Virus Update

Hi everyone. We are in uncharted territory with coronavirus as a community and as a church. The following government advice has been issued advising on “social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).”
As a result of this we have been advised by our National Leadership Team that…

“as a result of the latest Government and Public Health advice regarding the COVID-19 crisis on Monday 16 March 2020, we are taking the decision to suspend all Elim Church services from and including this Sunday, 22 March until further notice.”

We will thus close our Sunday services along with other meetings from this Thursday. We will be letting you know how we intent to continue to meet in other ways in the next couple of days. Pray for our nation and the whole world.

God bless you all
Pastor john Campbell

Learn to be a thanker rather than a complainer.

During the Israelites’ journey from Egypt they frequently grumbled, rebelled and on more than one occasion nearly stoned Moses. Even Moses and his brother Aaron, were stopped from going into the promised land because of their complaining.

Despite the amazing events of their escape from Egypt (where they had lived as slaves), the rich donations given by Egyptians, the crossing of the red sea, manna and quail literally from heaven, water from rocks and victories against armies who blocked their path, they still complained about the lack of food variety, how it had been more comfortable in the Egypt and why was Moses in charge.

Their complaining leads to God almost wiping them out in his anger, those left punished by being told that their generation will not enter the promised land, with 2 exceptions Caleb and Joshua.

Both these men had consistently reacted to the same difficulties that the others faced with trust in God rather than complaints.

Paul in his letters again and again tells us to be thankful, which is the opposite of complaining.

Yes there are examples of complaints against God in the Psalms, and our communication with God needs to be real and at times emotional.

In Dale Carnegie’s book How to make friends and influence people, he explains that complaining and critising may make us feel better but doesn’t have the desired effect on other people, people are not wired to react well to complaints. Having worked in customer service for many years I often found I reacted better to customers who didn’t negatively complain.

Christians like the Israelites have been set free from slavery, this time from slavery to sin. God blesses us again and again with his wisdom, with provision, with his hope, joy and peace and so many other things. So if we moan and critise and complain we are not living in the fruit of what God has given us, we are still harking back to Egypt.

We who know Jesus have been given so much. Unlike cults like the Jehovah Witnesses or Later Day Saints, our salvation is not dependent on getting others to join. God has saved us without requiring us to work for it.

Therefore our wish to tell others about this wonderful gift, is because we want others to benefit. We are like homeless people who have found somewhere warm to stay, telling other homeless people.

Why the good news needs to taste good

I want my children to grow up healthy, and able to eat a wide range of foods. I could cook unappetising food; that smells funny, is difficult to eat and tastes rubbish and make them eat it. Tell them it’s good for them and they should eat it regardless of its taste.

It would be far better (if I am able) to cook nice tasting food, food that is easy to eat, looks good and smells good, so that they eat the healthy meal more willingly.

The good news is even better for people than good food, so we should make it as palatable as possible without weakening it. Paul was a great fan of this:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. –

1 Corinthians 9 v 19-23

That is why there are so many ways to spread the good news. God wants to use our creative abilities.

In fact I would go further and say that by making the good news dull or hard, we are as bad as the cook who over boils the cabbage, or overcooks the steak (at least for me). We are putting a stumbling block in the way of people.

A strategy

So borrowing from Laurence Singlehurst this is a way to share the good news in a way that will help people along the journey to faith, rather than take them too fast along it, or put them off.

At each stage most people will not be ready or willing to move on to the next stage, and that’s fine because we don’t make new Christians, the Holy Spirit does.

Sowing 1

Objective: Leave people thinking you are OK and God is good

How: Let people know you are a Christian and that you believe in God, and do things that people consider good.

Examples: Messy Church, Street by Street, Offer practical help, throw a party

Sowing 2

Objective: Explain the good news including the ups and downs

How: By either inviting people to a low key event that will have it explained, or by more in-depth one to one conversations.

Examples: An music event with a testimony , chats with friends/colleagues/neighbours, Alpha, Start Course

Reaping

Objective: Give people an opportunity to make a response to the good news

How: When someone is ready to take the next step, then help them to accept Jesus’ gift.

Examples: Evangelistic event, one to one, Alpha, Start Course

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6 v 9

Keeping

Objective: Help people to grow in their faith, and to become mature Christians

How: This is a lifetime’s work, as they grow as a disciple. Healthy small groups and involvement in the mission of the Church help to make people feel involved and motivate them to take often difficult steps.

Examples: Moving On Course, Small groups, Sunday sermons

Resurrection

Mark talks about our future resurrection and what our hope look like

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How to keep your head

Luke talks about how Jesus is the head of the body (the church) and what this means for us.

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