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Dunmow Baptist Church

The blog for Dunmow Baptist Church.

We Are the Weird Ones

Be challenged and inspired by Francis Chan – paragraphs 2 and 3 are particularly striking.

“During my time in India, the commitment level of the believers there shocked me. I visited thousands of Christians who had been beaten or watched relatives murdered for their faith. At one point I said to one of the leaders, “Every believer seems so serious about his or her commitment to Christ. Aren’t there people who just profess Christ but don’t really follow him?” He answered by explaining that nominal Christianity doesn’t make sense in India. Calling yourself a Christian means you lose everything. Your family and friends reject you, and you lose your home, status and job. So why would anyone choose that unless he or she is serious about Jesus?

I witnessed that same passion during my time in mainland China. The highlight was attending a meeting with underground church members training to become missionaries. The way they prayed and gave testimony about being persecuted was convicting and encouraging. The most surprising part of our time together was when they asked me about church in America. They laughed hysterically when I told them that church for Americans tends to focus on buildings and that people will sometimes switch churches based on music, child care, preaching or disagreements with other believers. I honestly was not trying to be funny. They laughed in disbelief at our church experiences, thinking it was ridiculous that we would call this Christianity.

Keep in mind that the population of China is over 1.3 billion, and in India it’s over 1.2 billion. Meanwhile there are around 300 million people in the United States. This means that we are a small minority. Our views of “Christianity” are peculiar to the vast majority of the world. I used to think of those “radical believers” overseas as the strange ones. Some simple math revealed to me that in actuality we are the weird ones. The majority of believers on this earth find it laughable that we could reduce the call to follow Jesus and make disciples to an invitation to sit in a church service.

From Crazy Love by Francis Chan, published by David C Cook, 2013. Francis Chan's writing about Americans is equally applicable to the British.

 

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Crazy Love prayer

Make me desperately in love with Jesus. May I go to great lengths to be with him; stay up late to talk to him; happily spend my money on him; be pained when we’re apart; and have him always in my thoughts. May genuine love for Jesus make serving him a pleasure because nothing is too much trouble.

Lord, I have tested your goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I want to want you. I long to be filled with longing. I thirst to be made more thirsty still.

I would exchange everything for a passionate love relationship with you and I can trust you with that statement because I know you have my best interests at heart.

I’ve just read a couple of chapters of Crazy Love by Francis Chan - above is my prayer.

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Life has a purpose so stop living as if it hasn’t!

“Life has a purpose so stop living as if it hasn’t!”

This was the message which Clare Heath-Whyte gave at the London Women’s Convention.

Last Saturday, I went to the convention with some of my friends from church; we really enjoyed the challenging teaching, heartfelt worship and a day out together.

Talking about time wasting and using herself as an example of someone who is tempted to whittle away her life doing very little, Clare told us, “Stop wasting time faffing about on Facebook!” and “Be alert!” (1 Peter 4:7). She challenged us to use our time wisely by asking, “How best might I serve my Lord today?”

As Christians, we know we’re made by God and know where we’re headed in life. If we keep our whole purpose for existence in mind we’ll find that we’re much more willing to give up our time, money and effort for what really matters – our God and his glory.

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Who made God?

If I told you who made God you’d just say, “Who made the person that made God?” and “Who made the person that made the person that made God?” - the answer wouldn’t satisfy.

The Bible says that God is infinite: he has no beginning and no end. Our minds don’t get that. But they do get that they don’t get it!

It’s like this:

Imagine you’re in space and you travel to the end of the universe(s) until there’s no further that you can go. Well, if you’ve got as far as you can go I guess there must be nothing. What does it look like? An empty space, I suppose. But an empty space is not nothing. It takes up room. It has a colour. Probably black. If there’s an empty space you could enter it, pass through it. Where would it end?

So we understand that our minds don’t get it. We get it in theory but can’t get our heads around it in practice.

God is like that. No beginning and no end. God “who is and who was and who is to come” Revelation 1:4.

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Is there anything as achingly beautiful?

Many people have a negative view of holiness as something that is disapproving, holier-than-thou and never has any fun - anything but living life to the full.

 

But God’s holiness is something as achingly beautiful as a spectacular sunset or the grandeur of a mountain scene. It is something exceptionally compelling which produces in us awe and adoration. God’s holiness is everything that is good and right and glorious.

Our hope and aim as Christians is to be like God. God calls us to be like him: “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16) and the Bible says that one day “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).

There is a negative side – saying no to wrong desires for dominance, control, sexual immorality, etc. but the essence of holiness is positive. It is not a gritted-teeth rule keeping but an encounter with Jesus. Holiness is not denying who we are but embracing who we are in Jesus.

Our aim is to live holy lives so that people will see something exceptionally compelling in us and want it for themselves.

Taken from John Risbridger’s talk on holiness at the Saffron Walden Bible Focus meetings yesterday.

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Lion or Lamb?

In the middle of the awesome pictures of Jesus and the awful pictures of judgement in Revelation, come the words, "The Lion...has prevailed". Yet, when John lifts his eyes to see the Lion he says, "I looked and behold...a Lamb"! (Revelation 5:5-6)

The Lion, who is powerful and terrifying, appears as a Lamb. Jesus, the fierce and mighty Lion, became Jesus, the meek and silent Lamb, willing allowing himself to be put to death for me:

"He was led as a lamb to the slaughter". (Isaiah 53:7)

How loving and gracious is that?

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Temptation

Jesus suffered and died so that I could have salvation. The Bible says that he endured the cross "for the joy that was set before him" (Hebrews 12:2) - that's how much he wanted to see me saved. That's why, when he was tempted to come down from the cross by the people taunting him he resisted. He would not trade my salvation for the satisfaction of proving himself to his enemies.

Moses was tempted to enjoy the life in Pharaoh's palace and all the temptations and sins that went with it, while the Israelites suffered as slaves, but he choose "rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:25).

I refuse to trade being right with the Living God for the fleeting pleasures of sin...but thank God that my salvation is dependent on Jesus's determination to do what was right, not mine!

 

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Our awesome God

The Bible says that our God is abundant in mercy, loving kindness, truth, grace, goodness and forgiveness. He is rich in blessings, love, glory and grace.

Not only is he abundant in these things, but he lavishes these things on us. He is a rich and generous God. The Bible says he owns "the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10) - in fact he owns the hills the cattle are on too! So he has great riches from which to "give us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17).

As Christians we have access to the Living God who "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think" Ephesians 3:20. What an awesome privilege! What an awesome God!

 

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Guest Service and Shared Lunch

We would like to invite you to our 

Guest Service and Shared Lunch

on Sunday 25th February, starting at 11am

at The Rowena Davey Centre, Chequers Lane.

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How to be first in the kingdom of heaven.

When God looks at us he does not say that he wants to see success, vision, dynamism, impressive achievements and popularity. He says that he is looking for compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

As Jesus said, if you want to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven you must become like a little child (Matthew 18:1-4)and this indicates rather more of the humility and rather less of the impressive achievements. 

As Christians, we would love our lives to be so pleasing to God that he considers us to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. But are we going about it the right way? 

"As the chosen of God...put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

 

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How much of Jesus do you want?

Often we are proud and think we are better than someone else and we criticise them, despise them and put them down. We are, in effect, saying that they need Jesus more than we do - more of his forgiveness, more of his help and more of his grace. And we're saying that we don't need Jesus much at all; we are pretty good without him.

How much better to ask Jesus to show you your faults and to help you to see that you're no better than the next guy? When you need Jesus and you admit it, you get Jesus - his forgiveness, his help and his grace; his friendship, his power and his love.

 

"My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

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It's just as well we reap what we sow!

We had a great time celebrating the harvest on Sunday with a service, a collection for the food bank and a shared lunch.

Philip preached on sowing what you reap, pointing out that if we didn't, agriculture would be a mess. Who could cope with sowing a field of potatoes and reaping a field of poppies?!

When it comes to our lives some of us would rather we didn't reap what we sow! - but you can't have it both ways.

Praise God for Jesus who is willing to exchanged the sin I've sown for the righteousness he's sown.

 

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Creation or creator?

My latest challenge is a prayer by Paul Tripp: rescue me "every day until my deepest pleasures are nowhere to be found in the creation and only to be found in the creator. 

It is so beautifully logical - why would I take more pleasure in the creation than the creator? And yet so often I do!

I would like to highly recommend Paul Tripp's book, Whiter than Snow. It is a series of bite-sized meditations on Psalm 51 which only take 5 minutes each to read. They are pretty thought provoking and well worth a read.

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The secret to growing as a Christian in one sentence

If you want to know if you are growing as a Christian ask yourself the question, "Am I more dependant on Jesus than I was yesterday?"

Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5

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Are you a fish out of water?

If you have the living water which Jesus offers you are like a fish, living in and breathing in water. The water constantly flows through its body, it is immersed in it and totally dependent upon it. This is how vital living water is to our spiritual lives.

But God is concerned that we often resort to our own stagnant tanks of water which I imagine are something like the water butts in my garden which I definitely wouldn't drink from! He says, 'My people have committed 2 sins: they have forsaken me the spring of living water and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.' Jeremiah 2:13

When we are ungracious towards someone we have jumped out of the water which our life depends on in order throw over them a bucketful of water from our own tank! How much better to be swimming in living water and splashing everyone around us with it too?

Taken from Philip's sermon on Sunday 25th June 2017.

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Change of Venue

Please note, the morning service will be held at the chapel on Sunday 25th June as the Rowena Davey Centre is unavailable.

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Who can I be kind to today?

I was reading 2 Samuel and came across the section where David is looking for someone to be nice to. He asks, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

Is there anyone that I can show kindness to for Jesus' sake?

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Punting

Our church teens had a great day in Cambridge on Friday. We had a picnic, played games and lazed around in the sunshine. Then we had a go at punting. Everyone had fun and, surprisingly, no one got wet!!

 

 

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Just a thought

While you can't control the behaviour of another person, don't let them control yours. When we are angry, bitter, jealous, resentful etc we are letting someone else control our thinking...and it's not even someone we like!

Not letting this happen is considerably easier said than done, but with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). So do it with him.

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Whose kingdom?

"Your kingdom come" = my kingdom go.
God's plans, God's agenda, God's superiority, God's authority come = my plans, my agenda, my superiority, my authority go.

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