Farewell to my Churches

A CHANGE IN MINISTRY

I am pleased to share with you that I have received a call to be the URC minister in the Bridgend United Area. The six churches in this group consist of both URC and Methodist Churches. The Churches issued the call, and I have accepted. I am looking forward to commencing the new post this October 2022. I will be working with a Methodist colleague, and I am looking forward to it very much. 

On this website, I will soon add a tag on the menu bar to the preaching schedule in case you are in the area and wish to attend a worship service. I appreciate your prayers as I lead the Churches forward in their mission, worship and share the love of Jesus Christ.

GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS

This new post answers my prayers for my Ministry’s continuation. Upon the age of 68 URC minister must retire. I reach that age soon and found it difficult to accept that my long pastoral Ministry must end. I asked the Lord to allow me to continue to minister to God’s people according to his will, and my heavenly Father heard me. Otherwise, I’ll have to retire due to URC rules. 

THE CALL OF GOD DEMANDS OUR ALL

I have led churches in Australia, the United States of America, England and now in Wales, UK. The hardest part in moving on to take up a new post is saying goodbye to family and friends. The call to Ministry means many sacrifices; for some Ministers, the sacrifice is small, yet for others, it is overwhelming. However, any form of sacrifice is certainly not easy to accept, but one response is for the love of God and his will for our lives.

I have been asked after 40 years of Ministry, “you must be used to making those sacrifices for now”. The answer is I don’t want to get used to it, people are precious, and the sense of loss I feel when I move on is genuine and heartfelt. If I get hardened in the process, I will get hardened toward the people- and I don’t want that. 

It’s impossible to remain in contact with so many people, but their faces often pop into my mind, and when it does, I bow my head to pray for them.

BITTER-SWEET

As I write, leaving to serve a new pastorate is a happy and sad time for me. The Church folk and the broader community, whom I have served for many years, has been most important to my life.

But at the same time, I am very excited about the new post and what it offers in the future. At least I will spend less time travelling as most of the six churches I will serve are only a short distance from my home.

THE UNKNOWABLE FUTURE

 I will leave my post at Dan Y Graig LEP, Tabernacle URC, and NPLW Methodist circuit on the 30th of September.

The unknowable future can be frightening and downright scary. But that’s when our faith in God’s sovereignty gives us comfort, support, and strength. All new opportunities involve challenges and new experiences that shape and change us. Change also help us to grow spirituality if we approach this transition time positively.

THANK YOU

I announced in August to my Churches that I am leaving the area. I want to thank them for being a generous, wonderful, supportive Church family over these many years.

 Any minister will tell you that one feels that one has never done enough. One lives with the continual frustration of wanting to do more than one can do. I hope my time with you have been constructive and helped you spiritually in some way.  

GOD IS CALLING YOU

 I pray for the very of God’s best for you as an individual and as a Church family. As I leave, I want you to remember that God calls you. Sometimes he can call us to a specific individual task which can also be quite challenging, taking us completely out of our comfort zone. One thing that we are all called to do, however, is to share the good news with all we meet. We must give people hope and the light in Jesus Christ. 

Luke 5:1-11 talks about the calling of the first disciples. They had no idea what would happen when Jesus first called them, but they put themselves out there. They took a risk, a chance. They left everything behind to follow him. 

They weren’t the people you would have expected Jesus to pick to help him in his mission. It’s a bit like you and me. We are ordinary people with no special abilities but are called in God’s ability to be extraordinary in our witness for Christ. 

The disciples, as ordinary as they were, were the people that would change the world. Jesus extraordinarily equipped them to carry out the tasks he had called them to, just as he equips us all, enabling us to change the world where we live.

You may be thinking, what can I do? He won’t call me. I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. But, take it from me; I suppose you might be wrong. 

God calls and equips every one of us because he knows what we can and can’t do and enables us to fulfil his calling upon our lives in his strength. So, we need to listen and trust, then go out and do what he asks us to do, knowing that he goes with us by the Holy Spirit and will never leave us. 

Whenever I think of this daunting task ahead of me, I hear God’s words in my heart ‘Yes, you can do it.’ So, I choose not to think of what I can’t do but what God is asking me to do. No matter what lies ahead, I know he will equip and support me to carry it out, for nothing is impossible with God. 

I want you to think about what you ‘can’ do and go for it because God is calling you, an ordinary person, to be extraordinary for his kingdom’s sake.  So, what is God calling you to do? Will you answer that call? If not, then why not? I encourage you to trust in Jesus Christ, continue to follow him, and answer his call, knowing that he is with you every step of the way. 

God calls each of us to change the world in some small way. So, let us do just that. Let’s change the world by being salt, bringing hope, and light to all we meet. 

As believers, we also are blessed with the grace that equips us for divine service.‘ John MacArthur Jr. 

I will continue to post blogs here at Hope.Faith.Love, and the occasional video, which I hope will continue to be an encouragement to your faith in Christ.

PRAYER 

Loving Father, you call us daily to serve you, so equip us for the tasks you call us. Please help us to fulfil our calling and bring about your kingdom. You know the challenges that every one of us has, and we ask that you guide us through times of transition and challenges. 

As we move through challenges into change, we go knowing that you are with us every stage of the way. So, we ask these and all our prayers in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

FAREWELL DEAR FRIENDS

I came into the Newport area from Lincolnshire in 2011. Since then, I have worked with Stowpark Church Center, Trinity Pontywaun, DanYGraig, St David’s Tysign, Tabernacle Llanvaches, and as a Presbyter within the NPLW circuit and Presbyterian Church. 

Over this time, I’ve worked with community groups which helped to provide a link to the Church. As a result, I’ve been in this area the longest at one stretch than ever in my 40-year Ministry, which has enabled me to form solid friendships – may God bless you.

I am not sure where the following quote comes from. However, I came across it in my files, and I hope it will encourage you in some way.

Do not pray for easy lives;  pray to be stronger people. 

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers;  pray for powers equal to your tasks. 

Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, 

           but you shall be a miracle.

May the Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you – Numbers 6:24-25. 

Until the next blog post, Live Life on Purpose, in Hope, Faith and Love

Paula Rose Parish

Is God calling you? 10 tips to find if you’re called by God

At the time of writing, today is a special day for me. I’ve only seen my family twice in two years due to the COVID 19 lockdowns. So today I’m travelling to see them again overnight. Sadly, I can’t stay any more than one night because I have to get back to work on Sunday – such is the life of the church minister. People don’t often realise that the minister can’t just take a Sunday off at random but has to work sometimes a year or more ahead. Ministry is no ordinary God, and it comes with requirements to make sacrifices.

Visiting my family was only arranged by them a month ago, so I didn’t have time to rearrange for anyone else to take my Sunday service. However, that’s how things go sometimes. My preaching engagements for 2022 are about 80% booked already. Most preachers have to work this way, and it is unfortunate because when family or friends, occasions happen impromptu, mainly if it falls on a Sunday, and cannot be part of it. I’ve been preaching since 1980, so this is the lifestyle I have adopted because I have answered God’s call upon my life. Unfortunately, sometimes family or friends don’t understand, they think that you can have a day off whenever you wish – sadly, this is not the case. However, I have far more flexibility because most of my work is now working from home. I am grateful for this and hope to maintain flexibility in my schedule in future years, except, of course, I’m unable to do that for a Sunday mainly.

When we answer God’s call upon our life, we need to count the cost. So if you are reading this and you believe you have a God’s call upon your life, and you are standing at the precipice of decision-making to answer that call or go into another direction, I hope that this article will be helpful to you.

How to Count the Cost.

Below are just a couple of short tips to help you ascertain if you want to answer God’s call upon your life or not, and I’m not going to explain each point; however, I may do this in a future article.

 The Bible says if a person builds a tower they must count the cost first. So Jesus, while addressing the rich young ruler, was asking him to count the cost, and we know the rest of that story!

Luke 14 : 28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

These tips will help you work out if you are called by God or not

1. Be sure that others confirm the call upon your life who are in church authority.

2. Spend a significant time in prayer and fasting if necessary to ensure that you have the mind of Christ in your situation.

3. Research the area of ministry that you wish to enter thoroughly. Understand fully what the expectations upon your life might be.

4. Draw yourself a timeline. When do you think that this call upon your life might begin? Does this fit into the commitments that you have for the next 12 months?

5. What financial implications will there be if you answer this call upon your life? Grab a people piece of paper and write them down so you can see them, pray over them, and reflect upon them.

6. What financial sacrifices are you willing to make and that of your family if you answer the call.

7. Are you and your family willing to move if the call upon your life requires?

8. Are you willing to move away from your extended family and friends if York also requires?

9. Are you willing to put in abeyance old ideas and take on new ways of being and living so you may be effective in your call?

10. How many years are you willing to attend a Bible college or university to be equipped for your call? And what sacrifices are you and your family willing to make so you are quick and embark upon the required training?.

Any way the tips will help you get started upon your quest to evaluate the cost that you will be making. These are just ten short questions, but I’m sure you will come up with more. I am sure you will be making a sacrifice, in fact, many sacrifices, and this is why many people do not last in ministry. People fail to count the cost to them and them and their families.

When I was in ministry in the USA, I met up with quite a well-known woman minister, and had coffee together. In our conversation, she said,

“I often wondered why people romanticise ministry because it is far from romantic it is full of sacrifices, heartbreak, disappointment, and just darn hard work”. She continued, “Of course, there are rewards when you can see the fruits of your labour; however, it’s not often that you see that fruit because many people that you help that I help move on. Unfortunately, I don’t get the opportunity to journey with them throughout their lives. Still, it is a comfort to me that I will know how my ministry has affected others in the halls of eternity”.

If one is entering ministry to be liked, to receive accolades of thanks and welcome, you may be far disappointed. Jesus said to carry your cross, and indeed if you are called to the ministry, you will be bearing that cross.

Matthew 16 New Living Translation
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

Jesus also pointed out, that you will be a sheep among wolves, is your call strong sure for that, is your charter strong enough to endure that –  are your shoulders broad enough for that?

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

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