Journeying With God (Part 1)

A Study guide for our current series of Bible Talks in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy

“Therefore, say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord’.”
(Exodus 6v6–8)

“Now these things became our examples… Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10v6,11-12)

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15v4)





40 chapters
Key theme


27 chapters
Key theme


36 chapters
Key theme


34 chapters
Key theme


You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. (Exodus 15v13)
“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’”. (Leviticus 19v2)
“…because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it”. (Numbers 14v22-23)
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all
your strength”. (Deuteronomy 6v4-5)
After 430 years in Egypt (Exodus 12v40) the regime of a new Pharoah becomes intolerable for the people of Israel. Chapter 1 links the book back into Genesis but almost immediately after that, the events that eventually lead to the exodus
from Egypt begin. Hence its title!

It is the year 1447 BC right through to the end of the book.
The whole book revolves around the subject of worshipping and serving the Lord. To fully understand this Old Testment book, you need the New Testment book of Hebrews.

Leviticus begins and ends in the year 1446 BC, the first year of the wilderness journey.
This book begins with a complete census of all the people – hence its title. From then on it charts their many trials in the wilderness life.

Numbers covers the history of the Israelite people over a period of 40 years through to 1407 BC.
Deuteronomy completes the set of four books that give us our overall theme of Journey. All the events of the book take place in 1407 BC, the very last year of that journey. Moses dies, Joshua succeeds him as leader. At last, the people are ready to enter the promised land.

“…by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.” (Deut 32v47)

1447 BC ⇨⇨⇨

40 years of MOMENTOUS, SIGNIFICANT & SPIRITUAL JOURNEY made by around 2 million people, led by Moses & Aaron (Numbers 1v45-47)

⇨⇨⇨ 1407 BC

Journey is all about ‘leaving & arriving’, ‘going out & coming in’. Exodus chapter 6 is an important part of this, the language is very plain in verses 6 to 8.

The 137 chapters that make up the four Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy are full of “journey language”. In historical terms they cover 40 years of the long history of the descendants of Abraham; a man who himself began a journey 650 years earlier:

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him…” (Genesis 12v1–4)

Journey is the theme of many other parts of the Bible. This journey in particular is included in at least 10 Psalms (& virtually every verse of Psalm 78). It features in around half of the verses that record Stephen’s defence in Acts 7 and in many other places.

Journey is an EVENT (over a short or long period of time), an EXPERIENCE (sometimes pleasant & maybe sometimes painful!) and an EDUCATION (our lives are often expanded and taught by journey experiences). But here in these four books, it is also an EXAMPLE.

The verses quoted above in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 15 are incredibly important if we are to benefit from our studies together in these Books. The things that happened to the Children of Israel on THEIR journey are ‘figurative’ and ‘typical’ of OUR journey with God through our Christian lives. Their experiences are in the Scripture to make a stamp, a mark, an impression on our journey experience. All of this being for our “admonition” – to put things into our minds that will teach us not to falter and fail as they did; but also, to learn positively and to have “hope” (the Greek word used in Rom 15 v 4 means to have a ‘favourable & confident expectation’) – how encouraging!

Our Church Text for 2022 is set in the heart of the whole matter of Journey – their journey, and ours too: “So God led the people…” (Exodus 13v18).

Click here to download this study guide in a print-friendly format.

These notes are intended as a handy introduction to the sermon series entitled Journeying with God, preached at Castlefields Church on Sunday mornings from May 2022.

What Is Easter All About?

A member of Castlefields Church explains the vital importance of Easter.

I vividly remember a colleague’s question shortly after I started at work.  He asked me, “What do we celebrate at Easter?  What’s it actually about?” For anyone else wondering, I’ll try and explain.

At Easter, Christians celebrate the heart of their faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Why?  The Bible puts it like this: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…” (1 Corinthians 15:17). 

Why is Christianity pointless without the resurrection?

First, the problem.   The Bible says this about humankind, “No one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12).  None of us is good enough for God, whose standard is perfection. The future doesn’t look good because “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  God judges by his standards, not ours.

Second, the solution.  Out of love, God came to the rescue.  Enter Jesus of Nazareth. For 30 years he lives in obscurity.  Then for 3 years he goes about preaching.   He points to himself as the one who fulfils the promises in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible) about a “Messiah” who would suffer as a substitute for his people.  By his many miracles, Jesus shows himself to be more than a mere man.  Here is God in human flesh.

Jealous authorities plot to kill him.  He’s arrested, falsely accused, and condemned to death.  Soldiers mock him.  A crown of thorns is pushed onto his head.

To the watching world this looks like defeat. But, as Jesus was led to a small hill outside Jerusalem and nailed to a wooden cross, the mockers were mistaken. They shouted, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” and “He saved others; he cannot save himself” (Matthew 27:40, 42).

What they didn’t realise was that Jesus was willingly being the substitute.  The perfect man was suffering God’s punishment for human sin.  Before he died, he declared for all to hear, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

That’s Good Friday.  Now for Easter Sunday!

Jesus had said that he would be killed, and on the third day he would rise again.  

That’s what happened on that first Easter Sunday: resurrection!  Jesus was raised physically from the dead. Death couldn’t hold him prisoner.  The tomb was empty for all to see.

Jesus showed himself alive to many witnesses.   Instantly, their mood changed from grief to joy, from fear to faith.  The price was paid!  The rescue mission was complete.  Here was good news to live for.  Here was truth to die for (and many of them did).

After 40 days, Jesus went up into heaven again.  Mission accomplished.  He sat down at the right-hand of God.

So, that’s why for Christians, Easter is the most important event ever to have taken place.   It tells us that the price of our wrongdoing has been paid.  Jesus makes us ready to meet God.  There’s no need to fear death.  One day we will share in his resurrection.

He Giveth More Grace: The Life of Annie Johnson Flint

An Early Christmas present!

Annie Johnson was born in Vineland, New Jersey USA on Christmas Eve 1866. Her parents, Eldon and Jean rejoiced in the gift of their early Christmas present daughter! Nearly three years later, all the joy of that Christmas disappeared in a flood of sorrow, as Annie’s Mum died at the age of 23, soon after giving birth to Annie’s sister. Her Father was not well and for two years the bereaved family of three lived with a widow friend of Eldon’s. She had children of her own and it became evident that Annie and her sister were not really welcome in the home, they were simply an added burden.

By a remarkable providence, a local school teacher, who the children came to know simply as “Auntie Susie”, saw the distressing situation and recommended a childless Christian couple in the town, Mr and Mrs Flint, as a possible solution. It would, of course, require Eldon to be willing to allow them to be adopted as their own. He was willing to do this on two counts, firstly his serious illness, which resulted in his own death not long afterwards and secondly the fact that they were Baptists! Annie’s Father had long hoped that the children would be brought up in a Baptist tradition!

The couple offered a loving and warm-hearted Christian home to the two girls and after the adoption, their surname was added to Annie’s. Through their childhood years the girls were taught the Christian gospel and the teaching of the Bible framed every aspect of life.

Saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

At the age of eight, two great changes took place in the young life of Annie. The Flints moved from their rural home in the countryside, into the small town nearby. Despite this, Annie always retained her love for the natural world around her and it coloured the rest of her life. In God’s providence, the move coincided with a number of evangelistic meetings taking place in the town. She was taken along by her adopted parents, and there, at the age of eight, she was brought to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In later life she testified of the reality of that experience and although she was so young, she was convinced that God had truly saved her that day.

Before she became a teenager, Annie began to develop a keen interest in reading and writing – particularly poetry. This was fuelled by Mr Flint’s extensive library. She and her friend from school formed a two-member literary society! Every Saturday afternoon they met together to read material by their favourite poets; and then to attempt to write poems themselves.

Her life was fairly frugal but it was in a loving home where she was encouraged to learn the virtues of good housekeeping, making her own clothes and general economy. Her character was naturally cheerful and optimistic which is remarkable, in view of the sadness and loss that she had known as a younger child.

Her powers of observation were particularly keen. One contemporary speaks of her comment much later in life that Annie had noticed that the robin outside her window had changed its song. “We are going to have rain today. My robin has just changed his note. He never sings in that tone unless the rain is coming” Sure enough, the rain came!

Sanctification – through life’s experiences

The Lord was working in her heart, sanctifying her through her life’s experiences. She did have troubles with a flaring temper at times but over the years learned the lessons of grace in overcoming this sinful tendency. She speaks of her impatience and her tendency to persist at something without waiting patiently for the outcome in the appointed time. The Lord would need to teach her much in this area of her character. Deeper trials were to come which would test both persistence and patience to the extreme.

An indication of those trials manifested itself quite soon into her working life. She began her first position as a school teacher in her home town, teaching at the school where she had once been a pupil. There, symptoms of arthritis began to appear. These grew steadily worse, causing her to have to give up her post, as she was almost unable to walk.

Then tragedy struck again when both of her adopted parents died within a few months of each other. Annie was left overwhelmed with sadness and loss. Her own health continued to deteriorate rapidly and it was not long before the Doctors sadly had to tell her that she would soon become a helpless invalid, crippled by the advancing arthritis running through her body. In her sadness, her illness and her desperate financial predicament, Annie was cast upon God.

A contemporary writer says, “Annie was in a condition where she was compelled to be dependent upon the care of others… In after-years she always stated that her poems were born of the need of others and not from her own need; but one knows full well that she never could have written as she did for the comfort and help of thousands of others if she had not had the background of facing those very crises in her own life”.

Those poems, notes and letters were wonderfully the means of her sustaining by the Lord. The very best of her God-given gifts of writing, poetry and prose were drawn out of her in her deep trial. She could not properly hold or use a pen, but her dogged determination forced her to somehow push her pen into her swollen and bent fingers and despite her wrists being in great pain she wrote of her deepest spiritual experiences. At first it was for her own solace but she began to make hand lettered cards, gift books, and cards with verses beautifully written on them.

A world-wide fellowship

Remarkably, two national Christian publishers began to publish and distribute her work in their magazines and periodicals. They became hugely popular; many letters of appreciation came in to the publishers from those who had been blessed by her work. A little book of her poems entitled, “By the Way – Travelogues of Cheer” was published. Through these ventures, two things happened, firstly her financial troubles were eased through their income, but secondly, she became connected with a world-wide fellowship of believers who were helped by her writings.

That wider fellowship brought her into contact with some who believed that Christians should not suffer illness and restrictions in this life. They impressed on her their convictions that the Lord would grant healing to her – if only her faith was strong enough! Annie did not immediately dismiss such things but searched the Scriptures thoroughly for herself to see what they said.

Having done so, she declared such an understanding of the Lord’s dealings with His children in this life to be in error. Again, we quote a contemporary writer, “…she reached the conclusion that, while God can and does heal in this way in some cases, in others He does not; that He has seen fit to leave some of the most triumphant saints deeply afflicted. She saw too that many of those who pressed their theory were themselves afflicted with infirmity, and while telling others that they ought to claim healing, bore in their own lives the failure of their theory!”

Strength made perfect in weakness

Annie became thoroughly convinced that God intended to glorify Himself through her – in her weak, earthen vessel. Like the Apostle Paul there came to her, with real assurance, the promise which said, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” She reached the place where she could also say with Paul, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. (2 Cor 12:9)

No one can tell what suffering she endured as the disease became worse with the passing of the years, but through it all her faith in the goodness and mercy of God never wavered. There were many times, no doubt, when her soul would be burdened with the mystery of it all and the “why?” of what she was called to endure. For more than forty years there was scarcely a day when she did not suffer pain and she became increasingly helpless. Her joints had become rigid, although she was still just able to turn her head. In great pain she could write a few lines on paper. The one picture of her that remains shows her at a relatively young age but confined to a rather primitive looking wheelchair.

On September 8th 1932, her last words before she died were to her doctor in front of a visiting couple who knew her well. He asked if there was anything she wished to say before he gave her a painkilling injection. “I have nothing to say, it’s all right” she said. In a few minutes, she had gone to be with the Saviour who she loved and served so well. In a life that seemed to have so much “all wrong”, she was given remarkable grace and strength to proclaim, in fact it was, “all right”.

He giveth more grace

Among her collection of poems that remain, “He giveth more grace” stands out as a wonderful statement of her Biblical theology of pain, trial and suffering and of the boundless store of grace that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Paul urges Timothy, his son in the faith, to “be strong” (2 Timothy 2v1), it is in this grace alone that he will be able to endure the hardships that he will face. It is no different for us as Christians today, Annie’s lovely hymn has a timeless message!

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labours increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that your need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father, both you and your load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

10 Important Things You Need to Know About Spiritual Gifts

“I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you…” 2 Timothy 1 v 6

2 Timothy 1 v 6 is the urgent pastoral instruction of Paul to Timothy. Paul is in the ultimate ‘lock down’ of prison in Rome. Timothy is in the relative freedom of Ephesus but under great pressure from the culture around. The contemporary relevance of the whole book to our current situation is
quite startling.

The NKJV uses the words “stir up”; other versions use the expression, “fan into flames”. The picture is very clear, Timothy needed to do something to get the fire going again! Things were burning low, the heat was being lost, the fire was not very effective!

In the previous verse Paul tells the reader that he is reminded of Timothy’s “sincere” or “genuine” faith. Other passages in Paul’s Epistles make it plain that such faith is not earned, not inherited and not simply something you learn, it is a gift of God. If we are true Christians, we too have been given this precious gift. Nothing can remove that gift! What concerns Paul is that the gift of God that Timothy has been given alongside that faith, is burning low!

Timothy had been given the necessary gifting by God to be recognised by the Eldership in Ephesus to be full time in the role of Pastor / Teacher. This is clearly expressed by the allusion to the “laying on of hands”. This act did not “gift” Timothy, God had already done that! It was something done to commission him and set him going in this great task.

Timothy now must “stir up”, “fan into flame”, the gift and ensure it was used to the full. The difficult days and circumstances that surrounded him required him to use his God-given gifting to the full.

This instruction reaches down from Scripture to every one of us – not just the Pastor or the Elders! It is particularly relevant in our current ‘lock down’ situation when many avenues for Christian service are not possible.

In 1 Cor 12 v 1 Paul writes, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant”. So that we are not similarly lacking in understanding about this subject, here are ten vital things that you need to know about spiritual gifts in our context today.

  1. Spiritual gifts are given by God the Holy Spirit to every Christian believer.
    Paul makes it clear in 1 Cor 12 v 7 that they are given “to each one for the profit of all”. They are given, alongside saving faith, to be exercised in our “new life that is in Christ Jesus”, not for selfish use, but for the profit (the good) of all.
  2. Spiritual gifts are not the same as “natural aptitudes”.
    In Daniel 1 v 17 we are told that God gave “knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom” to Daniel and his three friends. Unbelievers as well as believers are blessed with such things. God is the giver of all good gifts. Everyone blessed with them must study and work hard to develop such aptitudes. Such things are then useful to the society around and the world at large. We thank God for unbelievers who teach us, nurse us, govern us and function in many other aspects of society.
    It is to the Christian, however, that God gives “spiritual gifts” which are specifically for service for Him and for His people. In Daniel’s case we read that he was given the gift of being able to understand visions and dreams! That gift was certainly used in special ways for the ongoing of God’s purposes in his days. Read the rest of Daniel to find out!
  3. Spiritual gifts are given individually.
    1 Cor 12 v 11 reads “… but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills”. No one else will have exactly the same gift or range of gifts as you!
    We are never to be jealous of others or covet their gifts – you are gifted in a way that God sees just right for you! No one else will be gifted in exactly the same way.
  4. Spiritual gifts given by God for today are called “ordinary” gifts. They are no longer the “extraordinary” gifts of Apostolic times (sometimes called “charismatic” or “miraculous” gifts).
    This does not mean that the spiritual gifts that God gives to every believer today are in some way second class or inferior. Nothing that God gives can ever fall into that category!
    The gifts given to Daniel that we have referred to above were “extraordinary” indeed! So too the ability of those in Apostolic times to prophesy, heal and speak in other languages (without having learned them!). What we might term “ordinary” gifts are just right for His church today. Our extraordinary God uses them for His purposes, through His people.
  5. Spiritual gifts are to be exercised – to be used!
    They are not to lay dormant! That is clear from what Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Tim 4 v 14. Paul told him that he must not “neglect” the gifting that God had given to him. In Rom 12 v 6 Paul says, “Having gifts differing according to the grace given to us, let us use them”. To neglect to use the gifts that God has given us is not right.
  6. Spiritual gifts are many and various!
    In Romans 12 we read one of a number of lists of spiritual gifts that appear in Scripture. That list includes; preaching, teaching, serving others, exhorting, encouraging, giving, leading others, showing mercy, showing kindness. Other New Testament lists includes practical gifts relating to organisation such as administrations and simply that of helps. The total list is huge – and various!
  7. Spiritual gifts are given in the context of every Christian being part of a church fellowship.
    They are given by God to be used by every individual within, and working out from, the church into which God has called you by grace and in His providence.
  8. Spiritual gifts are individually given so that the body of each church might function fully and effectively under Christ as the Head.
    Reading the letters that Paul wrote to the churches in Rome and Corinth is instructive. Both use the picture of the church being a body, and every member contributing to the functioning of the whole. Every member brings gifts to that church. Timothy was to exercise his God given gifts in the context of the church of which he was Pastor – the church at Ephesus. If we do not use our gifts well, the church cannot be as effective as it could be.
  9. Spiritual gifts are given for the edification of the whole church.
    They are to profit others and profit the whole through “edification”. This is a key expression in what Paul writes to the church in Corinth about spiritual gifts. Edification means building up, strengthening and helping to grow. They are not for selfish use to draw attention to them, or us!
  10. The greatest spiritual gift is that of self-giving (agape) love
    All other gifts are to be used and exercised in the context of this gift. Paul is quite clear about this in 1 Cor 13 v 1. He stresses that he might be able to demonstrate that he has wonderful spiritual gifts but if they are not exercised with self-giving love they are as useful as an empty can being kicked down the street! Paul says, in effect, I am nothing and have nothing to give to others, or to the church as a whole, without Christ-like love.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus: The Story Behind the Hymn

Isabella Lilias Trotter (1853–1928)

This devotional hymn was written in 1918 by Helen Lemmel, an accomplished hymnwriter and soloist, the daughter of a Methodist Minister. She was moved to write the words and music after reading a small booklet by Lilias Trotter entitled “Focussed” and hearing of her life story. She titled the hymn “The Heavenly Vision” but it is best known by the first line of the refrain, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”.

Both the hymn and the booklet that inspired it have been a challenge to the focus and devotion of Christians over almost a century. The life of Lilias Trotter is of great interest. Her own devotion to her Saviour, faith and labour of love speak volumes in our day of easy going Christianity.

In her biography of Lilias Trotter, Patricia St John describes the home life into which Lilias was born in 1853 as, “… the happy disciplined life of the Victorian upper classes; godly, serious, kind to the poor… sheltered… a stable home surrounded by beauty and culture.” Lilias wanted for nothing. She had a good education, travelled widely, she had a bright and inquisitive mind and loved the beauty of plants, flowers and nature. Her father was a wealthy banker and they lived in high society in the very best part of London.

Sadly, when Lilias was only 12 years old, her Father died and she was devastated at this great loss. However it was through this time of sadness that she was cast upon God for comfort and consolation and came to know Jesus Christ as her Saviour and friend. One biographer says that, “Through the very hardest thing in her life God brought her soul into blossom.” The change in her life through her conversion to Christ saw her develop a great gift of love and sympathy that was boundless in its expression.

As she grew into a young woman, that love for others was channelled into work in London with the YWCA among many unfortunate women who found themselves alone, penniless and exploited.

At the age of 23 she travelled with her mother to Venice and by God’s providence came into contact with John Ruskin, the famous writer and art critic. Ruskin was tremendously impressed with her ability to draw and paint and she spent time in his company at his home in the English Lake District. He was convinced that, “if she would give her life to painting she could become the greatest painter of the nineteenth century and do things that would be immortal.”

After the death of her mother in 1878 and considerable wrestling of heart, Lilias became convinced that God was calling her to serve Him. Interest in foreign missions was high following the Moody and Sankey missions and the remarkable commitment of seven Cambridge graduates to pioneer missionary work in China. It was at a missionary meeting that she felt the clear call of God to go to bring the Gospel to the Arab tribes of Algeria.

Despite a heart condition diagnosed prior to her departure, on the 5th March 1888 she left for North Africa and spent the remaining 40 years of her life working among the Arab Muslims of Algeria. Her work was truly remarkable. As a European white woman working mainly with other female colleagues in a pioneer mission among strongly traditional Muslims, the chances of her achieving any success were considered impossible. One biographer remarks that two words characterize Lilias’s work “inexhaustible and indiscourageable”.

Eventually using up all of her own wealth, she founded and maintained the Algiers Mission Band. Her ability in drawing and painting became an integral part in the communication of the gospel, illustrating tracts and booklets specifically designed to reach the Arab culture. Her incredible ability to learn languages, breakdown cultural barriers, organise, write and travel long distances across difficult terrain put her into the same category as other “unique” female missionary names such as Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward etc.

An extract from her booklet “Focussed”, which inspired this hymn, is quoted below and in reading it we might ask ourselves just how focussed on Jesus Christ we are today. How great is our need to turn our eyes fully upon Him.

“… if the Sun of Righteousness has risen upon our hearts, there is an ocean of grace and love and power lying all around us, an ocean to which all earthly light is but a drop, and it is ready to transfigure us…Gathered up, focussed lives, intent on one aim – Christ – these are the lives on which God can concentrate blessedness. It is “all for all” by a law as unvarying as any law that governs the material universe.

We see the principle shadowed in the trend of science; the telephone and the wireless in the realm of sound, the use of radium and the ultra violet rays in the realm of light. All these work by gathering into focus currents and waves that, dispersed, cannot serve us. In every branch of learning and workmanship the tendency of these days is to specialize – to take up one point and follow it to the uttermost.

And Satan knows well the power of concentration; if a soul is likely to get under the sway of the inspiration, “this one thing I do,” he will turn all his energies to bring in side-interests that will shatter the gathering intensity.

And they lie all around, these interests. Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once – art, music, social science, games, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the “good” hiding the “best” even more effectually than it could be hidden by downright frivolity with its smothered heart-ache at its own emptiness.

It is easy to find out whether our lives are focussed, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Does this test not give the clue? Then dare to have it out with God – and after all, that is the shortest way. Dare to lay bare your whole life and being before Him, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focussed on Christ and His glory. Dare to face the fact that unfocussed, good and useful as it may seem, it will prove to have failed of its purpose.

What does this focussing mean? Study the matter and you will see that it means two things – gathering in all that can be gathered, and letting the rest drop…

Are we ready for a cleavage to be wrought through the whole range of our lives… All aims, all ambitions, all desires, all pursuits – shall we dare to drop them if they cannot be gathered sharply and clearly into the focus of “this one thing I do”?

Will it not make life narrow, this focussing? In a sense, it will – just as the mountain path grows narrower, for it matters more and more, the higher we go, where we set our feet – but there is always, as it narrows, a wider and wider outlook, and purer, clearer air. Narrow as Christ’s life was narrow, this is our aim; narrow as regards self-seeking, broad as the love of God to all around. Is there anything to fear in that?

And in the narrowing and focussing, the channel will be prepared for God’s power – like the stream hemmed between the rock-beds, that wells up in a spring – like the burning glass that gathers the rays into an intensity that will kindle fire. It is worthwhile to let God see what He can do with these lives of ours, when “to live is Christ.”

Turn full your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him, and the Divine “attrait” by which God’s saints are made, even in this 20th century, will lay hold of you. For “He is worthy” to have all there is to be had in the heart that He has died to win”.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more has dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!


His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!


Words & music by Helen Howarth Lemmel based on the writing of Isabella Lilias Trotter (1853–1928) – pioneer Christian missionary to the Arab Muslims of Algeria & founder of what is now known as Arab World Ministries

Virtual Services: Sunday 13th September

Ben Scotton
Peter Leyshon-Jones

Our services today are led by Peter Lesyhon-Jones and Ben Scotton. In the morning, Peter is continuing his series in Mark’s Gospel. In our evening service Ben is exploring the fullness of God in Jesus.

Below are all the details you will need to join in with our services, including hymn words and activity sheets for children.

Every blessing.

Please note: the morning service is available as audio or video. The evening services are available as audio only.

Download AM & PM hymn sheets (scroll down to view on this page instead).

You can listen to the messages on the website front page or via these links: AM message from Peter Leyshon-Jones & PM from Ben Scotton.

Download activity sheets: older children & younger children.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Morning Service
Reading: Mark 4 v 21 – 41
Title: Kingdom and Creation

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen, all that is needful hath been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness and sin are abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen sound from His people again:
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

The grace of God has reached for me
And pulled me from the raging sea
And I am safe on this solid ground
The Lord is my salvation.

I will not fear when darkness falls
His strength will help me scale these walls
I’ll see the dawn of the rising sun
The Lord is my salvation.

    Who is like the Lord our God?
    Strong to save, faithful in love
    My debt is paid and the victory won
    The Lord is my salvation

My hope is hidden in the Lord
He flowers each promise of His Word
When winter fades, I know spring will come
The Lord is my salvation.

In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation.

    Who is like the Lord our God?

And when I reach my final day
He will not leave me in the grave
But I will rise, He will call me home
The Lord is my salvation.

    Who is like the Lord our God?

Glory be to God the Father, 
Glory be to God the Son,
Glory be to God the Spirit,
The Lord is our salvation

Glory be to God the Father, 
Glory be to God the Son,
Glory be to God the Spirit,
The Lord is our salvation
The Lord is our salvation

Evening Service
Reading: Colossians 1
Title: The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ

Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice,
All creation rises to rejoice.

    Behold our God seated on His throne,
    Come let us adore Him.
    Behold our King, nothing can compare,
    Come let us adore Him!

Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His Words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

    Behold our God seated on His throne…

Who has felt the nails upon His hands,
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal humbled to the grave,
Jesus, Saviour risen now to reign!

    Behold our God seated on His throne…

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest. (repeat)

Dear Name! the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never-failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!
Jesus! my Shepherd, Brother, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring. (repeat)

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death! (repeat)

CCLI: Licence No: 1992817

Virtual Services: Sunday 6th September

David Sherwood
Pastor David Fielding

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here are the usual details of hymns, Bible Readings and Message titles for our services.

Also attached is the “Junior Learning Together” sheet for the children.

We continue with our VIDEO format in the morning (which includes the children’s talk and Bible Reading), and on AUDIO in the evening.

We have a theme that runs through the day – that of human marriage and the picture that gives of the marriage of Christ & the Church.

We trust that the Lord will bless His Word to all who watch and listen.

Every blessing,

David, Peter, Richard, Martin & Lee

Download AM & PM hymn sheets.

You can listen to the messages on the website front page or via these links: AM message from Pastor David Fielding & PM from David Sherwood.

Download children’s worksheets.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 30th August

Pastor David Fielding

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here are the usual details of hymns, Bible Readings and Message titles for Sunday.
There is a “Junior Learning Together” sheet for the children too.

The morning service is available in video format. This includes a children’s talk and Bible Reading – NOTE: if you use the audio version these are not included.

The evening service is in audio format.

Every blessing,

David, Peter, Richard, Martin & Lee

Download AM & PM hymn sheets.

You can listen to the messages on the website front page or via these links: AM message from Pastor David Fielding & PM from David as well.

Download children’s worksheets.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 23rd August

Pastor David Fielding
Peter Leyshon-Jones

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here are the details of hymns, Bible Readings and message titles for our services tomorrow.

Also attached is the ‘Junior Learning Together’ sheet for the morning service and additional activity sheets for “older” and “younger” children for the evening service too.
The morning service is in video format and includes a children’s talk. The evening service is in audio format.

We trust that the Lord will bless his Word to us all.

In Christ.

David, Peter, Richard, Martin & Lee

Download AM & PM hymn sheets.

You can listen to the messages on the website front page or via these links: AM message from Pastor David Fielding & PM message from Peter Leyshon-Jones.

Download worksheets: AM children’s sheet; PM younger children’s sheet; PM older children’s sheet.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.