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24th March 2020 - Let's keep in Touch and encourage one another 
Good Morning Friends,
 
I trust you are all keeping well and taking care. I know that there are those of you, like us, who have been doing their best to help others with shopping
and other needs whilst trying to take care of our own safety. Some good news yesterday was that Ian and Ida were hoping to have their car back - please keep praying for them.

We had an uplifting time on Sunday with a short service at home; Prayer, singing worship songs, reading God's word and taking Communion.
I hope you were able to do something similar. We are trying now to sing every day - worship is uplifting! It builds you up just as reading the word and prayer do also.


STANDING FIRM

The news last night of the new restrictions that the Government has introduced may have been a shock to some people,
but it is clear that, both individually and as a Nation, we need to take even more care in order to win this war against the virus.

In a Spiritual context as Christians we understand this concept of waging war against an often invisible enemy!
We are encouraged to put on the whole armour of God. We need to do this more than ever in the trial that we are now experiencing,
just as on a practical level we need to take the relevant precautions of washing and distancing etc.

The Scripture in Ephesians Ch 6 speaks of putting on the (Whole) Armour of God -  it also tells us to STAND FIRM.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

WE ARE ALSO REMINDED TO PRAY:

1And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Can I encourage you to pray for God's people, for all those in need, the NHS, our Nation, our Government and the world situation.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

Our friend Phill (Phill and Bev who now fellowship with us) has received the letter that he should self-isolate for the next 12 weeks.
Please pray for him and Bev that the Lord would strengthen them. They are taking the opportunity to do some quality Bible Study.

Can you also pray for Emma's younger sister and her husband in Lincoln (Dorcus and Ian)  - she has the virus and is not well at all.

Please let me have any other requests you would like to circulate for prayer. This email group that I have set up covers almost all the Church members.

PRAYER - WEDNESDAY EVENING

Finally - Can I encourage you to join in Prayer tomorrow (Wednesday) Evening.

It would be good again if we could take time out at around 8.00 pm to pray for each other, the needs of our Church, our friends and of course the Nation.

Play a worship song from a CD or Youtube and sing along ; read an encouraging Scripture - for example a fuller version of Ephesians 6 or Psalm 91.

1 Thessalonians (5:16-18) tells us this:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


May God Bless You at this Time

Stephen

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22nd March 2020 - BBC Services Today
Good Morning Everyone

I hope you will be joining us in Communion in your own homes today at around 11.00am and join in prayer throughout the day for our Nation as part of the Churches Together National Day of Prayer.

If you do not have Satellite TV or the ability to stream on the internet you may want to know that there is a short Mothers Day Service on BBC1 at 11.45 am and there is Songs of Praise at 1.15 pm where the Model Katie Piper and her mother will be speaking about their Christian Faith.

Both the Archbishop of York John Sentamu and Cardinal Vincent Nicholls were both on BBC Breakfast this morning and were excellent. You can probably watch it on  Iplayer.

The Cardinal spoke about Isolation. He referred to that fact that the Monks (and Nuns ) have lived this type of life for centuries and it is important to have routine or rhythm in our lives.  Prayer, worship, work, relaxation these are all part of the balance of life. He said that we should not just sit watching TV - but take time to read God's word , pray - worship and relax by reading and walking.

We can spend time focusing on the Unchangeable God who puts the consistency in our lives.

God Bless You today - we will be praying for you all.


Stephen


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21st March 2020 - Update
Good afternoon Friends,

Just a quick update to follow on from my email yesterday.

Thank you for all your cards and kind thoughts and wishes on my Birthday today. It's been an interesting day - so quiet all around us - especially for a Saturday.

As I said in my message yesterday, I hope you will take the opportunity at around 11:00 am tomorrow to join together by taking Communion in your own homes and sharing in a time of prayer / read a passage of Scripture / listen to and join in on any worship song..

I was really blessed by 'Word for Today ' this week, especially yesterday, which focused on Isaiah 26:3 NLT 'Whose thoughts are fixed on you!’
We are probably more familiar with the King James translation 'Whose mind is stayed on you'

The writer refers to the fact that the secret to ‘perfect peace’ lies in this Scripture: ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!’ It’s not our circumstances, but how we think about them that robs us of peace.
God never changes, and nothing ever spins out of His control.
I found this a great encouragement in this week of many challenges - God speaks to us often just when we need it!

Tomorrow is Mothers Day or 'Mothering Sunday' and we were looking forward to hearing Lesley speak to us. Although we are not able to come together there is another opportunity to unite on Mothers Day.
The Churches Together Organisation has organised a National Day of Prayer for our current situation.
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They write….

This Mothering Sunday, 22nd March, we are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer and Action. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that He holds.

At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes (OR A BATTERY ONE IF THAT IS SAFER!) as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7
The main thing is to Pray

A link is provided below for full information:


I'll be providing more information and links to other on-line study helps and opportunities to join in on-line services in the next few days.

If you have any specific Prayer requests please email me and I can share them across our Community.

I spoke to Gerry today and both she and Vic are not well. Vic had to go to bed which is not like him as we know. They do not think it is the virus - not the right symptoms - but would very much appreciate our prayers.
Please also remember Joyce and Emmy and all those who are not able to use the Information Technology to stay in touch.

Let us be encouraged as we join together in Spirit tomorrow morning and remember:
 
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

God Bless You

Stephen

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20th March 2020 - Letter from Stephen Anderson
Dear Friends

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I'm writing to you on behalf of the Church Council at this challenging time for us all.

As you well know - the Coronavirus is having a dramatic impact on our local communities, across the country.... and of course the world.
We are all working through what this means for us in our everyday lives as individuals, families and as a Church.

You will have been listening to the guidance from the Prime Minister and his Advisers about the changes we must make to our lifestyles and general day to day activities.These include keeping a safe distance; avoiding meeting in groups, not visiting restaurants etc.
For those people over the age of 70 and those with health conditions then this is even more stringent asking people to remain as much as possible in their homes etc.

The Church Council has been keeping in close communication with other Churches and organisations including the National Leadership of our own denomination
Assemblies of Gods (AoG-UK) regarding what our response should be in relation to our Church here in Bentley.

Our National Leader Glyn Barratt has written to us and the Assemblies of God is following the National Government Guidance together with the Church of England and Methodist Churches.

We are therefore following this guidance and are suspending Church Services and Activities - as are our friends at Mount Hermon Church also.
There will therefore be no Services on Sunday or Wednesday or Friends and Fellowship Club till further notice.
Our friends from St John Ambulance and Dogs Trust who use our Centre are also suspending all activities.

I think that I've managed to speak to everyone (or a member of the family) in the last couple of days but wanted to write to you on behalf of the Church Council  to confirm the present arrangements.
I'll be keeping in touch mainly by email ( or telephone/text if required).
I'm looking into the use of the 'ZOOM App' (which Phill has introduced to me) to see if we can keep in touch via the internet.
I'll write to you again very soon about this.

** A number of Church Members have asked me about how they can continue to give their weekly / monthly Tithes, Offerings and Missions donations whilst the Services are suspended.
For those who do not already use a Standing Order I can send you the Church's Bank Details and you can make payments directly into the Account when it is convenient for you. Just contact me and I'll let you have the details.

In my telephone calls to you, I asked if we could do some simple things to stay united in fellowship - for example:

1. On Sunday Morning at  around 11.00 am - take simple communion - bread and a drink -  and pray together in our own homes - sing a hymn / song if you wish and read a passage of scripture.
As we are united together in fellowship (even though we are not physically together) then I'm sure the Lord will hear us and bless us.
The Scriptures warn us about not gathering together for fellowship and prayer.These are exceptional circumstances and we will do our best to stay close to God.

2. On Wednesday evenings at around 8.00 pm, spend some time in prayer - read some scripture.- play / sing along with a worship song.

Our brother Solomon regularly sends inspirational messages on Whatsapp and he just sent one about 'LOCKDOWN' which we are now experiencing in our Country -  I thought it might encourage you.

L.O.C.K.D.O.W.N is a time to:

L - isten to God's voice and reflect.

O - bey His word and His teachings.

C - all on Jesus' name and be calmed.

K - now what is the purpose of all this.

D - well in His secret place. Do not Panic.

O - ffer a prayer for everyone's safety.

W - ait and be patient. This too will pass over.

N - urture our personal relationship with Him.

(Please share with family and friends . God Bless us All - Solomon)

Let us continue to encourage ourselves in Prayer and reading the Word as we look forward to a time of celebration together.

Take care

God Bless You All

Stephen

(On Behalf of the Church Council)
Bentley Pentecostal Church

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19th March 2020 - An Old but Now Relevant Hymn
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home:
Under the shadow of thy throne,
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting thou art God,
To endless years the same.
A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guide while troubles last,
And our eternal home!
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