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Reflections, Announcements, & Updates from the BCEC

The Pace of Life

In Pixar’s new animation Up, there’s a scene that depicts a couple’s life as they progress from newlyweds to old age to death. And even though they had a happy life, there’s also sadness that never in that long life together were they able to fulfill a dream. There’s a sense of bittersweetness in relating to that regret, the fear that our lives will also end before we’ve had a chance to make something of it. So we have a tendency to fill our days with activity, as if by being busy all the time our lives have meaning and purpose. The new standard answer for ‘How’re you doing?’ seems to have changed from ‘Fine’ to ‘Oh you know, busy.’ Even the fact that I didn’t have time to write this post until Thursday (sorry Bert!) makes me think that maybe we’re missing something when we organise time.
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Some Thoughts on Friendship

The summer of 1998 i had the opportunity to be part of Short Term missions team to Liverpool Chinese Gospel Church. I was called in as a last minute substitute team leader, and found myself thrust into a leading and organising a team of people from different parts of the world.

That missions trips was the second short term team I was on, and the first one i had a chance to lead. And it was amazing, because for the few weeks we were together, we developed fantastic team bonds, and friendships that were more than skin deep.

But like all short-term missions, they happen for only a short amount of time. In this case, 3 weeks. And at the end of the 3 weeks, it dawned on me, that even with the best of intentions, it would be difficult to keep in touch with these friends once the mission ended. And even if facebook and twitter existed back then, the very nature of the friendship would change.
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Hellos Goodbyes and Everything In Between

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. [Ephesians 5:15-21]

Apparently we will meet about 100,000 people during our lifetime, some we will remember, and others we will forget. We encounter different people during different stages of our lives; some are with us for a while and others just in passing. The time in between our hellos and goodbyes can be just moments, years or for the long haul.
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Lighthouse Ministries in Volcán (Panama)

This past week Cat shared about her missions trip to Panama, and the villages around Volcán. She also shared about the church where they had their base.

This Sunday, 4 October, we’ll be taking a special collection for this project.

Cat’s given me more information about them, and for this week’s blog post, i’ll just share that email, to help you know about this mission opportunity.

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1 John 2:12-27

When I was studying in Sheffield, one day a friend said to me, “Bert, you’re running around like a headless chicken.” I was totally offended. First of all, my legs are nothing like chicken legs. But that aside, here I was, doing my best, trying to get things at church organised, while balancing my masters degree, and my friend had the audacity to say i’m running around like a headless chicken?! Why the nerve!

After the initial offense wore off, i realised that my friend was right. I was so busy running around doing stuff, i’d forgotten why and what I was doing it for. In fact, i’d very quickly lost my purpose in life — and more than that, i’d somehow convinced myself that I was the only answer to the situation.
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1 John 2:1-11

cereal

I’ve heard people complain before that Christianity feels very much like a set of rules. There are friends of mine that regularly complain that as a Christian, they feel like they can’t have the same kind of “fun” as their “non-Christian” friends. In their voices there’s almost this sense of regret or bitterness that their lives are no longer like what it used to be.

I suppose much of that thinking stems from God’s challenge for us to be “set apart.” Called to be a “holy” people. And what we think is that “holiness” means living a moral life, being good, choosing to do the “right” thing. And then it leaves the believer looking disdainfully on, as if they are missing out on something else. But is that really what holiness is?

I remember one time when I was a University student in Sheffield, i was in the local supermarket with a friend, choosing cereals. My friend put a box of bran flakes into his shopping basket and I put a box of Cocoa Pops. My friend looked at his box, and then my box, then placed his bran flakes back on the shelf and said, “I think i’ll get Cocoa Pops too.” I suppose we both knew that bran flakes were the healthier option, but after seeing my disregard for my own health, he too went for the chocolatey sweet option.
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Small Group : CARE

CARE
20:00 Friday@BCEC
Contact Larry

CARE is primarily a group of young parents who meet up to share in fellowship with other people in a similar life stage. A group that’s warm, caring, and open with one another, it provides a solid place to develop firm relationships as we continue to learn how to love God with more of our hearts, as well as love our neighbours and families. We meet weekly in a different members home.

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Small Group: Roots

Roots
19:00 Thursday@Someone’s House
Contact Kiet

Roots is a great mix of young professionals that meet up weekly to share with one another and spend time together with God. We meet on Thursdays, where we gather in one of our homes, share a meal together, and then spend time worshipping, sharing in God’s Word, and then praying for one another.

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Small Group : Firelight

Firelight
18:30 Thursday@Rebecca’s
Contact Rebecca

Firelight is a group of university students and young working people. They dig deeper into the Bible and explore their relationship with God, applying what they learn to their lives as young adults and students in Birmingham. They meet every Thursday to share a meal together before jumping into discussions and sharing.
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Small Group : SEEDS

SEEDS
19:00 Thursday@BCEC
Contact Stephanie

SEEDS cares for students in Birmingham through meeting up regularly. The group is a mix of cultures and languages, and provides a safe and friendly place to explore spiritual issues. The group consists of students from all 4 universities with a mix of local and international students from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Group aims to achieve a sense of belonging to a ‘family’ to provide a relaxing yet nurturing and supportive environment so members can feel a sense of belonging to this ‘happy family away from home’.
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Small Group: Foundations

Foundations
19:30 Tuesdays@Sam&Mike’s
Contact Mike

Foundations is the perfect group for you if you’re just beginning to explore Christianity, or if you’re trying to discover who God is. A group of people from different lifestages, but with a common goal of learning more about God, this group meets on Tuesdays for dinner first, before heading into a deeper look into who Jesus is.

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