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Dunmow Baptist Church

The blog for Dunmow Baptist Church.

Do not fear

"Do not fear...you are of more value than many sparrows." Luke 12:7

Illustrated by one of our church members. 

For last Sunday morning's sermon on this verse go to Sermons, New Testament, Matthew 10:31.

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A stronghold

 

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When your heart is overwhelmed...

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 62:1

Who is God but the Lord and who is a rock except our God? 2 Samuel 22:32 

Be to me a rock of refuge to which I may continually  come; you have given command to save me for you are my rock and my fortress.  Psalm 71:3

Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4

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Hiding in the wings

He shall cover you with his feathers and under his wings you shall take refuge. Psalm 91:4

Hide me under the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

How precious is your loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in you and in the shadow of your wings I will make my refuge until these calamities have passed by. Psalm 57:1

I will trust in the shelter of your wings. Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. Psalm 63:7

 

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God of love

Coming up to Valentine's Day we think about love but probably don't link it with the Bible saying God is love (1 John 4:8).

Jesus is the way God has chosen to reveal himself to us. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), the exact imprint of God's nature (Hebrews 1:3). He is, in fact, God himself (Hebrews 1:8).

There are some famous Bible verses about love which are often read at weddings. It gives us a real insight into God's character if we fill Jesus' name in these verses where the word love should be.

Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful; Jesus does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I also find it a challenge to fill my own name in these verses - I don't find I meet up half as well as I'd like to. 

That, of course, is why Jesus alone was a fit person to die to take the punishment for my sin, having no sin of his own to pay for. What a God we have - he is truly a God of love if he would die for his creation!

 

 

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and the end of camp

On the last day our young adult leaders organised a fayre which included apple bobbing, face painting and hook-a-duck and the children had a great time spending the points which they had earned during the week. 

The leaders had a Bible and prayer time each day and we looked briefly at a word study each morning. I had previously looked at the references in the Bible to the word 'mercy' and combined the various texts into paragraphs on God's mercy, Jesus's mercy and how we should be merciful. I showed them what I had done on this and we marvelled at the mercy of our God. Other mornings we looked at the words faithfulness, power and abundance.

Since camp week a number of us have been looking at Bible words for ourselves inspired by the Word of God, our theme for the week:

"Happy is the man...whose delight is in the law of the Lord...whatever he does will prosper" Psalm 1:1-3. 

 

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More camp fun

We organised a number of competitions during camp, including a riotous game of hockey using homemade newspaper hockey sticks,which was my personal favourite, probably because I got to join in rather than judge!

During our day in the woods we had a lot of fun doing a photo scavenger hunt followed a big den building competition. 

One evening we made camp fires, seeing which team could get their fire lit with the least matches and get it to a state suitable for toasting marshmallows over the quickest.

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Camp fun

 

Lots of fun was had last week at Dunmow Baptist Camp, which included a day at the beach and the building of a giant sandcastle followed by well-earned sausage and chips. Each day we enjoyed Bible teaching in two groups, the younger ones acting out parables and using detective skills to figure out the meanings and the older ones looking at the subject of the Word of God.

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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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