home@b Issue #16 April 2010
Church has changed - Check it out!
Fight Club Failures and Successes
THE CAUSE Welcome
elcome to e@b. The early church existed with a dynamic tension: it was both expanding and consolidating - growing and unifying. The Bible tells us that first century believers “shared everything in common” and that “the church was being added to day by day.” We want our church to live in this same tension. This tension is illustrated by two biblical images - the body of Christ and the army of God. The body of Christ is centered on community; the army of God is centered on cause. Healthy community flows out of a unified cause - not the other way around. Jesus called his disciples and said, “Follow me. I’ll make you fishers of men.” This was not an
offer of community. “Follow me and I will give you something worthy of giving your life to” is a statement of cause. But the neat thing is, when they came to the cause, they found community like they never knew could exist. That’s the power of the church. One danger of the western church is that we often try to offer people community without cause. Without cause, you’re just another civic organization. You don’t have life transformation. Jesus said, “I have come to the world to seek and to save that which is lost.” The cause of Christ is accomplished by expanding the kingdom of God. Communicating the gospel in a postmodern context can make us feel forced to compete with the
Youth Weekend Away 02 | home@b | #16
entertainment industry. You might be able to compete if you have millions of dollars and that level of expertise. Most of us don’t. We have only one advantage that neither Hollywood nor MTV has. We have the presence and power of the living God! Why in the world would we eliminate God’s power from our core strategy and actually move to a deficit rather than to an advantage? So please enjoy the atmosphere of His presence and be embraced by the community of followers; but our prayer is that you will be consumed by His Cause.
‘We’re out-ta this world’, from Friday the 14th May to 16th May. We’re going to Croey Bay in Devon. This will be an adventure packed weekend of fellowship and fun with surfing, kayaking, mountain bike riding, archery, pillow fighting and lots more. So if you’re aged between 11 - 18 years old, come and join us and let’s get to know each other and Jesus better, together. The cost of the weekend is £65.00, which includes travel, accommodation and activities. Deposit of £25.00 payable by Sunday 11th April (spaces limited).
oin us as we welcome Eastman Curtis, Senior Pastor of Celebration Church, Tulsa who has an international ministry. Eastman Curtis placed an advert on MTV which saw over 250,000 salvation responses, he loves telling people how awesome God is and will share with us how to get a deeper understanding of God’s love. Sunday 11th April 2010 9.00am and 11.00am services
Good to see you Lets us be given in Hospitality at e@b. As lovers of Christ, it is paramount for us to follow the example of Jesus who showed compassion and made provision whenever he saw people in need. Jesus told us to be given in hospitality and here at e@b we desire to be obedient to this call over His house. In the months ahead we envision this house being a place of refugee for the nations and need to ensure that we are ready to welcome our visitors and do it better. Are you able to host people
for meals or have people stay overnight or for short stays, or collect people from airports or the coach station. In whatever way you can be given in hospitality email us at office@elimbristol. org or talk to reception and we will contact you and see how you can get involved. “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers (in the brotherhood), being friendly, cordial and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously - for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13 v2 Amplified Bible
A Nice Piece of Cake! We are looking for people who bake “lovely scummy”, home made cakes for the Coffee House on Wednesdays. Why not bake your delicious cakes and bring them along too More on Tuesday evenings, ready for the Coffee House on Wednesday morning. For more information see Jacquie Bath.
#16 | home@b | 03
Fight Club Simon Foster
ver the past 25 years I have failed in countless ways to obey and honour Jesus. I have wandered the wasteland of religion in an attempt to earn the un-earnable favour of God. I have flirted with the pleasures of the world in an attempt to satisfy the infinite cravings of my soul with finite things. Neither the pathway of legalism or the abandonment of discipline have satisfied. At times my propensity to both extremes has left me feeling like a failure. Yet, despite my waywardness, the desire to live for God has not died - in fact it has grown. Along the way I have come to understand that following Jesus alone is not really what it means to be a disciple â€“ which is what Jesus calls us to be. I have been taught that being a disciple means also to make disciples. I was told that this consisted of two primary things. First, I should be active in â€œsharing my faithâ€?. Second, I should find Christians who are younger in the faith to demonstrate what being older in the faith looks like. It took me quite some time to realize that this practice of making disciples was nevertheless incomplete. Making disciples requires not only sharing our faith, but also sharing our lives - our failures and successes, the times of 04 | home@b | #16
They confessed their sin and struggle
Fight Club Simon Foster disobedience as well as obedience. Discipleship is not a codeword for evangelism, nor is it a hierarchical system for spiritual growth - a way for ‘professional’ Christians (isn’t that how we so easily come to see ourselves?) to pass on their best practices to novice Christians. Despite our desire for others to perceive us as clean, perfect and honest, real discipleship is inevitably messy and imperfect, because it involves being transparently open about ourselves too.
es right alongside their successes Professional V Novice I confess that, like most people, I desire to disclose only my successes, to pass on my accumulated wisdom and knowledge, whilst hiding my foolishness and ignorance. Its not that I haven’t made disciples, some were hungry for my platitudes and piety. The problem was with the kind of disciples I was making - disciples who could share their faith, but not their failures. Why did I embrace this kind
discipleship - who was to blame? The Church, those who discipled me? Neither - it was my fault. Although I didn’t understand it at the time, my motivation for obeying Jesus sometimes shifted from grace to works. It progressed from attempting to earn God’s favour, to gaining the favour of my disciples. “Discipleship” had become a way to balance my identity and worth in relationship with others. I was comfortable dispensing wisdom and truth, because the more disciples I made, the better I felt about myself. My motivation for discipleship was a mixture of genuine love for God and a lust for praise. I sincerely loved God and wanted others to fall more deeply in love with him, but my motives weren’t always pure. I had become a disciple who lacked honesty and eventually any authentic sense community. Don’t get me wrong, there were good intentions and good fruit from these relationships, but in a sense I was still following Jesus alone. The professional/novice relationships created a comfortable distance from admitting my failures in genuine community. In essence I put my best foot forward and worked hard at hiding my other foot. Discipleship had become less about genuinely honest relationships and
more about passing on information. The word ‘Disciple’ had become more a verb than a noun, more activity centered and less community centered. The Gospel Is For Disciples Not Just Sinners Fortunately, Jesus is big enough to handle my misunderstanding of what it looks like to follow him. I became attracted to passages of the Bible where authentic community was experienced. I was struck by the fact that the disciples of Jesus were always relating to other disciples. They lived in authentic community. They confessed their sin and struggles right alongside their successes. They lived real lives which were a mixture of sometimes doubting and questioning their Savior to others of casting out demons and seeing great miracles. Through it all, they continually came back to Jesus as their example and identity, because they realized He was the essence of their real self. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to keep Christ at the centre of our discipleship (Rom 12v12 and Gal 2v20). I began to realize that Jesus is not merely the start and standard of salvation, He is also the beginning, the middle and the end of my salvation. He is my salvation, >> #16 | home@b | 05
Fight Club Simon Foster
Write to Be Heard
not just when I became a Christian at 24, but every second of every day. The Gospel is for disciples as well as sinners, because it is all about saving and transforming entire communities in relationship, not merely individuals who go it alone. Contrary to the unforgiving demands of religion, Jesus not only forgives us when we fail but, through His death empowers us to rise up and walk forward with confidence again. Unlike worldly pleasures, which are deceptive, Jesus offers true satisfaction and joy. Instead of wooing me into death, He leads me into life - His resurrection life! It slowly became apparent to me that the gospel of Christ was where I was meant to find my identity, not in trying to impress God or others. Refusing to share my life, including my failures, with others was a refusal to allow the gospel of Christ to accomplish its full breadth of redemption in me. Very simply, God was leading me into a discipleship which had the gospel at its very centre - a walk characterized by frequent
Where the Echoes Stop
times of repentance and affirmation of faith in Jesus, whose grace is sufficient for all my failures, and encourages me in all my successes. Jesus frees me from trying to impress God or others because He has impressed God on my behalf. I can tell people my sins because my identity doesn’t hang on what they think of me. I can be an imperfect Christian because I cling to a perfect Christ. In this kind of discipleship, Jesus is at the centre with the church huddled around Him. Discipleship is both Jesus centered and community shaped. It’s both for sinners and disciples - disciples who sometimes sin. In the end it’s not about how we perform, but who we have become. We are imperfect people clinging to a perfect Christ – who are in the process of being perfected by His grace. We are one amongst many who share their faith together – the good, bad and ugly - but know deep inside that we don’t camp there in our imperfections. We don’t linger in imperfection, unbelief and disobedience - we fight the good fight.
We don’t linger in imperfection, unbelief and disobedience - we fight the good fight
06 | home@b | #16
I want to stand where the echoes stop. Far past where sound has abandoned thought. Where silence reigns over redundancy. Where once well said is more than enough. I want to stand where the echoes stop. Where words must be born to be heard. Where speech is a gift and not a curse. Where there is more of the unique and less of the mundane. I want to stand where the echoes stop. Where meaning is rescued from noise… Where conviction replaces thoughtless repetition… Where what everyone is saying surrenders to what needs to be said. I want to stand where the echoes stop. Where the shouting of the masses falls silent to the whisper of the one… Where the voice of the majority submits to the voice of reason… Where “they” do not exist; but “we” do. I want to stand where the echoes stop. Where substance overthrows the superficial… Where courage conquers compliance and conformity… Where words do not travel farther than the person who speaks them. I want to stand where the echoes stop. Where I only say what I believe. Where I only repeat what changes me. Where empty words finally rest in peace. I want to stand where the echoes stop. “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a
a crown of beauty instead of ashes
ransformational School Our Transformational School will be starting soon and will offer a variety of courses to suit all levels of interest. The courses will include “Parenting God’s Way,” “SHAPE “Knowing the will of God for my life?” and “Communion with God”. Whether you’re starting out on your adventure with God or have been on the journey for some time, Transformational School is a resource to help your life prosper. Please take the time to look at the course descriptions and sign up. Who knows, you could change your life!
Godly Parenting Ever thought of what God’s perspective is on parenting or wanted to know what the real role of parents is. The Godly parenting course is delivered by Dr Sharon R.M. Johnson, who lectures at Elim Bible college in
Change your life Malvern and tours the UK speaking on women’s issues and family matters. The course will cover: 1. Understanding Yourself as a Parent 2. Understanding Your Child’s Development 3. Discipline Which Develops Responsibility 4. How to Encourage and Build Confidence 5. Parent and Child Relationships The date of the course is Friday 16th April, 19.00 - 21.00 and Saturday 17 April, 10.00 - 16.30. The cost is £25.00, which includes refreshments (bursaries available, apply via reception).
SHAPE Serving Others In Jesus’ Name When we become a Christian, God gives us salvation and the hope of eternity in heaven. He also gives us purpose and
significance in our lives. He has given each of us the opportunity to serve others and make a real difference in our community. When you serve others in Jesus’ name, you’re ministering. God didn’t design ministry for just a few people. At e@b, we believe that every member of our church is a minister. We all are shaped by God with individual gifts and talents that are to be used to support the Body of Christ. SHAPE helps guide you in discovering how your spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences (SHAPE) in life can be used by God to mold you for service. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Starts Thursday 18th April at 19.00 - 21.00. F.f.i: office@ elimbristol.org
Communion With God Christianity is unique among religions, for it alone offers a personal relationship with the Creator beginning here and now, and lasting throughout eternity. Jesus declared, “This is eternal life - that they may know God” (Jn. 17:2). Unfortunately, many in the Church miss the great blessing of communion with God because we have lost the ability to recognize His voice within us. Though we have the promise that “My sheep hear My voice,” too many believers are starved of that intimate relationship that alone can satisfy the desire of their hearts. Most of us have had seasons where we have felt like a sheep who was deaf to his Shepherd. This 4 week course offers us practical training to hearing Gods voice more effectively. F.f.i: email@example.com
#16 | home@b | 07
DATES What’s happening this month? Sundays Simon Foster e@b’s Senior Minister Time: 9.00 & 11.00am.
Creative Arts rehearsal Singers, Musicians, Dancers, Drama, Audio Visual & Media Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
During services Crèche and Champions (children’s church) are available. Time: 9.00am & 11.00am
Thursdays Elim Tots (Term time only) Time: 10.00am – 11.30am
Tuesdays Elim Tots It’s a great place for coffee and chat for adults – plus play, reading, crafts and a singsong for toddlers and babies too! (Ages 0 - Reception. Term time only) Time: 10.00am – 11.30am
Young Adults Whether a student, single or married, if you are between the ages of 18 - 30 you will find this is right down your street. Time 8.00pm F.f.i contact: pmillward@ elimbristol.org
More Sunday expanded, so that you can get More Worship, More Prayer, More Community Time: 7.45pm – 9.30pm
e@b Asian Fellowship 3rd Saturday of the Month Expect the unusual! Expect great things from God! Expect healing and deliverance! Expect a move of God in your life! The e@b Asian Fellowship meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month. F.f.i. contact Fredy Tel: 01179232912 or Mobile 07969499373
e@b Youth Projects Inspiring the next generation to live life, have fun, love God and impact their worlds with the revelation of Jesus Christ. F.f.i. see Pastor Steve Ellerington Time: 7.45pm – 9.30pm Wednesdays Awake Early Morning prayer at e@b Time: 7.00am to 8.00am Coffee House The Coffee House is a great way for e@b to touch its community, offering Toast, Toasted Sandwiches & Homemade Cakes, served with a warm welcome and it’s all FREE. F.f.i see: Jacquie Bath Time: 10.30am - 12.20pm. Soaking Session A great time for being still and waiting on God. Time: 11.30am – 2.30pm Prayer Clinic This is open to anyone who wants prayer on a specific issue just come along. Time: 11.30am - 2.30pm.
Other Events House of Prayer Sacred Assembly Three days of prayer and fasting; Sacred Assemblies take place the first Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of each month (days may vary because of Bank Holidays). We meet at the following times for corporate prayer: 7am - 8am, 12 noon 1pm and 7 to 8pm. Wednesday; corporate worship and prayer 7.30pm. Dates for April are: Tuesday 6 (‘More’ is replaced with Sacred Assembly prayer), Wednesday 7 (Sacred Assembly corporate worship; 7.30pm) and Thursday 8; the third day of Sacred Assembly prayer.
Dates for May are: Tuesday 4 (‘More’ is replaced with Sacred Assembly prayer), Wednesday 5 (Sacred Assembly corporate worship; 7.30pm) and Thursday 6; the third day of Sacred Assembly prayer. One Thing An interactive night of praise and worship. Friday 30 April Baptism The next Baptism service is planned for Sunday 9th May (11am service). Have you been baptised in water since you became a Christian? If not, then this could be your opportunity! If you are interested in being baptised please pick up a Baptism brochure/application form from the Reception area or ask one of the pastors. There will be a baptism class on Friday 30th April at 7.30pm for all those wanting to be baptised. F.f.i. see David Jutsum
e@b elim@bristol city church 3/15 Jamaica Street, Stokes Croft, Bristol BS2 8JP. T: 0117 923 2847 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.elimbristol.org APRIL DEADLINE 12th April For enquiries/submissions Please contact: email@example.com, Ken Planter firstname.lastname@example.org Jen Agu: Jenifer.email@example.com
Also if you would like to help or have a column every month please contact the above.
House of Prayer
08 | home@b | #16 |