Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : paul.collings@methodist.org.uk : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Places on the Way - Bridge

Places on the Way - Bridges


Picture of the old toll bridge at Bathampton By Paul Collings


Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24


There stands a bridge built years ago

Across torrential river’s flow

Where once a price to cross, to pay

The traveller’s only passing way.


What toll, what payment’s entrance fee

Do I require that I might see

And pass from death to life, be free

From judgement’s starkened dark decree?


You say, dear Lord, listen, believe

The words I speak  life to relieve;

The cost that you can never meet

Is waved, come pass my judgement seat.


You even cross the bridge to me

Accompany me that I may see

Your truth, your life your loving way,

And at my side my fears allay.


Lord, help me walk there by your side

And in your presence stay, abide

Keep me believing in your word

The loving tidings I have heard.


“The longer you remain distant, the deeper, wider, and darker the chasm becomes making it all the more difficult to bridge.” ― Ken Poirot


Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Faith in times of crisis 16

Image “Thanksgiving” by Rev’d Paul Collings

Meditation by Dr J P Hunter

Psalm 138:1-7a; 8a. Of David. Good News Translation


1I thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
  I sing praise to you before the gods.
I face your holy Temple,
  bow down, and praise your name
  because of your constant love and faithfulness,
  because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme. 
When I called, you answered me;
  with your strength you strengthened me.


All the kings in the world will praise you, Lord,
   because they have heard your promises.
They will sing about what you have done
  and about your great glory.


Even though you are so high above,
  you care for the lowly,
  and the proud cannot hide from you.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,

  you preserve my life.
8 The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;

  your love O Lord, endures forever.
    

Meditation

This is a Psalm of thanksgiving for answered prayer. In v1 before the gods may mean before lower heavenly beings such as angels. Then in v3 the reason for such superior thanksgiving is revealed: receiving strength after answered prayer. Thanksgiving is an essential part of our worship and praise of God. Do we remember when we asked God for guidance, protection, strength, patience, love or other blessings and He supplied them? As we thank God for material and spiritual blessings in our lives, we should thank Him too for answered prayer.


Prayer

Almighty God, in thanksgiving I come to seek your presence in the midst of my humble daily life. I thank you for your constant presence in my life, even during times when I was not aware of you. I thank you for the many times in my life that you answered prayer, even though I sometimes took them for granted.

I praise you for your constant love and faithfulness in recent difficult times just gone. And I trust you for your goodness in days to come, as you fulfil the purpose for my life. Amen.


 Hymns & Psalms 566 verse 1


Now thank we all our God,

With hearts and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done,

In whom his world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms

Has blessed us on our way.

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.

Places on the Way - Lookout Post

This piece of artwork shows, “Gardjola lookout overlooking Valletta, Malta” 

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me” (Ezekiel 3:17).


You call each watchman to their post

To watch and warn and to rebuff

The perils of attacking hosts

That would destroy, make living tough.


You call each sentry, closely view

And listen to the words you voice,

You speak assurance, words so true

That I must heed, there make my choice.


Open my eyes to clearly see

And hear your word just there to be

A watcher of your citadel

And shout with joy, all here is well.


Sin does not leap upon us fully armed. It steals in through a look, a swift, silent suggestion or imagination, but love and loyalty to Jesus will make you watchful and swift to rise up and cast out the subtle enemy. Do this and you shall live, and live victoriously.

Samuel Logan Brengle


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Places on the Way - Strong Towers

Today’s scene - ‘Watchtower above Golden Bay - Malta” 

Psalm 18:10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.


The motto of my home City of Plymouth is “Turris Fortissimo Est Nomen Jehova” - The name of Jehovah is a strong tower.”


Your name so strong, Your word, your bond

Stands tower-like, protects from harm;

As sanctuary you bear beyond 

The perils of this world, disarm.

Jehovah Jireh, you I call

As your protecting arm enfolds

My shaky stance - where I may fall

Saved by your mighty hands, stronghold.


Your tower founded on your love

Protecting walls of grace stand firm

A bastion, your will behove

A timeless strength that here confirms

You take away all danger’s sting

Repels each enemy of  peace

That in your safety I can bring

My wounded heart and rest at ease.


Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.

Saint Augustine



Monday, 27 July 2020

Places on the Way - Safe Havens


‘luzzijiet (Maltese Traditional Boats) moored at Salina inlet Qawra Malta’ 

by Paul Collings


Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.


The prefect calm of tranquil sea,

Of stillness, rest, there just to be

At anchor at the end of day

As westward dips the sunset’s ray


To safely moor when work is done

And thence to journey onward home

Is a delight of life’s rich form

A solace deep away from storm.


That lasting peace, Lord, to imbibe 

And in your safety there abide,

This is my quiet evening prayer

Lord, to rest here in you care.


“Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.” St Augustine


Sunday, 26 July 2020

Places on the Way - Wrecks

Shipwreck at Muelle de Los M├írmoles in Lanzarote by Rev’d Paul Collings

Isaiah 10:4 My hand has reached out, as if into a nest, to seize the wealth of the nations.Like one gathering abandoned eggs, I gathered the whole earth. No wing fluttered; no beak opened or chirped.


Jeremiah 33:6 but now I will heal and mend them. I will make them whole and bless them with an abundance of peace and security.


Many the wreaks of humankind

Upon life’s highway I can find;

Abandoned craft of flesh and blood

Left there to rot as sea-tides flood.


Often the wreckage strewn by storm,

By carelessness, left there to form

A danger to all other life

That can destroy through deadly strife.


Yet in this realm of sad decay

Comes there your promise of new day.

You grasp the wasted wealth of earth

And gather to yourself, new birth.


For through the towering wrecks of time

Your Cross remains a living sign -

How through your grace you take, repair

Forsaken lives by loving care.


Your tender hand, Lord, stretch out  now

And heal this land, your peace allow;

Reform it’s heart, remake it’s mind,

Come Gentle One our will align. 


In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on God alone. When no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God--and God alone! - Charles Spurgeon





Saturday, 25 July 2020

Places on the Way - Historic Stairways

Image “Historic Stairway - Valletta, Malta” by Paul Collings

 

Amos 9:5-6 “The Lord God of the Heavenly Armies who is touching the earth so that it melts and all of its inhabitants mourn there — the land rises like the Nile River, but sinks like the river of Egypt— Who is building his stairway to heaven and setting its foundation on earth; who is calling for the waters of the sea and pouring them out over the surface of the land — the Lord is his name!


Philippians 2:6-8 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!


From earth to heaven You found a way

To build a thoroughfare, a way

That sets foundations on the earth

Through incarnations holy birth.

 

Whilst touching earth with might, decrees

By force and power commands the seas

You humbly bow and come to me

As brother king to set me free.


A stairway of a gentler kind,

Where grace unmeasured there I find

Your love that touch my needy heart

And with me walk, your way to start.


From earth to heaven you will me take

Emmaus journey-like to make,

To recognise you with me walk

And there with you commune and talk.


O Lord of heaven and earth descend,

Help me to follow, there ascend

The holy hill, my cross to bear

And find you Saviour ever there.


“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King Jr., Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices on Resistance, Reform, and Renewal an African American Anthology


Friday, 24 July 2020

Places on the Way - Gateways


Mark 4:37 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.“ - This series looks at picture parables from the old and New Testament that we might see on our journey as disciples of Jesus.


The picture is of the Gateway to Mdina, Malta’s Old Capital; known as The Silent City. 


Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory.


Many the gateway, many the road,

Many the pathway, many the load,

Comings and goings, turmoil and grief

My fellow companions;  no peace, no relief.


These are the portals along life’s course

The track I travel, where I discourse

And contemplate, reason, question how

To enter your courts and humbly bow.


Noble the gate to your loving grace;

Yet in my weakness can I find place 

Where in concert I raise up my head

And sing to your glory without dread.


Lord, help me realise the gateway of hope

Where you walk with me, so I may cope.

There in your presence, call me to hear

“Come, enter my kingdom, without fear.”


“Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate

And though I oft have passed them by

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”


- J R R Tolkien



Thursday, 23 July 2020

Faith in Times of Crisis - By Dr J P Hunter

 
Image - “Blessed to be a Blessing” by Rev’d Paul Collings


Meditation - Faith in times of crisis 15 by Dr J P Hunter

Psalm 34:1-4,6-7,11-15,18-19,22. Of David. The Living Bible.
I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. 
I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.
I will boast of all his kindness to me. 
Let all who are discouraged take heart. 
Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name.
For I cried to him and he answered me! 
He freed me from all my fears. 
This poor man cried to the Lord—
and the Lord heard him and saved him out of his troubles. 
For the Angel of the Lord guards and rescues all who revere him.
Sons and daughters, come and listen 
and let me teach you the importance of trusting and fearing the Lord. 
Do you want a long, good life? 
Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from lying. 
Turn from all known sin and spend your time in doing good. 
Try to live in peace with everyone; work hard at it.
For the eyes of the Lord are intently watching all who live good lives, 
and he gives attention when they cry to him. 
The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; 
he rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins. 
The good man does not escape all troubles—he has them too. 
But the Lord helps him in each and every one. 
As for those who serve the Lord, he will redeem them; 
everyone who takes refuge in him will be freely pardoned.

Meditation.
This Psalm expresses in many tones how good and generous the Lord is in His blessings. But many of these blessings require our active participation. He will deliver us from fear (34:4), save us out of troubles (34:6), guard and deliver us (34:7), listen when we talk to Him (34:15) and freely pardon and redeem us (34:22). 
But we must do our part in seeking and crying out to Him (34:4,6), revere and fear Him (34:7,11), trust Him (34:11), refrain from lying (34:13), turn from sin, doing good, seeking peace with effort (34:14) being humble (34:18) and serving Him (34:22).
When we begin our Christian life, our knowledge of God is limited and incomplete. As we come to trust Him daily, we cannot help discovering how good, kind and generous He is.

Prayer.
Thank you, Lord, that you are such a generous and kind God to those who come to seek and trust you.

I praise you for your glory and grace. Even when I am discouraged, I will raise my voice to honour your name. With your help I will seek to do good, refrain from sin and make serious effort to live in peace with my nearest, dearest and all I meet. Then you will redeem me when I seek refuge in you. How great you are. Amen.

Singing the Faith 51, verse 1 with refrain.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,                   
There is no shadow of turning with thee;                      
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;      .
As thou hast been thou for ever wilt be.


Refrain:                         
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
                              Thomas O. Chisholm (1866-1960).


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

A Walk through God’s Garden by Rev’d Paul Collings

Deuteronomy 24:21-22 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

I marvel at your generous gift

Of table spread and cup to lift

In honour of your sacred name,

My body, heart and soul acclaim,

The wonder of your bounteous care;

Enough and more for me to share.


For with that daily gift of bread,

Of table full, that perfect spread,

Comes too an opportunity

To share, your gift in unity

With those who sit outside the fold

With begging bowl, no food to hold.


Lord, make me mindful of the task

When harvesting life’s-grapes to ask

Those without means of self-support

To share my fare there find comfort;

Where widow, orphan stranger too 

In table fellowship find you.


“He became the true Vine, that we might be true branches. Both in regard to Christ and ourselves the words teach us the two lessons of absolute dependence and perfect confidence.” 

Andrew Murray, The True Vine


A Walk Through God’s Garden - by Rev’d Paul Collings


Artwork and Verse by Rev’d Paul Collings

The fragrance of the cedars of Lebanon 


Hosea 14:5-6 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendour will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.


Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.


There stands unbowed the cedar tree

With noble boughs stretched wide and free,

Its perfume sweet that fills the air 

And with creation there declare,

How you our maker touch us, reach,

Love’s essence spread, your love to teach.


The promised perfume of your grace,

That shelters us from harm we  face

Is spread by shoots of loving kind

And roots sent deep, good food to find,

That we might flourish and in turn

Blossom, grow, your calm discern.


You call me, Lord, in love to walk

And give as in your life’s crosstalk

A sacrificial offering bring,

An aromatic sweetening thing

That spans the gulf ‘tween heaven and earth,

Of richest choice and lasting worth.


At the end of our lives we hope we will look back and, like an incense stick completely burned away, will have poured forth all our fragrance into the world.

Prem Prakash


Sunday, 19 July 2020

A Walk Through God’s Garden - Artwork and Verse by Rev’d Paul Collings

A Walk Through God’s Garden - Artwork and Verse by Rev’d Paul Collings


Psalm 53:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.


The beauty of an olive tree


Those ancient olive groves stand where

My Saviour knelt in passioned prayer,

That set the course for humankind;

And sealed his fate, his love maligned.


Yet in that garden on that night

Though dark the eve,  there was a light

Through sacrificial pain and grief,

That willed salvation and relief.


I wonder why, in ancient times

The olive fruit with lives did chime.

And signalled balm of sacred kind,

Your holy will to be enshrined.


Come Lord of love, anoint my soul;

Purge my heart, and make me whole,

Cleanse my mind with holy oil

Lord, purify as on I toil.


“With every calling comes the anointing you need to be able to stand firm in the situations that you will have to face” ― Sunday Adelaja

A Walk Through God’s Garden - Artwork and Verse by Rev’d Paul Collings

The picture is of the Bastion at Costa Teguise, Lanzarote 
A Walk Through God’s Garden - Artwork and Verse by Rev’d Paul Collings

St Nicholas Methodist Church Topsham 190720 online service


The Palm Stands Tall


Psalm 92:12 “ the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar on Lebanon.” A similar allusion is found in Song of Songs 7:7-8 “this your stature is like a palm tree,,, The palm tree is also associated with victory (Revelations 7:9)


The shady balm from midday heat,

Where branch relieves me from defeat,

Of noon tide sun that saps my mind

There stands the palm, where rest I find.


The branch of palm in children’s hands

Were waved in welcome where crowds stand;

To cheer the entrance of the king

With loud hosannas they did sing.


We too can sing with joyous hearts

Of righteousness that flows, that starts

To stand so tall like noble palm

With godly presence of your calm.


You comfort me - and help me thrive

New stature give and make alive. 

Lord, help me grow with deepened roots,

And bear for you new cherished fruit.


I an a champion palm tree! I know that I can sustain the hurricanes in life, because I paid the price and my roots of faith have grown down deep. John Di Lemme




Saturday, 18 July 2020

A Walk Through God’s Garden - The Lilies of the Field


Today we start a series of walking through God’s Garden


Hosea 14:4-5

I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily,


Luke 12:27-28

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!


The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament ( Matthew 6:28 ; Luke 12:27 ) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a very conspicuous and showy object, which would naturally attract the attention of the hearers" (Balfour's Plants of the Bible).


The lily in my mind, dear Lord,

I picture as I read your word,

Is of a bright new Easter day 

And resurrections glowing ray;

With trumpet bell, proclaiming pure

That life for me I see, is sure.


Yet when I plum the depths and read

How lilies of the field they spread

Their glorious blooms, bright crimson, red

I see how by your love you thread

A garment new of beauty rare

That speaks of your creative care.


Your promise now I hear again,

You clothe me too. assure, ordain,

No thought of mine do I require

Or what to wear, put on, attire.

For by your gracious providence

I can’t improve, amend, enhance.


Lord, as lilies of the field emit

Their perfect tailored bright outfit

Help me when clothed by grace divine

To radiate, to bloom, entwine

My life with all creations glow

And through your hands your love to show.


“I remained, lost in oblivion; My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.” John Of The Cross


Friday, 17 July 2020

Psalms for Today - Psalm 150 Praise the Lord

Psalm 150 Praise the Lord.Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.


Daily reflections in Verse, Music and Artwork by Rev’d Paul Collings


Click here for an instrumental reflection on Psalm 150


A perfect pitch to sing your praise

And with a clarion note to raise,

With concert harmony, I crave 

That I might honour you who gave

The melody of love’s own chant,

Flanked by angelic song’s descant.


With harp and lyre, the cymbal crash

To sing your praise is all I ask,

And in this symphony of praise,

An anthem with creation raise;

As timbrel, pipe, and dance and string

The gathered host your praises sing.


Lord tune my heart to your own will

As with your breathe my lungs you fill -

More ready there to sing my part

That through your purpose I may chart

The glorious chorus earth and heaven

Proclaim the graciousness you’ve given.


“Even if God never did another good thing in our lives, we could spend the rest of this life praising Him for what He has already done.” Dillon Burroughs, Activist Faith: From Him and For Him

                                                                                                                                                 

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Faith in time of Crisis 14

Artwork “towards the light” (A Maltese Street) by Rev’d Paul Collings


Reflection by Dr J P Hunter

Psalm 32: 1-3, 5-6a, 8, 10-11. Of David. A maskil. 

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!


Meditation

This a Psalm of personal thanksgiving for God’s forgiveness. After opening blessings, the Psalm writer states he was suffering because he kept silent (verse 3). Then he decided to acknowledge his sin fully, without cover up (verse 5). Immediately God forgave the sin, resulting in the sinner’s deep joy: the writing of this Psalm, the insight that blessed or happy is the man whose sins the Lord does not count against him because of having received forgiveness (verse 1 and 2) and the advice to others to start praying to God too. Then the voice of God himself enters the Psalm in verse 8 to say: I will instruct you, teach you, counsel you and watch over you. The four verbs creating a picture of a father raising his child in loving nearness. In return the child adores his Heavenly Father having been freed from guilt and given a new start in life. So, it is a happy Psalm beginning and ending in joy, with in the middle the personal story of the God-centred journey to forgiveness which we could follow too.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you that you want to forgive sinners because that is part of Your loving nature. Thank you that thereafter we may experience your teachings, guidance and watchfulness over our lives.  We rejoice and praise Your name, O God or forgiveness, mercy and grace. Amen.             Jonathan Aitken, adapted.


Singing the Faith 107:5


God’s hand is my perpetual guard,

he guides me with his eye;

why should I then forget the Lord,

whose love is ever nigh?                                     Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748)


Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Psalms for today 16 - Psalm 145 Gracious and Merciful God


Psalm 145:8 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,

   slow to anger and rich in love.


Find today’s instrumental reflection here.


Daily reflections in Verse, Music and Artwork by Rev’d Paul Collings


Dear loving Lord, how can it be 

That graciously you reach my soul

With love so rich you have for me;

As with compassion you unroll

In selfless actions life to free,

Your perfect plan to make me whole?


Though I frustrate your perfect will

And hide my eyes from your good grace;

Though I attempt to thwart, to kill

Your purpose here and e’en erase 

Your kindly gift you come to fill;

As You respond, with gentle face.


My actions whilst in human terms

Would anger cause, there rage to brew,

You come to me and there confirm

Your name is love,  where you renew

My sight, my life and reaffirm

That by your grace you change my view.


Lord, may I come to you again

And in your open hand embrace

As patiently you tend and train

My heart and mind so I can trace

Your holiness and there obtain

The perfect peace of sacred space.


“God's wrath, properly, is an aspect of his love: it is because God loves human beings with a steady, unquenchable passion that he hated Apartheid, that he hates torture and cluster bombs, that he loathes slavery, that his wrath is relentless against the rich who oppress the poor. If God was not wrathful against these and so many other distortions of our human vocation, he is not loving. And it is his love, determining to deal with that nasty, insidious, vicious, soul-destroying evil, that causes him to send his only, special son.” 

N T Wright

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church


Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.