond to God perhaps you’ll find it helpful to follow the acronym PRAY (inspired by Pete Greig’s model to Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield)
PAUSE: Consider the times you have enjoyed and experienced God’s peace - thank Him.
REJOICE: That God has shown us the path to peace through Jesus.
ASK: For a deeper understanding of trusting God and the grace to be someone who spreads peace, not fear and chaos.
YIELD: Agree with God that He has given you His Spirit to lead you to the path of peace.
Bio: I grew up in a Christan family of 5 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. After 4 years of studying Geography and History at Glasgow University I moved to Bradford in 2017 to join Christians Against Poverty. I currently work as a Debt Advisor and I love being part of the Light Church family. I’ve helped out with the Job Club in the past and currently love serving on our kids and social teams. If I’m not chasing a hockey ball or hanging out with friends you’ll probably find me chatting the hind leg off a donkey!
Todays thought comes from Jan Barlow
Genesis 2:15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
In this time aside, as Covid 19 attempts to rock our society, we stand before our God, with our community, I find myself reflecting and feeling quite challenged. From the tone of this ‘Thought for Today’ you may think I have always been an avid environmentalist. That wouldn’t be accurate, but true to say, that we, as a family, have always had a love of the simple life, the joy of life outdoors and, to our eyes, its superiority over the built environment. The importance of family, growing vegetables and sharing good food. Opening our doors and sharing life with others. Mike and I were never city dwellers or great lovers of ‘stuff’. On the contrary, should we visit a historic building whilst on holiday, it would get the briefest of glances, particularly from our teenage sons, who’d rather be off on a surf board; chasing a football or playing french cricket.
It would be true to say we have never understood how so many of our generation have felt the need to fly all over the world in pursuit of life satisfaction. We loved camping and we almost always had perfect weather, so we never felt the need to escape the British summer. Having said that, we did visit Matt and Josie when they lived in the Dominican Republic, but that was to see them. The wonder and beauty of the Island was just a massive bonus.
In more recent times, of course, we are all much more aware of the cost to the environment of all these air journeys and the profligate lifestyle that we Westerners regard as the norm. The opportunity to fly and to do many of the things we have taken for granted has been withdrawn from us for now in the current crisis. Of course, we see the attraction of the wonders of the world and get a lot of satisfaction seeing the diversity of God’s creation on our television. The wonders of television, the internet, social media, all this is God’s amazing provision for our lives.
I have to say, if I was young now, I would probably be marching with so many of our young people, at this,“wake up and smell the coffee” moment, when we need to start caring properly for our environment. I recall as a child, living in my gran’s house, her passionate hatred of plastic. Bless her she was right to be concerned. With so many of our life-enhancing discoveries and inventions, we just haven’t thought it through as regards its impact on our planet. It’s time to restore our amazing world and start to make good the damage previous generations have done to God’s wonderful world. Many good things came out of the Industrial Revolution, but our carelessness, with resources and our exploitation of our people and abuse of folks from other lands, is beyond the understanding that we now have. The importance of man’s humanity to man as Our Father intended. We often today don’t do it, but we do know a little better, how to treat each other and our planet.
I’m sure God has many many good things he wants to bring out of this time of great challenge. I’m only suggesting this could be one of them.
My prayer is that we won’t go just go back to “business as usual” when God brings us out the other side of Covid. Instead that we will have a real evaluation of how we currently do life in the 21st century. and how we should maybe do it differently. That we will have a care, for the poor of this land, for other nations; for our own grandchildren and what kind of legacy we leave them.
God made the world, God saw the world and it was good. Forgive us Lord that we have neglected and exploited this amazing world you have given us. We have been greedy and selfish and looking too much to our own needs. Help us and guide us as we try to do better at living this great life you have given us. We pray this in Jesus name.
Footnote:- It is quite unbelievable how a third of the world has felt it was okay to take whatever they want and leave the rest of humanity with little or nothing. I realise my part in this and I say “Forgive me Lord” Maybe that’s God’s purpose in this? We’ve all been caused to stop in a most dramatic way. Some of us will know massive pain on this part of the journey. We can just pause and then carry on as normal, or, we can stop; pause; reflect and come to some fairer decisions on how to do life, as God’s people, and as a better world. ‘Me first’, is no longer the message. Thank God! Help us to change
Bio: Hi. I’m Jan Barlow, mum of Pastor Matt and his big brother Tony. Ma in law to Josie and Gene. Granny to Eve, Jed, Lily and Pixie. Married to Mike for 52 years plus. Saved by Jesus’ intervention aged 34. 500 years of Gloucestershire stock,a life transformed by God moving us to Yorkshire 16 years ago. With God’s help trying to walk the path of “life-long ordinary loving”.
“‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
I don’t know about you but I usually have so many excuses for not reading my Bible or praying as I know I should. I never seem to have enough time or enough sleep or enough energy. There always seemed to be something in the way and I always told God in my pride, that if life just stopped being so busy, my spiritual life go to new levels.
Well, lockdown’s happened and have I got any better? Not really, not as much I would have liked. What God’s shown me is the problem has never been external. It’s a heart posture. It’s a matter of priority. Jesus is challenging me at this time to make him Number 1 on my list every day. I need to remain in Him. I need to be hungry for His presence, I need to seek Him out.
Of course, I’ll get it wrong sometimes and of course, I’m not the finished article but I know every time I draw near again, He will too. He is so good and so gracious. Perhaps, this lockdown doesn’t have to be all bad. Perhaps, it’s a fresh opportunity to start building godly habits that will make managing a busy life so much easier in the future.”
Bio: My name is Kgosi. I moved to Bradford to work for CAP as a Debt Advisor just over a year and a half ago. I’ve been a part of the Light Church family since November 2018 and am privileged to be part of a small group and be one of the leaders of an amazing YA community here.
I’m from Ireland and grew up in a small, young church started by missionaries. I’ve been really blessed to have had a strong biblical teaching and faithful God-loving parents from a young age. Much of my journey in faith has been God putting everything I’ve learned to the test and seeing God sanctify me into a doer, rather than a hearer of his Word.”
Todays Thought comes from Anna Haldane, watch it below:
Bio: I’m Anna, I’m married to Chris and we have 3 girls - Zoe (7), Erin (4) and Callie (2). When not in lockdown, I love to spend time with friends, explore new places and enjoy holidays with my family camping in a field with a fire. More recently, I have gained a new appreciation for walks in the woods (especially when it involves den building!), listening to the birds sing and hammock swinging. I also love drawing and being out on my bike (especially when the sun is shining!)
Todays thought comes from Carol-Ann Thomas
God created people to be in relationships with himself, and one another in friendship, marriage, family, society and church. 2 Corr 6:18
Our primary and most significant relationship is with the Lord our God, creator of heaven and earth. Each of us believers know and accept this truth. But as we’re currently “locked-in”, restricted from meeting with family and friends, our perspective on all our relationships comes into focus.
The greatest gift, each of us has received is knowing that we’ll never be alone as God is always with each of us.
Personally I live alone but rarely ever feel lonely. I enjoy the freedom of living my chosen life, freedom to speak to the Lord, sing loudly in worship or to sit quietly waiting on his voice Living in relationship with Jesus as my Saviour, prompting my actions, directing my thoughts.
Since the start of this year, I’ve felt prompted to re-establish family relationships, in particular my nephew and nieces who all live down South. We first met in 1986 when I came home for Christmas – I was living in Canada at the time. My brother was a single parent with four children aged from 14 months to five years. I returned to the UK in 1987 and we were all very close for many years – until I left for university and my brother remarried.
Having been raised in the church, they each grew away from the Lord and seem to grow in sibling rivalry. Their relationships with each other were often fractious and competitive and they put so much value in people. My heart and my prayers is for each of them to reconnect with the Lord and to their faith in him and not others.
The power of knowing that Jesus was my Saviour and Rock became very evident in 2013 when I was diagnosed with cancer. I prayed that day the Joy of the Lord would be my strength throughout the ordeal, and it is to this day.
Relationships with family, friends, and church were key to my journey for the longest time.
However on one of the lowest days in the hospital, unable to eat for 5 weeks, the feed tube was removed and “medical food” was offered but had a very negative effect on me.
Jesus came and stood at the end of my bed, he smiled at me. A radiant smile. Then he sat on the corner of the bed and said “that everything was going to be all right. And so it was.
I had a stressful childhood due to my mother’s many bipolar episodes. My father and us children weren’t offered any support. From the age of 9, I looked after my dad and brothers – prior to that, we were fostered often. It was only as an adult that I came to understand what an awesome mother we’d had, how much she’d had to overcome in her own life. My mother made an enormous effort to give us some wonderful childhood memories.
At eighteen I emigrated to Canada where I had an exciting business and personal life – though a churchgoer I lived for adventure and looking good!
I returned from Canada in 1987 where my dream was to marry, live in a rose-covered cottage, with the man of my dreams. I came to the University of Bradford to study Politics and International Relations, my plan was to offer my skills to any Missionary organisation. However the Lord had other plans, and after university directed me instead to take care of the hurting people. And so I did in a variety of ways.
Todays Thought comes from David Bullen
Bio: David is married to Reina and have been members of the Light Church from the beginning. They have two children who are both married. Emma, who works in the Finance dept at CAP and Daniel who is also a member of the Light Church and works for TLG along with his wife Sarah who works for our Church.
Although David originates from various places in the south of England and lived abroad for 16 years, he’s truly adopted Yorkshire as home having lived in Addingham for 21 years and more recently Silsden. David’s wife Reina is from The Netherlands.
David runs a business visiting clients in many European countries and designing and making fine tailored garments for them. He’s a great lover of the Scandinavian lifestyle and at home, you’ll probably find him sitting in his Sauna or Hot Tub!
Todays Thought comes from Jasmine.
Verses for reference are: Psalm 132 v2 and 1 Peter 5 v6&7
After you have finished watching, you can find the song mentioned here:
Bio: Jasmine has been at the Light Church since it began in 2008 which coincided with her marrying the fit drummer (Si, not the other drummer, her brother Tom!). They have 2 incredible miracle children, Rose and Jamie who are a daily reminder that God fulfills his promises. Even when they are being typical 5 and 2-year-olds! Jaz manages her own skincare business with the company Temple Spa and is passionate about wellbeing, looking after yourself and just loves showing people, particularly women, that they have immense value and worth. In her spare time (so never) you’ll find her playing The Sims.
Todays thought comes from Amy McGrail
Based on John 19: 1-42 - Trial, Death & Resurrection of Christ.
Did you know that God’s plan’s for your life often differ from your own, Proverbs 19:21?
Pilate tried to avoid sentencing Jesus to death because he believed Jesus’ innocence. He instead hoped to appease the people and leaders of Jerusalem and so sentenced Jesus to 39 lashings with a bone laced whip (40 lashings was known to cause death). However, if God’s master plan to rescue every person in existence from certain eternal death was to succeed, then there would be no ‘appeasing’ regardless of of Jesus’ innocence.
Have you tried to avoid God’s great plan for your life because of the pain it might cause or the things it might mean you have to sacrifice along the way?
It goes against our nature to be out of our comfort zone. But through the personal trials we face, we are made stronger in faith. We begin to understand our true identity in Christ and the Father-Son/daughter relationship we were created to have. In our weakest moments, when we are at our most vulnerable, when we feel most exposed, in our most painful times, God lifts us up into His arms and does a great work within us. He sees us in our despair just as God saw Jesus in His suffering and through these trials we become more like Christ. He refines us and carefully restores and heals us. Yet God is not pushy and it was only as Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father in the garden “yet not my will, but Yours be done” Luke 22:42, that God’s plan master plan could prevail.
We do not suffer our trials in vain James 1:2-4, but for the eternal weight & value they hold ultimately in the kingdom. If we remained the same our whole lives then we miss the purpose of what our walk with Christ is all about. It’s only in the refiner’s fire when we are uncomfortable and even sometimes get burned, that we become more like Christ,
1 Corinthians 11:1.
Jesus’ experience on the cross, where God was shaping the rest of eternity, was followed by three days in complete darkness in the tomb. Death had won for a very short time and sometimes in our own lives or the lives of those around us and those we care about and are praying for, there are often times that may appear to be like this. Times when things go quiet and nothing appears to be happening, a ‘grave’ experience, but this is preparation time and time when we have to really trust God. Most importantly it is the time to get to know what the bible says about this what God’s perspective is, and prepare yourself for what ever is to come, Ephesians 6:10-18.
Through our sacrifices and through the challenges we face, God hears our every prayer, 1 John 5:14. He knows our every thought and our every hearts desire through out the trials, Psalm 139. So during your time of sacrifice (of fasting, prayer or trial), be comforted, know and believe that God can and will do great things! Approach your Father in great confidence and anticipation for what He has planned in accordance with His will. He is after all, a great big loving and redeeming Father God of whom you are his precious and most beloved Child. He longs to hear your heart and be in relationship with you.
So believe that through this time of trial, your life will be transformed for the good of those who love him, Romans 8:28, through the sacrifices and time spent in prayer, there will be great miracles and breakthrough in those areas into which you are praying. Through the power of the resurrection we stand from a position of victors and not victims - the victory is already ours! We are vessels through which great works can be accomplished in both our lives and the lives of others. So today thank God for the mighty and incredible overwhelming power of the cross and the great victory that has already been won on your behalf.
by Amy McGrail
Bio: I’m Amy, I have been coming to the Light Church for the last 10 years. I’m married to Shaun who’s incredible and together we are part of the worship team at church which we both really enjoy, we also have a little rescue dog. I worked in schools for many years until a year ago when I set up my own business walking dogs which I love. Although, I’ve now had to close the business for the foreseeable future in light of all that’s going on. Shaun works for Bradford Christian School and is also a qualified electrician. These are uncertain times but we’re trusting God and looking forward to being able to see everyone again soon!
Todays thought comes to us from Susanne Shackleton
Our downstairs toilet is purple, which made it the perfect place to hang the purple plaque I bought bearing the scripture, ‘Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.’ It was only later on that I realised, from that day forth, any guests using our facilities would always be led to consider this thought when they probably least expected it!
For such a time as this. Those words, that scripture from the book of Esther, have been on my heart these past two weeks (and not because I’ve been at home and using our downstairs toilet more frequently!) For many of us, our purpose has been shaken up over the past fortnight. Some, myself included, have found ourselves furloughed from our usual job. Others have been propelled into the ‘never-a-dull-moment’ world of home-schooling. Many are living with the frustration of desperately wanting to work or serve but having to stay at home for the sake of their health. And then there are the countless key workers whose daily role has never been more critical as they find themselves on the front line of this crisis. I have had conversations with friends in the NHS whose working life is so busy and relentless right now, compared with my much slower pace of life being mum (and teacher) at home. Although we’re all living the same reality, it hardly seems comparable. Ordering decimal numbers vs fighting to save people’s lives. Yes we’re living the same reality but we’re certainly not all having the same experience.
And yet we are all loved by the same God and He has reminded me strongly that we all have an important role to play right now. Each of our ‘for such a time as this’ moments looks different, but uniquely positions us to share God’s love. Your moment may look like comforting a worried child, being their stability in a time of huge unknowns. It may look like delivering food parcels to the most needy and vulnerable in our society. It could be regular phone calls to elderly relatives or neighbours who just need to hear a voice. Your moment may be nursing a sick and scared patient whose family are unable to visit them. Your moment could be encouraging and lifting up others, speaking faith, hope and peace into their lives when they feel lost. I’ve never known a time when humanity is so intrinsically linked and dependent on each other, showing us how we are all a part of something much bigger.
So my encouragement to you today is to reflect on what your ‘for such a time as this’ moment is. And if you don’t know, ask God, because I can guarantee there is something within you that He can use right now. However small and insignificant you may think it is, in the hands of our Heavenly Father it can move mountains.
Lots of love to you all
Bio: Hi, I’m Susanne. I’m originally from Essex but went to university in Sheffield in 1997 and have pretty much lived ‘up north’ ever since. Richard & I met at university and we got married in 2005. We have two sons, William aged 12 and Peter aged 9. We’ve been a part of The Light Church since 2010. I work part time as a teaching assistant at Bradford Christian School and am blessed to work with many amazing colleagues and children. I like music, films, books, theatre and am a bit potty about Giant Pandas!
Our Thought For The Day comes from John Kirkby
Bio: John is one of the founders of the Light church, and is married to Lizzie, and Dad to Jasmine, Jessica, Abi, Tom & Lydia!!
A Bradford boy born and bred, John isn’t merely John, he’s Dr John Kirkby CBE.
Both awards given in recognition of the outstanding work he did and continues to do as the founder of Christians Against Poverty.
When he’s not working John is a weather geek, an artist, loves to exercise and is a big fan of the Archers. (The R4 programme, not the drink.)
Our Thought For The Day comes from John Biglands
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
I once spent six weeks working with Tearfud in Armenia. It was extremely hot and water was in short supply. We were allowed one short shower a week. I remember the luxury of those showers and the few blissful hours that came afterwards, feeling clean for a brief time, before the dust and sweat returned to my skin.
When I got back to the UK I remember the gratitude I felt for every shower I took. To be able to wash whenever I felt like it seemed like such a luxury. I don’t remember the first time I stepped into a shower without feeling this sense of gratitude, but sad to say it only took a year before I could shower again without giving a second thought. I simply took it for granted.
Scarcity can bring many things. It can bring fear and jealousy and selfishness and hoarding of copious amounts of loo roll. But it is also an opportunity to be reminded of just how rich we usually are. Familiarity, on the other the hand, can make us unappreciative of things that are incredibly precious.
When asked about his wife, Mercedes, the author Gabriel Garci Marquez said, “I know her so well now that I have not the slightest idea who she really is.” Familiarity does not so much breed contempt as invisibility. We just don’t see how good life is until parts of it are taken away from us. Perhaps that is why Jesus spent so much time telling stories about situations that people were familiar with and then turning them upside down. Stories of salaries paid, not by the hour but simply by whether you turn up at some point that day (Matt 20). Stories of crazy shepherds who abandoned ninety nine sheep to look for one rogue wanderer (Luke 15). And a flagrant disregard for the letter of the law in order to follow the heart of it (Matt 21, Matt 12).
Perhaps this time of social isolation and potential scarcity in the things we have always taken for granted is an opportunity to thank God for the things that we had become so familiar with that they had become invisible. To open our eyes to the abundant wealth that was always all around us, and still is. And, when we are all finally allowed to spend time together physically again, and ALDI is once again the land that overflows with milk, honey and loo roll, to remember just how rich we are to have food, friends and a space to enjoy them together.
May solitude bring you nearer to God.
May the fear on the faces of the world make you trust more, not less.
May you respond to scarcity with generosity.
May you respond to fear with kindness.
May the things that we are deprived of for a short time make us more thankful for the things that we have most of the time.
May we rejoice as humanity’s stranglehold on creation is loosened for a time and the Earth begins to breathe again.
May we love those closest to us more perfectly.
And when we open our doors and step out into the world again, may we be wiser, humbler and full of joy.
Bio: John Biglands and his family have been part of the light church for about 10 years. They love camping, being in nature, music, deep fireside chats with friends and food. John and Jenny host a Light group in Shipley and can be occasionally spotted in a variety of local bands playing music. They have two children, Ellie and Josiah.
(Matt adds - ‘Dr’ John Biglands is a proper brain box. He works in medical physics in Leeds, spanning both practical healthcare with serious academic work.)
Todays thought comes from Beth Thompson
Bio: Wife to Gaz, mum to Isabella and Pepper the cat.
My walk with God hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing but that all changed when I gave my life back to God, probably for the 4th or 5th time.
Since then, 2016, I’ve been miraculously healed of depression, attended Bible College, changed career from Recruitment to Campaign Management at CAP, fallen chronically ill, got married, left my career due to health and became a mum!
I’m a big believer in the healing power of God, the wisdom God gives when we seek Him and that you can get through anything life throws you if you lean on Him and come out of it full of joy.
Todays Thought For The Day comes from Helen Hiorns:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been busy for my whole life.
I was always good at school with enough going on at home that I chose Busyness and Achieving Things to distract from the rest. The world rewards busyness and maximising our free time to get ‘the most’ out of it. The world taught me that you rest so you can do more work and I’ve lived in that place where you flit between productivity and binge-watching netflix to shut your brain off and yet still never feel like you’ve rested. I’ve judged my worth by what I can get done and I’ve felt that restless frustration that comes when it feels like Getting Where You’re Going doesn’t come fast enough, or fruitfully enough.
This is the third week of being in my house on my own (I was self-isolating the week before this lockdown started) and I don’t want to romanticise this time. I know that it’s hard and scary and that it just sucks not to be able to see family and friends and to rely on our normal coping mechanisms and I know I write from a place of incredible blessing, both in security and good relationships, but this is also an opportunity.
Just, stop. For some of us who are now working twice as hard, with kids at home, and are worried and anxious, that still feels really hard, but the chances are most of us have something in our lives that has been stripped back, peeled away or turned into a video call instead.
We don’t have to use this time to learn a new language or pick up that old hobby. If it brings you joy, do and keep it in your life forever, but if it’s another distraction, another way of busying yourself, just stop. This is a change of pace. If you’re like me, you’ve been running at the wrong pace for years, and it’s hard and jarring to fall into this new rhythm. That’s okay. That’s understandable.
Just be still.
“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God’.”
I thought the first part was a request, but it’s the ‘how to’. You have to be still to know that he is God. To really know it, in your bones. You have to let the noise of everything that’s happening wash away. You have to give him your attention—- all of it. Turn off your phone. Turn off your music or the TV. Savour the time you’ve saved from your commute, or travelling to your light group or church, or those ad hoc trips to the shop.
He is bigger than all of it and eternity is longer than all of it.
He is our refuge and our strength and our fortress; the lord almighty is with us, and he longs for our attention.
Turn everything off (and I mean everything) and just take five minutes. Be still. Know that he is God.
I work for CAP as a data analyst, lead a light group, live for stacking shelves at the foodbank and occasionally write things. I’m currently on lockdown with my plants and the fictional man who lives in the loft (I’ve called him Geoffrey and am blaming him for not loading the dishwasher; he just doesn’t pull his weight, that Geoffrey). Normally, I live with my wonderful co-leader Grace and occasionally venture outside to drink coffee and visit the outside world, but often paint things or sew things in front of the fire.
Be inspired by today’s Thought For The Day from Jane
Enjoy Jane’s thoughts via this video below
Bio: Jane Garratt born in Epsom Surrey and raised in a Christian home. Came to saving faith and relationship with Jesus Christ aged 6. Studied Applied Biology and then Biochemistry and worked as a research biologist for the makers of Aquafresh and Maclean’s toothpastes. Married Rob in 1974 and together we raised three children and now have three grandchildren. Have lived variously in Tadworth Surrey, Forest of Dean, Cleveland, Baghdad, Epsom Surrey, and Baildon. Also worked for British Steel, King’s Church Epsom, Clevedon House School & Christians Against Poverty. In 2007 left paid employment to embark on the adventure of helping poor people, in Africa and Asia, lift themselves from poverty through the God-given vision of 5000PLUS which is inspired by the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. We currently see it impacting untold numbers in 8 countries we have visited plus others we have not. Have had lots of adventures with God and proved His faithfulness, care and forgiveness over the years.
Our Lead Pastor, Matt Barlow starts off our new series.
Here is his Thought For The Day:
Every day, throughout April, we’ll be sending a short film or some written thoughts to help inspire, provoke, encourage and challenge us as we seek to follow Jesus. Hopefully these can form part of your devotional life and we pray it blesses you.
1st April - April Fools Day - surely it had to be me to go first….. enjoy the short message below, it’s based on John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.