Monthly Message Oct 2019

What a day of blessing it was at the last Bible Focus on September 21st.  Thank you so much for coming, and if you were unable to you can hear the talks on our website here.  Do reserve the date for next year’s event: 12th September, at the same venue.

Our English word ‘hope’ tends to be used in a rather tentative way; for example, “I hope it will be fine tomorrow” when I don’t really know if it will be or not.  But not so the New Testament word ‘hope’.  It translates a word that implies a definite expectation. The NT idea of hope is a promise that is yet to be fulfilled, but it is certain because it is a promise of God.  That is why we can say, of a believer, in the funeral service: “in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life”.

Not surprisingly, I suppose, that kind of hope is not common in today’s society.  If God is not taken seriously then his promises will not be either, and there will be little hope.  Sadly, the long drawn-out Brexit affair is likely to sap many hopes and the drastic actions of the Extinction Rebellion activists depict near despair rather than any hope.

Now it may very well be true that our planet is heading towards destruction, but as Christians we need not fear that that is because everything is out of control.  Far from it.  God is always in control, over and above all human disobedience and folly.

This is what the apostle Peter has to say (II Peter 3:10-13):  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.   But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness”.

 It will be the Lord’s sovereign doing, whatever means he chooses to accomplish it.  What a blessed hope the believer has in the Lord Jesus Christ – a home of righteousness awaiting!  What a hope to hold on to!  What a challenge to how we live! What a message to share to a world without hope!

My prayer for you is in the words of Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

 Yours in Christ,



Monthly Message Sep 2019

Has this country faced such a major crisis as we face now since the Second World War?  Then, of course, we knew what (and whom) we were facing, but today it is very complex.  Trust is at a premium, and it seems that the future has never been more uncertain.  I feel inadequate to comment on our present national situation, yet it would surely be wrong, at this precise time, to ignore it for a lesser topic.

Permit me, therefore, to share with you a few Scriptures which I pray will bring us all some encouragement.

How appropriate is this year’s Bible Focus theme – “Who is Jesus?”  He alone has, and he alone is, the answer to every human need.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”.  (Proverbs 3:5,6).  Impossible though it may seem, we need to pray that the nation will once again acknowledge the Lord.

We are not an insignificant minority wanting to foist our religious viewpoint on others; rather we have come to know, by grace, the One who is King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the great Ruler before whom every other ruler must, sooner or later, bow.  Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles . The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”  (Psalm 2:1-6)

 King Jehoshaphat of Judah found himself up against a vast enemy army (II Chron 20).  “The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed they came from every town in Judah to seek him”. (v4).  Then Jehoshaphat led them in prayer, concluding with: “O our God…We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (v12).  Britain needs political leadership, but we also need spiritual leadership.  And we also need a unity that overrides difference of opinion.  None of that appears to be on the horizon at the moment, but I am convinced it is far from simplistic to pray with the humility and faith with which Jehoshaphat prayed: “We do not know what do, but our eyes are upon you.”

 “Who is Jesus?”  He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  Our destiny, security, hope and wisdom is in Him and Him alone.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

I really look forward to seeing many of you at Bible Focus on September 21st, at to being strengthened and encouraged and focused afresh on our reigning Lord and Saviour. “He is the true God and eternal life.”  (I John 5:20).


Monthly Message Aug 2019

Last month’s message was to have sufficed for both July and August, but one of our team members, Sandie, has kindly offered the following piece which I am very pleased to pass on to you.  I’ll be back in September!  Tony

I wonder how many words bombard us every day? Whether it’s the chatter of the family around the breakfast table, news headlines on the media, the voice of a loved one via phone or the words of a song in your headphones, we are surrounded by a cacophony of words each and every day.

But whom we choose to listen to amongst this noise, is really important.

The Psalmist writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge.” The very world around us speaks of our majestic Creator.

And at our next Saffron Walden Bible Focus  we will see from Hebrews that God has spoken to us by His son, Jesus Christ. How utterly extraordinary that the God who made the whole world, who stretched out the heavens and placed the stars, should deign to speak to us!

And what words Jesus speaks. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:28-29)

I love singing and two old hymns spring to mind. The first by Horatio Bonar , born just after the death of Newton who wrote “How sweet the sound”


I heard the voice of Jesus say,

‘Come unto Me and rest;

lay down, thou weary one, lay down

thy head upon My breast’:

I came to Jesus as I was,

weary, and worn, and sad;

I found in Him a resting-place,

and He has made me glad.


I heard the voice of Jesus say,

‘Behold, I freely give

the living water; thirsty one,

stoop down and drink, and live’:

I came to Jesus, and I drank

of that life-giving stream;

my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,

and now I live in Him.


I heard the voice of Jesus say,

‘I am this dark world’s light;

look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,

and all thy day be bright’:

I looked to Jesus and I found

in Him my star, my sun;

and in that light of life I’ll walk

till travelling days are done.


How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

in a believer’s ear!

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

and drives away his fear.


It makes the wounded spirit whole,

and calms the troubled breast;

’tis manna to the hungry soul,

and to the weary rest.


Dear name! the rock on which I build,

my shield and hiding-place,

my never-failing treasury, filled

with boundless stores of grace.


Jesus! my shepherd, brother, friend,

my Prophet, Priest and King;

my Lord, my life, my way, my end,

accept the praise I bring.


Weak is the effort of my heart,

and cold my warmest thought;

but when I see Thee as Thou art,

I’ll praise Thee as I ought.


Till then I would Thy love proclaim

with every fleeting breath;

and may the music of Thy name

refresh my soul in death!


I spent a happy time at the Keswick Convention this summer, listening to God’s Word in the company of His people and in His magnificent creation. Arriving heavy laden in many ways, I left refreshed and rested.

I hope to see many of you at this year’s Saffron Walden Bible Focus where we will hear and sing God’s Word together. Until then my prayer is that this summer we will find time to listen to and dwell richly in the Word of our good, good Father.