NSBC Newsletter 16 2nd July 2020


Please see the separate letter/email repeated below “Thinking Together About What Church Life Will Be Like After Covid19”. Do think and pray about the important questions it asks, which we will be discussing together in different ways in the weeks ahead.

Guidelines for opening church buildings for worship together have now been produced by the Government and by the Baptist Union. The Deacons will be considering these next week and we will all discuss them before any decisions are made. However it is unlikely that we will be gathering for worship in the church building before September at the earliest.

Please note that the Deacons have decided that we will NOT open the premises for private prayer. Until further notice nobody should enter the premises for any purposes other than essential maintenance, cleaning, etc. We need to keep a record of who has entered the premises when, so if you do so please inform Peter.


NEW FOR THURSDAY – “GRILL THE VICAR” – on Zoom from 7.30 to 9 pm.

Do you have any questions about Jesus, or about the Bible, or about faith and Christian living? Bring your questions to Zoom on Thursday evenings and Peter will do his best to offer some answers which we can all discuss together.


Starting now – the Government has announced that from 4th July people are allowed to meet with one other household at a time indoors, subject to social distancing. More than one other household can enter that home at different times. This means that we will be able to visit each other’s homes, which is really good news! At the same time up to six people from different households may meet up outdoors. Peter will now be happy to make home visits again, unless you are self-isolating or shielding of course.



After three months of lockdown, many of us are feeling the stresses and strains of this very different pattern of life. Even as we remain in good health, we may have family and friends who are struggling. Please keep praying for everybody, and supporting each other through letters and phone calls, Facebook and Zoom video chats.

We can now do some face-to-face meetings again! Up to six people are now allowed to meet outdoors. As long as you are not shielding on medical grounds, if anybody would like me to visit you for a chat, indoors or in your garden or arrange a socially distanced walk in the park (spaniels optional) just let me know. Small groups can also now meet outdoors e.g. for prayer or Bible Study. Could any groups which are starting to meet kindly let me know. See also the Wednesday Morning Drop-In below. Of course I am still very happy to chat on the Church Family mobile (number elsewhere) or to have a “Zoom Visit” if you prefer.

We are considering adding a Bible Study to our Zoom programme. If you would be interested in that please let me know.

As we go forward, we very much want to make sure that everybody is doing well. It would be very helpful if you could get back to me by email or text letting me know answers to the following. Thank you so much.

  1. Who (if anyone) are you in regular touch with each week outside of any church meetings?
  2. If you don’t have anyone regularly keeping in touch with you each week, would you like to be linked up with someone who can do this for you and you for them?
  3. Would you be willing to commit to keeping in touch with an additional person if they don’t currently have someone caring for them?

So far only a few people have replied to this request. We would be very grateful if you could do so soon.


DAILY HOPE PHONE LINE Line – especially if you can’t access the internet you might enjoy a new way of worshipping provided by the Church of England. Daily hope offers music, prayers, and reflections as well as complete worship services available 24 hours a day. Phone  0800 804 8044.






10.30 am Morning Worshipping Together at Home – using Zoom Video Chat

This time together will be recorded, edited and then posted in the North Springfield Baptist Church Facebook Group later on Sunday so you can also join in when you want to from there. Do let me know if there is a particular hymn or song you would like to sing. We are working our way through Ephesians.

11.30 am After-church Virtual Coffee – your own choice of drink and cake/biscuits with unlimited refills from your own kettle. An opportunity just to catch up and chat using Zoom. On the SECOND and FOURTH Sunday of every month we will follow our chat with a time of prayer together.

6.30 pm Zoom Church – a VERY different kind of church. Everybody is very welcome. Into the summer we are looking at the Psalms together. Just a reminder that although this gathering is not recorded, the message every week is posted online for everybody to read at www.pbthomas.com/blog



8.00 pm Draw Near To God Prayer Meeting using Zoom. We are discussing Derek Tidball’s excellent book, Called by God: Exploring our Identity in Christ (published by Bible Reading Fellowship in 2017)



DROP-IN outside the church 10.30 am – 12 noon (as long as it is not raining)

I will be sitting by the church car park this coming Wednesday morning and will be very happy to have a socially distanced chat with anybody who wants to look in (as long as you are not shielding or self-isolating or showing symptoms, of course). Five of us enjoyed a lovely chat last week. Sadly, to stick to the regulations, once there are six of us, anybody else arriving will need to come back another time.


“GRILL THE VICAR” – on Zoom from 7.30 to 9 pm.

Do you have any questions about Jesus, or about the Bible, or about faith and Christian living? Bring your questions to Zoom on Thursday evenings and Peter will do his best to offer some answers which we can all discuss together.


Using Zoom

To access Zoom using laptop, tablet device or smartphone you need a Link and a password. Contact me for these at peter@pbthomas.com

If you have not joined us for a while, make sure you have upgraded your Zoom App to version 5. This will happen automatically if you have not. Please make sure in the Settings for your device that you have allowed Zoom permission to use your camera and your microphone. As you enter the room, when Zoom asks if you want to use Video and Audio then say yes to both questions. Also check that your volume is turned up and not on mute.

NSBC on Facebook

As well as the public North Springfield Baptist Church Facebook Group there is also a private and hidden NSBC Family Chat Facebook Group where we can share openly and encourage each other.

NSBC Website also has regular updates at www.northspringfieldbaptistchurch.org


If you are not able to access the internet below are some suggestions for worshipping together at home as well as the sermon for this Sunday morning. These will be sent by email and by post every week.

I would very much like to stay in touch with everybody in the church by text, social media or just chatting on the phone. We can also set up a video chat. If you want to talk about things you are learning, or to pray together, or just fancy a chat, please don’t be shy. The best times to phone me for a chat will be 10-12 and 2-5 and 7.30-9.30 any day except Saturday (I will let you know if this day off changes) unless we have arranged some kind of group chat for the church at that time. Do please just phone on the Church Family mobile number. I will also reply to email, texts and messages through Facebook or WhatsApp as soon as I can.

Love and Prayers,

Peter                                                                                                                          Email: peter@pbthomas.com


Worshipping Together at Home for Sunday 5th July

I suggest we do the following either alone or in our families wherever we are, whenever is most convenient to you, in any order you like.

  1. Set aside some time for prayer and reflection. Start that time by praying the Lord’s Prayer.
  2. You might like to sing a song or hymn or two. The words for a relevant hymn are printed after the sermon below
  3. Read the Bible Reading and the Message for today.
  4. Pray the Day By Day Prayer and the Prayer of Saint Francis.
  5. Pray for each other in the church, for your family and neighbours and for the world at this time.
  6. Pray a blessing in the words of The Grace
  7. Phone a friend in the church and pray with them.

SPOILER ALERT – the message in our Sunday Morning Worshipping Together on Zoom will be based on the message below. You may wish to save it until after Sunday Morning.

Message for Sunday 5th July


As each part does its work    Ephesians 4:7-16


Ephesians 4 15 … speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We grow as Christians and we grow as a church when each part does its work.

New Living Translation  16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

But what does each part doing its work mean? Paul probably wrote his Letter to the Ephesians from prison around 62 AD. Church life was very different for the first Christians to what it is like today. For a start, churches were just groups of people, meeting together in each other’s homes. The earliest church buildings date from the first half of the third century. So churches didn’t run activities like Toddlers or Café or Drop-In. Churches didn’t run events like International Evenings or Family Fun Days. But when Paul spoke about each member of Body of Christ doing its work so that the whole body was built up, he probably did have specific things in mind.

We play our part in the body of Christ by obeying the great Commandments. When an expert in the Jewish Law asked him which is the greatest commandment,

Matthew 22 37 Jesus replied: ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

Love God and love your neighbour. And then Jesus gave us a Third Commandment.

John 13 34 ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

We each grow up into Christ and play our part in the Body of Christ by loving others. The Bible commands Christians to love one another or love each other 15 times. A dozen times it commands us to forgive each other, to agree with each other, to live in peace and to submit to one another. We are called to encourage each other 4 times, as well as to build each other up, to help and admonish and warn each other. We heard these words from earlier in Ephesians 4 last week.

2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

We play our part by keeping the peace. And later in Ephesians 5 we will read

 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Among other things, loving other people will mean doing good works of practical service which God calls us to do within the church community, in our workplace and with our neighbours.
Ephesians 2 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Another aspect of the work God has given to Christians to do is to bear witness to his salvation, to share the good news of Jesus and to make disciples.

Matthew 28 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

An essential part of growing up into Christ is learning the truth.

4:15 speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

God calls all Christians to learn and grow in their faith and some Christians play their part by teaching others.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ  dwell in you richly as you teach  and admonish one another with all  wisdom, and as you sing psalms,  hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

We have thought before about some of the wonderful truths God wants us to learn. Experiencing the amazing power which raised Jesus from the dead released in our own lives. Discovering just how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is.

Christians can also each play our part and do our work by exercising spiritual gifts. Some of these seem more spectacular, others very mundane. But all gifts are just as important in building up the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about prophetic gifts: prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, discerning spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. There are apostles and prophets and teachers alongside those with gifts of helping and of administration. When spiritual gifts are exercised, the Body of Christ is built up.

In Romans 12 Paul says this. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Using our spiritual gifts – all Christians have our work to do. Every Christian has our part to play in the body of Christ. In the comedy horror film/series “The Addams Family”, a strange creature “Hand” pops out of a box to answer the telephone. But there is no such thing as a disembodied hand in the church. No Christian is an “independent ear” or a “freelance nose”! We ALL have a part to play in the Body of Christ. NONE of US is useless. There’s the difference between Body of Christ and human body – the body of Christ doesn’t have an appendix. NO part of the Body of Christ is redundant, NO part in the Body of Christ is useless! God has jobs for each and every one of us to do. Our responsibility is to use the gifts God has given to do the jobs he wants us to do. It is only when EVERY separate part works as it should that the whole body grows.

Ephesians 4 tells us that God has provided a way for us to grow in our faith as individuals and move on with God as a church. That way lies in the people Christ has given as gifts to the church – apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor teachers.

Ephesians 4 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Too many churches read this passage as if it says that “God has give pastor-teachers  … for works of service”, to do all the works of service. That’s wrong. What it actually says is that God has give the pastor-teachers to prepare all God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.

It is NOT that the apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastor-teachers do all the works of service themselves! The role even of evangelists and especially of pastor-teachers, is to to equip and prepare and enable ALL God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up!

Loving God, loving other Christians and loving our neighbours and being a witness for Jesus should be part of “the normal Christian life” for EVERY believer, just as much as worship and prayer are. The task of the pastor-teachers is to help every Christian grow to become active serving Christians, to help all Christians express and share their faith in daily life and in the community, and equip them to exercise pastoral care for one another, and bring glory to God in worship witness. When Christians are growing in their faith, then outreach and pastoral care will follow naturally. “Evangelism is the overflow of our joyful faith.”

Baptist Christians have always rejected on Biblical grounds any idea that ministers are somehow special or set apart from ordinary Christians. The pastor-teacher is just an ordinary Christian with particular spiritual gifts (and often training and experience too) doing a particular job in the life of the church. Baptists more than most recognise that the pastor is not the only person who can do “pastoral care”. Incidentally, the phrase in Ephesians 4 is not “pastors and teachers” which might imply two different kinds of people doing two different jobs. These are pastor-teachers, teaching shepherds, those who pastor by teaching, one person, one task.

So the pastor-teachers, as the apostles and prophets and evangelists, equip and enable and support and train and encourage and help every member of the Body of Christ to play their part.

,,, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.




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