Teaching a 3-year-old to ride a bike…and other reflections! Nathan Dring addresses the thorny issue of when to take the stabilisers off

So, I have had my contract extended. After 6-weeks of meandering musings we hit week 7 and another chance to pause and ponder. The beauty of being out with a 3-year old on a bike, is that all kinds of things are said that don’t normally come up in every day conversation, so I often have to pause and make sure I heard correctly!

For those of you that have met my daughter (or seen her starring role in any of the Moortots or Oasis Facebook LIVE sessions – see above) you’ll know she can be strong willed! If she believes something is right or wrong, she lets me know! Usually with volume!

Well, this week there was one such incident and it caught me completely off guard. As a family we were chatting about cycling. The children know I like to get on my bike and recently Shelley has been zipping about north Leeds on hers. We were chatting about when Rowan gets a little more confident on his and then (in unknown error), I dared to utter the phrase, “…and then at some point we can take your stabilisers off Daisy…”

Who knew such a seemingly positive, encouraging, future-facing comment could create such a reaction?! She was devasted at the idea, and just before the tears began she yelled at me…


I was genuinely taken aback and started to try to explain my idea…but she was gone. Off upstairs in a flurry of rage, tears and melodrama! Shelley and I looked at each – more than a little perplexed, and decided that we should park that topic for now!

Bring that whole thing into my context. My life, my walk with Jesus, my ways of thinking…and again, I see some real similarity.

God wants me to keep on learning, growing and developing. He wants me to learn more about Him, His word, His Spirit. He wants me to learn to listen for his voice speaking to me. He wants me to be braver in prayer, more confident in faith, more gracious in life. He wants to see more of the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in my life, so I can have a greater impact for His kingdom.

But to do these things and for me to grow, He might need to take off my stabilisers. Some of the things that I cling to because they have me where I am now, might need to go. It might be I have new things to learn, but to do that, I need to unlearn some stuff. There might be hurts that I am holding onto, because it helps me to justify my opinion – but also stop me moving on. There might be half-truths that I find comfortable, so there is no way I am putting them down, to pick up the full truth that challenges me to change.

I think many Christians get to a point with their faith where they get comfortable. Their belief system is now defined and as such human nature means they then filter all new information to make sure that what they hear and see reinforces their position. They have certain favourite bible verses, and perhaps haven’t looked at other bits of the bible for years. Or perhaps the opposite it true. They have studied the bible so much and know it so well, their ‘stabiliser’ has become knowledge – so there is a risk that a fresh revelation through God speaking now is unlikely!

Churches fall into this trap too. What are the things that have stabilised us in the past…well then, let’s keep them forever! Let’s weld the stabilisers to the bike so that they can never come off. They can then serve as a reminder of the good old times. We can make sure new people are educated about how good ‘those times’ were, and how they have shaped where we are now – thereby sending a second message; “Don’t mess with the things that came from the good old times!” Or, in other words, “Don’t touch our stabilisers!”

I am sure that at some point Daisy (pictured left with brother Rowan in a video shot for Church at Home) will calm down; it has been a few days and at some point the stabilisers will come off, but imagine if they didn’t.

During lockdown we have discovered so many new paths through the woods and have been on so many adventures. We won’t be able to go down these new paths or discover new ones if Daisy has her stabilisers on. We won’t be able to go as far or as fast as I will be carrying the bike. We will never get to go out as a family on bikes, as I will always be running alongside her or carrying the bike.

In short, the stabilisers that had been so helpful will actually now be the thing that limits her.

And I see this in my life. My prayer today (and every day I am brave enough) is that God will remove my stabilisers, so I mature, develop and grow – so I can go on more adventures with Him, discover new paths and go further with Him than I imagined possible!

I know they didn’t have stabilisers in Ephesus at the time Paul wrote to them, but I wonder if this is what he was getting at in Chapter 4:

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.


After a three month closure the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store looks to restart business

Following more than three months of hibernation one of Leeds’ most respected charities, The Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store is taking its first cautious steps towards reopening. 

The Store which these days employs eight people and which began life here at Moortown Baptist Church in 1986 collects and then gives away, free of charge unwanted furniture to more than 1,000 needy families each year. However, besides its charity arm L&MFS also runs a wholly owned trading company, and it is this that will reopen first.

Over the last few weeks John Gamson, the Store’s Manager and key members of his team have been busy marking out the charity’s 10,000 sq.ft warehouse, posting vital signage and compiling a comprehensive return to work plan. 

“The decision to reopen the trading company,” which says John sources and supplies new furniture and white goods to a growing number of third sector organisations “is hopefully the first step towards a full resumption of services. To begin with we intend to work just part time, informing our clients of our restart and responding to their to orders. Depending on how things go, and in particular on how many furniture donations we receive we are hoping to the charity soon after.” 

Over the years and working in many different guises many MBC personnel have served L&MFS. This is a bond the charity values greatly mainly as it brings a treasured level of continuity to the message expressed in its mission statement: The charity exists as a practical demonstration of Christian commitment to socially and economically disadvantaged people by distributing donated furniture. 

All being well the Store’s next update will be to tell you that full service has been resumed. Until then if you or anyone you know is replacing any furniture (that’s beds, sofas – with fire certificates, dining tables, chairs, wardrobes etc) do try hang on to them because as John says “we have no doubt that with the employment and financial strains the virus has created the demand for the charity’s services post Covid will be even more acute than ever.”   

To get the best from MBC’s online output don’t forget to regularly refresh your phone, tablet or PC

What I know about terabytes, gigabytes and megabytes you could write on the back of a stamp. In fact it took me the best part of two days to realise that recently when setting up my new shiny laptop the instruction to press “any” button meant precisely that, and that unlike those marked Alt, Fn, and Ctrl there wasn’t in fact an “Any” button.

However, a few people have been in touch recently to tell us that on occasions some of the little thumbnail pictures that we use on the Home Page of our website and also some that appear in our E-newsletter are what is technically termed as corrupt. (See picture, top right in the collage below).

If you have ever experienced this problem can I suggest that in order to rectify it you take John Duffy’s expert advice and refresh your device. To do this I’m told all you need do (I hate it when people tell me that) is go to the website and on a laptop or PC press the Ctrl button (bottom left on your keyboard at the same time as pressing F5 (top row). On a tablet and a phone press the circular arrow that you will find at the top of the page. It is also useful, I believe, to clear your browsing history, something I’m told you do by going to Google (other search engines are available) clicking on the three vertical dots on the right of your screen and selecting History. 

Hope this information will help. If however, you still have any issues please email me via mbcnewspics@gmail.com and I will pass your message on to someone who know what he is talking about. 


John Sherbourne


Church at Home – LIVE – 10.45am and Family at Moortown, 28th June. Catch up here

Today both Church at Home and Family at Moortown continued to explore Paul’s letter to the Colossians, paying particular attention to the notion of treasures. Karen Ross’s reading was from Colossians chapter 1 verse 24 to chapter 2 verse 5 a passage in which Paul writes of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which he says are hidden in the mystery of God, namely Christ. 

All through the past week Shelley had been asking us to send in pictures of our treasures, our “lockdown” treasures, pictures which amongst a whole host host of other things might record moments when we danced, sung, painted, baked or planted a flower. These treasures were then collected up and edited into a video which featured in both Church at Home and Family at Moortown.  

Today, as you can see from our picture the Laws family introduced our service with a live stream which you can watch again HERE.

The link to our pre-recorded material is HERE

For Family at Moortown CLICK HERE 



Teaching a 3-year-old to ride a bike…and other reflections! Nathan Dring’s 6th blog – KEEP GOING

Time flies doesn’t it? Or maybe just for me at the moment. I can’t believe that this is the last of the 6 planned blogs, and the final phrase to take a moment to reflect and ponder on.

As always, if you haven’t been keeping up with these weekly blogs, here is an overview of what they are about. Each day when I take my daughter out on here bike, there are number of repeat phrases I say. So far, we have paused briefly on:

“Stop looking backwards”

“Daddy is right here”

“You’re doing really well”

“Look where you want to go”

“Don’t look down”

And that brings us to today…

“Keep going!”

When you only have little legs and live in North Leeds, chances are, there will be hills that tire you out. Almost inevitably Daisy gets tired and is tempted to stop pedalling – so this phrase comes up a lot. That said, it isn’t the only time I say it. Sometimes when something of interest catches her eye she will just stop and take a look. The distraction has an effect on the legs as well as the eyes!

And then, interestingly, the other one is when she is going downhill. In theory the easiest part of cycling, but occasionally Daisy is cautious and puts the brakes on. Out of nowhere there is a crisis of confidence and some nervousness creeps in.

As usual, I’m going to pause on this for a moment and see how it might be something for us to consider in our lives and our walk with Jesus (or toward Him). Here’s the question, what is it that stops us in our tracks? God has great plans for us and a purpose for our lives. Jesus showed His incomparable love when He died for us and rose again. The Holy Spirit is here to be our helper and our source of power and strength. With all those on our side and in our corner then…what could possibly be big enough to knock us off our stride. What could stop us walking and keeping step with God, in our purpose?

Shelley, Nathan, Rowan and Daisy Dring pictured in February 2019 when Shelley was appointed MBC’s Children and Family’s Worker


Like Daisy, I think sometimes I get tired. Particularly during lockdown when each day seems so full and at a relentless pace! When we are tired, we can sometimes end up in ‘task’ mode or simply ‘survival’ mode – and when we do this, the 1st casualty is often relationships. Taking time to chat and laugh and share and cry…and just be safely-open with someone. I know that I have fallen into the trap sometimes of being busy, but needing to chat with someone – and so then the catch up becomes a tick-list item! Text them – done! Call them – check! Somehow the relational has become transactional. And the same happens with me and God. Right, do your bible reflection and then you can crack on with the day…and this is to my shame (but me and God are working on it!)

So, tiredness can break the flow of relationship that I was designed for – and God calls to me “Keep going!”, but then there is also distraction – which links in with the busyness of life. I want to chat with You God. I want to hear Your voice, but there is just a lot on at the moment…and I will get to You when I can. This is no different to Daisy being distracted. But it can stop me in my tracks. And the longer I do this, the more I miss out on time with God – listening and chatting, sharing with Him and hearing His voice talk to me. So again, I have to remind myself…“Keep going!”

And then there is the last reason I tell Daisy to “Keep going!” – when she has lost confidence and puts the brakes on…and I know I have done this. God has called me to do something, be something, walk a certain path, live a certain life…and then I decide I don’t have enough confidence to go for it. I mean, can I really trust God with my life? Sure, I can trust him for eternity, but what about my business and paying my bills? What about the ideas and dreams I have…can he really be trusted? Now, logically I know the answer, but in the moment (metaphorically speaking) …the brakes go on! So again, God has to tell me to “Keep going!”

Alternately I might have a complete crash of confidence. I know these happen regularly with work – I think the phrase is ‘Imposter syndrome’. You spend half your time worried you are not good enough, and the other half worrying you will be found out as not good enough! So, I stop. I decide I can’t do it, can’t carry on. And in those moments of self-doubt and worry, I need the voice of God to encourage me to “Keep going!”

 Whatever your day holds, your future holds or your past holds, the bible tells us that God created you and knows you by name. It says he knit you together in your mothers’ womb. It says that he has plans for you to prosper you and not to harm you. It says that He is more for you, than anything that could ever be against you. It says that He loves you and has made a way.

Putting all that together (plus a load other encouragement and promises in the bible) and adding the words He wants to speak to you today, my final word on this – to cheer you and challenge you – is, no matter what…Keep going!

You can catch up with all Nathan’s blogs by following this link https://www.moortownbaptistchurch.org.uk/category/nathans-blog

A glimpse into how members of MBC’s pastoral team support one another

Every Monday morning Jane Coates circulates some thoughts and prayers around the MBC Pastoral Care Team. This week Jane’s message focuses on gardening and growth.  

Every year Sam and I plant sunflower seeds. Our friends, family and colleagues around the country and far off places in the world, New Zealand, Australia, also plant sunflower seeds and then send us images. This year we planted 15 giraffe sunflower seeds that would grow to perhaps 2 to 3 metres tall. It always amazes me that from a small seed we can end up with a plant that is 3 metres tall! We never know how many of the seeds will germinate and thrive and observing our plants this year, we can see that some have already grown tall and strong and some are not growing as well. We need to water them regularly, feed them generous amounts of Growmore and fertilizer, transplant them into larger pots with good compost so that their roots can spread and develop and  as they are growing we need to secure them to garden canes and supports on a sunny wall. Our neighbours walk past our garden and smile at the dinner plate sized sunflower heads nodding at them over the wall. By the time they reach one metre tall, they need to have support which we do with string and garden canes. They are secured safely to the canes and the wall to protect them against the wind.

Our sunflower plants are a useful picture of our growth as Christians.  There are many things that are helpful or essential to me as I grow. There are also things that might limit my growth. I need warmth as I get going-this is a new beginning. I need water and nourishment. I need sunshine, light and the right temperature. I need time and the right environment-this process cannot be hurried or fast tracked. I need a space to expand, stretch and grow if I am to reach my full potential. I occasionally need protection in the days of wind and storm. I need air above and below ground – below ground is just as important so that my roots can grow and spread- or they may fail. I need to be secure and tied into those things that will hold me up and help me to be strong. If any of these things go wrong then this can be a ‘limiting factor’ and my growth can be stunted, I may not reach my potential or I may give up altogether. This would be sad as I would never produce flower or fruit – and with it that potential to start new seed and life.

And so, I need a nurturing fellowship, Bible teaching, the Holy Spirit and prayer to breathe through my being, a space to develop my strengths and work out my gifts, skills and potentials. A place to be rooted and the support of others who will help me to be strong. I need those who are strong when I am in that vulnerable place so that I can be held up. I need to be given time to develop and grow- growth cannot be hurried! I need fellowship and fun, companionship and challenge, networks and inspiration. I need role models and prayer supporters. With His help I will grow tall.

Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done. Colossians 2 v7

And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love. Ephesians 3v 17


Lord, be with us this day,

Within us to purify us

Above us to draw us up

Beneath us to sustain us

Before us to lead us

Behind us to restrain us

Around us to protect us.

Patrick c 389-461


Supporting Worldwide Mission in Lockdown and Beyond

As a church MBC has a long history of promoting and supporting worldwide mission and development work through the Baptist Missionary Society (now often called BMS World Mission). During the lockdown we are continuing to send a monthly donation from the tithed giving direct to BMS.

We also have a number of people who further support BMS through monthly giving and/or annual gifts through the Birthday Scheme. For those using envelopes placed in the collection, this type of giving stopped at the end of February. Whilst we are unable to meet for services, we would ask that you consider making your donations direct to BMS at www.bmsworldmission.org This will ensure that the money gets to the work among some of the poorest and most marginalised in the world immediately – including the frontline work of our partner missionaries Mark and Andrea Hotchkin in Chad.(below left)

If you could also let me know when you make donations with the amounts, they will be then recorded as MBC giving. roger.robson1@ntlworld.com or 07929100598.

Some of you, in fortunate circumstances like me, may have found that in lockdown you actually have more money to spare. (I know the opposite is true for others).

The recent government announcement of the decision to merge the Foreign Office and Dfid (Department for International Development) has dismayed the many charities (Christian and secular) which work in the poorest countries. Dfid, (and I declare a personal interest as my daughter worked in the Department for several years including a 2 year posting in parts of Africa), has a very good reputation in the world and is currently responsible for using 0.7% of GDP in aid and development – often channelled through Christian Charities including BMS.

There is already talk of moving funds away from the poorest countries to other potential allies or trading partners and references in the media to “Charity begins at Home” and “Looking after No 1” (hardly Christian aphorisms). As a result, 200 charities – including Tearfund, Christian Aid, Traidcraft, Save the Children and Action Aid – have written to the government saying:

“Abolishing one of the world’s most effective and respected government departments at a time when the world is in need of global leadership, undermines our response to Covid-19 and suggests the UK is turning its back on the world’s poorest people”

We each have to decide our own views on political decisions, but, if you do have money to spare perhaps you will consider donating to one of those charities to show that Christians are definitely NOT turning our backs on the world’s poorest.

Thank you.

Roger Robson

The ‘C’ word – by Claire Taylor

The ‘C’ word.
It used to stand for Cancer.
Will it ever again?

Life has changed, irretrievably.
Suits and dresses, swopped for scrubs.
Compassionate faces, hidden behind masks.
Searching eyes, the touch of a gloved hand.
Sweat pours.

Money spent, like never before.
A never ending pot?
Endless ward reconfigurations.
The Nightingale.
Mothballed: forever?

Each day starts with uncertainty.
Where? With whom? Doing what?
Social distancing.
Remote meetings.
Endless ethical debates.
Staff working relentlessly, doing their best.
Days roll into one.
God give us strength, stamina, courage, kindness, patience.
And mercy for those returning home exhausted to self-isolation: alone, alone, alone.

The stench of death:
Bodies turning into corpses,
Lying helpless; baked by the sun.
Abandoned – yet never forgotten.

By telephone, muffled.
‘I’m very sorry to have to tell you…’
Stark, painful words spoken and received through a hot wall of tears.
Man was never meant to be alone.

Colleagues off sick.
2 weeks with the virus.
Then again: months with stress and depression.
Or maybe more?

The ‘C’ word.
It used to stand for Cancer.
Will it ever again?

Claire Taylor
June 2020

Claire is a Consultant respiratory physician.

The picture at the top of this post shows Claire and her colleagues wearing full PPE at work in Harrogate.  

Teaching a 3-year-old to ride a bike…and other reflections! Number 5 in Nathan Dring’s series of blogs

Welcome to number 5 of these short blog posts. If this is your 1st one, then here’s a quick outline.

Each day in lockdown I have been taking our daughter Daisy (aged 3.5) out for a bike ride and as we travel along, I have a few phrases that I noticed I repeat a lot. I’m taking one phrase at a time and unpacking it a bit…to see if there is something in the phrase that might encourage us, show us something of God and help us a little in our walk with (or toward) Jesus.

“Don’t look down!”

I am not sure whether Daisy is intrigued as to what is going on with her legs, concerned that the pedals will fall off or is just intrigued by the gear ratio between the front and back cogs…but so often when she is on her bike, she looks down at her feet. Now, if you want to be safe as you cycle and you want to avoid crashing, clearly this is not a great idea, so I tell her…Don’t look down!

She looks up again and enjoys the ride, the views, the fun of it all. We chat, we laugh, she tells me things she would like to do…and then…looks down again! Once again…Don’t look down!

Again, as I sit and think about this phrase, there is such a resonance with how I can be in my life and in my walk with Jesus. Not all the time, but sometimes my head is down. In this blog I am not writing this in reference to feeling sad or low – but rather sometimes I can focus on the mechanics, rather than the big picture. What are the day to day, moment by moment things I am doing? I can get fixated on these. Frustrated by these. Excited by these. But in making them too big of a focus for too long, I have stopped looking up. Taken my eyes of the big picture and the plan God has for me.

Being really honest with you, I sometimes do the same as Daisy – I stop the chat (with God), I share a bit less joy, I stop telling him what I’d like to do.

Why? Is it because I love Him less or trust Him less? Not at all. I have just started to look down… at the mechanics of my life, rather than enjoy the chat and the journey with the creator and designer of my life.

A few years ago, at Word Alive, I had the great privilege of meeting and hearing the leadership teaching of Andrew Heard – founding Director of an organisation called Geneva Push (worth taking a look!) He made a really interesting point that, when people get too hung up on the mechanics of church – the choice of songs, the type of chairs, the quality of the coffee etc. – then they have lost sight of the big picture… The mission of God, the gospel of Jesus. They are looking down.

Whilst I liked it, it also made me shift in my seat. How often have I done this? How often have I taken my eyes off my Father God, the plan He has for me and the conversation He longs to have with me… just so I can look at the mechanics of it all (personal life, church life, work life)?

Too often probably!

Maybe it is human nature.

Maybe you are tempted to do the same

Maybe you are doing the same

So here is my encouragement to you, and the encouragement of the voice of God through scripture – Psalm 121, telling us, no matter what you are going through or feeling…Don’t look down!

 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

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