SWBC Newsletter July 22 & 29

Anyone who believes and is baptised will be saved. Mark 16:16

July 22 & 29

Kia Ora & WeIcome
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12

As I sit in my office writing this, the sun is streaming in the window on a lovely Christchurch winter’s morning. I noticed this week that there are some blossom trees coming into flower and I already have some camellias out in my garden. They may be slightly early but are a sign of what is just around the corner!! For those of you who have had some holidays in the past couple of weeks I pray that it has been a refreshing and relaxing break.

This week is a very exciting time in the life of South West Baptist as we welcome our friends from Syria and Iraq to our community. A BIG thank you to everyone who has been involved in the preparation for their arrival. Your love and generosity has been amazing. This Sunday morning (July 22) we welcome Dr Bob Robinson from Laidlaw College who will be sharing with us about the relationships between Christians and Muslims. At our 7.00pm gathering we will celebrate the baptism of two young adults. Next week we will begin a new series on the book of Romans. A great book to explore and learn about God’s revelation about himself and his purposes in Jesus, the Messiah for the whole world.

Kia pai tÅ koutou rÄ!

Warren

Dont miss our new Romans series starting July 29! FREE Family Movie Night! Candy bar available. 6.00pm – bring your dinner and your friends! Alpha in Mandarin begins this term, August 2. Contact Raymond for more information.

PASTORAL CARE
Project Esther will be leading the services at the Women’s Prison on Sunday August 5. Please pray for the team as they prepare and lead these services.Mercy Basket – We have some spaces in our cupboards and are in need of canned corn, canned tomatoes, canned fruit, marmite, peanut butter, cereal and long life milk. Jordy would like thank you for all your support helping us to help others.

LEADERSHIP
Discovery Lunch for Newcomers
is happening on July 22, 12.30pm at our Lyttelton St site. If you would like to come along and hear about the church, places to belong, learn, grow, or to contribute, please meet at the red podium in the Foyer after the 11.00am gathering.  For info on future Discovery lunches email Grace at newcomers@swbc.org.nz.

Ki Te Ao MÄrama – A series of hui exploring the journey to a world of light and truth, using MÄori language and focused on a MÄori world view and that of other indigenous peoples living in our neighbourhoods. This will take place monthly, beginning on Sunday July 22, 2.30pm – 4.30pm at the Mihi Winiata Whare at Hillmorton High School. For more information contact Doug McNeill 021662515 or Sean Pawson 0274992829.

Alpha in Mandarin – On Thursday August 2 an Alpha in Mandarin (with English subtitles) will begin at Raymond’s home. Please invite any Mandarin speaking friends you think would be interested in learning more about  God. Please keep this group in your prayers. Invitations at the Info Centre or Reception. For more information contact Raymond raymond@knockoutconcrete.co.nz.

Re-Genesis Planting Day – We’re returning to the areas where we replanted last year, following the fires in February 2018. Happening on Saturday August 11 9.00am – 4.00pm. 1200 native trees have been donated by Trees for Canterbury to aid the replanting, now we just need some re-planters – come and join us! More details and a sign up form are on our website www.swbc.org.nz/regenesis.

Rental Available – Four bedroom house with double garage in quiet cul-de-sac. Ideal for a family or as a flat.  Located in Dellow Place,  Spreydon. $460 per week.  For more info please contact Debbie  021 613707.

0-18 MINISTRIES
Children’s Ministry –
We are in the position to offer a unique opportunity in the shape of an internship role. This could suit a senior school pupil, a school leaver, or a person looking to get back into some study and wanting some practical experience with children. If this interests you in any way, please talk to Rachel or email rsangster@swbc.org.nz.

SYC International Fundraiser – The SYC International leaders are fundraising for their trip to Japan this December. Come into the Living Room this term to purchase soup and dumplings after our 11am gatherings and dumplings after our 7pm gatherings.

WhetÅ« Stars – Fun, food and faith. For families who have and/or have had children with disabilities/speical needs. The story of Joshua and Jericho, with activities accessible for all. Saturday July 28, 2.00pm – 4.00pm, at our Balcairn St site. Phone Andy 338 4163 ext 238 or email acarpenter@swbc.org.nz for more information.

Babies and Toddlers Parenting Course  – This Toolbox course is starting on Thursday August 2 from 9.30am – 11.30am in our Cobham St Hall. Babies are welcome. For more information or to register contact Lidwina on 027 274 1686 or lclarke@swbc.org.nz.

MINISTRIES
Nourishing Your Life With God –
Come along each fortnight to engage with practices that will help you encounter and engage with the love of God. Beginning Tuesday July 24 from 9.00am – 10.00am in our Lyttelton St site Auditorium. Contact prayer@swbc.org.nz to register your interest.

Sensible Shoes Study Groups – We have study groups confirmed for the following areas – Beckenham/Bowenvale, Somerfield, West Spreydon, Riccarton, Hoon Hay, Aidanfield, Westlake/Oaklands, Wigram and some centrally run. It’s not too late to sign up, but you’ll need to get in quick! Please contact Claire with your name and the suburb you live in crussell@swbc.org.nz 3384163 ext. 242.

Marriage Preparation Course –  For you and your fiancée, 5 Tuesday evenings from August 21 with the well-presented DVD series by Nicky & Sila Lee. $120 per couple (includes “Prepare” questionnaire and manuals). For info and registration forms contact Murray & Janine Close  338 3608, meclose6@gmail.com, or download a rego form from the church website.

Healing Rooms – We welcome you to prayer on Saturday July 28, 10.00 – 11.00am, at 248 Lyttleton St. For more information, leave a message for Karen at Reception 338 4163.

Easy Eats – We are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer to join our team and help with our Easy Eats website (easyeats.net.nz) using WordPress. Easy Eats is a social venture to help empower and enable families to provide their households with regular, affordable and nutritious dinners. We’re looking for assistance with finalising our website and ensuring it runs smoothly in the future. If you are able to help us then please contact David Wilson 027 208 3808 or dffk.wilson@gmail.com.

SENIORS
New Horizons for Seniors and Younger

Please contact Ruth or Alison 338 4163 ext 221 with queries or see Info Centre for our timetable.

Monday July 23 – Bread Making with Anne Turner, the Sunday Bread Lady. 12.15pm – 2.00pm, Cobham St Hall, $5 lunch provided. Please RSVP by Monday July 16.

Monday July 30 – Potluck Lunch, 12.15pm – 2.00pm, in Cobham St Hall, then bingo (with no money changing hands).

OTHER
Richard Brunton
is the author of ‘The Awesome Power of Blessing’, part owner of the Colmar Brunton survey company and a preacher. He will be speaking at Papanui Baptist Church on Friday August 3 from 1:30pm. All welcome.

BANGLADESHNearly one million Rohingya refugees currently live in refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar. They live in cramped conditions with temporary shelters made out of bamboo and plastic sheets.

Bangladesh is approaching its monsoon season when much of the country will face heavy downpours and the risk of flooding. An estimated 2500mm of rain is expected to fall. According to UNICEF about 200,000 Rohingya refugees are threatened by these rains. This means shelters, latrines and built-up structures will collapse, and there will be increased risks to health with waterborne diseases becoming more prevalent.

Please pray for the aid agencies as they work to move people to safer ground. Pray for those living in the refugees camps, that justice will come. For the church within Bangladesh and around the world – that our response may be marked by compassion and a longing to see Christ’s love transform this situation.

Attachments

 

Thursday Mornings. For more information contact Lidwina. Join us in replanting the Port Hills, Saturday August 11. Click here for more details. Nourishing Your Life With God. Fortnightly Tuesday mornings beginning July 24. Register here.

SOUTH WEST BAPTIST CHURCH

244 Lyttelton Street
Spreydon, Christchurch, 8024
03 3384163
info@swbc.org.nz
swbc.org.nz

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Daily Readings

Readings for this week July 16 – 20

Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Daily Reading General Image

Day 1 – Christianity and Islam

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Ephesians 2:8-9

Throughout history, Christianity and Islam have had an up and down relationship – or to be more precise, many Christians and Muslims have at times had a strained relationship with each other. Whether we look at the two from a theological viewpoint, or from the standpoint of politics, or from the cultural interaction that has occurred between the two, it would be a gross understatement to say that things have not always gone smoothly. This has been especially true – or at least, has been significantly reinforced – in recent times, both at the level of events and perception.

But we must remember that there are many types of Muslims just as there are many types of Christians. Many of us would be horrified if society viewed all Christians through the lens of the beliefs and actions of a group like the Ku Klux Klan, or took a self-proclaimed Messianic cult as being representative of Christianity. Likewise, there are many Muslim groups whose actions and beliefs are abhorrent to mainstream Islam, a source of great embarrassment to those seeking to faithfully follow God.

Christianity and Islam each have more than one billion adherents, and both faiths are growing in numbers all the time. With that many people involved, it is safe to say there will be no peace on earth without dialogue, conversation, mutual respect, and understanding between these two faiths. Wilful ignorance and second-hand hatred are the default setting of far too many people on both sides.

Question to Consider

How are Muslims a part of your life? What is your view of Islam? How does it influence/impact your life?

Prayer

Lord God, I pray for peace and understanding between all people who seek to worship and honour you. May our love mirror yours. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – “The Lord our God, the Lord is One”

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Monotheism is the belief that there is only one God. In the ancient Middle East, monotheism was what set the Israelites apart from the nations that surrounded them. Where other nations believed in a pantheon of Gods, who often fought and competed with each other for people’s allegiance, the Israelites (eventually) worshipped only one God, the only true God, to the exclusion of all others.

This worship of the one true God is encapsulated in what is known as the Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) which are the first two words of a section of the Torah that serves as the most famous Jewish prayer.  Observant Jews see its recitation twice each day as a commandment. Tradition encourages Jews to teach their children to recite the Shema each night before bed, and also, where possible, for the Shema to be a Jew’s last words before death. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he put the Shema at the centre of his answer (see Matthew 22:37).

The first part of the Shema illustrates the monotheism that is at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam: “The Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Although all three faiths have slightly different understandings of who this God is and how he relates to the world and its people, all three believe in one God, and only one God, who is the creator and ruler of all that is.

Question to Consider

How can monotheism be used as a productive, peaceful link between the three Abrahamic faiths? What does this mean about each faith?

Prayer

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, may understanding between all your children grow and flourish in the days ahead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – A Revised Shema

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

Paul has done something extraordinary here. He has taken the Shema, the central Jewish declarative prayer about the oneness of God and Israel’s loyalty to Him and Him alone, and he has placed Jesus at the centre of it. He has restated the Shema with Jesus – more specifically, though spelled out elsewhere rather than here, the crucified Jesus – at the very heart of it.

“What Paul has done […] is to separate out theos and kyrios, ‘God’ and ‘lord’, in the original prayer, adding brief explanations: ‘God’ is glossed with ‘the father’, with the further phrase about God as source and goal of everything, ourselves included, and ‘lord’ is glossed with ‘Jesus Messiah’, with the further phrase about Jesus as the means of everything, the one through whom all was made, ourselves included. ‘One God (the father), One lord (Jesus Messiah).  A small step for the language; a giant leap for the theology. Jesus is not a ‘second God’: that would abrogate monotheism entirely. He is not a semi-divine intermediate figure. He is the one in whom the identity of Israel’s God is revealed, so that one cannot now speak of this God without thinking of Jesus, or of Jesus without thinking of the One God, the creator, Israel’s God.” (N. T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, p.666.)

To pray the Shema was to declare loyalty to the One God, to proclaim yourself a citizen of God’s kingdom, and to sign on as one committed to working for his goals on earth. It was a sign of allegiance to the God who had revealed himself through the miraculous workings of the Exodus. So to now put Jesus at the heart of this prayer of loyalty and allegiance was a big statement about who that God really was and what it meant to follow him.

Question to Consider

How does Jesus reveal God? Why is this controversial for so many others?

Prayer

Almighty Father, thank you again for your son, and your willingness to walk among us as one of us, so that we may know you in a deeper, more transforming way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Theological Differences

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 10:34-35

Leaving aside the (nevertheless important) historical issues, central theological differences between Christianity and Islam revolve around the nature of God, and the persons of Jesus and Mohammed. Although both faiths claim to be monotheistic, the Christian claim that God is a Trinity of persons (Father, Son and Spirit) is seen by Muslims as a direct contradiction of monotheism. How can God be three when he is One?

This brings us to Jesus (Isa in the Qur’an). For Christians, Jesus is divine, God incarnate, God in the flesh. For Muslims, while Jesus is a revered prophet, miracle worker, teacher and Messiah (he is the most mentioned person by reference in the Qur’an), he is not divine; he was not crucified, but was rescued by God and raised alive to heaven. If God is One, if only God is God and nothing but God is God, then how can Jesus be God?

And then there is the prophet Muhammad, seen by Muslims as God’s messenger, sent to a society that had fallen away from belief in the true God to remind them of the monotheistic teachings of those who had come before: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others. Muslims do not see Muhammad as divine; he is a man, the final prophet, the culmination of all the prophets that God had sent previously. Most Christians, on the other hand, see no need for Muhammad or his message: if Jesus is God, the unsurpassable expression of God’s love, what possible point could there be for God to send another messenger afterwards?

Question to Consider

How are we to address these differences between us?

Prayer

Loving Father, help us be honest with our differences, but respectful and open in our search for truth and for you, even when we disagree. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – The Same God

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 3:16

Below are some points to ponder and prayer about, on an answer to the question “do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” Spend time thinking and praying about your thoughts on/reactions to these points.

“1. Christians and Muslims worship one and the same God, the only God. They understand God’s character partly differently, but the object of their worship is the same. I reject the idea that Muslims worship a different God than do Jews and Christians.

2. What the Qur’an denied about God as the Holy Trinity has been denied by every great teacher of the church in the past and ought to be denied by every orthodox Christian today. I reject the idea that Muslim monotheism is incompatible with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

3. Both Muslims and Christians, in their normative traditions, describe God as loving and just, even if there are differences in how they understand God’s love and justice. I reject the idea that the God of the Qur’an stands as a fierce and violent deity in opposition to the God of Jesus Christ, who is sheer love.

4. The God Muslims worship and the God Christians worship – the one and only God – commands that we love our neighbours, even though it is true that the meaning of love of neighbour differs partly in Christianity and Islam. I reject the idea that Islam is a religion of life-constricting laws, whereas Christianity is a religion of life-affirming love.

5. Because they worship the same and similarly understood God, Christians and Muslims have a sufficiently robust moral framework to pursue the common good together. I reject the idea that Muslim and Christian “civilisation” are bound to clash.”

From Miroslav Volf, Allah: A Christian Response, pp.14-15.

Prayer

Lord God, make me an agent of your peace and your love. Help me sow love and understanding in all I meet, whether they know you or not. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

Prayer Changes us

Readings for this week July 9 – 13

Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Booklet_Front_copy

Day 1 – “Teach Us How to Pray”

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 11:1-4

The disciples were people who knew what prayer was. They came from a culture that valued and encouraged prayer,that saw prayer as a vital element in their relationship with God, and a key element in binding their community together. Prayer for them had both an individual and corporate role. They were soaked in prayer, and had been all their lives.

And yet here they are specifically asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. They knew that even with all their experience, even with all the habits and rituals and skills they had observed, learnt and practiced in their lives, they still had so much to learn about prayer – especially after they had witnessed the prayer relationship that Jesus had with his heavenly Father. They knew, however disciplined and effective their prayer life may have been, there was more that they could do, more of their lives that they could open up to the love and power of God.

We know that no matter how close we are to God, how intimate our relationship is, God is always looking to give more of Himself to us. There is more of God to explore. Therefore, regardless of how good we think our prayer life is there is always more that can be done to open ourselves up to God. We must make sure we don’t get complacent, or think that we already know it all, or get stuck in a comfortable rut. We should always be asking “Lord, teach me how to pray.”

Question to Consider

What would you ask God to teach you about prayer? Why? How/what has he taught you in the past?

Prayer

Lord God, teach me how to more open to you in every moment of my day. Show me how I can move into deeper ways of prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – A Deeper Experience

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 19:14

Like the disciples, we can always learn something new about prayer and about how we pray, and about how we can pray if we wish to. If we already have a good prayer rhythm in our life, whatever that rhythm is, whatever types of prayer work for us, then that is to be celebrated, and continued with – but even in this situation there is still room for new things, new twists, a tweak here and there. Maybe God wants to reach you through a new addition to an old way of prayer. Like the disciples, we must always seek to be taught how to pray. Perhaps there is something new and fresh God wants to do through a new addition to your prayer rhythms.

Or perhaps the prayer rhythm of your life is a little ragged or irregular. Perhaps you struggle to establish a consistent rhythm of prayer, or can’t seem to find a type of prayer that connects with God as deeply as you would like. Perhaps finding time for prayer is the issue. Hopefully somewhere in the Prayer Changes Us series you have been introduced to a style of prayer – or several styles of prayer – that may be of some benefit for you. Perhaps there are new methods of prayer or new structures upon which to hang prayer that you might be able to experiment with, whether alone or with others.

Whatever the case for you, find someone to talk to about prayer – even better, find someone to pray with! – so that you, like the disciples, can find a deeper connection with God through prayer.

Question to Consider

What might God be asking you to do with your prayer rhythms?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, show how you want me to come to you. Reveal new and deeper ways into your presence and give me the courage to follow them through. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – The Rhythms of Life

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 11:28-30

We all have rhythms and routines in our lives. Many of them are rhythms that we have consciously chosen to adopt because we think that in some way they add to our lives, they give us stability, they allow us space to relax or grow or work. Others are rhythms and routines that sneak into our lives, rhythms that we may not have deliberately chosen, but that we don’t discourage: rhythms imposed by work, or by advertising, or by the culture around us, routines that we have subconsciously bought into in some way and that we may not even be aware of.

If our entire lives are acts of worship, if every moment is a moment in which we posture and position ourselves in some way, then at each moment we need to ask ourselves “Towards what am I positioning myself with this particular action/speech/thought of mine? How is what I am doing/saying right now helping position me to be receptive to whatever God might want to say to me/do through me?”

So much of this positioning is dependent on the way in which we position ourselves in prayer, because prayer is an action and an attitude that helps us set the other rhythms and routines in our lives. A rhythm of prayer – whatever that rhythm looks like, whatever pattern it takes, however frequently it occurs – is a powerful thing that allows for so much more of our lives to be lived in a right posture towards God.

Question to Consider

How important are rhythms and routines in your life? What unconscious rhythms have you adopted that you might need to address?

Prayer

Almighty Father, make me mindful of each minute I have; help me always position myself towards you and the path you want me to take. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Posture

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Hebrews 4:16

“I cannot “choose” to fall asleep. The best I can do is choose to put myself in a posture and a rhythm that welcomes sleep. “I lie down in bed, on my left side, with my knees drawn up; I close my eyes and breathe slowly, putting my plans out of my mind. But the power of my will or consciousness stops there” (PP 189). I want to go to sleep, and I’ve chosen to climb into bed – but in another sense sleep is not something under my control or at my beckoned call. “I call up the visitation of sleep by imitating the breathing and the posture of the sleeper….There is a moment when sleep ‘comes’, settling on this imitation of itself which I have been offering to it, and I succeed in becoming what I was trying to be” (PP 189-90, emphasis added). Sleep is a gift to be received, not a decision to be made. And yet it is a gift that requires a posture of reception – a kind of active welcome. What if being filled with the Spirit had the same dynamic? What if Christian practices are what Craig Dykstra calls “habitations of the Spirit” precisely because they posture us to be filled and sanctified? What if we need to first adopt a bodily posture in order to become what we are trying to be?”

James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works, Cultural Liturgies Volume 2, p.65, quoting from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (PP).

Question to Consider

What are you trying to be? How are you positioned for this? How would God want you positioned?

Prayer

Gracious Lord, I know you are waiting to speak to me, to descend upon me, to fill me again with your Spirit. May I be receptive, may I learn how to position myself towards you in all I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – The Prayer of the Beloved Child

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 84:10-12

Intercession. Examen. Confession. Lectio divina. Discipline. Forgiveness. Posture. Rhythm. Transformation. Communal prayer. There is much ground that has been covered in this series on prayer, much that we have been reminded of and much that we have been introduced to. Maybe there is much that we need to change in our prayer habits; maybe we have been encouraged simply to make a few small tweaks. Perhaps there are rhythms we need to incorporate into our lives; maybe we are being prompted to join together more often with others. Whatever the case, let us all continue to seek God, to grow in God, to fall deeper into God as we seek to follow him in each and every moment.

Prayer

Loving Father,

I come to you again as your beloved child,

as one loved by you and as one longing to love you.

I confess my sins and my failings to you,

and turn back to you from my occasional turnings away,

asking for your forgiveness for the times I have strayed.

Guide me in my turning back. Take me and position me

in the path of your ever moving Spirit. I open myself to you,

I take up the posture of a humble seeker after you;

fill me and lead me again.

Deepen my times of prayer, reveal yourself anew, and

give me a renewed love for your people and your creation.

In the precious name of Jesus,

The one who intercedes for us,

Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

Newsletter July 8 & 15

Prayer changes more than things. It changes you.

July 8 & 15

Kia Ora and Welcome
Some exciting new ventures are in this newsletter including; a new monthly service in Te Reo that our bi-cultural team have been developing, a new Mandarin Alpha course, and our refugee families have arrived in Auckland. They will spend the next two weeks in the Auckland refugee centre before heading down to Christchurch to begin their new lives.  All of these global ventures need our prayer. I am hugely appreciative of the global heart and engagement that characterises SWBC and this mix typifies what God is doing in our midst.Around the church this week we have had a leadership development focus, with a new leadership foundation beginning for our leaders in Sunday School, SYC, SHARP, Cross-over and SYC International. On the first night, there were 80 young leaders all learning about the character needed in leaders. Throughout the week we have been trialing a block course on ‘presence-based church life’. By next year when we run this, it will have NZQA approval and be available as part of pastoral and ministry training. Next week there is another local-exposure course running with some of the East-Spreydon crew.There is info about our current giving in the newsletter. Thank you to all those who are part of our church in this area. God is very good to us. Financial discipleship and discipline is a significant part of faith for each one of us.  While our giving is solid, it is a little below our budget needs for the year. It would be enormously positive if we could lift giving a little to ensure all of the key areas/needs are able to be financially supported. Over recent months many new people have started linking in, and if that’s you, can I encourage you to be part of our church  in your giving as well as the other ways you are connecting. For more details on how you can give please visit our website.Tama tu, tama ora, tama noho, tama mate, Kia kaha e hoa ma!
Don’t be discouraged, give it heaps my friends!
Alan

Prayer does change us, be challenged through our current series. Want to get involved in your local community. Click here for more information. Find help during the hurt of separation or divorce. Click here to find out more.

PASTORAL CARE
Our love and sympathy to Vicki & John Harrington on the passing of Vicki’s Dad.A funeral was held at SWBC for Debs Graham this past week. Debs was a loved member of the Tuesday Christian Fellowship. Our love goes out to Brent, Debs’ husband, and all her friends.Funeral Catering Team – We are putting together a team of volunteers that can be available to help with catering and serving at funerals. If this is something you would like to help with please email Warren at wread@swbc.org.nz or leave your name at the Info Centre.Mercy Basket – We have some spaces in our cupboards and are in need of canned corn, canned tomatoes, baked beans, spaghetti, cereal and muesli bars. Jordy would like thank you for all your support helping us to help others.LEADERSHIP
General Giving – These figures give us a look at where we are five months into our financial year.

Discovery Lunch for Newcomers – is happening on July 22, 12.30pm at our Lyttelton St site. If you would like to come along and hear about the church, places to belong, learn, grow, or to contribute, please meet at the red podium after the 11am gathering.  For info on future Discovery lunches email Grace Le Heux at newcomers@swbc.org.nz.

Ki Te Ao MÄrama – A series of hui exploring the journey to a world of light and truth, using MÄori language and focussed on a MÄori world view and that of other indigenous peoples living in our neighbourhoods. This will take place monthly, beginning on Sunday July 22, 2.30pm – 4.30pm at the Mihi Winiata Whare at Hillmorton High School. For more information contact Doug McNeill 021662515 or Sean Pawson 0274992829.

Alpha in Mandarin – On Thursday August 2 an Alpha in Mandarin (with English subtitles) will begin at Raymond’s home. Please invite any Mandarin speaking friends you think would be interested in learning more about  God. Please keep this group in your prayers. Invitations at the Info Centre or Reception. For more information contact Raymond Raymond@knockoutconcrete.co.nz.

Rental Available – Four bedroom house with double garage in quiet cul-de-sac. Ideal for a family or as a flat.  Located in Dellow Place, Spreydon. $470 per week.  For more info please contact Debbie  021 613707.

0-18 MINISTRIES
Children’s Ministry –
We are in the position to offer a unique opportunity in the shape of an internship role. This could suit a senior school pupil, a school leaver, or a person looking to get back into some study and wanting some practical experience with children. If this interests you in any way, please talk to Rachel or email rsangster@swbc.org.nz.

MINISTRIES
Family Fusion –
We have created a fun, safe place where families in the greater Halswell area can come and learn about God while doing craft, engaging with stories from the Bible and eating a meal together. Please invite anyone in this area who you think may be interested. Sunday July 15, 4.00pm – 6.00pm at 6 Balcairn Street. The theme this month is mid-winter Christmas. For more information contact Claire crussell@swbc.org.nz.

SYC International Fundraiser – Please come to the Living Room & support our Leaders of SYC International as they fundraise for their trip to Japan this December.

Sunday July 8, after the 7pm service – Dumplings for sale.
Sunday July 15, after the 11am & 7pm services – Dumplings & hot soup for sale.Sensible Shoes Study Groups – We have study groups confirmed for the following areas – Beckenham/Bowenvale, Somerfield, West Spreydon, Riccarton, Hoon Hay, Aidanfield, Westlake/Oaklands, Wigram and some centrally run. It’s not too late to sign up, but you’ll need to get in quick! Please email me with your name and the suburb you live in and I’ll put you in touch with the leader in your area. Contact Claire crussell@swbc.org.nz 3384163 ext. 242.Marriage Preparation Course –  For you and your fiancée, 5 Tuesday evenings from July 21 with the well-presented DVD series by Nicky & Sila Lee. $120 per couple (includes “Prepare” questionnaire and manuals). For info and registration forms contact Murray & Janine Close  meclose6@gmail.com, or download a rego form from the church website.Healing Rooms
We welcome you to prayer on at 248 Lyttleton St on the 4th Saturday of the month at 10.00am; and the 1st Monday of the month, 7.30pm. For more information, leave a message for Karen at reception 338 4163.SENIORS
New Horizons for Seniors and Younger

Please contact Ruth or Alison 338 4163 ext 221 with queries or see Info Centre for our timetable.
Monday July 23 – Bread Making with Anne Turner, the Sunday Bread Lady. 12.15pm – 2.00pm, Cobham Hall, $5 lunch provided. Please RSVP by Monday July 16.
Monday July 30 – Potluck Lunch, 12.15 pm – 2.00pm, in Cobham Hall, then Bingo (with no money changing hands).

Oasis –  a group supporting those with significant memory loss and their carers is gathering on Sunday July 15, 2.00pm at John and Jackie van den Bogaert’s place, 21 Empress Pl, Halswell.  If this is relevant and you have queries Rosemary Thompson would love to hear from you on 3327821.

OTHER
Prison isn’t working –
RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan  facilitates an expert panel looking at crime, re-offending and prisoner reintegration. July 12, 5.30pm – 7.30pm, Christchurch Transitional Cathedral. Tickets at www.pathway.org.nz.

PAPUA NEW GUINEAPapua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. It has a population of nearly 7 million people, with nearly 850 different languages being spoken. Its population is still predominantly rural.With so much diversity – geographically and culturally, one of its biggest challenges is articulated in its motto: ‘unity in diversity’. Please pray for unity within Papua New Guinea. That their differences may be celebrated, and that all voices are heard within decision making processes.

FREE Family Movie Night! Candy bar available,  6.30pm start – bring your dinner and your friends! Journey with us and keep up to date with our daily readings. Alpha in Mandarin begins August 2. Contact Raymond for more info.

SOUTH WEST BAPTIST CHURCH

244 Lyttelton Street
Spreydon, Christchurch, 8024
03 3384163
info@swbc.org.nz
swbc.org.nz

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Prayer Changes Us

Readings for this week July 2 – 6

Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Prayer_Changes_Us_series_2 (1)

Day 1 – The Temptation of Power

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 4:8-9

The third and final temptation that Jesus was confronted with was the temptation to be powerful. Satan appeared and offered to give him all the kingdoms of the world. Part of the irony is that Satan was actually offering Jesus something that wasn’t even his (Satan’s) to offer. Likewise for us, the power we often think we want to grasp hold of and exercise isn’t really ours anyway. But we still try and reach out and grab it for ourselves, and exercise it nevertheless.

The temptation of giving in to the lure of power is a strong one. We all want power of some magnitude; we all want to exercise power of some description, at some level in our lives. We are told that power is a good thing, but only (and also especially) if we are using it in the service of God. We are told that power in such circumstances is good power, just power, Godly power, and that it is okay to seek it, grab it and use it. But this is not what the one we claim to follow did. He did not live a life of power, of cosseted strength and authority. He walked the way of the poor and the powerless. When offered dominion over the kingdoms of the world, Jesus said no.

When we speak in the name of Jesus, when we walk in his ways and follow his path, we are walking in the way of humility, the way of self-effacement and servanthood. This is our calling. It needs to be our prayer.

Question to Consider

How have you been tempted to take hold of power in your life? How can you resist this when it happens?

Prayer

Lord God, help me follow your path of powerlessness and humility. Use my weakness as your strength in the service of others, so that your way of love may triumph in every heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Love Over Power

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 4:10-11

Perhaps one of the reasons we strive for power is that power seems to make things easier. As Henri Nouwen says, “It seems easier to be God than to love God.” When we have power, we can make things happen by command, by an application of the will, by forcefully making it just so. It requires no real effort, it costs us nothing. The purpose of possessing power is so that the power can do the work for us.

But there is a hidden trap in this situation. Power becomes a substitute for loving people. Power is an easy fix compared to the hard, strenuous, unpredictable, but above all vulnerable activity of loving people, of offering them part of ourselves in relationship. Power reaches out and grasps hold, does not let go, strives for control, revealing someone to answer to and obey. Love reaches out and offers hope, release from pain, and offers someone to journey with.

The entire life and ministry of Jesus was a refutation of the temptation to choose power over love. When power and control and force were possibilities, rather than reach out for them, Jesus instead chose to offer weakness, humility and love. And the quintessential sign of this, and also the ultimate sign of the triumph of love over power, was the cross. The site of the cross was the place where all possibility of control was given up and where love flowered to its maximum bloom.

Question to Consider

How have you experienced the battle between choosing love or power in your life? What resulted? What did you learn?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me more strength to love, especially when it is hard, especially because it is hard. Give me courage never to take the easy way out, but to love deeper and harder. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – The Downward Journey

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 21:15-19

We constantly hear that life is an upward journey – everything is a stepping stone to the next level of success, popularity or status. We are told that life is a movement from dependence as children, when we are not in control, and are led and directed by others, to independence, when we are in charge of ourselves and in control of our own destiny. As Jesus gives instructions to Peter for his future, it is clear that following Jesus is quite different. When we follow Jesus we will not be going after status, power or control. Our future may be uncertain and we may be fearful of what lies ahead, but we know we can trust God’s love for us and his desire to transform our lives. In the upside down kingdom our cultural compass can no longer guide us, only Jesus can.

Usually when we talk about growing we mean becoming more mature, more in control of life’s choices and more independent. But following Jesus often means choosing not to climb the ladder of control or success. Instead, he is guiding us in the way of being willing to be led where we do not want to go. He calls us to see our brothers and sisters, not as competition, or as people to be dominated, but as people we are to walk alongside and give our lives to serve. The servant leader is one who is being led to testing, undesirable, uncomfortable places – one who is being transformed into the likeness of the crucified Christ.

Question to Consider

How does this downward journey match up with your idea of success, and the hopes and dreams you have? What areas are you most reluctant to let God have control of as you follow Christ on his downward journey?

Prayer

Loving Father, I need to let go. I need to give you more control – even more than that, total control. I need to follow closer, I need to. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – With Outstretched Hands

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Mark 15:33-37

The type of discipleship that we are being called to is a discipleship with outstretched hands. This is the model that Jesus gave us. As he walked the earth he stretched out his hands to all he encountered, offering love, forgiveness and grace, choosing to bring not condemnation, but reconciliation with God and with our fellow human beings. On a hill outside Jerusalem, taken where he did not wish to go but obediently going anyway, with his arms wrenched and outstretched by others, in giving his life he showed us the complete, unsurpassable depths of God’s love for us, the very love that we are called to embody just as Jesus embodied it. Our hands are to imitate his hands, just as our love mirrors his. The hands we reach out to others with, the hands that touch, that heal, that comfort, that carry, that clench, that hold, that console – these hands, our hands, skin and bone, wrinkles and flaws, these are the hands God uses, the hands outstretched to others.

We are to be followers who prayerfully seek God, who travel the path of downward mobility, resisting the temptation to be relevant, popular and powerful, embracing instead the way of the crucified one who served in humility and weakness. We are to be vulnerable, with God and with each other. We are to be open, and we are to love transparently, wholeheartedly and sacrificially. Only in this way can the love of God, expressed through Jesus, be shared with the world.

Question to Consider

How do we stretch out our hands to those around us?

Prayer

Almighty Father, take my love, grow it, strengthen it and make it truly and wholeheartedly sacrificial. Teach me the discipleship of the outstretched hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes) 


Day 5 – God With Us Always

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 139:23-24

God is interested in speaking to us throughout our entire day. He is present to us and deeply involved in every aspect of our day, every moment that makes up our lives. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. It doesn’t matter where we are, or what we are engaged in doing, or who we are with, or what our plans are. There is no part of our time, and no place we can be, in which he cannot speak to us, in which he is not present, in which he is not involved. So why don’t we notice him more? Why don’t we hear from him more often? Perhaps the question should be: are we listening? Are we paying attention? Are we giving God the proper opportunities to say something? Do we actually believe in his presence with us every moment of every day?

A little over a month ago there was a reading about the prayer of Examen, a prayer that looks for the presence of God in each moment of each day: The prayer of Examen is a practice designed to attune us more to the presence of God throughout our life, in each minute and hour of our day. There are two parts to this type of prayer. First, we take a few moments to look back over our day, examining those moments when we most felt God’s presence with us, reviewing how we responded to him in those moments; as well as reminding ourselves of those times when we felt separated from him and his presence. The second part of the prayer is an examination of our conscience, when we uncover the things we need forgiveness for, the things in our life that require cleansing or healing.

Question to Consider

How could the prayer of Examen bring you closer to God and make you more aware of his presence in your life?

Prayer

Lord God, help me look for you each minute of each day, and to take the day you have given me and seek your presence in it with me. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

SWBC Newsletter May 27 & June 3

Let’s pray to see more lives changed!

May 27 & June 3

Kia Ora Whanau,
 
It has been fantastic to have Sharon and Jack Brown with us over the last week. Their deep biblical input, posture of prayer and genuine engagement with the difficulties of life has been refreshing and illuminating for many of us. Sharon will be speaking in our morning gatherings on May 27. To Sharon and Jack – thank you very much for sharing so much of yourselves and guiding us.
 
Last week I was with the team in India. They are all doing well. The newest additions to the team are finding their new sense of home. The house is absolutely full. Their need for more space is acute. It was wonderful to visit the families of the canal community and be confronted again with their realities and yet their perseverance and joy. After India I was at the board meeting for LIFT International. The team at LIFT who are mix of Kiwi and Thai ex-police, social workers, lawyers and investigators who are seeking to bring human traffickers to justice, to free those trafficked ensuring convictions for the traffickers and compensation for the survivors of trafficking.
 
Coming soon we have a two evening explore series ‘Going Deeper Into The Gospel of John’ with Professor Paul Trebilco coming up on June 7 and 8. It is open to everyone and will be a great opportunity to dig more deeply into this fantastic gospel. Spaces are limited, so if you are interested please email Michelle to register mritchie@swbc.org.nz. 
 
Grace and peace,
Alan

Please pray for those involved in this course. Join us at our Sunday Morning Gatherings to hear more from Sharon. This Saturday. Tickets available at Reception. Contact Kevin 027 567 7118 for further details.

PASTORAL CARE
Expressions of Interest  are welcomed for an additional Chaplain to be appointed to Stepping Stone. The position will be for 8 hours per week. If you are interested in talking more about this position contact Warren wread@swbc.org.nz.Mercy Basket –Thank you for your continued support. This fortnight we require canned and packet soup, weet-bix, pasta sauce and canned vegetables.

LEADERSHIP
Discovery Lunch for Newcomers
is happening on May 27, 12.30pm at our Lyttelton St site. If you would like to come along and hear about the church, places to belong, learn, grow or to contribute, please meet at the red podium in the Foyer.

Going Deeper in the Gospel of John  – Professor Paul Trebilco from the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago is running a free two night biblical study on the Gospel of John. Happening from Thursday June 7 – Friday June 8, 7.00pm – 9.00pm at our Lyttelton St site. Spaces are very limited, so please contact Michelle mritchie@swbc.org.nz to register if you are interested.

Daily Readings – The Daily Readings for our Prayer Changes Us series are available to read on our church app and website, or hard copies can be picked up from the Info Centre or Reception.

0-18 MINISTRIES
Toolbox Parenting Courses –
 Primary Years (5-9 years) course running Tuesday evenings, beginning May 29. Baby + Toddler course running on Thursday mornings, beginning May 31. Both courses held in our Cobham St Hall. For more information or to register contact Lidwina on 027 274 1686 or lclarke@swbc.org.nz.

SBC Early Learning Centre – We currently have a position available in our 2 ½ to 3 ½ year old team for a NZ Registered ECE teacher. If you are interested and would like more information please contact Chris Reid at creid@swbc.org.nz.

MINISTRIES
Pre-Winter Men’s Breakfast – Happening on Saturday May 26, 8.00am – 10.00am in The Living Room. Walter Lewthwaite and Richard Watson will be sharing. Tickets available from the Info Centre or Reception. $15 adults, $10 youth. Enquiries to Kevin Stevenson, phone 027 567 7118.

Healing Rooms –  Together we seek God for your healing. We invite you to prayer on Saturday May 26, 10.00am and also Monday 4th June, both 248 Lyttelton St.
Call Karen for more information 338 4163.

Marriage Enrichment Course – Time to review and revitalise your relationship?  Well-presented, DVD based series; date-like atmosphere; delicious dessert; no group work.  Course runs for seven Sunday evenings from 7.00pm starting June 24. Registration forms available at Info Centre or Reception. For enquiries contact Darryl & Claire Taylor darryl.taylor@trimble.co.nz or phone 339 0494 or 021 035 7494.  Cost $75 per couple.

GLOBAL
Former Refugee Families –
Preparation for the arrival of the families is going well. While the details aren’t confirmed, we expect to be assisting three families who will arrive in July. They will be settled in Hoon Hay, Spreydon and Somerfield with church members in those areas assisting them. Thank you for your prayers, interest and practical donations. We’re still looking for washing machines, microwaves, a house in the Somerfield area and any opportunities for work experience. For more information, contact Nick Regnault nregnault@swbc.org.nz or phone 022 540 8811.

Somerfield Rental Wanted – We are looking for a three bedroom house, available from the beginning of July for our former refugee family. Ideally looking around Somerfield Park area. Any contacts appreciated. Contact Tim on 0212955198.

SENIORS
New Horizons – 
for Seniors and Younger. Please contact Ruth or Alison 338 4163 ext 221 with queries or see Info Centre for our timetable.
Thursday June 7 – Coffee Morning, Bring and Buy “COW” Table, 9.30am – 11.30am, The Living Room.

Keep Active –  Circuit Exercise Sessions. A fun social setting with a choice of times. $4 per session. Contact Ian & Irene for more information, phone 338 1674.
Lyttelton St site – Monday 9.30am and 11.00am, and Thursday 1.00pm.
Balcairn St site –  Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.30am.

INDONESIA

Over two days (13-14 May) Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, was rocked by a series of deadly bombings. These bombings targeted churches and the police and resulted in 27 deaths and many wounded.In recent years, Islamic radicalism has increased in Indonesia, leading to sectarian violence and terrorism. These recent attacks were carried out by individuals linked to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, a local group set up to bring together supporters of ISIS.

The rise in violence will be a concern for the Christian church in Indonesia as well as other minority groups who have often borne the brunt of the jihadist violence previously.

Please pray for an end to the violence, and that strong voices which cry for peace and understanding between different groups may be heard.

Pray for wisdom for the leaders, that they would make wise and good decisions that benefit all the people of Indonesia.  Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters – that they would stand strong in their faith and be courageous in sharing the good news of Jesus despite any risks.

Attachments

A two evening course on the gospel of John with Paul Trebilco. Click here for more details.

Do you know you can access our Daily Readings online? Find out more! Join us on Wednesday mornings, 7.00am – 8.30am, Lyttleton St site,  as we pray for our church.

SOUTH WEST BAPTIST CHURCH

244 Lyttelton Street
Spreydon, Christchurch, 8024
03 3384163
info@swbc.org.nz
swbc.org.nz

, All rights reserved.
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