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Dunmow Baptist Church

The blog for Dunmow Baptist Church.

Cake competition

The teens had a great evening last Friday designing and creating their own cakes and desserts at Rock. 

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If God is all-loving, all-powerful and all-knowing why doesn’t he stop the suffering in the world?

This question is often thrown up in arguments about God. So, we looked at it in one of our recent teenage talks.

 Is God all-loving?

1 John 4:8 says, “God is love”. The Bible is saying that God’s very character is love itself: he is all-loving.

 Is God all-powerful?

Jeremiah 32:17 says he is: “Lord God, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.”

 Is God all-knowing?

1 John 3:20 says, “God…knows all things”. Yes, God is all-knowing.

 So, having established that God is all-loving, all-powerful and all-knowing, imagine what would happen if God stopped all the suffering in the world. Right now.

Imagine God stopping the murderer in the act of firing his gun; imagine a girl finding those spiteful words just won’t come out of her mouth and imagine the bully, intending to get together a mean plot, not being able to organise his thoughts.  Suddenly, God stopping suffering turns into God controlling us and that seems rather less like a good idea!

 So, we get that God doesn’t want to control us. But why is suffering here is the first place?

  • When God made the world there wasn’t any suffering at all – Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw everything that he had made and indeed it was very good.”
  • Suffering and death entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned, as explained in Genesis 3:16-19.
  • There are benefits of suffering, such as teaching us patience and making us grateful for the good times. Romans 5:3 highlights this when it says, “We have joy in our troubles because we know that troubles produce patience and patience produce character and character produces hope.”

 So, does that mean there will always be suffering?

Looking at Revelation 21:4 we can conclude a definite NO!

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain.” God plans to get rid of suffering for ever.

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Best of quotes

"The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything." Barry Cooper (Discipleship Explored Course)

Based on Philippians 4:6-7.

Peace which surpasses understanding is promised to those who pray. So Barry points out that there must be a direct correlation between the amount we worry and the amount we pray.

Worry less; pray more.

We are getting together each Sunday for the Discipleship Explored Course. We're enjoying lots of discussion, plenty of challenge and excellent teaching from the book of Philippians.

 

 

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Best of Quotes

"Is my own verdict on my past more important than God's verdict on my past?" Barry Cooper (author and presenter of the Discipleship Explored Course).

God's forgiveness is  based on Jesus paying for sin and therefore leaves no room for guilt, regret or beating yourself up about the past. When we begin to indulge in these things we are saying that our own verdict on our past is more important than God's. Knowing how prone we are to reliving the past God tells us to, "forget what lies behind" and "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling of God" (Philippians 3:13&14). Don't fight yesterday's battles today.

We are getting together each Sunday for the Discipleship Explored Course. We're enjoying lots of discussion, plenty of challenge and excellent teaching from the book of Philippians. Look out for more thought provoking quotes from the course.

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Best of quotes

"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose" C.S.Lewis.

We are getting together each Sunday for the Discipleship Explored Course. We're enjoying lots of discussion, plenty of challenge and excellent teaching from the book of Philippians. Look out for more thought provoking quotes from the course.

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God speaks today

Many of us like to know what royalty, politicians and celebrities have to say. We can easily find out what they say via television, newspapers, social media etc. We don't have to wait for them to phone us, or pay us a personal visit with their family news or their opinions on Brexit!! In the same way, we do not have to wait for a special occasion, place or time to find out what God says. We have the Bible in our own language which we can look at any time, on paper or online; and when we do, God speaks to us. Now – today!

The Bible "is able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed…" God Speaks.                                                          
In the Bible we discover the amazing fact that God has visited our world in person - Jesus Christ, who is called the ‘Word of God’. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." God Speaks.                                         
"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son". God Speaks – the question is, are we listening?

(2 Timothy 3:16, John 1:1&14, Hebrews 1: 1-2)

Teens Talk by Cathryn, Nov 2018.

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Food for thought

Deal bountifully with your servant that I may live and keep your word.

Found this prayer in the psalms. I am sure we all like praying "Deal bountifully with your servant", but the next bit really struck me. Why do we actually want God to deal bountifully with us? Usually, for my ease and comfort. The true reason we should pray that prayer is in the next bit, "...that I may live and keep your word". May God help us all to have that aim and desire.

by Karen 

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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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