Northolt Grange Baptist Church

Partners on a journey

Ever felt you didn’t fit in?

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March 8, 2008 Posted by | Atheist, Christianity, Everyday faith, faith, God | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“He reached down and took hold of me…he drew me out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16

God has a word for us.When Jesus began his public ministry he used Isaiah 61 as a declaration of intent. The Old Testament furnishes many texts about the meaning of Messiah which he might have used: Messiah as King, Judge, Hero, Rescuer…Instead Jesus used a text which perfectly expressed the urgency of his compassion: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…to comfort all who mourn…. A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”We meet in the anointing of Jesus. We are his body and we are directed into his ministry. And the calling that was upon him is upon us.And as we open our eyes to one another and to the community around us we see a whole world of pain: those with a feeling of inner emptiness or pain, the emotionally hurt or crushed, the broken hearted, those needing inner healing, emotional healing or the healing of memories. Also those struggling with the problem of anger, those needing to forgive others, those needing freedom from the negative affects that anger causes. Also those with mental problems, mental disorders, eating disorders and addictions such as: depression, anorexia, bulimia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, bipolar disorder, nervous breakdown, obsessive thoughts. Also those troubled in mind, suffering from demonisation, the demonised or demon possessed and those who are afflicted or influenced in mind by evil spirits or evil thoughts. When you consider the scale of this pain, we dare not rely upon our own resources, or intellect…. There’s just too much! And so we seek the Holy Spirit and we turn to the Bible.The Bible says, “Guard your heart with all wisdom, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs). The Word of God is full of deep and wonderful truth. Many Christian advise us to “guard our hearts” in friendships. It is indeed wise to guard both our emotions and our expectations. We must be wise, and not needlessly expose ourselves to hurt or disappointment.

Even those of us who have had wonderful families, perhaps Christian families, will know that no parent is perfect. We are always going to get let down or hurt at some point. Those of us who have come from more troubled backgrounds will probably have learnt that really you cannot live with your security based on people. Parents and other friends should be an encouragement to us; loving us and being a positive input into our lives. But when this is not the case, we can be devastated. How ever fortunate or not we are with the people we have around is, our security must be in God. He is the one who made us and who loves us like no one else could. Although it is very normal to look for encouragement and approval from those around us, we must not allow disappointment to devastate us if our hopes are not realised.

In this life, we need human companions as well as God for a companion (Genesis 2:18). If there is no one around you at the moment who is providing this friendship, at least in some way, then actively try to find it. Search for people, If necessary, move church or even where you live, researching where you might go. Life can become a constant test of survival, where you have no real choice apart from just to accept suffering and to stick it out.

God – The Rock, is secure

It can take time to know healing from our hurts and disappointments, and with this to trust God and truly place him as our security. Disappointment is a nasty enemy. We may hope for just simple, basic things in life. Maybe good friends, or a partner to share our live with. But our track record registers disappointment. However, we need not loose hope when we know God. We may not get all we want or hope for, and this is hard to accept when other people seem happy and are enjoying themselves.

With God, all good things are possible. If it is confidence you need, he can bring it, and if it is a miracle you need, he can answer your prayer. Don’t give up or loose hope, and do gain encouragement and help form where ever you can. If there is some sort of a spiritual curse over your life, which stifles you living in freedom and enjoying good things, then he can break it by his power (Colossians 2:13-15)

Grasping to hope

You may be in the depths of pain and disappointment. It may be of some hope to think that Jesus has always been through worse than us. Perhaps it is as if you are finding it hard to breath, such is the fear and depression that chokes you. Jesus must have experienced this and more as he suffered for us on the cross. We at least get to catch our breath, though we suffer.

When we feel very low or isolated, even very basic recognition from other Christians can lift us and bring us hope. It allows us a wonderful glimpse of God and of how life can be for us on earth. Sometimes we feel that we are hanging on for dear life. A friend once used an image to encourage himself. It was of seeing himself in deep waters, drowning. That’s how he felt at the time. He saw a helicopter – which represented Jesus, hovering over the water, and someone reached down to rescue him from the seas. This brings to mind Psalm 18:16:

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me, he drew me out of deep waters”.

Selfless Trust in God

Healing really can take time. However, we find moments of relief and hope, and quickly learn to take every bit of encouragement that we can get. There is so much hope and encouragement in the Word of God. Don’t ever loose hope when you know God, as he can restore and heal, and he will never leave you. If you do miss out in life, and do not get all that you hope for on earth, he will make things up to you in Heaven. Provision and healing will be made complete. God is perfect, and he will richly reward us if we are faithful, he will not deprive us of good things.

We are all on our way home to Heaven, and on the journey we can know the healing and power of Jesus in our lives. We can know comfort, peace and provision, as well as the privilege of serving others and sharing God with those who do not know him. Hold on, and hold fast to God’s hand. He will never let go. In a field of wounded soldiers, try to get up off your feet and help those who are in need around you. Follow the example of Jesus, and in so doing, know him more.

 

 

March 8, 2008 Posted by | Baptist, Bible, Christianity, Church, Evangelism, Everyday faith, faith, family, God, Gospel, Holy Spirit, kingdom, Prayer, Searching for God, worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Internet Therapy: Soul food

  • Evangelical Times

  • Banner of Truth 

  • The Highway

  • Bible Sermons

  • Desiring God

  • Grace to You

  • Turning Point

  • The Threshold

  • Abate Not Reformed Christian Resources

  • Evangelical Press

  • ChristiansInTouch.com

  • BibleGateway.com

  • Sovereign Grace Union

  • David Haslam Home Page

  • Crosswalk Bible Study Tools

  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones

  • March 6, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, Everyday faith, God, Gospel, Jesus | Leave a comment

    The spiritual journey of Paris Hilton

    It wa slightly sad to read today that Paris Hilton’s spiritual guru has been exposed as a fake.
    ParisHilton_RexParis was photographed with a Buddhist monk in West Hollywood on Saturday night – the pair shopped for books on spiritual enlightenment before he blessed the star and encouraged her to unburden herself by offloading her $10,000 diamond necklace, which she promptly handed over to a passing stranger.TMZ is now reporting that the man who posed as Paris’ spiritual guide is actually a Hollywood actor. Maxie Santillan has had roles in TV shows CSI and My Name Is Earl, and on the big screen in Pirates of the Caribbean and the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie!

    So is this just a Hollywood scam… a publicity stunt in poor taste…. or is the poor girl looking in all the wrong places?

    When Jesus said “Come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest for your souls” he wasn’t just talking to downtrodden peasants. The real question is: can he deliver on that promise? Rest for my soul is a tall order. It means that all that weariness and confusion…. all that seeking and striving, pushing and shoving to make some sense out of life…. all that rubbish is finally thrown off.

    In the end, everyone wants rest for their souls – a solid base for their lives. I just have to make sure I’m leaning on something that will not give way.

    March 5, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, God, Gospel, Jesus, Paris Hilton, What's happening? | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Thinking Allowed

    thinking-allowed.jpgYes, but what do you think?

    I remember meeting a colleague at one of those Vicar-conference- type things whilst some charismatic rumpus was doing the rounds (like a hawk in a dovecote), and he said to me without a trace of irony:  “What do we believe about it?”

    It’s so easy to toe party-lines… to put your brain into deep-freeze… or even simply to let your thinking follow the line of least resistance. It requires a conscious effort to “love God, with all your… mind”. But the truth is that thinking is allowed. It’s good for you.

    OK. So having stated the thesis, let’s test it. Apparently, (Telegraph 16/2) senior Church of England bishops are concerned that last week’s Synod vote to allow the church rather than the Prime Minister to have the final say in choosing diocesan bishops may lead to disestablishment. Church Commissioner Peter Bruinvels said the Church was ‘weakening [its] constitutional place at the heart of decision making’, but Philip Giddings, chairman of the Church’s mission and public affairs council, claimed the Government was still ‘committed to establishment’.

    In contrast, a UN report claiming that more than 60% of British people have no religious affiliation has called for the Church of England to be separated from the state as its current privileged position does not reflect ‘the religious demography of the country’.

    Bit like the BBC hanging on to the privilege of licence fees?

    Next week,  (according to Guardian 21/2) a delegation of Islamic academics and theologians are meeting at the Vatican to discuss the open letter A Common Word Between Us and You sent to the Pope in October 2007 which highlighted the similarities between the two faiths. That should solve everything shouldn’t it?

    By contrast, it was great to hear  (Church Times 22/2) that churches in Bridgend County Borough are responding to the numbers of apparent suicides among 17- to 25-year-olds in the area. The ecumenical ‘street pastor’ initiative works in Bridgend town, where according to the Area Dean of Bridgend, Revd Michael Komor, they are ‘well placed to engage with the young people’. Churches in the deanery will open for a day in the next few weeks, offering a safe space to ‘ask the questions’ and the multi-agency suicide prevention group for the area will include a church representative. However Mr Komor questioned recent press coverage, saying it gave the impression that ‘you’d only got to live in the area’ to feel suicidal.  

    So where does it start, this thinking business? Apparently, an incredible improvement in behavior and academic progress followes the introduction of a ‘Philosophy for Children’ course in 2004 (BBC Online). A Year 4 teacher from the school in Warsall, Beckton said that the course helped children in her class ‘listen and respond appropriately’, express ‘original thoughts’ and ‘demonstrate judgments based on reason’. The school has now produced a DVD Thinking Allowed to illustrate the success of the course.

    If only thinking was allowed for people over the age of 9.

    Yes, but what do we believe about it?

    February 24, 2008 Posted by | Baptist, Bible, celebration, Christianity, Church, Everyday faith, faith, God, Gospel, Holy Spirit, kingdom, Searching for God, Taking on the news, What's happening? | , , , , | Leave a comment

    NIGHT VISION 23rd February TONIGHT

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    NIGHT VISION…… experiencing

     God in praise n worship. feb 23rd.

     BANDS/ food

    find us at UB56NN

    phone 0208845411

    pastor kofi for more info

    February 23, 2008 Posted by | COMING EVENTS, Current Events, Everyday faith, God, Gospel, Holy Spirit, London, Mission, Prayer, Uncategorized, What's happening?, worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Life, Death and the Pursuit of Oscars

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    Interesting to notice in a recent magazine  the recent splurge of Hollywood films with a pro-life twist. Juno, described by the CEN reviewer as a ‘beautiful, life-affirming film’, is one of several where the leading character has an unwanted pregnancy but decides to keep her baby. In the case of Juno, she considers abortion but changes her mind when she is intercepted by a classmate on a pro-life vigil. The ‘crass’ and ‘raunchy’ comedy Knocked Up, the romantic fantasy August Rush and the drama Waitress all feature women who either decide to bring their child up or have the baby adopted. Perhaps -as Hollywood observers have been quick to point out- the trend could be as much to do with good storytelling as a change of mind, but affirming the sanctity of life is always good news, isn’t it?On the other hand, Juno’s by-line (“A comedy about growing up and the bumps along the way”) is about as trivialising as you can get.But this is the territory – with Corrie, Eastenders, and the rest (Hollyoaks? Skins?) – this is where our society does its moralising, its decision-making. And if the media makes an occasional  plug for what we agree is right behaviour, why gripe?

    February 19, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, Everyday faith, faith, Film, God, Media, modern film, Searching for God, What's happening? | , , | Leave a comment

    Making sense of the senseless

    My thoughts this week have also been with the victims of senseless violence at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., and E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif. In case you missed these stories, on Tuesday, February 12, Lawrence King, an openly gay 15-year-old, was shot in the head by a classmate in Oxnard. Because he wore “feminine accessories” and makeup. Later this past week, on Thursday (the day of St. Valentine himself), five students were gunned down while many others were wounded by a shooter who attacked a lecture hall on the NIU campus. To me, perhaps the most chilling part of the NIU tragedy is this quotation from the university’s public safety chief Donald Grady: “There were no red flags … It’s unlikely that anyone would ever have the ability to stop an incident like this from beginning.” In other words, to sum it up, “these things happen.” Complacency could not be any further removed from the route to social change.

    And even whilst acknowledging the tragedy of these shootings, how can one ignore the greater tragedy of those who are dying every day in Africa and the Middle East as political unrest continues to result in violence in places such as Kenya, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan and Palestine. In Kenya, 1000 people have died and 300,000 have lost their homes in the fallout from a disputed election this past December, with peace-making talks stagnating. In the continued Darfur genocide, experts estimate that 200,000 people have died, while 3.5 million have been displaced from their homes.

    So how do you make sense of the senseless?

    How do you keep on believing in the justice of and love of Father God in the midst of such atrocities…  such folly…  such wicked waste?

    Well. Let me know what you think. For me it drives me deeper into understanding the death of Jesus on the cross. That too was an atrocity, a wicked waste, the foollish brutal bullying of the innocent by the guilty.

      

    February 17, 2008 Posted by | Current Events, Everyday faith, God, Searching for God, Taking on the news, What's happening? | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    God Speaks Quietly

    Have you ever heard a quiet voice
    deep down within your being,
    A voice so soft, still, and calm,
    it stops and sends fear fleeing?

    It comes in times of trouble,
    when things appear most grim.
    Other times it comes for no other reason
    than to let us know it comes from Him.

    God tells us things so simply stated,
    it’s hard to misunderstand.
    Yet the things He speaks go against the flesh,
    but exposes His loving hand.

    He sometimes gives us answers,
    for which we desperately seek.
    Other times, He gives the words
    He wants us to earnestly speak.

    Have you ever been utterly confused
    not knowing which way to go,
    Then suddenly the choice becomes so clear,
    you wonder how you didn’t know?

    Has there ever arisen a crisis,
    leaving you anxious with an unresolved need;
    Only to have things suddenly go into reverse
    and from the crisis you’re freed?

    Not only does God speak to us
    in His still small voice,
    He actively moves to accomplish His will;
    giving us reason to rejoice.

    That soft calm voice has given me peace,
    each time I’ve been overwhelmed by fear.
    When I listen closely, He always speaks
    the exact words I need to hear.

    And when I find myself in trouble,
    He always hears my unspoken plea.
    He comes in and sets things right,
    and His perfect will I’m able to see.

    I’m in a crisis as I sit and write this,
    and it’s totally beyond my control.
    The circumstances are overwhelming.
    Yet, there’s peace inside my soul.

    No matter what the outcome,
    there’s one thing I’m certain of -
    I’ve heard the quiet voice of God,
    assuring me of His love.From Farida

    February 17, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, Everyday faith, faith, God, Jesus, Searching for God | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Everything is spiritual -in its own way?

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    Everything –according to Rob Bell- is spiritual. And of course he’s completely right. It’s just a question of whether its bad spiritual or good spiritual.

    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    So can you help me here? Let me run some things by you and you decide which part of the good/bad spectrum they belong…. Treat it like a News Quiz with a moral twist.

    Last week (31/1) the Telegraph reported on a Romanian Orthodox ex-priest, Daniel Corogeanu. He was convicted last year, freed pending appeal, and now jailed for seven years for the murder by crucifixion of a young nun who had symptoms of schizophrenia. She had been bound and chained to a cross and denied water for some days in a long-drawn-out ‘exorcism’ ritual. Corogeanu said that she was beyond salvation and claimed his action was justified.

    Now I’m pretty sure that that’s bad.

    But –bearing in mind the importance of us all getting along, and “doing the hard work of putting up with each other” (as The Message puts it somewhere)- how do you rate this new development in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: For the first time in its 100-year history the WPCU has concluded with a service in St Paul Outside the Walls, Rome with Pope Benedict XVI taking part with World Council of Churches general secretary Revd Dr Samuel Kobia, as well as about 30 other leaders of Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches. The week started in Graymoor, New York in January 1908 under the title ‘Octave of Prayer for Church Unity’. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/6657).

    Good, bad or indifferent?

    Or Dr John Sentamu having a pint with the pope? (Well, not exactly). When Tony Blair had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, he gave him a gift, as is customary, a painting of Catholic convert Cardinal Newman. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, was more down to earth. On his first trip to Rome to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Archbishop presented His Holiness with a special beer brewed for the occasion at Masham, North Yorks. The Pope, a Bavarian by birth, is said to prefer beer to wine and water. (The Guardian (29/1)

    Or Rowan Williams expostulating on the Blasphemy laws? (I’m not even convinced that in our day and age blasphemy is an issue that can be dealt with by legislation). Delivering the James Callaghan Memorial Lecture in the House of Lords this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said the current blasphemy legislation was unworkable and should be repealed. Whatever replaced it should clearly signal what was acceptable, and have the effect of stigmatising and punishing the extreme behaviours, and cruel forms of speaking and acting, that silence argument. Church Times (1/2)

    I guess it’s good  (but I’ll wait for your comments to be sure) to see two senior Catholic leaders, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Bishop Crispian Hollis, arriving in Zimbabwe earlier this week as guests of the Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops’ Conference following a visit to South Africa. They stressed the pastoral, rather than political, nature of their visit which nevertheless comes at a time when opposition within the country to the dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe is mobilising.

    And the Revd Charlie Cleverley, Rector of St Aldate’s, a thriving charismatic evangelical church in the heart of Oxford, is claiming  non-Muslim residents will be driven away by the thrice-daily loudspeaker calls to prayer over the eastern part of the city proposed by leaders of a new mosque there. Mr Cleverley, who previously led a church in a Muslim area of Paris, said the ‘azan’ minaret call to prayer was ‘un-English’ and risked ‘ghettoisation’ of the area in years to come.  Source: The Times (30/1) .

    So how do you vote? Cleverley or uncleverly? Does this “getting along” business include people outside the Church. I suspect so.

    A group of evangelical C of E bishops has urged wavering delegates to be willing to attend the 10-year Lambeth Conference, which has been threatened by divisions over appointments of practising homosexual priests and bishops. They are urging support for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Windsor Process in working towards resolution and unity. Church of England Newspaper (31/1).

    Bad spiritual or good spiritual? What does God think of the Lambeth Conference striving for unity as the expense of doctrine? Help me out here.

    I was interested to read of The Black Christian Leaders Forum’s (BCLF) appeal following a meeting last week with the Department for Children, Schools and Families for more black men to come forward to train as teachers who will be effective role models and mentors. Wale Hudson-Roberts, racial justice co-ordinator for the Baptist Union of Great Britain, agreed with the call but added that the profession needed more black teachers in senior positions to effect a change, and that teachers generally required training to better understand black culture, where assertiveness was often mistaken for aggression.  Baptist Times (31/1).

    I vote a tentative good.

    And finally, Respondents to the British Social Attitudes Survey 2008, which questioned over 3,000 people, concluded that marriage is fairly irrelevant, although stable relationships are important. The majority considered that there was no difference between being married and cohabiting, even when raising children, and two-thirds believed that divorce could be a positive step. This flies in the face of David Cameron’s affirmation of marriage and desire to halt the disintegration of the family as the key to mending what he describes as our broken society. Sources: The Times (29/1).

    Strange to find myself with David Cameron on this one.

    February 4, 2008 Posted by | Atheist, Christianity, Everyday faith, faith, God, Rob Bell, Rowan Williams, Searching for God, Taking on the news, What's happening? | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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