Train up a child….

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it”

(Proverbs 22.6)

The School term is nearly over and our children (and their teachers) can look forward to a long break – bliss!

End of term assemblies and prize giving are usually highly charged affairs where emotions run high. Pupils move on from primary to secondary and senior pupils move on to work or further education. Calum and I count it a privilege to be able to visit the schools in our area and are encouraged that many of those we speak to show a real interest in the gospel. I was really encouraged at the Alness Academy prize giving to hear a departing senior boy give thanks to God and his parents for his upbringing – the same pupil also contributed to our Christmas School Assembly for the upper school.

Coulhill Primary, as was reported in the last newsletter, took Mariam and Shekinah to their hearts during their recent visit and collected £100 at our Easter Service for their work in North India. I was very moved last week to collect many cards and messages of sympathy from the pupils who had heard of their dad’s passing.

Bridgend Primary have organised an end of term fundraiser for the poor children in Moldova. “Miles for Moldova” will see pupils, parents and staff running round the school grounds during break times to raise money for the “Hands and Heart” School Assembly for the upper school. Coulhill Primary, as was reported in the last newsletter, took Mariam and Shekinah to their hearts during their recent visit and collected £100 at our Easter Service for their work in North India. I was very moved last week to collect many cards and messages of sympathy from the pupils who had heard of their dad’s passing.

Bridgend Primary have organised an end of term fundraiser for the poor children in Moldova. “Miles for Moldova” will see pupils, parents and staff running round the school grounds during break times to raise School Assembly for the upper school. Coulhill Primary, as was reported in the last newsletter, took Mariam and Shekinah to their hearts during their recent visit and collected £100 at our Easter Service for their work in North India. I was very moved last week to collect many cards and messages of sympathy from the pupils who had heard of their dad’s passing.

Bridgend Primary have organised an end of term fundraiser for the poor children in Moldova. “Miles for Moldova” will see pupils, parents and staff running round the school grounds during break times to raise money for the “Hands and Heart” Project that Moldova Ministries supports. Obsdale Primary have also developed links with a primary school in rural Moldova.

Rosskeen continues to have a strong connection with Park and South Lodge Primaries and they recently sent a donation of £100 for our development fund as a thank you for the use of our minibus. We also are involved with school and community events organised by Margaret Campbell and her colleagues at Ardross which we enjoy very much. Both secondary schools have Scripture Union and Claire Ross and some colleagues at Invergordon ran an Alpha Course for senior pupils.

We had our end of term prize giving for our Sunday’s Cool and Milnafua Sunday School on 23rd June and we are encouraged that parents (and grandparents) continue to take the children along to church throughout the year despite outside pressures of other activities that invariably are organised for Sunday.

There is a pressure put on parents with the increase in the secular agenda which affects our young people. Even the Girl Guides now no longer pledge their loyalty to God but promise ”that I will do my best to be true to myself”.  So it is withgreat thanks to God that we have the privilege of influencing for good our children both in day school and Sunday school.

Many of our children will attend Holiday Clubs and Camps during the summer break where Jesus’ love will be shared in a relaxed and happy environment and many adults in churches today testify to trusting Jesus for their salvation at such events.

So please continue to pray for our young people and be encouraged with what is happening in our church and community. I leave the last word with Robert Macleod whose ministry was such a blessing to us over the Communion weekend – and judging by what he tweeted – he too was blessed by seeing many of our young people sitting with him at the Lord’s Table:  “On my way home from a very special weekend preaching in Rosskeen Free Church – What a privilege it is to share the message of Grace! The Lord has favoured this community of His. Pray for the ongoing labour/vision of this fellowship. WOW! So many children/young people at the Lord’s Table. Wonderful! What a future”!   

Amen to that!

Rev Iain MacAskill

Rev Iain MacAskill
Minister

Knowing God

Little birdy singing

‘I know whom I have believed,’ 2 Timothy Ch.1 v 12

Knowing God

I often wonder how well I actually know God.

When I read my Bible I see accounts of men like Abraham, Jacob, Elijah, Paul and others who knew God in a personal way. These men had a glorious and continuing experience with the Almighty God that sustained, strengthened and refreshed them. This conscious awareness of God, that was the hallmark of their lives and exploits, brought them intimately close Him. They knew that ‘their Redeemer liveth,’ Job 19 v 25.

Can we say that our knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ, can be compared to that of the saints of old?

Tapping Noises

I was reminded of this one spring morning when I was disturbed by loud tapping noises coming from outside my office at the foot of my garden.

I eventually traced the source of the sounds to a bird box that had been fixed to the rear wall of the office a few years ago and some discreet observation revealed that two blue tits were starting to build a nest there. I wondered if they were the same birds that had nested there for a couple of years now.

Intimate Knowledge

Assuming that it was, these birds had obviously returned to a nesting place that was intimately known to them. Their experimental knowledge of the nest box must have been strengthened by the fact that it was a tried and tested place of refuge to them.

The little box had withstood gales blowing in from the nearby sea which from time to time tore branches from nearby trees.

It had even stood firm when a great storm had recently caused devastating damage along the sea shore and demolished part of the harbour wall.

I wonder if our experimental knowledge of Jesus is such that we can say that the reality of His existence has provided us with a tried and tested place of refuge where we can find rest from the burdens of everyday life, strength for each day and hope for the future?

Is our knowledge of God akin to that of the Old Testament Saints such as Abraham?

Faithful Abraham

Abraham could not turn to a minister for help. He had no scriptures. And yet he knew God in a way few of us will ever do.

God’s dealings with him were such that, despite whatever plans he might have had, Abraham was led to commit his life and future into His hands, having been told by Him ‘ I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect,’ Genesis 17 v 1.

God has a plan for every believer in Jesus. Do we realise and truly believe that if we have Jesus Christ we need nothing more?

Totally Committed

As I think about the blue tits busy preparing their nest and the hope they had for the future of successfully raising young once more, I am reminded that the bird box had never let them down no matter what came their way. I think it would be safe to say that their knowledge of the box brought them such a sense of security they became totally committed to it.

Can we honestly say that our personal knowledge of Jesus Christ is such that, having committed our lives totally into His hands, we have an inward sense of well being and security?

Can we say with Paul of old that ‘I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him …’ 2 Timothy 1 v 12.

Belief Rewarded

It is some time since the blue tits started building their nest and all being well, they will soon be gone again, hopefully accompanied by another brood of young birds, their belief in, and knowledge of the security of the nest box having been rewarded.

Abraham’s intimate knowledge of and belief in God was rewarded for ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness,’ Galatians 3 v 6.

Dear readers, the Bible tells us that those who come to God ‘must believe that He is,’ Hebrews 11 v 6. Is our knowledge of and belief in Jesus Christ such that we can say we really know Him?

Blessings for Time and Eternity

May we, through prayerfully searching the Scriptures and continual commitment to and dependence on Jesus be led, day by day, to truly know Him; and be able to rejoice in the knowledge that, like faithful Abraham, we will be rewarded with many blessings ‘in this present time and in the world to come, life everlasting’, Luke 18 v 30.

He made us family

I recently came across a sermon with the title ‘He made us family’ and it got me thinking. That’s what happens when we put our faith in Jesus – we become family. One thing I’m guilty of (amongst many other things!) is thinking of that purely in terms of me (I’m a sinner after all!) – that as we believe we each become children of God. That’s completely true by the way and worth spending a lot of time thinking about!

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
John 1:12

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:16-17

Wonderful isn’t it? Jesus not only washes our sin away, forgives us, justifies us and gives us life that lasts forever but he makes us family. We become part of God’s family. Beloved children with a Father in Heaven who loves us more deeply than we can ever imagine. We might call this the vertical (upwards) dimension. But there is also a horizontal aspect – our fellow Christians are now our family. They become our brothers and sisters.

The Church is a family. Joined with a unity closer than even our natural families. The problem is that sometimes we forget this aspect or only pay lip-service to it. Jesus makes us family.

We hope very soon to begin community groups (house groups if you prefer) in the congregation. Here we will discuss the Bible, pray together and, most importantly, foster deeper relationships. We believe these groups will be vital as the congrega- tion continues to grow. I know there is a sense of community already and we ap- preciate very much the practical care and love that the members of Rosskeen show to one another and to the community at large. It is no small part down to this that the congregation has seen growth. After all, there are two essential things that make a Church a Church – that the Gospel is preached and a sense of community.

Community groups provide an environment where a sense of community can be fostered and deepened. A place where those just coming in to the Church can get involved and get to form relationships that go beyond the superficial. Where they can get to know others and get to be known as well as a group that can function as missionaries in the community. It may be much easier to invite people to a house group than Church in the first instance, or at least, our friends may find it easier to go. We would encourage everyone to consider getting involved in a community group – we are excited as a Church leadership and we hope you will be too!

One thing we all long for deep down is a sense of belonging. That’s part of the rea- son people get drawn to other groups. It’s why, for example, gang culture is so com- mon across the world – it gives a sense of belonging and purpose. Maybe you are looking for that. Not a gang (I hope!) but a sense of belonging. Being cared for. Having a purpose. A mission. Jesus offers us that. He makes us family. Somewhere we can be honest and be loved. He gives us a mission and a purpose. What we are longing for is the Church as it’s meant to be and the mission of God.

It is as a community that we will reflect God to the world. God is a community in himself – Father, Son and Spirit living in perfect love and harmony. It is as a community we will be a living, breathing illustration of the Gospel. It is in Jesus we can be part of something special. Will you be a part of it?