Jesus' simple Message of God's love.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Christmas At Alva Baptist Church

Wow, what a performace by the Alva Baptist players shown here in this very exclusive picture. The children put on an amazing Nativity play during the morning service reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of the saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.
In the evening we had a Christmas eve service with lots of carol singing and lessons. It was a great time with a real warm, family atmosphere. The service ran from 6:30-7:30pm but most stayed at least an hour longer sipping coffee and tea and just enjoying some good fellowship with eachother.
This Sunday we will be having David Bowker from Tillicoultry Baptist preaching. The morning service starts at 11am. If you're new to the area or are just looking for a church, stop on in, we'd love to meet you.
God bless,
Marc
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Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Step by Step


Last summer someone asked me what my five year goal or plan was. After giving it some thought I kind of sheepishly replied, I don't know. I actually felt a bit embarrassed thinking, should I have a five year plan? Am I missing something here? As this was something that remained on my mind for several days afterward I thought I'd better see what God's word has to say about this. Though there are verses that imply we should have a plan, I haven't seen anything about a 5 year plan. As a matter of fact, most of the time what we see in the bible is quite the contrary.
In Psalm 119:105 it says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." If you've ever taken a walk at night with a torch or flashlight (for our American friends) you'll know that the torch only gives enough light to be able to make out the next few steps ahead, not miles ahead.
There are many stories in the bible that go along with this but the one that sticks out to me right now is in Acts 8 where we find Phillip having a very successful ministry in Samaria and then God sends and angel to tell Phillip to head out into the desert. Now if many of us were in Phillip's sandles, we would asking God, are you kidding me? I've got this amazing ministry here and I've been thinking about building a huge megachurch with plasma screens in the sanctuary, a big chapel just for weddings and a nice big gymnasium for our Good Sam basketball team. But, God had other plans in mind which to the man centered mindset, made no sense at all.
I'm also reminded of Paul in Acts 16 who had set out for Bithynia and the Holy Spirit redirected them eventually to Macedonia. If Paul were not open and obedient to the guiding of the Holy Spirit, the gospel may have never reached Europe.
The day I took the picture above I had originally intended to ride the bus but God had other plans for me that day as I ended up walking and seeing some of the most amazing scenes I never would have seen from the bus. It was also during that walk God reminded me of the 5 year plan. Five years ago I would have never imagined we would have been to New Zealand and living in Scotland. It has been challenging at times (just as that walk was) but an amazing experience beyond my imagination.
So I guess we all have to ask the question, are we open to the Spirit's guiding, or are we just setting up our plans and asking God to bless it. God may have something bigger and better in mind than you would have ever dreamed.
I wonder what God's got in store for us in the next 5 years...
God bless,
Marc

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Welcome to the Alva Baptist Blog

Hello bloggers, this is the first post for this wee church in the Ochil hill foots region of Scotland. This is an exciting time not just because of this new blog but because God is definitely up to something in this wee village of Alva and the Alva Baptist Church.
About seven months ago Alva Baptist was seriously considering closing their doors as many other churches in Scotland have been doing recently. Right now there are on average two churches per week closing their doors in Scotland which is really sad considering the history of this once very great Christian nation.
Thankfully, that has not happened in Alva as David Barrie, youth pastor from Stirling Baptist sensed God had something else in mind concerning this church. David began the process through much prayer and consultation to encourage the believers at Alva in the faith and helping the church to move forward in many practical areas.
In June a team from New Jersey came over to lead a holiday club in which as many as 35 kids showed up each day during the week. It was a major success and a great time for not only the kids but for the New Jersey team and the rest of those involved.
Since then, there has been a regular rota of preachers and worship leaders from different parts of Scotland and the regular attendance has gone from 6 people to around 30 for the Sunday morning service.
In November the church decided to hire Marc and Julie Hamer on staff as church workers. Marc will fill the pastoral position on an interim basis with Julie helping out in a number of areas including worship, events planning and Sunday school teaching among many other things.

Marc and Julie are originally from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, USA but have been living in Scotland with their three children for over two and a half years. Previous to their work with Alva Baptist, they helped in coordinating the 'Impact World Tour' evangelistic outreach in Kilmarnock, Stewarton, Ayr, Irvine and Tillicoultry. Prior to coming to Scotland, Marc served on staff with their home church in Pennsylvania as an assistant to the senior pastor for three years.

Stay tuned for other exciting things happening in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.