Reflections, Announcements, & Updates from the BCEC

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

What does a Christian do in such a time? A story of where following your conscience in obedience & love to God may take you & bring you through.

The Hiding Place remains in my mind one of the classics of Christian biography. Sure, there are plenty of more modern biographies on the shelves of CLC — stories of ex-terrorists, former strippers, crusaders for justice in war-torn countries. And I’m sure they are also inspirational accounts of God’s grace, power, and love. But though this story happened over 50 years ago in a plot that sounds more like a historical novel than modern life, Corrie ten Boom’s life remains one of the most encouraging testimonies I’ve heard. Recently I went through some cluttered folders on my C drive (in an attempt to coax my computer to run faster) and found this document from when I was a teen:

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Isaiah 9:2

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned
-Isaiah 9:2

A few years ago, God really challenged me to start figuring out ways to encourage and challenge this generation of young working adults. People coming out of university from their 20’s-40’s had a hard time finding churches to be a part of. During university, some left their faith as something from their youth. Others carried on in the faith, but once they started working began finding it difficult to find their place in church. And others still struggled on in their churches, not knowing how to grow their relationship with God to a new level.

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Art & Faith

On April 16, Saturday, we’re going to be trying our first session on exploring Art & Faith.

God, the creator of the universe, painter of the skies, maker of heaven and earth, created us in his own image. We, too, have been designed to create. Art & Faith is an opportunity for us to worship God in painting, graphics, dance, music, or anything else. It’s a chance to express things on our heart to God in ways other than just using words.

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Chinese Churches and World Mission

Is the BCEC a Chinese church? Well, naturally it must be. I mean, after all the full name of BCEC is Birmingham Chinese Evangelical Church. The very word Chinese is smack-dab in the middle of our name.

So then is a Chinese church exclusive only to Chinese people? And isn’t that racist? And shouldn’t Chinese people mix with the society that they’re in? Why have a Chinese church at all?

These are questions that linger around any English-speaking congregation in a Chinese church. If the majority of the people in the church speak English already, why don’t they just go to an English church? Why should they bother going to a Chinese church at all? Actually, God’s church should be an international church, full of different races and faces all worshipping together.
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City On A Hill

Alex Chow wrote a great read about a Christian’s role in society that I thought was an apt follow on from Barry’s message this Sunday.

Last week, I attended a two-day conference at Birmingham University in honour of the philosopher John Hick. If you are not familiar with the man, he considers himself a liberal Christian and claims that “the different religions, with all their manifest differences and undeniable incompatibilities of belief, can be on an equal level as different complexes of belief and practice within which their adherents can find salvation.”[1] In other words, Jesus is not the only way — people can reach salvation through other means. On the first day of the conference, scholars from around the world discussed the philosophy of this man, most in great admiration. To begin the second and last day, Hick himself began a session by asking the delegates to discuss the question of social concern. In the 1970s, when he first came to Birmingham, he was an activist who brought together people of all faiths to resolve the prevalent racial tensions of his day. It is perhaps in this context that the man’s personal theology moved from an “evangelical” conviction to where he is now.

Head over to his site to have a read.

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Missions Weekend 2011

Join us for the BCEC’s Mission Weekend 19-20 March 2011.

We are happy to have Martin Goldsmith join us again this year as our keynote speaker. He will be challenging us on Saturday with two messages on, “Love Your Neighbour As Yourself. Who Is Your Neighbour?” Martin Goldsmith served as a missionary with OMF International in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and is the author of many books.

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Inside & Out

We recently got our boiler and our home’s heating system replaced. It’s been a revelation because the house is suddenly so much warmer. In fact, it often feels nearly Californian. The added insulation has also contributed to the warmth. It’s amazing what clearing out the heating system and adding insulation can do for an existing system. One of our radiators used to be cold at the bottom, but now it’s totally radiating heat perfectly!

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prayer & loving God

A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story:
‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds [deer hunting dogs] in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’
So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” — A. C. DIXON.

E.M. Bounds uses that quote to start off his book The Necessity of Prayer. It’s a powerful image of us and our own dependancy on God. When I first knew God’s love, it was that moment of desperation, realising that there was no other God, there was no where else to turn, but sanctuary and refuge can only be found in Him.

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God Help Us

God help them.

Help those people who are lost. Those who are wayward in their lives of sin. Help this broken and corrupt city. This land who has turned its back on you. God forgive the heathens and sinners who waste their lives pursuing the wrong things. God help those drug dealers turn from their wicked ways. Save the children whose parents are neglectful and ignorant. God help them.

It’s the prayer of a pharisee. One who stands at a distance and watches the crumbling world around them. Somehow imagining that they are somehow different, somehow better. It’s the prayer that causes the world to wonder why Christians act like they’re so much better. God help them.

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