Meet A Christian: Amanda

I am not from a Christian background, but God blessed us with a Christian witness in our family when I was growing up, Great Aunt Jean. She would often mention things from the Bible and gave my sister and I a Good News Bibles when we were young; the verse she wrote in mine reads ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 16 verse 31). 

Fast forward to my early twenties when I came to Derby to study Business Studies at the University.  It was a 4-year degree course and in the third year I did an industrial placement working for Midland Bank, now HSBC. I was 25 years old; my work placement was going from bad to worse and I was feeling depressed. One cold February evening I was walking home from work and I heard someone singing loudly behind me. I turned around and said to this man “Why are you so happy?” He replied, “I’m praising the Lord, he makes me so happy”. “Oh, right” I said.  He asked me “Do you believe in God?” “Yes” I replied. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. “I’m not sure, what is a Christian? He explained its someone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. He was bold enough to ask for my telephone number, I remember thinking, “If he is Godly then he is a good man”. I had crossed paths with a Nigerian Evangelist!

He called me that night and we talked on the phone; he was interested in my life and before I knew it, I mentioned my troubles at work. He rang me every night for a few days and talked to me about Jesus and one verse he quoted was from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave us his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.” The gospel was going in!

At that time, I had taken some sick leave and it was during this time that he brought round some Christian literature, a Christian tape, and a tract. He said, “read this tract and if you believe pray the confession prayer”. The tract was called ‘Somebody Cares’ and was about a verse from 1 Peter ‘Cast all your cares on me because I care for you”. As I read the tract, Jesus talked to me so tenderly and powerfully that tears welled up inside. He said, “I love you Amanda; I care for you and am concerned about your progress and well-being. Accept my invitation and I will come into your life and will be with you and give you a new start.” I realised that I was lost and on the wrong path. Something supernatural happened, a light switched on and I believed Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. It all became so personal. 

I gave my life to Jesus that February night in 1998, Jesus became my Lord and Saviour. That same night Saibe rang and asked me “Do you believe?” I said, “Yes, I believe”. He said “Hallelujah! A host of angels are rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.” He promptly visited the flat, we held hands and Saibe prayed, and the Holy Spirit came into my heart. I knew instantly that I was different: peace, joy and love flowed into my inner being, I had changed internally and spiritually.

God worked straight away, I lost my job and moved back to live with my parents. Saibe said “You must find a good Bible believing church.” His words rang in my ears and he followed up with a phone call to check on my progress. I found a Baptist church and they were starting a discipleship course, so I joined and made friends. At the discipleship class I was taught that I needed to be baptised as a believer. I was a tender shoot, so new at being a Christian, yet God spoke so clearly to me ‘You believe!”. I was baptised on August 30th, 1998. Part of my Baptism song was: “Lord I come to you, let my heart be changed, renewed, flowing from the grace that I’ve found in you!”

I can testify to this day that God is so gracious and faithful that my life has flowed with God’s grace.  He has kept me safe and on the right track, even when I have made mistakes God is so merciful and kind. My heart’s desire is to continually live for him until he calls me home, to love him even more and to pray for people to also see their need of a loving Saviour. I always say it was the best decision of my life to follow Jesus. I pray it might be true of you too! Thank you for reading my story and God bless you.

To read more stories like Amanda’s: click here.

Mission Unstoppable: An Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles is the companion volume to Luke’s Gospel. Both books are addressed to Theophilus (see Luke 1v3 & Acts 1v1). Some would like to rename the Book, ‘the Acts of the Holy Spirit’, because, as they point out, the Holy Spirit is mentioned sixty-one times! But this might give the impression that Jesus’s work is over & He ceases to be central. Rather, Acts tells how the ascended Jesus continued to work through His Spirit-empowered apostles & people.” Rodger Crooks – One Lord, One Plan, One People

The Writer

The writer of the book is Luke, a physician and historian of remarkable ability. In his book, Church on the Move, Peter Williams says, “It is not difficult to see what we owe to Luke. Without his history, we should know little, if anything, of the origin and progress of the church, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the organisation of the church and its methods of evangelisation. Also, in a more general way, Acts serves as a link between the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament.”

Contents

Calvin describes The Acts as “a vast treasure”. Peter Williams’ book is called “Church on the Move” and the IBS Study booklet calls the Book, “Mission Unstoppable!”. The NIV Study Bible refers to it as “a bridge that ties the church with each succeeding age”. All of these descriptions are helpful to us in getting to grips with what the Book is going to tell us.

Luke, in his Gospel, shows what Christ began to do on earth; Acts shows what He continued to do by the Holy Spirit through the disciples. The ascension of our Lord is the closing scene in Luke. It is the opening fact in Acts.

  • The Gospels set forth the Son of Man, who came to die for our sins. Acts shows the coming of the Son of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Gospels tell of the crucified and risen Saviour. Acts portrays Him as the ascended and exalted Lord & Leader.
  • In the Gospels we hear Christ’s teachings. In Acts we see the effects of His teachings on the Apostles.

Acts is not a record of the acts of all of the Apostles, as no extensive accounts are given of any of the Apostles except Peter & Paul! It records the acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. His name is mentioned about seventy times. Look for some of the Holy Spirit in every chapter of this book.” H. Mears – What the Bible is all About

Timeline (All dates are approximate)

Acts 1 – 8:

  • 30AD Ascension of Christ. Pentecost and beginnings of the New Testament Church.
  • 32AD Martyrdom of Stephen. Missionary journey of Philip and conversion of the Ethiopian.

Acts 9:

  • 34AD Conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
  • 35AD Paul visits the Jerusalem church for the first time

Acts 12:

  • 44AD James is martyred. Peter is miraculously freed from prison.

Acts 13:

  • 47AD Paul begins his first missionary journey with Barnabas (& for a time, John Mark).

Acts 16:

  • 49AD Paul begins his second missionary journey with Silas (& later, Timothy & Luke).

Acts 19:

  • 52AD Paul begins his third missionary journey with Timothy & Titus (& others joining them at various points).

Acts 22-23:

  • 56AD Paul imprisoned in Jerusalem and then in Caesarea.

Acts 27 – 28:

  • 59AD Paul imprisoned in Rome.

Not recorded in Acts:

  • 61AD Paul makes his final travels.
  • 64AD Great fire at Rome – many Christians put to death.
  • 64AD or 67AD both Peter & Paul are martyred

A Summary

In the preface to Gordon Keddie’s commentary, he refers to three key areas that the Book of Acts demonstrates for us, namely:

  1. The history of the work of the Holy Spirit.
  2. The setting out of the doctrine of the church.
  3. The striking “evangelistic impulse that bursts out of every page”.

Relevance for us today:

“Here, most personally and immediately are our own ‘roots’ as the followers of Jesus.” Gordon Keddie – You are my Witnesses

“It is both thrilling and wonderful… to think that Jesus did not leave this world and return to the Father’s glory without first making arrangements for the on-going work of the gospel here below. What makes it thrilling is that He did not entrust that work to angels or divine beings but to ordinary men like the Apostles and through them to ordinary people like ourselves. There is a real sense therefore in which we can say that the ministry of Jesus never ends, and is being continued to today in the lives and witness of all Christian believers through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the church. What a great privilege and enormous responsibility we have therefore in being part of the body of Christ in the world.” Peter Williams – Church on the Move

3 Essentials to begin:

There are three essentials that occur at the beginning of “mission unstoppable”. They set the scene for the rest of the story!

  1. The promise of the Holy Spirit (1 v 4 – 8)
  2. The ascension of the Lord Jesus (1 v 9 – 11)
  3. The necessity of corporate prayer (1 v 12 – 14)

Useful Commentaries:

In addition to those written by Peter Williams & Gordon Keddie which are mentioned above, other good commentaries include those by John Calvin, Richard Lenski & Joseph Alexander.

These notes accompany the sermon series preached at Castlefields Church in 2020. Click here to listen to the whole series for free!

Click here to download this article as a pdf.

Virtual Services: Sunday 2nd August

Pastor David Fielding
Peter Leyshon-Jones

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here are the usual details which include Hymns, Bible Readings and Message Titles.

There are also activities for the children for both morning & evening services.

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 message from Peter Leyshon-Jones.

Download activity sheets: AM children’s sheet, PM children’s sheet (YOUNGER), PM children’s sheet (OLDER).

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 26th July

Pastor David Fielding
Stephen Weale

Dear Castlefields Friends,

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

Also there is a ‘Junior Learning Together’ sheet for the children.
Once again, the morning service is available in video format & now includes the Children’s Talk.

The morning passage in Acts 15 is quite lengthy and detailed but we hope that the application is helpful to all.

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 message from Stephen Weale.

Download children’s activity sheets.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 19th July

Pastor David Fielding
Richard Carvell

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here are the details for our services tomorrow. 

The ‘CNews’ includes a handy map showing the journey that Paul & Barnabas make in Acts chapters 13 & 14.

Also included is a chart which shows how the opposition & rejection of the gospel message increases as the gospel of the Lord Jesus is spread throughout the region where Paul & Barnabas are preaching.  We are reminded that, even though we are on “Mission Unstoppable” , there is an enemy of the gospel pitched against us; Satan himself!

As usual there is a ‘Junior Learning Together’ sheet for the children.

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 message from Richard Carvell.

Download children’s activity sheets.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 12th July

Pastor David Fielding
David Sherwood

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here is the usual Sunday ‘CNews’  with details of the hymns, Bible Readings & message titles for Sunday.
It also contains a handy map which will be useful for following the Bible Reading & Message in the morning.

There is also the ‘Junior Learning Together‘ sheet for the children to complete.

This week we are trialling video in the morning — so be prepared to see David as well as hear him!

As with all first time attempts at anything new, there are a number of glitches that will need ironing out for the future but we gradually want to make our services resemble the usual pattern that we were all used to before ‘lock down’.

We continue to explore opportunities to meet together physically rather than virtually, so please pray for us as we meet to try and advance these arrangements this week.

Evening services will remain on the website in audio version for the present time.

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 message from David Sherwood..

Download children’s activity sheets.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 5th July

Pastor David Fielding
Peter Leyshon-Jones

Dear Castlefields Friends,

In our usual way, we are attaching the following items for tomorrow’s services:

  • CNews with hymns, Bible Readings & Message titles.
  • ‘Junior Learning Together’ sheet for the morning service.
  • Activity sheet for younger children for the evening service.
  • Activity sheet for older children for the evening service.

The Government are allowing churches re-open this Sunday but the process is complex and, in our case made more challenging by the size of our building. It will be very difficult to comply with mandatory hygiene & ‘self distancing’ requirements in our premises.

Please pray specifically for a way forward for us to adapt or use a suitable building for our morning services.

Next week, we hope to use video to advance our connection with you but for a time, other services will be audio based and our mid week prayer meetings will remain on Zoom by invitation.

We trust the Lord to provide for all our needs as His care for His church is infinite and perfect.

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 message from Peter Leyshon-Jones.

Download children’s activity sheets: Morning sheet; Evening sheet (younger children); Evening sheet (older children).

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Services: Sunday 28th June

Pastor David Fielding
Peter Fry

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here is ‘CNews’ No 42 with the hymns, Bible readings & message titles.

As usual there is also a Junior Learning Together sheet for the children to work through.

As the ‘lock down’ gradually eases we will need great prayer & patience as we work through the necessary steps to steer our Sunday activities back to something like “normal”! In the meantime, our on line services continue in audio format, so please pray with us that they will be greatly blessed to many far & wide, as well as our usual congregation

We pray God’s richest blessing on the ministry of the Word for young and old alike.

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 message from Peter Fry.

Download the children’t activity sheet.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Meet A Christian: Sarah

Hi, I’m Sarah a student at Sheffield studying Early Childhood Studies. Despite being in Sheffield 50% of the time, Derby is my home and when I’m home I attend Castlefields Church where I am currently a member. I’ve been coming to Castlefields since I was born so this church is very much my family.

I want to share with you the testimony of my Christian faith and how I came to know Jesus as my Saviour. I’ve been brought up in a Christian home so was taken to Church each week where I would listen to sermons and attend the Sunday school. For many years I enjoyed going to church solely because I got to play with my friends which meant I never really pondered on what was being preached. Not much changed over the years until my older sister got baptised.

During this time I felt a lot of pressure for me to get baptised too but something was holding me back. When I’d seen other Christians get baptised previously and heard their testimony they talked about the amazing transformations in their life. I realised that I couldn’t relate as I hadn’t had a ‘big’ change yet, therefore surely, I couldn’t be a Christian. After going over and over it in my mind, I plucked up the courage to ask my mum what she thought. She explained to me that it’s tricky to see a change in yourself when you’ve been brought up in a Christian home and told me most importantly to pray about it. This led me to praying every night that God would make me a Christian.

One Sunday evening I remember a visiting preacher talked about what you need to do to be a Christian. He explained that you simply need to believe in God & Jesus’ death and ask for forgiveness of sins. God spoke to me that evening. I’d done those things already! Surely, I was a Christian?

From then on, I struggled in my faith as I had doubts about not actually being a Christian. I remember getting really scared and worked up about death. I’d go to bed each evening & ask myself “what if I go to sleep and never wake up? What would happen?” I’ve always been known as a worrier but this has to be my most worrying question. I didn’t trust that God had really accepted me as one of His children. But then through church sermons and reading my bible, I was reminded of one of the many truths in the Bible…

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me, I will by no means cast out”.

John 6 v 37

This verse in particular gave me the reassurance that I needed. I WAS a Christian! I knew that I had come to God and asked for forgiveness and this verse reminded me that He wouldn’t (and still won’t) cast me out. It’s like that classic Sunday school song that I’m sure you’ve heard before… ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’ – the end verse says ‘He’s got you and me brother in His hands’ now I can rejoice that I know for a fact that this is true! God has got me in His hands and will never let me go 😊

A few months later, this led to my baptism. I don’t like being under the spotlight but I realised that this wasn’t all about me – it was about my relationship with God and what He had done for me. I just want to point out that my baptism was a symbol of me being born again to a new life in Christ – baptism is not something that saves you.

So fast-forwarding to now, over 4 years later. I can see God’s hand in my life as I have faced both ups and downs. Ultimately, I know that even the moments in my life that have been difficult they have all been for my growth as a Christian believer. You may think that because I am a believer I no longer sin and do wrong things but oh how incorrect you are! I sin every day without fail and am constantly asking for forgiveness from God. But the great thing is that I know that Jesus died for each of those individual sins and that He will forgive me!

I’m still very new in my faith and know that I have a long journey ahead of me to understand more of God’s grace and love but it’s a journey that I look forward to as I know it deepens my relationship with my Saviour.

For more stories like Sarah’s, click here.

Virtual Services: Sunday 21st June

Peter Leyshon-Jones
Pastor David Fielding

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here is the usual ‘CNews’ for this Sunday with hymns, Bible Readings & sermon titles. There are a number of additional things to mention as well.

Our morning preacher is different this week. Peter Leyshon-Jones will be leading & preaching for us. For a change, David will be leading and preaching in the evening.

Peter has included a hymn that might not be very familiar as it was only written just as the ‘lock down’ was beginning, earlier this year! We included it in a ‘CNews’ Special edition on 16th April. A copy of that edition is also attached & you will find a link on there to enable you to listen to the tune in readiness for Sunday morning. It is an excellent hymn, based on the Heidelberg Catechism, and wonderfully fitting for the days in which we live.

There are three children’s activity sheets this Sunday:- one for younger children for the morning service, based on Psalm 1- one for older children based on the morning sermon in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.  
– a colouring sheet based on the verses for the evening sermon in Numbers 6.

We pray God’s richest blessing on the ministry of the Word for young and old alike.

With love in Christ.

David, Peter, Richard, Martin & Lee

Download AM & PM hymn sheets. Info on new hymn “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”.

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

Download the children’t activity sheets: AM younger children, AM older children & PM sheet.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Virtual Sunday Services 14/06/20

David Fielding
Richard Carvell

Dear Castlefields Friends,

Here are the details of our hymns, Bible Readings and message titles for this Sunday.
As usual there is also attached a sheet that can be used with younger children to help go through the Scripture passage.

The passage that we are looking at in the morning service is quite long and therefore we have included some brief notes after the morning hymns, that help us to follow the progression of the narrative.

In this world of turmoil we thank God for His unchanging Word and what we learn of His unchanging gospel purposes.

Singing God’s praise is good for us – today; seek out good “psalms & hymns & spiritual songs” to sing, as well as those chosen for our two services.
We pray for His blessing on His people, all across the world on His Day!

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 Richard Carvell.

Download the children’s sheet.

These messages are now available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.