LLCC news

Longley and Lowerhouses Community Church

Trustees: Robert Price and Brian Goodall

Our Mission Statement

Longley and Lowerhouses Community Church aims to be a caring, open-hearted Christian community, worshipping God, growing in discipleship and making known the good news of Jesus through word and action.

ZOOM Communion (bring your own!) Our next time for sharing and prayer will be on Wednesday February 10th at 7.30 p.m. If you would like to know more about this, email or phone Brian, Rob or Ian & Val. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY this month to: Kay (2nd), Caleb (8th), Eniola (12th), Shirley (19th) and Val (26th)

NEWS AROUND THE FELLOWSHIP

Thanks to Rob and Mary who have been making preparations for the time when we will be able to open the building for prayer. Details will be sent out when there is a definite date.

Zoom Communion (bring your own!) Our next time for sharing and prayer will be on Wed. 31st March at 7.30pm and there will be other Zoom sessions each Wednesday at the same time. If you have not been receiving Brian’s invitation email and would like to give it a try, please let him know.

"Brian's Bit" - March 2021

ONE  thing I’ve been doing, during the long months of lockdown, has been the task of tidying my study, or as I sometimes call it, my ‘Library and Resources Centre’. Other people in this row of houses have a similar room and they call it ‘the utility room’, or perhaps just ‘the cellar’.
But for me, it’s my study and it’s full of so many things that are important to me: books, notes and documents that date back almost 60 years to the time when I first came to believe that God was calling me into Christian ministry. They are in bookshelves, boxes, files and of course in my pride and joy, my large green filing cabinet! Not everything in there is important and, in recent years I’ve developed a programme of sorting through it all.
Quite a lot of things have gone to be sold on Ebay, go to a charity shop, get shredded to provide paper for the compost bins, into the green bin or even the grey one. But as I do my bit of sorting each day, I am constantly confronted by things I wrote when I was just starting in ministry and even in some cases when I was still at school. I’m re-introduced to a young man with high ideals, for whom there was no limit to what could be achieved in God’s strength, and I find myself challenged and encouraged over and over again.
Of course, many things have changed. I no longer have the full head of dark hair or the ability to do 20 press-ups or nip out for a five mile run. But essentially, I’m the same person that the Lord called all those years ago. Opportunities and challenges are different; life moves at a slower pace, but Christ’s call to take up the cross and follow him is just as real and as inviting as it ever was. I still want to say, loud and clear: ‘Lord, I am your servant; what will you have me do?’

Yours in Jesus’ name,

Brian

"Brian's Bit" - February 2021

MY daily Bible reading at the moment is taking me through the Letter to the Hebrews. It’s a fascinating book, with a certain mystery about it: who was it written to, and by whom? All we know about its origin is what we find written in the letter itself, and it doesn’t tell us all that much. One thing is certain, however. It was written to some Christians who had suffered quite a lot for their faith, and this suffering had gone on for such a long time that some of them were starting to give up. The letter was written to remind them of the importance of their faith and to encourage them. Most of all, it was to reinforce their faith in Jesus, who is described as being better: better than angels, better than Moses and the prophets and so much more. I suppose quite naturally my thoughts have run to compare their situation with ours. Their church life had been disrupted by persecution, ours by a deadly virus. But all of us need to be reminded not to lose heart and to realise that God still has a purpose for us.

So, we are reminded of the strength of our resources in God (Hebrews 6:19): ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure’.

And we are encouraged to look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2,3) the Author and Perfecter of our faith: ‘Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’.

Also, we need to remember our heritage (Hebrews chapter 11) – that long chapter full of heroes of the faith, who succeeded in amazing exploits and didn’t give up.

Please keep on praying for the church and for each other, that God will guide us in the way we should go and help us in our daily lives to honour him.

Yours in Jesus’ name,

Brian

"Brian's Bit" - January 2021

DURING lockdown I’ve been doing quite a lot of reading. I’ve read the History of the BMS, 1792-1992, quite a large volume that we bought for my Dad when it was first published and inherited it back from him when he died two years ago. I found that, as I was reading it, I kept encountering people who have played a part in my life. One of my predecessors, Nathaniel Herbert Shaw, the first Pastor of Dewsbury Baptist Church, left there in the 1860s to work in Italy with the BMS, where he planted a number of churches, including one in Rome. His journey to Italy was helped by Thomas Cooke, the travel agent, who was also a Baptist minister and served on the BMS committee. As I read further along, I came across numerous names of missionaries I have known who have influenced my life in many ways.

In the package containing the recent IDEA magazine from the Evangelical Alliance, there was a free copy of the magazine produced by Urban Saints, the Christian youth organisation that used to be called Crusaders. I was deeply impressed by the way that organisation has managed to keep in touch with hundreds of youngsters during lockdown, a real inspiration and encouragement.

Recently I had a look at a website called ‘omnicalculator’, recommended as a way of finding out when I’ll be getting the vaccine. Apparently, I am somewhere between number 6,029,525 and 9,926,645 in the queue, and can expect to receive the vaccine between March 25th and May 19th. I’m not sure whether to add this to my list of encouragements or not!

I will continue to pray for you all, and wish you a happy and fruitful New Year 2021.

Yours in Jesus’ name, Brian

"Brian's Bit" - November 2020

MY personal Bible reading plan, which moves between the Old and New Testament, has taken me recently to the First Book of Samuel. I’m always intrigued by the ways God calls people to serve him and I find the example of the call of Samuel in chapter three to be one of the most striking. As well as the Lord speaking in the Temple to the young boy, and waking him with an urgent message, I’m impressed by the way that God’s people were in a situation of defeat. They really had their backs to the wall, but the priests, who were meant to interpret God’s will to the people, were compromised and powerless. Their enemies the Philistines, as was often the case, were always ready to take advantage of any sign of weakness. God’s answer took the form of a young boy, not the most obvious solution for either the nation’s loss of direction or the serious threat of attack by an enemy.

But Samuel had one huge advantage: he was totally dedicated to God, first by his mother, who had given him to the Lord before he was born (ch. 1 v. 11) and then by his own response: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening (ch. 3 v. 10).

Similarly, for us, our situation is strange and full of difficulty. We are praying that God will bring help and relief for his people and enable us to serve him in the place to which he has called us. Our faith says that although we can’t see the way, he can. Putting our trust in him is the surest way of facing the future.

Yours in Jesus’ name, Brian

"Brian's Bit" - September 2020

THERE are various questions that occupy the minds of those who contribute to the news media at this time. One question that has made me think is What have we gained from our time in lockdown?

For us personally, we’ve certainly managed to grow some impressive vegetables and soft fruit in the garden, and not going away on holiday has meant that the grass hasn’t got too long and the weeds have been kept at bay. We’re also producing an impressive amount of compost!

Meanwhile, Christian magazines testify to the huge take-up of online services and prayer opportunities. I was reading yesterday an article which said that 25% of the population have participated in some kind of religious service online, which is five times as many as usual.

For me, there has been quite a lot of tidying going on in my cluttered study and garage. Hopefully this physical tidying has been matched by some helpful sorting out of my thoughts and ideas.
Some people feel that life will never be the same after lockdown, that we will need to pursue our goals in new and different ways. Others perhaps are just longing for the time when everything gets back to ‘normal’, whatever that is. Of course, it will be necessary for many things to be restored to what they used to be, but I do rather incline to the view that we will have to accept a lot of change. Perhaps, for us, September will be a time of exploration as we look for ways in which our mission statement can be fulfilled in the future. Please join me as we continue to pray for the church and for each other and, if you have any inspiring ideas, let us know.

Yours in Jesus’ name, Brian

"Brian's Bit" (August 2020)

“What will become of us?” is a question I’ve written at the top of my ‘to do’ list recently. When I took on the role of being the Church’s official member of the Baptist Ministers’ Pension Fund, and then was appointed as a Trustee, it all seemed so simple. It was about preparing and leading services and writing up minutes of meetings – things I feel I can do reasonably well, and all at times and places that I could easily manage. What none of us realised at that time was that suddenly our ability to function in the accustomed way would suddenly be taken away by lockdown, and especially for those of us described as ‘most vulnerable’, we would be under a kind of house arrest for the foreseeable future. Personally, I have to admit that the whole thing has sapped my confidence, leaving me very unclear as to what can be achieved. Meanwhile the church building is being well looked after, as a recent report by Ian has shown, and the finances are good. Individually, I’m sure we all have hopes and plans for the future, but what of the Church? We have some serious praying and thinking and consulting to do and we value the prayers of everyone. As I was thinking about all this today, I was suddenly reminded of some powerful words from the Psalms. The verse occurs at least three times, in Psalm 42:5,11 and Psalm 43: 5 – “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God”.

Once again, if there are any developments, we’ll keep in touch and let you know.

Keep safe and keep well. Yours in Jesus’ name,

Brian

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR EACH OTHER AND THE NATION AT THIS TIME. Remember each other and all those who are dear to us, especially those who are unwell and those recovering from hospital treatment

"Brian's Bit" (July 2020)

SUNDAY June 21st was the 50th Anniversary of my ordination into Christian ministry. It took place in Wakefield Baptist Church, where I was a member at the time, and was a great and memorable occasion for me. Just a few weeks later I was on an aeroplane heading towards Brussels for my first experience of full time employment as a Minister at the International Baptist Church of Brussels, Belgium (we called it that so that Americans would not confuse it with Brussels, Idaho or Brussels, California!) It was another step in what was to be a massive learning experience, which still continues.

Of course, I knew very little of what the future would bring but my trust in God’s provision and guidance has never been disappointed.

A more recent learning experience was my attempt to hold a prayer time via Zoom on the 3rd of June. It was successful for the very small number who were able to join me. I would like to try again, and this time I will prepare it a bit more carefully and send you information by email as well as just through Zoom.

 

"Brian's Bit" (June 2020)

DURING the time leading up to Pentecost my daily Bible readings have been in the book of Acts.I’ve been  reading about the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit, and once again I’ve been inspired by this Bible book on which I must have spent many hours preaching over the years.

One thing that has struck me this time is in Acts chapter 6, ‘The choosing of the seven’. The young Church in Jerusalem was experiencing an amazing time of growth and opportunity, yet at the same time they were facing considerable hostility and persecution. Their leaders, the Apostles, found themselves overwhelmed by the needs of those they were trying to care for and called for a plan to be implemented: seven men, suitably qualified, should take on this responsibility. As a result, the Gospel continued to be proclaimed and the church grew. Instead of just a problem to be solved, the church took a massive step forward. It’s my prayer that for us too, with all the difficulties we face at present, the Lord will show us how to turn obstacles into stepping stones and move forward in his name.

"Brian's Bit" (May 2020)

SO, how are things as we move into the seventh week of lockdown? Our country and our world are in a terrible situation as a result of the COVID-19 virus, which affects us all in some way. It’s hard to see if or when things will ever get back to normal!

There is a part of scripture that speaks of this kind of experience. Some of the Psalms refer to it, such as Psalm 137 which describes the feelings of the Israelites taken to exile in Babylon, and the Book of Lamentations, where Jeremiah vents his agony about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

But Jeremiah finds hope, which he expresses in the well-known words of Lamentations 3:22 & 23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”. Could it be that the experiences we’re going through might lead us to find help in the eternal truths that the church was founded in order to proclaim?

Meanwhile, in our own enforced exile, there are some things to be thankful for: the kindness of so many people who have volunteered their help, and the friendship of neighbours we’ve known by sight for many years who seem more ready to talk. Our frontline of mission has been pulled right back to the limits of our house and garden, but it provides a vivid illustration of the things we were talking about in church just a few weeks ago.