Wednesday 15th January 2020
Eat, Walk, Play
When I look out at you guys on Sunday morning, it’s just fantastic 😊
I love how at CCB you’re all shapes and sizes!! All different backgrounds and nationality, different outlooks on life, different temperaments, different ways of dealing with life, different ways of expressing love for Jesus.
I have the unique privilege and opportunity of having the time to get to know you all and I have to say I find you all fascinating!
Do you know that there are people in our church who lived in the Jungle with baboons!! As we found out last week there is a person who swam across a mighty river and nearly drowned, but trusted in God and got there!!.
There are people who have jumped out of aeroplanes and are prize winning boxers! There are church family members who escaped a Volcano! There are individuals in our church who are running their own dining experience blog on Instagram and regular gives out prizes!! There is, in our church a person who regularly drives around with convicted murders!! People who went to ‘naughty school’ and people who went to boarding school. People who can build jet planes, who teach children, who understand building planning law. There are people in our congregation who pioneered amazing Christian surgeries both as nurses and doctors in Blackburn. We have published authors and successful business entrepreneurs and inventors. We have folk singer, ex rock singers, mods and rockers, midwives, even pop stars. People who have got scholarships to go to Africa to study. We have youth workers and people who help to support the elderly. We have people in our church who saw the Beatles in real life!! (This is one of my favourites). We have a Brian Adams fan who used to make Heinz Baked beans!!!
People who have smuggled bibles behind the iron curtain in the 90’s. We have scousers, who some say, may come from Newcastle!! We have Japanese missionaries, previous millionaire’s and contractors! People who lived in a setting like the British Raj! People who have lived through war. We have a person who is training in disaster management! We have real life Romeo and Juliet’s who married from opposing tribes or clans and this got them into a lot of trouble. So many amazing wonder interesting people and stories, too many to mention here. Go see if you can find them all!!
I particularly love listening to the many, varied and different ways that Jesus had worked in your life and we caught a snippet of that during our share time last Sunday . I loved it! 😊
However often I forget that you guys don’t know each other. You have no idea how cool and wonderful each other are and that’s what I feel we need to build on over the next season of church life at CCB.
Community Church Blackburn has grown at a fast pace over the last 12 months and this is wonderful and amazing!! Numerical growth of a congregation is brilliant! However if you read through the New Testament, particularly the letters of Paul and Peter, in their advice they don’t seem to spend a lot of time or consideration on numerical growth of the church (although don’t get me wrong, they do encourage this and evangelism). Most of the letters seem to be encouraging the church to persevere through difficulty, suffering and continue to grow in love and relationship for each other and God.
One of the primary pictures of the church is a family or household. Please note not a business, an organisation or a school, although these elements do play a part.
If a family is healthy it will be constantly building and growing in relationship with each other and with God. How can we grow in family, relationship and love unless we know who each other are?
Due to this we are aiming to facilitate a few things over the next 12 months. Taken from what a healthy family does and what Jesus liked doing!!
Jesus properly, properly loved eating!
He’s always eating with Pharisees, with his followers, in massive crowds 4000, 5000. He liked barbecued fish. One of the last and most significant things the Jesus did in the Gospels was share a meal with His disciples. In fact at the end of the bible when Jesus comes back there is going to be a huge feast/party!!
Therefore if Jesus liked eating. I think His people should like eating. Also it never says Jesus ate on his own, eating a mars bar from the vending machine because he was busy. Eating in the Bible is a communal intimate thing. It something that friends and family do together,taking time and enjoying it and each other.
It seems to me eating is a very important thing.
Over the next 12 months we’re going to try to eat together a little more, not necessarily at bring and shares lunches after the service, which are wonderful, but in different ways as well. We want to organise barbecues, and meals at houses and all sorts of different ways. If anyone has any ideas give me a shout 😊
There’s a lot of walking and traveling in the Bible. The People of Israel walked and traveled in Exodus, Jesus walked with his disciples, Jesus took a walk to Emmaus. When you walk you Journey and travel with people, It helps build relationship. It’s also very good for your health!
Over the next twelve month we’re going organise some walks at CCB. Let’s get out and appreciate Gods Glory in creation and Gods work in each other. There nothing better than building relations with each other while walking and chatting with each other. Also often walking can provide some of the greatest memories and comedy moments there is 😊
Over the last few years, I think we’ve got a little bit serious as a church. When was the last time you laughed or had fun!! A healthy family often plays or has fun together, like board games are great etc.
I’d love to organise some events like quizzes or something that gets us laughing, playing and most importantly building relationship as family. Who will ever forget the Mr and Mrs game played with parents and children in the youth service which let us into the fantastic fact that Weatta’s favourite film is Rambo!!! That was very, very funny. So in faith we’d like to organise some more fun events at CCB. Events you could even invite you friends to!! If you’re interested in this helping orginise these or have any ideas again give me a shout😊
Generally, I’d really like to encourage you to get to know each other. Why don’t you try sitting next to someone you don’t know so well at the next bring and share lunch rather than people you know and feel comfortable with. Why don’t you invite someone from church you don’t know so well round for dinner after the service? Posh food or roast dinner are not needed, beans on toast is great meal!! Most people don’t care how tidy you house is! They’re just happy to be there!. Finally if you’re not already in one, why don’t you join one of our mid week groups and attend regularly You’ll soon get to know people really well and this is just one of the many benefits of attending a small midweek group. If you can’t get out or travel why not have a chat on the phone with others. I promise, promise, promise you, it will be a blessing.
Lets Practice, practice, practice hospitality and grow, grow, grow in love and relationship as a church, family and a household of God!!!
Helpful bible passages to ponder
1 Thessalonians 3:12
and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;
from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.
9 And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Scripture of the week
Presently I am reading through the bible in one year. You can have a look at it Here
This bit that really hit me between the eyes this week is this 😊
Genesis 24 the lot
This is story of about how Abrahams servant, goes and searches for a wife for his son Isaac.
It really struck me how much faith was involved in the whole story and how God rewarded it.
Abrahams servant was basically searching for one family, a wife, in the whole north of Iraq before, satnav, google maps, Facebook or even road signs!!!
Its like saying I want you to hunt down one person from one family in the whole of Scotland!!
But God led Abrahams servant to the right place, at the right time, to one well and the right people. No wonder the servant was so amazed and thanked and praised God.
God led the way!. Do you know God leads the way for us, even if sometimes we’re not exactly sure where we are going. If we head off in faith, God will always lead us to the right destination and to the right people, which serve his plans.
Secondly I was really amazed by Rebecca’s faith. If a total randomer from a different country came to your daughter and said I’m going to take her away to a far-off place to get married and you will never see her again what would you do? Here’s how the scripture rolls
“But we (Her family) want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.”
But he (Abrahams servant) said, “Don’t delay me. The Lord has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.”
“Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her.
And she replied, “Yes, I will go.”
So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her. They gave her this blessing as she parted:
“Our sister, may you become
the mother of many millions!
May your descendants be strong
and conquer the cities of their enemies.”
Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way.
Let me start by saying this is not good parenting! Letting you daughter or a family member disappear with strangers to go marry another vague stanger is not something I would pastorally advise. But Rebecca’s family must have had faith in God, to trust Him to allow Rebecca to go into Gods care. As our children grow older, as parents often we need to trust God with them. Yes parent them well however, ultimately we need to hand them over to the care of God.
One day I’m praying I’m going to get to conduct lots of weddings and possibly even for my own children and I will have to trust God and release them in to the own new lives and family.
Thirdly I was interested that Abrahams servant wanted to leave straight away. This sounds even more dodgy!! but the family puts the decision to Rebecca to make her own mind.
Our kids, as they grow up, are their own people and sometimes its right to let them make their own mind up on things and build their own faith.
Rebecca chooses to go with the servant and made her mind up quickly and the servant could have been a slaver, somebody really, really dodgy however Rebecca trusted God and left her family to follow God.
Wow that was Faith without being guaranteed how it all would play out!!
That really was trusting God. Sometimes, we just need to trust God, take risks, move things over to Gods hands and just like Rebecca we’ll be blessed for it.
Books worth reading
The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. By Justin Whitmel EarleyYou can get it HERE
I’m really fascinated how the church is reverting and rediscovering well’s of ancient biblical wisdom, from church history and reapplying them for today and this book is a great example of this.
If you’re anything like me you get easily distracted and life often seems like a rush or you easily loose your focus of having a realization you are child of God.
Text messages, notifications, Netflix, BBC news, Radio music, work often if not dealt with correctly can steal your peace and make you a bit frazzled!
As a high powered lawyer Justin Whitmel Earley, who is a Christian, experienced a great loss of peace and connection with God and people. Due to this he searched the scripture to find out why and seek remedies to refocus on what is important i.e, God and people. From this he developed eight habits in his life that he’s found helpful and he shares them and their scriptural basis in his book.
To wet your appetite these are the eight habits or principles he uses. However read the book as there some much more in it!
Its really well written, thoroughly grounded in scripture and refreshingly practical and applicable to modern day life . I thoroughly recommend it.
Activities and situations to pray for
Again please pray for the ongoing situation with the Bank account at CCB. I’ve spent many hours on the phone to Lloyds this week, we’ve made a little progress 😊, however it’s still ongoing. Please pray and fast, if you could as we just need God to intervene and unlock this situation, (Preferably soon) for His glory!! As I’ve used up all my expertise and all the tricks I know 😊 Keep keep praying
Please pray for the Alpha course starting on the 15th Jan (As I right this, tonight!). I estimate we will have around 16 people that I’m relatively certain will be attending but there may well be more, quite a few real life non-Christians!!
Please pray that lives will be changed, and the team is full of love, Grace and Mercy.
Also thank you, thank you, thank you all of you who volunteered to provide food 😊 I will be in touch about dates and times, however if there is a preferred date please text me.
Finally we have Soroush Sadeghzadeh coming to CCB to preach on Sunday. Soroush originally is from Iran and left as a refugee. Presently he is an Elder at Jeremy Simkins church at Teeside. It’s going to be wonderful and I’m really excited and thankful that he is coming to talk to us. God is good 😊
Stephen Norcross is an elder, married to Lisa and living in Blackburn. Stephen works full time for Community Church Blackburn. Stephen studied music at university and uses his musical gifts leading worship. He also has a passion for bible teaching.