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Midweek Musings – Rescued by a Second Chance

Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus

Acts 15:37-39

“You think you’ve let people down? Let me tell you my story:

I was only young.

The preachers had come to our house, and they were brilliant. At the end of one of the services, the main leader called me over and told me that he thought God wanted me to join them. I felt so good. It wasn’t often that I’d felt special, worth something, needed. But that day my heart could have burst with hope. I was going to join the gang. It sounded so exciting.

They explained that I’d would travel with them, learn from them. I wouldn’t have many responsibilities, I’d carry the bags, go and get food, make small talk with the Christians after worship. But I would go to new towns, meet new people, know that I was serving God.

What could be better? What could go wrong?

I packed my bags and left Jerusalem, went to Antioch with them and boarded the ship to go to Cyprus (Acts 12:25-13:13). Outwardly, everything looked fine. I watched open-mouthed as Paul put an end to Elymas’ influence, causing him to be blinded for a while. I couldn’t understand everything that was happening, it was thrilling and scary all at the same time. But after we left Cyprus to sail to Perga, I knew I couldn’t carry on.

I wanted to go home, back to where I was known, away from the uncertainty, away from the suspicious looks, away from the conflict, away from the intensity of it all. I just needed to go home. I’d lasted a few months. I knew that I would have to explain to the family why I was back so soon, why I had given up on the adventure. I knew it would be embarrassing, but whatever folks thought of me, I just knew I couldn’t carry on.

Paul was so mad with me. He said I had deserted them. He said that I would never be able to come back. He said I was making the biggest mistake of my life.  He didn’t make me feel any better.

I’m older now. And wiser. And more resilient! And I worked with Paul – again.* I understand a bit more about why he might have reacted as he did, I think he was facing all sorts of stress himself.

But the hero for me was Barnabas. He rescued me. He gave me a second chance when I felt absolutely rubbish about myself. He took a chance on me – again. He knew that I would have learnt from the first time. He stood up for me. He protected me. He reassured me.

None of us were with Jesus in the same way as some of the other apostles. But from all they told us, I have no doubt that in the way that he dealt with me, Jesus would have been proud of Barnabas because at that point Barnabas looked a bit like Jesus.

I needed a second chance at life. Jesus gave me that. And when it mattered so did Barnabas. It changed my life.

You might have let people down – I did. But there’s a second chance for you. Come and join me. There’s more ahead than you might have imagined.”

* See Philemon 24, Colossians 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:11

Some reflections from Sunday

It was great to have so many contributions on Sunday as people shared their responses to the sermon and thoughts they had about what God might be wanting us to hear. I thought it might help for you to have chance to see what was said.

I’ve taken out the reference to who said it, you may spot your own contribution though!

We are saved by grace, accepted by grace

Thank you that we are welcome in your family. No second class citizens, we are all valued and loved.

Thank you Lord that you found me when I was broken, but showed Your great love by starting a work in me that You will bring to completion. Lord of the broken and poor. You make us whole and rich in the kingdom.

The Lord is righteous in all His ways, full of grace in all He does.  The Lord is close to all who call on Him, to all who sincerely call on Him. He fulfils the desire of those who fear Him, he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19

Some people need to hear that they are an integral part of God’s picture for our community.

These past few weeks it seems, now confirmed (from this service) that God’s message to me is “Grace”, “it is only by My Grace”. I say this because though it’s great to want to grow spiritually, if done on my own back, which I think I was doing, it’s all about me and not God. And as I failed in “keeping those things I set myself to do to grow spiritually”, then I saw His Grace.

Knowing that you are loved and forgiven is the foundation to build upon. God loves you as you are.

What people felt God was reminding them about:

I know I am a Martha – I need to just stop and be in the moment with God more.

I’ve always identified with Martha and felt like I needed to be busy and useful to be worth anything. Thank you that your grace is enough and that we are accepted as we are. Help us to show that same grace to others.

God is saying to me, “despite what is happening in the world, hold on tight to my promises”.

The power of God’s mercy as in 1 Chronicles: 21:13 –  ‘…for His mercy is very great;…’ and Psalm 23:6  – God’s goodness and mercy follows us all the days of our life.

I’ve been thinking this week about dealing with elephants, those things we know about but don’t address because it won’t be easy, it will be challenging and it will mean change. Lord I pray for anyone looking at something difficult in their lives today, speak into those issues and provide wisdom.

God’s been speaking to me over the last few days about how we are called to be ‘hope grenades’: our enemy is trying to build despair and fear, but our God-given hope is a weapon to demolish every hopeless thought that sets itself up against God’s purposes. Hope is contagious!

Thank you Jesus for being a constant presence, unexpected issues can drop themselves at our door, as they have this week but your promise to us does not expire

God is saying to me “This is the way, walk in it. For I have set my angels to guard your path”.

I feel like God is saying at the moment that it’s easy to be led astray by what divides us – feeling divided on opinions and actions and words, especially in these tough times – but we are united in grace. Jesus died to save us all.

Thoughts about reaching to others

I think the Lord is reminding us that we need to connect with each other in a more real way so that we can be there for others who don’t  know you. People remote fearful now than ever losing jobs and their things

God’s been speaking to me over the last few days about how we are called to be ‘hope grenades’: our enemy is trying to build despair and fear, but our God-given hope is a weapon to demolish every hopeless thought that sets itself up against God’s purposes. Hope is contagious!I also think that God is wanting to give people the gift of faith this morning – a rich soil for him to plant expectations in.

I had a picture of a church building. The brick walls are falling down, but the church is still standing. And I’m reminded of Matt 16 v 18 ” I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

“The moment we are in, so that we can be good news to those around us” – how important is that aspect of our values as a church.

This is a ‘build up’ to change. God is at work

We are intercessors for and workers in our community to reach the needy in every sense mind body and spirit We need to be agents of God and not of ourselves, to be prepared to listen to those around us even if you don’t like what you hear and to focus on the good news rather your own prejudices


This week’s interview is with Colin and Judith. They close this short series on family life by reflecting on what it means to be parents of adult children and grandparents.


1. Our Gatherings

Sunday gathering  

The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848

In order to make sure that we keep everyone safe, we will use the waiting room option in Zoom. It means that when you connect you will just have to wait a moment till you are admitted to the service. Could you help us by making sure that your Zoom name on the screen has your name – rather than iphone, for example. Thanks

Or you can join us live on YouTube.

2. Prayer Ministry on Sundays

After each Sunday service, the prayer team will be available to pray for those needing support in breakout rooms on Zoom. You can either let Ian know in advance or just wait around after the service. 

If you have prayer requests but don’t want to be prayed with, you can also let Ian know and the prayer team will use that time to pray on your behalf.  

3. Coming Up: Alt Worship in the Church Building

On Wednesday 7 October at 7.30pm there will be a worship service in the church building. Alt worship is a monthly service led by Andrew and Alex that the young adults have been involved with. We will hold this next one in the building so there will be limited numbers allowed to keep social distancing. In total we can host 30 people. We have 10 seats available at the moment. If you want to come along you MUST contact Alex beforehand to tell her. Her number is 07746 130249. If necessary we will have a waiting list.

If you come you need to make sure you don’t have a temperature or feel unwell; you must wear a face mask during the service; and you must stay a couple of meters from one another.

4. Stay Connected: ‘Virtual Coffee Morning’ – Wednesday 10.30-11.30am

A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz. So, whilst it’s not as good as being together in person, there’s an opportunity to do it all online.

Meeting link:

5. Home Groups: Thursday 7.45-9.00pm

This week we will be looking at how you know what God is asking you to do. Come along – even if you haven’t joined a home group yet.

The link is here:
Meeting ID: 998 857 193

6. Non-Zoom prayer meeting

On Friday 10.30-12.00 there’s a prayer meeting in a non-Zoom meeting! Using Whatsapp, contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.

If in doubt

All the links to the meetings are in Church Suite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website:

You’re not alone

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058 but you might also be interested to know about this ministry in the church:

Salford Elim Church and Community Counselling Service

One of the ways we have been able to help people as a church over the past few years is through the counselling ministry of Judith. Some of you might have benefitted from the space that this gives you to explore what is happening in life and how you can respond to the issues you are facing. This is something that has been used by people who don’t worship with us but recognise us as a place that is safe to explore all that is happening to them.

We want to continue this ministry and expand it in two ways:

  1. It may be that you are a trained counsellor and could offer sometime to help others. If you have been trained to Level 4 (Diploma) or Degree level in therapeutic counselling and would like to be involved, please contact Judith to talk about what might be possible. At the moment the counselling is offered via zoom or phone and we would like to continue with this form of support as well as in person counselling.
  1. In time we are going to offer a Listening service to those who might just need someone to talk to, but who don’t want or need specialist counselling.  Earlier in the year, some of you came on the Listening Course we ran and if you would be willing to be part of this new project, then please contact Judith.

Her mobile number to text or call is 07854 946995

And finally, if you would like to access counselling for yourself, then please contact Judith directly or visit the page for the service.


We are aware of lots of people who are isolated who need someone to listen to them and offer gentle support as they work out what they can do in the face of their own challenges. This is different from counselling but can make a huge difference to people.

We want to begin to offer this ministry in the next few months.

So would you be able to give some time to talk to people on the phone? You will be supported by Judith along the way.

If you want more details about how it will work we will have a training session on Wed 21 October at 7.30pm on Zoom. We would love to invite people who came to the Listening Training earlier in the year to be part of this new venture.

The link for the meeting:
Meeting ID: 837 1575 2600

If you want more information, please contact Judith directly.

Every week you get prayed for!

This is just to remind you that every week the whole church is prayed for – by name. At the beginning of the lockdown, everyone who was on Church Suite was contacted by one of the pastoral team to make sure you had enough support. And in different ways that is continuing. Of course, you may have decided at the time that you would be ok and so didn’t really connect much. BUT… be assured you have been prayed for by name every week by the pastoral team.

I don’t take that for granted. It’s great to know that we belong to a church that supports one another in lots of ways, not least prayer.

From time to time, you might want to thank them!

Debbie King
Ian Peacock
Julian Gittings
Gill Oldham
Lorna Plura
Charlie Blundell
Paul King
Alex McGregor
Maggie Hudson
Janet Downs
Judith Thompson
Nev Plura

Alpha Course

As most of you will know, The Alpha Course is designed for those who want to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed environment where no questions are off limits. We are going to offer two opportunities before Christmas via Zoom to do Alpha; one on a Tuesday evening (started 29th September) and the other on a Thursday afternoon (started 24th September). But don’t worry that they’ve missed the first session – they’ll still be very welcome to join us!

Full details are available via the buttons below.

This isn’t aimed at those of us who already know the basics of faith but we do want to strongly encourage you to invite family members, friends, work colleagues, neighbours, (anyone!) who isn’t yet a Christian.

Sharing faith can be hard for most of us but this is an easy way to do it. You never know, they might say yes!

Here’s a promo video for Alpha which you might want to share with those you invite:

Please pray:

  • For those who have already agreed to come
  • For those you will invite
  • For Judith and Ian as they lead the course

Links and Resources

Kids Resources

Here’s this week’s Kids Resources from Morag, with a variety of videos, crafts and other useful to help your child/ren read and learn from this week’s Bible passage.

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