Thoughts

‘Forgotten God’ – new sermon series

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We begin a new sermon series this Sunday (23rd April) called ‘ Forgotten God’. Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The teaching will be slightly shorter to allow a few minutes for us to respond in various ways to what we’ve heard –  Prayer, reflection, silence, worship, discussion

Our prayer is that as we go through the series we will be increasingly more aware of the powerful Person and work of God the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and in the life of this church.

Julie Shimizu

How will you respond?

 

Easter - Still Risen (1)

Article 50 was triggered last Wednesday. Emotions ran high – jubilation, anger, confusion, fear, disappointment, relief.  Some people though were complacent and didn’t care either way. The newspapers are full of Brexit news and will be for a long while to come I imagine.

It’s natural to be passionate about things that matter to us and Brexit is important. But there is other news very worthy of our deep emotions. Let’s make sure alongside the  passionate feelings we may have either way for issues  like Brexit , that  we have strong feelings of compassion for  people in desperate  places like Mosul and  the famine in East Africa. Hopefully deep emotions for those suffering will then trigger action in us – prayer, giving or getting involved in a practical way. May they be assured that we are not complacent and it’s not that we ‘don’t care either way’.

Easter reminds us that God certainly is not complacent, cares deeply about our broken relationship with Him and others and Jesus did something about it. May this Easter trigger a response to Him in us.

Julie Shimizu (Rev)   Life Community Baptist Church

 

New Sermon Series: Freedom

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We begin a new sermon series this Sunday, 15th January  – ‘Freedom’ – and will be looking at the letter to the Galatians each Sunday and more in depth in our life groups.

‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’ Galatians 5:1.   We may know the truth of that but not experience it or feel free in various areas of our lives.

As we look into his Word may there be fresh revelation for us to live more fully in that freedom that Christ died to give us, for the glory of His name.

Julie

Emmanuel – God with us

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I enjoyed that very Christmas market in Berlin just last year and remember well the vibrant stalls, the colourful lights and the festive atmosphere. It made me very sad to imagine the shock and horror of stall holders and visitors caught up in the lorry ploughing into it last week. A senseless act of murder and violence. Lives lost and instant untold damage to many people and their families forever. One minute all well, the next unspeakable, unexpected horror.

As we look back on 2016 we have seen a lot of the unexpected. We’ve witnessed some huge shifts in our global, political and economic landscapes. We’ve seen and continue to see war between and within nations, political upheaval, economic instability and unprecedented migration. The future can seem uncertain and fearful as we step into 2017. Who knows what to expect?

We were never promised a trouble free life ‘ In this world you will have trouble’ Jesus said. (John 16:33) However the Christmas carols we’ve just heard and sung, remind us that His name would be Emmanuel – God with us – and what He did promise to those who believe was that He would guide, He would comfort and would give us hope now and for eternity. That much, the Christian can joyfully expect. Happy New Year

Julie Shimizu (Rev)   Life Community Baptist Church

The wonder of that Christmas night, be born in us!

‘Meals with Jesus’ – New Sermon Series

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On Sunday, 4th September, we begin a new series looking at various meals people had with Jesus that are recorded in Luke’s gospel. We have chosen this for two reasons:

  • Firstly, it will be good to focus on a gospel again and learn more about Jesus and how he interacted with people.

 

  • Secondly, sharing meals and hospitality was such an important part of life in those days and we would like to use this autumn series to perhaps encourage greater hospitality amongst us.  Opening our own homes if we feel able, inviting people to share a meal with us and getting to know them better.

‘Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill’

Are you a “non-violent extremist”?     Definitely –  especially if the Government counter-extremism plans are approved!

The Christian Institute are encouraging us to pray for the Government’s policy on ‘extremism’ which is posing a real threat to our freedoms.

At the heart of the problem is the definition of “extremism” – the definition the Government has been using is far too wide.  According to a comprehensive report by parliament’s joint-committee for human rights  (a cross-party group of MPs and peers from the House of Lords) the government’s proposed ‘Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill’, is superfluous because all laws already exist to target any offences.  The committee stressed the need for a clear distinction between violent extremism and religious conservatism.  They said: “New legislation which would impact on those expressing conservative religious views poses two problems: either it will focus on Muslims, be seen as discriminatory and drive a wedge between communities, or it would operate indiscriminately and could be used against any groups who espouse conservative religious views.”  If you want more background information about the issues involved Christian Concern have produced an eBooklet called (click on this link) “Challenges arising from HM Government’s Counter Extremism Strategy”    It’s definitely worth a read!

Theresa May was the architect of the ‘Counter-Extremism Bill’ when she was Home Secretary.  We must expect it to go ahead now she is Prime Minister.

Many heroes and heroines of the past were labelled ‘non-violent extremists’, like the ones we are covering in our current Sermon Series, including the real Hero of them all – Jesus Christ,  simply because they strongly challenged the political or moral consensus of their day.

The Government wants to introduce a law to silence today’s “non-violent extremists” who show “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British Values”.  These values are defined as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.    This is dangerously vague and subjective language

A consultation has been promised on the Government proposed measures to  counter-extremism,   including the definition of ‘extremism’.

Please pray for wisdom for our governing authorities that these extremism plans would be dropped that the Government would instead adopt a targeted response to violence and disorder and for God to preserve our religious liberty and freedom of speech.

Finally, you may wish to browse through the Christian Institute’s publication (click this link) The Little Book of Non Violent Extremists

New Sermon Series for the summer

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This Sunday we’ll be starting a new sermon series for the summer:  . ‘Heroes of the faith and what we can learn from them’    These are various people throughout history whose  faith has been strong and have things about their life that we can learn from for our own walk with God.

Did Jesus rise from the dead?

Referendum

voteIn or out? We’re going to hear a lot of this for the next few months aren’t we! As yet I don’t feel I understand enough to be able to make an informed decision but when June 23rd comes I will have thought and prayed about it carefully and will go with what I think is right for our country.

It is a hugely important decision and whether we elect to stay or leave the EU there will be long lasting implications which will affect not just us but of course people in other countries too.

The decisions we make in our own personal lives usually affect not only us but others too. The implications of wrong decisions (and I have made them!) often have to be lived with for the rest of our lives. We may regret we ever made a particular choice and wish we could go back and ‘unmake’ it – but of course we can’t. We may perhaps feel guilty and find that hard to live with.

I am so glad that the God I know, love and serve is willing to forgive us through Jesus. We have to ask him though and really mean it. We can’t go back, but we can go forward . When we invite him into our lives he’ll help us to make better choices in the future.

As far as God is concerned, is he in or outside of your life? That’s something only you can decide.

Julie Shimizu (Rev)