Friends’ Luncheon 2014

Please make a note in your diaries of Saturday 18th October at 12 noon when our Friends Luncheon will be held, at the Family Life Centre on Ash Street.

If you would like to attend the Friends Luncheon, please return the reply slip that comes with your Gideon News or use the contact link above to let us know.

Friends Luncheon

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Auxiliary Chaplains, Past and Present

Gideons Southport

Over the coming months we hope to be able to give you a glimpse behind the scenes at the various members of the local branch of the Gideons International. Every branch appoints members to a variety of roles to ensure the smooth running of the branch, and to enable us to be effective in the ministry of placing and presenting Scripture where those who need the Good News may find it. We trust you will find this helpful.

Dorothy Broadhurst has been the the Auxiliary Chaplain for Southport Gideons for many years, she has recently retired from this post and passed it on to Natalie Redding.

Dorothy has been a Gideon since 1977. The high lights of Dorothy’s time have been the annual convention, which she attended every year and also the visitation of old peoples’ homes. Dorothy is now living in a rest home and says: “It is a joy now to be able to give a Japanese New Testament each year when our new Japanese helpers arrive.”

Natalie says:

“I joined the Gideon Association on the 17th Feb. 2000 and have had a role to play ever since. I enjoy most aspects of the Gideons work including the placing of scriptures and the fellowship we have one with another. My favorite job is being Auxiliary chaplain followed by International work and also being able to give talks at ladies groups in the area. Other highlights are when Ian and I gave Bibles to the Mayors and Mayoresses of Sefton and of West Lancs.”

Please do continue to pray for the members of the local branch, as well as the national and international work of the Gideons.

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Blackpool Blitz

Once a year the Gideons in Zone 2 get together for a Bible Blitz. Having prepared and planned for a whole year, last Friday and Saturday we descended on Blackpool for a concerted drive to place Scriptures in the hotels and guest houses that crowd the busy streets of this holiday town. Despite the summer being over the town was still bustling with visitors, many coming to see the lights in the evening.

Gideons International in the British Isles

Around a dozen members of the Southport Branch took part this year with a total of 95 Gideons from Zone 2 present for the work. We were placed in groups of 3 or 4 and sent out with maps and a list of venues to visit. The plan was simply to call on each hotel or guest house and offer to replenish their stock or place Scriptures if none were present. In total over 3200 Scriptures were placed, around 2800 hotel Bibles and 400 personal testaments given one to one.

We expected a certain unwillingness to accept Bibles given the current attitudes to Christianity in the UK and there certainly were those who point blank refused our offer, but there were also many encouragements.

We were asked in to one guest house where the proprietor said that she had Bibles in the airing cupboard and would give them to anyone who asked. When asked why she didn’t leave them in the rooms she seemed a little reluctant to upset visitors, despite being a church going Roman Catholic herself. I explained how David Suchet, famous for playing the Belgian detective, Poirot on television had found himself in a hotel and at a loss for something to do. Suchet opened a drawer and found a Gideons Bible and started to read – he is now a Bible believing Christian! This story changed the proprietor’s mind, and she there and then asked for new Bibles and allowed us to remove the old ones from her airing cupboard – they were dated 1957 and long past being fit to give to anyone. The owner promised to place the Bibles in the room as soon as we left!

Of course there will be many more similar stories from the teams that went out. Please join with us in thanking God for these opportunities and please pray that each and every Bible placed will be used by God for the saving of souls and for the building of His Church.

Southport Gideon at Blackpool

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Chairman’s Letter – Summer 2013

Dear Friends,

In the Spring news letter we shared our joy with regards to a new member of the local branch. Shortly after distributing the news letter we had the privilege of welcoming Mr Bill Harrison into membership and on the 6th of June we held a Branch Development Dinner. Ten couples who had been recommended to the association by their church leaders shared in fellowship with members of Gideons International. They heard presentations about the vision and activity of the association and an appeal to join with us in presenting the word of God with the sole aim of winning lost souls for Jesus.

Four couples have accepted the call (Jeremy & Wendy Ekers, Louis & Mavis Grills, Eddie & Nell Marshman and Tom & Moira Chadwick). We praise the Lord that he has called these brothers and sisters in the Lord to assist the branch to fulfil our calling to place and present the word of God. Please pray for these new members, specifically that they will be encouraged and greatly blessed as they present scripture in personal witness over the coming weeks.

In the Summer edition of the Gideon News you will read about lives changed by God’s Word, news of another Country opening its doors to The Gideon Ministry along with other features which we hope will give you a flavour of the continuing work of this ministry both at home and overseas.

We hope you are able to enjoy a relaxing time on holiday during the summer months. Remember if there is no Bible in your hotel, guest house or bed and breakfast, ask reception if you can have one. Should they not have any Bibles, express your disappointment (obviously in a courteous manner!) If there are no Bibles in the establishment, ask if they would be willing to receive Bibles. Please ensure as much information as possible is gathered and then pass the details to your local branch or to The Gideons International National Office.

Trusting you will enjoy a warm, healthy Summer and know the Lord’s hand upon your life as you continue to be a blessing to The Gideon Ministry with your much valued continuing support.

In His service,

James Goff
Branch Chairman

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What the Gideons do – Schools Testaments

It all depends on your first encounter with a Gideons Testament – what you think the Gideons do, that is! For some folks it’s a visit to hospital and the need to read something while laid up that provides the first contact, for others it can be a stay in a hotel, or possibly even in prison. But for most people in the UK their first encounter with the Gideons will be when they move up to secondary school.

The Gideons endeavour to provide a New Testmaent and Psalms to every Year 7 boy and girl as their own personal copy of God’s Word. As Gideons we believe that God’s Word is of eternal importance, and as such we want to ensure that everybody has access to it.

In the Southport branch we have a significant number of schools to reach each year. From Formby in the south to Tarelton in the north we have had the privilege of presenting Testaments year after year. The task of organising dates with busy schools and then arranging to speak with the children and present the Scriptures is a demanding one, but one that is well worth the effort. Knowing that every year we have been able to pass on God’s Word to all the school children on our patch is a real encouragement. Please pray that God will bless each copy of His Word and that each Testament will be treasured and used.

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Glory to God in the highest

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:1 ESV)

There are two stories that we talk about at Christmas: one involves Father Christmas, snow and presents – it is a complete fabrication (apart from any perceived link between an overweight red suited gift bringer and an ancient Saint called Niclaus); the other is Real, Remarkable & Relevant.

Real

The story in Luke’s Gospel is rooted in cold hard fact.The story begins with the background surrounding the birth – it specifies times and places and people. These are the hallmarks of a genuine history, not a fairy story. The birth and life of Jesus is a fact.

Remarkable

The birth of one child in the middle of such a time of upheaval is entirely unremarkable – what is remarkable are the events that accompanied this particular birth. We are told that an angel came to the shepherds and announced the birth as one bringing Good News. This child was, and is special. His birth fulfilled many promises that God had made to His people and would bring about the means for salvation and reconciliation to God for all people! This news was so remarkable that at the conclusion of the announcement the entire heavenly host burst forth into spontaneous praise and worship! Now that is remarkable!

Relevant

How is this relevant to us so many years later? The announcement was made to ordinary people – shepherds – because the message is for “all the people”, that’s you and I! The need for people to be forgiven and reconciled to God is just as urgent today as it was 2000 years ago. The great news is that Jesus has promised to return, to claim those who have responded to the loving gift of His life for our sins, to take us to be with Him. That will also be real, and remarkable – I trust it will also be relevant to you…

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Mayor of Sefton Kevin Cluskey receives a Gideon Bible

It was a privilege and a pleasure to meet up with The Mayor Of The Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, Councillor Kevin E Cluskey, on Wednesday 21 November 2012, and present him with a Gideon Bible, which he graciously accepted.  It is Councillor Cluskey’s second term of  office as Mayor having had a varied career and also working as an Advocate for MIND.  He has lived in the borough for 74 years.  He is married to Councillor Linda Cluskey, who was unable to attend as she was engaged with other council duties, however, The Mayor accepted a Bible on her behalf.  We were able to spend some time with The Mayor in his parlour at the Town Hall in Southport, and spend some time discussing some of his duties as Mayor and also informing him of some of our duties as Gideons, of which he was very supportive.  This picture shows Bryan Scholes, from the Southport Branch of The Gideons, presenting the Bible to The Mayor.

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Gideons International, Celebrating 60 years in Southport

Gideons International, Southport branch celebrates 60 years of placing and presenting the Word of God in Southport and the surrounding towns and villages.

The branch was formed in 1952 and over the past 60 years its members have placed or presented more than one hundred thousand copies of the Bible or New Testament & Psalms.  All Gideon scriptures and literature are free to the recipient, the aim of the organisation is to make available copies of the scriptures in the mainstreams of public life where multiple readers can have the opportunity to read of God’s love for mankind and his personal gift of Salvation.   Personal copies are presented to year 7 school pupils, university students, members of the medical profession, police, fire and ambulance personnel, and members of the armed forces.

All Gideon scriptures include Bible helps, an explanation of what the Bible is, what the Bible says about various topics, guidance in life and “its power and effect.”

During the British Coronation ceremony, a Bible has traditionally been presented to the monarch with the words: “We present you with this book, the most valuable thing this world affords.  Here is wisdom.  This is the Royal Law.  These are the lively oracles of God”  These words are true and deeply significant.

 This book has the power not only to inform, but also to reform and to transform lives.  Through its influence countless people have been given a new strength, an unerring purpose and a sure hope in life.  It has brought blessing to millions in every land and age.

 It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, divine in authorship, infallible in authority, inexhaustible in meaning, universal in readership, unique in revelation, personal in application and powerful in effect.

 It is given to you here in this life, it will be open at the Judgement, it is established forever.  Come to it with awe, read it with reverence, frequently, slowly, prayerfully.

On September the 29th, 25 members and 55 ‘Friends of the Gideons’ celebrated the 60th Anniversary at their annual friends appreciation luncheon.  The guest speaker was Pastor David Hamilton (ex UVF paramilitary).  David shared his life story and gave testimony of the transformation in his life following the reading of Gods Word in his prison cell.  He gave his life to God and asked the Lord to change him.  David has found real purpose for his life and a love for the living word of God.  Following his prison sentence, David went to Bible college and now works full time for the Lord leading a church in Manchester.

 

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The Schools Work – Presenting Year 7 Pupils with Testaments

It’s a privilege at this time of year to be allowed to take assemblies in our schools and to present the Year 7 pupils with a New Testament and Psalms. Every year we are greeted by teachers who tell us: “I’ve still got mine, you know!” It’s our responsibility to present the Bible as relevant to today’s young people, and we only have a few minutes of their time to do this. The following is how we approached it this year, on the day when JK Rowling’s ‘adult’ book is published. Please pray that God will use His word, as He has promised to accomplish His purposes and bring Him glory.

Do you read books? Do you read paperbacks? When I was young, all we had was paper books. Now, you can read on your smartphone, Kindle, tablet, laptop, or just on the internet. There are so many ways to read these days, but it’s still all just words, no matter what they are written on.

The Bible was written over a period of roughly a couple of thousand years, by around 40 different individuals in 66 parts (or books). It was written on clay tablets, papyrus, animal skin scrolls, vellum & paper – and now it’s available anywhere in the world via the internet!

I said that books are just words, but words are never just anything. A wise man once said to me that a person who says something nasty and then takes it back (sticks & stones never works) – is like someone who throws a stone through a window and then says: “I’m sorry I’ll take the stone back!” Words are effective!

The Bible claims that its words are the words of God Himself – if so, they’re the most powerful words ever! The Bible says that every word of it was literally ‘the breath of God’. Jesus made many claims about Himself – and these are recorded in the Bible, as God’s Word – you can look for yourself, I’m not going to tell you today.

But, CS Lewis (who wrote the Narnia series) said that based on what Jesus said He was either mad, bad, or God. Lewis believed that He was and is God. You have to make up your own mind, but until you read the words, you’ll never know!

We are going to give you a New Testament & Psalms, so you can read it and see for yourself. You can keep it and read it, you can put it on your phone or your Kindle or your computer or just Google it! But, if words are important and God’s words are the most important, then you can’t dare to miss it!

So, please accept these old fashioned books with timeless words that will bring light and life to you from the Living God who inspired it.

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A Gideons Testament restores faith to a Grieving Mum

Last year, in a tragic accident Ben Gautrey, a promising young motorbike racer died during the first lap of a Superbike Championship race in Lincolnshire. He fell off his bike on the first lap and was hit by two other riders. God used this tragedy to bring Ben’s mum back to faith at St. Cuthbert’s Church in Southport.

Ben’s mother, Lorraine found a Gideons New Testament among his belongings by his bedside. It had been given to Ben as a 12 year old when he started at Stanley High School, and it appears that he was using it regularly.

Since last summer Lorraine has been attending chuch and helping out practically at St. Cuthbert’s. She has also asked to be confirmed into the Church. Please pray for Lorraine that she would find comfort and peace in God and thank God for drawing both Ben and Lorraine to Himself through His word.

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