There was a Church Service on Saturday 16 December 2017
The Opening Prayer was given by Peter Beardsmore
Hymns were led by Sueann Henderson
Hymn 1 – O Come all ye Faithful
Hymn 2 – It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Announcements were given by George Henderson and included:
*Keith Stevenson’s father Trevor, died peacefully in a Carehome aged 92. His family were with him. He used to be a Dance Instructor.
*Janet, wife of George Weir, a member in our Irvine church, died on December 14th.
*Elizabeth Newton, daughter-in-law of Reg and Pat, had an operation for bowel cancer yesterday. Please pray for her to have a swift recovery. She also has sight problems.
*Our Pastor David Silcox slipped on the ice yesterday and landed on his back. He was still able to take the Bible study last night, but will be bruised from the fall.
*In the U.S.A. Jane Parsons, the wife of retired Pastor Sonny, has died. They had been married for 53 years.
*Southern California is having a big problem with spreading fires due to unusual weather conditions. Our members there seem to be alright and two of their homes have been spared. Others are suffering smoke problems and air pollution.
Hymn 3 – The Servant king
Intercessory Prayer was led by Irene Wilson and included:
*Thank you for this fine fresh morning. This time of year is a time of celebration. We have our hope in that baby Jesus. He experienced life as we do, then sacrificed his life so that we can have eternal life. We are thankful he did that for us.
*Please give your divine comfort to the bereaved families of Trevor, Janet, Jane and George Campbell. The family also of Jean Sole whose mother died last week. Please renew through your Holy Spirit the hope of eternity
*We thank you for the safety of our members in the Californian fires.
*We pray for the mother and her relatives whose children died in a house fire caused by a hate crime. Please provide them with comfort and support.
*We ask your healing power for Elizabeth, David, Blossom and Peter Buckley.
*As families gather together, let us all remember and try to help those in need, especially the homeless, elderly and lonely.
*Thank you Jesus that we can have access to you. A great blessing. We pray in his name.
Hymn 4 – Once in Royal David’s City 
Hymn 5 – Come Thou long Expected Jesus
The Message was given by Richard Fowler on the subject of ‘Is God real to us?’ Is he present in our thoughts all day? Do we see and hear him in our mind? If he is not real then faith just becomes routine. Why is God real to some people and not to others? Young people like to see, touch and feel. If they pray, God doesn’t seem to answer their prayer. They can’t see or hear him. For mature Christians, things may dwindle and life and church can become less real. God becomes real to people when they read and hear his word and instructions in the Bible. Proverbs 6:20-23. Romans 10:17. We see God in the person of Jesus Christ. God then becomes more real, changing our thinking and our life. We feel his presence through the Holy Spirit. God is spirit, eternal and perpetual. God has to put his spirit in us and work in and through our minds. 1 Corinthians 2:11. We can bear our trials a little easier if we understand God as creator. Genesis 1. Psalm 104:30. God breathed things into existence by the power of his spirit. Psalm 33:6. We need to be understood, but how can God understand me? Job 9:14,32-33. God sent his son who became like us and lived like us. He understands us. We can then be joyful because Jesus loves us and our church. 1 John 1:4. If God is so great, why doesn’t he answer our prayers? We don’t know. Sometimes he may say yes, no or wait. He may want us to develope  Godly patience. Just think about if God did answer every prayer as we would wish, we could become selfish and inward. God is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:10-11.
The Final Hymn was The Church’s One Foundation after which the Closing Prayer was given by James Esom.
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The bi-weekly Bible Study in Bricket Wood took place as usual on Friday night, 15 December at 7:30pm in the upstairs room of the St. Stephen’s Parish Centre.  John Stettaford took the study this week to lead us through an in-depth look at John 11 which tells of Jesus raising Lazarus.  You are welcome to join us in the new year as we continue in the gospel of John on Friday 5th January 2018.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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