Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 31

Welcome to chapter 31. As I write this we are still in the middle of uncertainty. Are we heading into another lockdown as a country? Are people planning holidays going to be able to go? What about Christmas celebrations? Sadly, I don’t think we will be able to go carol singing this year. But who knows?  Actually, God does. He is at work in all of this uncertainty and can create wonderful things from chaos as He did at the beginning of creation. Psalm 55 is a cry of help to God by someone in anguish at betrayal by a friend. The full version of the verse in the cartoon (in the Message translation) says

“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders -
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.” 

Let us encourage each other to do as the carton suggests, because He will sustain us in all situations.

Bible Study

There is no Bible Study on Wednesday 21st October, back again on the 28th!


Prayer from a young person in Vanuatu

O Jesus, be the canoe that holds me in the sea of life, be the steer that keeps me straight, be the outrigger that supports me in time of great temptation.  Let your Spirit be my sail that carries me through each day, as I journey steadfastly on the long voyage of life. Amen.

We are asked to pray for

Kings Heath Church in Northampton, minister Rev Roger Woods and Honorary Baptist Pastor Rev Derek Punchard.

They write:

“Please pray for our Leaders as we move out of the time of lockdown and Zoom meetings, (that have been so beneficial when we were not able to meet).  Help us to bring the congregation back together, as we meet again in our building (we hope).

We also have plans to sell our present building and renovate the Anglican building on Kings Heath. Pray for real wisdom and guidance as these plans come together. The hard work starts here, and we look to God for His help and leading.”

Pray for the Mission of the Month

Please remember our “Mission of the month” BMS Harvest appeal “Operation Chad”

Next week

We are continuing the series on Creation “Saying Yes to Life”, with the theme “Let the land produce living creatures and let us make humankind in our image”


From Margaret Shaw on Creation Day 6 – Genesis 1:24-31

As we have been looking at the story of creation, as recorded in Genesis, we see that at each stage God looked at what he had done and “saw that it was good” (v 4; v 10; v 12; v 18; v 21; v 25).  Then we come to God making human beings - “in our image, to be like us”.  In v 31 it tells us, “God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!”

How amazing is that.  God made us in his image; to be like him, and he put humans in charge of his creation – to govern it and reign over it.  God had made everything to perfection – including humans – and expected us to follow in his ways and treat all his creation as he would; so that it would continue along the path that he intended.

But humans let him down.  In Genesis chapter 2 we learn of Adam and Eve and sin coming into their lives, leading to disobedience and distancing from God’s ways.  Then, just a few brief chapters later, we learn just how much has changed.

Genesis 6:5-6

The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.  So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth.  It broke his heart

How sad it is to read those words.  God was appalled by the way humankind had totally given themselves over to sin.  The perfection that God had created was ruined and he wished he had never made the earth and everything in it.  Thank goodness that our God is loving and merciful and that he found one good man in Noah who was obedient to God and willing to follow in his ways.

Many of you will have watched David Attenborough’s recent BBC TV programme “Extinction”.   It was a real wake up call to every one of us.  He began in the tone, not of one who was angry at humankind for the way it has and is destroying this wonderful planet, but of sorrow and shame that we could allow ourselves to behave in this way and let things get so bad.  How much more must God feel this sorrow as he looks now at the devastation that we humans have brought by our sinfulness and selfishness.  Forests and cultivated farmland are being destroyed at an ever-increasing pace.  Many species of plants and animals are facing extinction due to loss of habitat or being hunted – often not for food but for perverse pleasure or greed.  We have ravaged the earth’s resources and by the way we all live have caused global warming - raising the temperature of the earth with disastrous consequences.  The plastic that our generation welcomed so readily into our lives for all its usefulness is now causing terrible pollution – particularly harming sea creatures.  Perhaps worst of all was to learn, in the midst of this terrible pandemic, that these new diseases we see spreading from animal species to humans, have been caused by humans encroaching on the natural world – destroying habitats so that larger predators can no longer exist there and so allowing smaller creatures such as rats and bats to proliferate, and often in close proximity to human activity.  Covid -19 is not the first such disease and not likely to be the last.  We are likely to face more and more such emerging diseases if we do not take radical action in the way that we live our lives and let the animals live theirs.  We cannot call Covid-19 “the Chinese disease”.  We are all to blame.  It has been said before that for evil to spread, all it requires is for good people to do nothing.  We cannot, as God’s children, stand by and watch the destruction of His creation without trying to make a change – however small and insignificant this might seem.  David Attenborough stated that the world is at a tipping point and we must now make a choice to act before it is too late.

So, what can we do?  We can lobby politicians and policy makers who act on our behalf.  We can try to use less plastic and think about what we waste and what we send to landfill.  We can try to change our diet and to think more about what we need and not what we want.  To use the well-known phrase – to live simply so that others might simply live.  We can pray to God our Father and Creator, and seek His forgiveness for our sinful ways, for how we have got things so wrong, gone so far from what he intended, and ask Him to guide us into a better understanding of the right way to go forward.

When God sent the flood to destroy all the wickedness on earth, Noah was the one person with whom God was pleased.  Because he served God faithfully and did everything as God had commanded him (Genesis 6:8) humankind survived through his family, and all the creatures of the world too.

Maybe God can guide each of us in some way to help restore his wonderful creation.

God bless you all.

Margaret Shaw


Shoebox Appeal

Please note that leaflets are now available at church as are wrapped shoeboxes (thanks to Isobel).  If you can, please pay the costs to send your box online.  If you prefer to just give a donation instead of filling a box, please let John have that (clearly marked).  It is even possible to pay online for a shoebox to be filled. 

Shoeboxes need to be back to church by Sunday 8th November 

Tearfund Big Quiz Night

Saturday 14th November. This is still going ahead and will be through Zoom.


There is some filter coffee from the Ark which needs using by the end of November.  It will out at church, please help yourself and make us a donation.


Wendy is thinking about rotas for next year for when we again need stewards and people to serve coffee.  Please let her know if you want to join the rota or would prefer to come off it.

Next Church Meeting

Is on 29th November after the service.  It will be in 2 parts, a normal meeting to elect deacons and a special meeting to consider the new constitution.  Nominations for the diaconate need to be into Wendy by 8th November and forms for this will be available from 25th October onwards.  The new constitution will be circulated in the last week of October.

A reminder about listening to recordings of our services

At our reduced Sunday morning services in our building, there is regularly around two dozen of us as well as those who follow the chapter and pray for us at home.  Now for those of you who remain at home you can listen to a recording of the service.

If you have internet, then go to our website ( where you will find a recording. If you are not on internet, we have now paid to have a “Dial-a-Service” facility.  If you ring 01536 909787 you will be able to listen to a recording of the service on your telephone.  The cost, around 30p a call, is covered by the church.

Songs for Sunday

  1. Take my life, and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
    Take my moments and my days,
    Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
  2. Take my hands, and let them move
    At the impulse of Thy love;
    Take my feet, and let them be
    Swift and beautiful for Thee.
  3. Take my voice, and let me sing
    Always, only, for my King;
    Take my lips, and let them be
    Filled with messages from Thee.
  4. Take my silver and my gold,
    Not a mite would I withhold;
    Take my intellect, and use
    Every power as Thou shalt choose.
  5. Take my will, and make it Thine;
    It shall be no longer mine:
    Take my heart, it is Thine own;
    It shall be Thy royal throne.
  6. Take my love; my Lord, I pour
    At Thy feet its treasure store:
    Take myself, and I will be
    Ever, only, all for Thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879),
CCLI #5638

1. Lord, I come to you,
let my heart be changed, renewed,
flowing from the grace
that I’ve found in You.
And, Lord, I’ve come to know
the weaknesses I see in me
will be stripped away
by the power of your love.

Hold me close,
let your love surround me;
bring me near,
draw me to Your side.
And as I wait,
I’ll rise up like the eagle,
and I will soar with You,
Your spirit leads me on
in the power of Your love.

2. Lord, unveil my eyes,
let me see you face to face,
the knowledge of your love
as you live in me.
Lord, renew my mind,
as your will unfolds in my life
in living every day
in the power of your love.

Geoff Bullock ©1992 WordMusic
CCLI # 5638