This week’s message from Sardis Pastor

Better to Stand Alone than to Follow the Crowd – Message 05/04/20

In the book of Acts 14 :8 – 20; we read a very interesting story on Paul and Barnabas’ ministry. The story is interesting for different reasons (a miracle took place, Paul and Barnabas were seen as gods. Paul and Barnabas reaction, the change of mind of the crowd, Paul and Barnabas courage). This episode took place during their first missionary journey and it was in the city of Lystra. Lystra was located in Asia Minor, in modern day – Turkey. This story took place during Paul’s first missionary journey. Paul and his companions were visiting the city of Lystra and they came across a man who was paralyzed from birth. So, he never walked or climbed a tree. He was very limited in what he could do. When Paul saw him he had a spiritual discernment that that man had faith to be healed. Paul commanded the gentleman to walk and straight away he started walking. When the crowds saw what had just taken place, the people started shouting ‘the gods are amongst us’. They thought they were two of their pagan gods and they wanted to offer sacrifices to them. The gods the crowd proclaimed them to be were Zeus and Hermes. Zeus in ancient Greek mythology was the god of sky, lightning and thunder, and ruler of all the gods on Mount Olympus. Hermes was the god over many different activities but above all he was the herald and messenger. Paul and Barnabas were horrified that people could even consider the idea they were gods. So they tore their clothes just to prove they were flesh and bones like them. Paul and Barnabas made the most of a ‘bad situation’ and used it to proclaim the kingdom of God. We need to learn to make sure miracles are to point the way to God and highlight His power. Miracles are not to prove what a great man/woman of God we are. Miracles are not to highlight our faith but God’s power and compassion. It is the responsibility of the believer to point people out to the Lord and teach about His ways. The enemy tried to spoil what God was doing by diverting peoples’ attention to pagan gods. How dare he?

The crowds were very impressed with them, but soon after this so amazing episode, some of the Jews from Antioch turned the same crowd against Paul and Barnabas. The Jewish people hated the paganism of the Hellenistic culture. However, they hated Paul even more so, to the point, they were willing to side with those who were on the wrong instead of adhering to the truth. They  became friends with their spiritual enemies in order to cause problems to God’s cause. Hatred is a very ugly thing and it is always destructive, no good thing will come out as a result of hatred. If you have a hint of hatred in your heart, ask the Lord to set you free from it. It will cause massive problems later on if you do not deal with it. The Jews won the crowd over and now they saw Paul and Barnabas as two evil people and Paul was stoned by the crowd. They stopped throwing stones at him because they thought he was dead.  It is just shocking how the crowd changed their mind and behaviour so promptly. People lose their sense of responsibility when they are in a crowd. Things they do when in a crowd they would never do if they were alone. The government has used an expression in order to contain the Coronavirus ‘herd Immunization’, I think I can understand what they mean and what they are doing. But looking from a different perspective, we Christians are not a ‘herd’ we are ‘flock’ and our Shepherd is the good Shepherd. We Christians, we must learn to stand as individuals even when in the midst of a crowd. We cannot allow the crowd to carry us with them, we are individuals and we are going to face God as individuals. Our relationship with God is strengthened in our individual relationship with Him. Please, do not misunderstand me, it is wonderful to be part of a good community, it is wonderful to belong to a good and solid Christian fellowship, but it can never take away the fact that our relationship with the Lord is first and mostly based upon a personal (individual) relationship with Him . During this time of ‘quarantine’ , please keep in touch with one another and encourage one another. However, we are experiencing an historical event in our lives, something very rare is taking place now and many nations are on lock down. My advice to you is ‘make the most of it and learn to develop your own relationship with the Lord’. If we take such a step we as a fellowship of believers will come out on the other end of the tunnel much stronger and healthier than when we first entered it. It is a possibility that we have to work on it, but we need to work on it as individuals, so, when we meet up again we are going to be a much stronger community. We need to learn to be a strong individual but in the midst of a crowd.

If you carry on reading the story, you will see Paul and his companions went from Lystra do Derbe and after Derbe they went back to Lystra to encourage the disciples. In the midst of all of this trouble Paul and Barnabas stood against the crowd, paid the price and made an impression 0n peoples’ lives, the fact is that they returned to the place where they suffered a lot to encourage the local church. We cannot allow negative experiences in life to put us off, if we allow that we have lost the battle.

Just to finish if you look at Acts 16:1, you see Paul in his second missionary journey went to Lystra ‘again’ and there he found a disciple called Timothy. Most probably he and his mother were converted during Paul’s first visit or as a result of the first visit. Learn to stand as an individual in the crowd and God will certainly stand by your side. As Marlene says. ‘A man with God is a majority’.

God bless

As it is the first Sunday of the month and we always have Communion together we are going to have it now in our own homes. If there are other believers in your household ask them to join you. If there aren’t other believers in your household you take it alone. You will need bread and wine; if you do not have wine you can use Ribena or just water. We are going to celebrate it only on the first Sunday of the month but you feel free to celebrate it different days of the month.

The broken bread symbolizes the body of Jesus that was broken for us.

The wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus that was shed for us.

Read your Bible in 1 Corinthians 11:23 – 26.

Pray and give God thanks for Jesus broken body and then eat the bread

Give God thanks for Jesus blood and then drink the wine

 

Bible Study – 07/04/20

Today we are going to be looking at the life story of Joseph. The name Joseph in the Bible means ‘the Lord will add’. I am sure we are all very familiar with the story of Joseph. He was Jacob’s 11th son and the first one with his wife Rachel. Joseph was one of twelve boys and his father’s favourite. We should have no favourites but it shows us the honesty of the biblical accounts. Favouritism will cause problems within a family. Joseph had a coat of many colours (there is a play about it). He had dreams from God and he spoke them out. His brothers were jealous of him and because of that they even planned to murder him but instead they sold him as a slave to the Ishmaelites who in turn sold him to the Egyptians. It was a terrifying experience for Joseph, he was betrayed by his own, his own planned to murder him, but instead sold him as an object. Sometimes we think to ourselves ‘I am a Christian and look at the mess my family is in’. It is right to ask questions but it is wrong to think because you are godly you are vaccinated against troubles and disappointments. Joseph went from being a favourite son to be a slave, as a slave he had no shoes to wear, no rights whatsoever, he needed to learn a new culture, a new language, he was taken to the human market and sold as a slave. We know the outcome of Joseph’s story, but he did not. He needed to wake up every day and believe God was going to step in. Today we are going to concentrate on chapter 39, it is when Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar who was the captain of the Palace guard.

In the book of Genesis chapter 39, things started going well for Joseph and the Lord was prospering him. We read 3 times in this chapter and ‘God was with Joseph’ – verses 3,21,23. Joseph was young, handsome and above all he feared God. Potiphar’s wife desired him but he ran away from her but left behind his cloak. That cloak became evidence of a crime he never committed. I am sure Joseph created in himself the ‘garment complex’. Twice in his life he was in trouble because of a garment – one of many colours and the other one he left in Potiphar’s house. Joseph was found guilty of a crime he never committed and down to prison he went. He had no one to fight his cause, he was alone and once again betrayed but this time in a foreign country. Even though it was painful to be betrayed by Potiphar’s wife it was not as painful as being betrayed by his own brothers.

The closer the person is to you, the more painful is the betrayal. A friend is supposed to protect you and not harm you. Joseph got in trouble because of his good character because he feared God. If you get in trouble because of your faithfulness towards God in a very positive way be proud of yourself. Joseph was found guilty but the most important thing was ‘God and Joseph’ both knew he was innocent. You can see the hand of God in this whole matter because Joseph was supposed to have been punished with death but his life was spared. The prison Joseph went to was for those who have acted against the national interest of those days – treason -. It was a very harsh prison and Joseph was there for many years. What catches our eyes in verse 20 ‘Joseph was in the king’s Prison’. Even today we believers  are confined into  God’s Prison. Lots of us are confined to our houses, we are in the ‘King’s Prison’. God has not lost control of the situation, God is doing something much bigger than what we can see or understand. Carrying on reading the story we learn Joseph tried to get out of prison, any of us would have done the same. Praise God, He did not allow Joseph out of prison before ‘His’ time. God elevated Joseph, but before He elevated him he brought him to a very low place. The wonderful thing is that in all this process ‘God was with Joseph’. This ‘confinement’ we are facing now can drive us mad or can drive us to a very close relationship with the Saviour. I do not believe in the prosperity theology but God certainly will prosper us in our lives and will teach some very important lessons that is costing the whole world billions if not trillions of pounds. So, my advice to you is ‘be still and know He is God’. We are seeing the mighty hand of God acting in ways we could not even think or imagine. What a wonderful God we serve. Joseph could not even dream of becoming the second man in command of the most powerful nation on earth in those days. But God did it and not Joseph.

Prayer Points:

John Jervis, June Harris, Phillys, Vernon, Kathy

People working for the NHS

Sharon France, Savannah, Rebecca and Nigel Rhys, Vicky, Gareth and Anna LLewllyn, Gaynor, Hanna Williams, Dr Paul Harries. Rebecca Chappel-Harries, Alison (Marion’s Daughter)

Pray for our country and its leaders

Pray for our fellowship and God will keep us close to him and close to each other

Phone people and check how they are.

Coming Friday is Good Friday and we are going to have a Special Remembrance Service at 3pm.  We will have Communion together and meditate on God’s love for us.

God bless

 

Pastor Fortunato Santos

Happy Birthday Abergarwed Twins

 

 

Warmest “Birthday Greetings” go to Mike Davies, our brilliant Resolven District News photographer and twin brother Pat who are 76 on Sunday the 5th of April

Mike always says he’s delighted to be here because when he and Pat  arrived in Abergarwed 76 years ago, the midwife gave him two days to live!  He also says he never missed a day at school in Resolven and we say he’s never missed a good photo opportunity since the day he picked up a camera..

 

The BBC often use his pictures of local scenes during their T.V weather forecasts-he is one of their top Weather Watchers and where would we be on RDN without the constant stream of top-notch photos he gives us?

Here are a few  from our  “Mike” collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for those and all the other images you’ve delighted us withMike

 

Make the most of your “isolated”  coronavirus birthday  Abergarwed twins.  Remember the music!

 

With their dad Vernon’s  dance band (including Mike’s wife Maureen) in Glynneath Social-1960’s

 

 

Care & Repair Western Bay Charity Information

 

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Two Golden Wedding Couples in Resolven

With all the doom and gloom of the coronavirus disrupting our normal lives we must remember not to forget important celebrations. Saturday 28th March was the Golden Wedding of two couples living in the village and even with isolation issues and distancing there was still room for family and friends to congratulate and celebrate the milestone event.

 

Gareth and Carol Williams of Wellfield Avenue Melincourt who were married in St. David’s Church 50 years ago by Vicar Lewis and held their wedding reception in the Miners Welfare Hall.

 

 

 

Gareth and Carol and their 3 children Matthew, Nia, and Emily and their 3 grandchildren  Molly, Evie and Lillia all live locally and even   though they couldn’t be all together yesterday in person due to the isolation situation the family joined together in a virtual party online to celebrate and had a fantastic time and were in fine cheer .

 

The second couple to our story are John and Maureen Fryer of Rheola Avenue. John and Maureen met on holidays in Spain over 50 years ago and Maureen moved from Pontefract in Yorkshire to Resolven to be with John. They got married in Pontefract at Maureen’s family church before moving to settle in Resolven where they still live with John’s sister Anne.

 

 

 

 

They have 2 children Christopher and Michelle, and grandchildren Brad, Taya, Jake and Maisie

Isolation didn’t stop the congratulations  as all it took was a  bit of imagination to congratulate and celebrate the event with their family and neighbours cheering  them from a safe distance when they came into the garden singing happy anniversary, with some even putting flags out,  and making them smile .

Congratulations to both couples from all their friends in Resolven

Report by Diane Sims

Police Advice Notice

NPT Safe and Well Service

 

Resolven Park Closed

24 March 2020 Update on Minimising Social Contact to Tackle COVID-19 and Protect The NHS

Information Provided by Neath Port Talbot CBC

The PM has announced an expansion in social distancing measures.  The arrangements are set out in the following:

Minimising social contact is the most important way that collectively we can tackle COVID-19 and protect the NHS. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now introducing three new measures.

 

1.    Requiring people to stay at home, except for essential activities

2.    Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3.    Stopping public gatherings of more than two people

 

The Government expects every citizen to comply with these new measures. They are vital to saving lives and preventing the spread of the infection.

 These measures will come into effect on Tuesday 24 March 2020. They will initially last for three weeks, until after the Easter weekend, when the Government will update.

 

1. STAYING AT HOME

 You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

 

●     shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

 

●     exercise, such as a run, walk, or cycle. Making sure you exercise is particularly important at this time, but must be alone, or with your immediate household, and not more than once a day.

 

●     any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

 

●     travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home. Your employer should take all reasonable steps to support you to work from home wherever possible.

There are some issues which we need to resolve including children travelling to school to collect free school meals.  These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home.

 

 These measures must be followed by everyone.  Shielding arrangements which are already under development will continue.

 

2. CLOSING SHOPS AND PUBLIC SPACES

Last week, the Government asked certain businesses – including pubs, cinemas and theatres – to close.  In Wales Caravan parks, campsites, tourist hotspots and popular beauty spots have been closed to visitors. The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of business and other venues, including:

  • all non-essential retail stores – this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding grocery markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades, and soft play facilities.
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excludes permanent residents).

 

3. STOPPING PUBLIC GATHERINGS

To make sure people are social distancing, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.

 

 There are only two exceptions to this rule:

 

●     where the gathering is of a group of people who live together – this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home; or

 

●     where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

 

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals attended by immediate family.

DELIVERING THESE NEW MEASURES

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to  reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

 

The Government expects every citizen to comply with these new measures.

 

If people do not follow these new measures, we will not reduce the spread of the infection. The Government will therefore be putting in place measures to enforce them, including through fines where people do not comply.

 

The Government understands that these measures will severely restrict citizens’ quality of life and economic activity. But they are considered an essential temporary response to bring down the spread of COVID-19.

 

They will initially last for the next three weeks, until the end of the Easter weekend, at which point the Government will them.

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For more information re Public Services etc. in NPTCBC, then Copy and Paste the following link into your Browser.

http://www.npt.gov.uk/coronavirus

Information from Cllr Dean Lewis

Update from Resolven Food Bank

Following the closure of Resolven Building Blocks today we have made some changes to the way that the food bank operates. The Resolven food bank will remain OPEN to support as many people in this difficult time as possible. From now on all parcel requests need to be made between Monday and Thursday either through inboxing our facebook page or calling 07756763664. When you get in touch you will be asked to give details of how many people your parcel is for and any dietary requirements you have. We will then give you a time slot to collect your parcel on a Friday ONLY between the hours of 10am and 1pm. Our delivery service will still be running during this time but this again will only be running on a Friday. All social distancing safety measures will be in full effect during these times. We appreciate your patience with these changes and thank you all for working with us in this time.

Christina James

Sitting Pretty !

 

LOVELY IMAGE by MIKE DAVIES RDN PHOTOGRAPHER

Important Local Information from Resolven CC

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Message from Rev’d Andrew J Davies

St David’s Church – Resolven

St. David’s Church will be open between 11.00am and 12.00 noon each Sunday for prayer, please feel free to drop in and offer prayer for whatever is on your heart. I will be there, however, if you just wish to drop your prayer off at the rear of the Church then I shall ensure that your need will be prayed for. if you wish to stay, please don’t feel the need to be there for the full hour. Stay for as long or as short a time as you wish.

HOWEVER, PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE FOLLOWED ALL NECESSARY GUIDELINES, WASHING OF HANDS AND/OR THE USE OF HAND GEL. ALSO THAT YOU ARE IN GOOD HEALTH. SOCIAL DISTANCING SHOULD BE MAINTAINED FOR EVERYBODY’S PROTECTION

Rev’d Andrew J Davies

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Religious Services in Resolven

Due to the present circumstances regarding social gatherings, the following Churches and Chapels in Resolven will NOT be holding Services until further notice.

JERUSALEM CHAPEL

TABERNACLE CHAPEL

SARDIS CHAPEL

St DAVID’S CHURCH

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Message for Sardis Members from Pastor Fortunato Santos

Hello there!!

As you are aware, we are facing some very challenging days ahead of us. At the present moment we are not allowed to get together for worship in our building. So, in order to keep in touch with everyone, I will be sending you some notes of our Sunday Evening worship and also of our Tuesday Prayer meetings.

The Lord is certainly doing a new thing.

May the Lord truly bless you.

 

 

NOTES FOR THIS WEEK BELOW

 

“FEAR NOT” Message 22/03/20

Read this message on Sunday at 6pm and pray. Sing the hymns ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus and Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine’, If you do not know them, sing two hymns you know.

As you are aware, at the present moment we are not able of meeting together in our building because of the circumstances we are living in. However, we must remind ourselves that we are the church of God and not the building itself. It is great to have a building where we can meet together and worship the Lord and hold many different activities that benefit the local community and beyond and at the same time serve as a base where people can learn more about the bible.At the moment in time many people are really distressed and frightened of what is happening, but the word of God to us His children is ‘Fear Not’. The bible has a lot to say about ‘fear’. The first time we read the word ‘fear’ in the bible is in Genesis 9:2; it was about God speaking to Noah; ‘The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth…’. This verse is speaking about the creatures of the earth being subdued by mankind and this is not the ‘fear’ I am talking about. The ‘Fear’ I am talking about is when we face a new situation in our lives and we do not know how to handle it. Something we do not have the human power to control. In this aspect the first time we see the word ‘Fear’ in the bible it is in Genesis 15:2 ‘After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision; “Do not fear Abram. Abram, I am your shield and, your very great reward’. ‘The after this’ the bible is talking about it is some fierce battles Abram fought to set his nephew Lot free. Abram had other many challenges ahead of him and he stepping into the ‘unknown’, it was ‘unknown to Abram but for God, because our God knows everything’.

There are many other verses in the bible about fear, such as ‘Isaiah 41;10 -13; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:13,30 Luke 2:10; Luke 12:7 and many others. Going back to Genesis 15:2 we find another very important promise God gave to Abram; ‘I am your shield, your very reward’.  So, people of God, the Lord is our shield.

Fear it is to have faith in the enemy. The verses above I gave you, the Lord spoke to the people when they were facing a new situation. They were going to walk on unchartered territory and this is the very expression the politicians, doctors, professors are using at the moment ‘unchartered territory’, it is uncharted for them but not for our God. He is our shield, so, fear not.

Fear will cause you anxiety, sleepless nights, sadness, depression etc. Only bad things come with fear, that’s why He tells us ‘Fear not’. You can choose to be a prisoner of your own fear or be free of fear in your own mind and heart.  Of course we need to be wise and cooperate with the authorities as much as we can. We must be an example in our communities. We must be wise but not be frightened, because the Lord is our shield.

We listen to the news or watch the TV to get fresh information, but TV does not build our faith, it is the word of God that teaches us to trust in Him. We believers, we believe and put our faith in God and not in the TV. The TV gives us information but not power, but we know there is power in the word of God.

Do not allow fear to paralyze you or take your inner peace away. It that is happening pray against it. Ask God to fill you with His peace, tell Him you are afraid and ask Him to help you. Let the Lord quieten your emotions and speak tenderly into your soul. When fear grips your heart and mind say it ‘The Lord is my shield and in Him I put my trust’. Pray God’s protection upon you and your family. We are believers we belong to God, no need to live in fear.

God bless – Pastor Fortunato Santos

 

BIBLE STUDY – 24/03/20

Sing hymns ‘Majesty Worship His Majesty / Here is Love vast as the ocean’. Please read John 15:1-17

Every week we are going to have a memory verse ‘This is my command; “Love each other”. John 15:17

Read this Bible Study at 7 pm on  Tuesday and after that pray through the prayer points.

In our Bible Study and Prayer Meeting on Tuesdays, we have been looking at the passage in John 15: 1 -17. Today we come to our last part of this study. Today we are going to be looking at verse 17, which says; ‘This is my command: Love each other’.

This is a very short verse and how timely it is for these uncertain days we are living in at the present moment. It is very easy to love people when things are easy and when we get on with them. However, it is a real test for ‘true love’, when life proves to be a bit more difficult than what we are used to.

When the Lord Jesus spoke these words it was during the Last Passover Meal. He knew the cross was just a matter of hours but the disciples did not know it. The disciples were in a festive mood as they were celebrating the Passover meal together. Jesus knew it was their last Passover meal together but the disciples did not know that. The disciples were going to have a very difficult time ahead of them and the Lord commanded them ‘Love each other’. Love is not a sentimental feeling, love is a moral decision. Love is to do the best for God and my neighbour. Love is not based on feelings, love is to be practical in doing the best for God and those around us.

Someone asked me, ‘Where is your faith that you are closing down the church?’ I think it is a very valid question. We are not closing the church we are closing our building and not because of the fear of the Coronavirus, we are closing the doors in obedience to what the government of our land has requested of us. We are the church of God. If the government had not requested of us to close the doors, we had a ‘plan that was going to be implemented in order for us to keep our doors open’. The government is not asking of us to do something unbiblical, because this we would not have done. The government is under a lot of pressure and they are making some extremely difficult decisions. By cooperating with the government we are showing we are good citizens and at the same time that we care for each other, it is a practical way of showing love.

We have seen through the TV and newspapers how selfish people have been in buying much more than what they need. People are afraid. In 1 John 4:18 we learn ‘Perfect love cast out all fears’. We as believers have a wonderful opportunity of showing perfect love to those are living under fear. Think about this verse (John 15:17) and reflect on it again and again throughout the week. Love for the believer is not an option, it is a commandment from the Lord. Let people around us see that we love them and we care for them.

Prayer points:

People who are unwell: John Jervis, Terry Brock, June Harris, Heather James, Heather Miller, Julie Morgan, Terry Brettle,

Government, NHS staff, Shop Keepers, The Elderly, The Lonely. A vaccine and medication to be found against Coronavirus

Missionaries: Helen Matara, Barbara Knoyle and family, Andy Hutton and family, Silva Family

God bless – Pastor Fortunato Santos