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Reflections, Announcements, & Updates from the BCEC

Here Am I, Send Me

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

 

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

 

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah 6:8

If we realise our place before God – the utter sinfulness of our heart – we would, as Bryan suggested, fall before him and cry out – Woe is me!

And if God were to cleanse that sin from us, purifying us from that unrighteousness, our natural response would be that of elation, submission, and obedience.

So if God then asked, “Who will tell people?” – we would jump at the chance, and say with jubilation, “Here I am, Send me.”

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Exploring Community: Obstacles

Pastor Bert this past Sunday challenged us with a discussion on exploring community through… typography?  Yes, the art and techniques associated with fonts.  (If you missed the sermon, it is worth listening to and going through his deck of slides.)  He explained how fonts can be beautiful and not so beautiful, letters in different orientations have different meanings, and words come together to form meanings.  This, of course was a sermon-long analogy for community and the obstacles that prevent God’s work in and through community.

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Exploring Community: Family

Pastor Bert continued this past Sunday on the subtheme of Exploring Community.  It was a sermon that reminded us that the Bible rarely describes God in declarative statements (“God is Holy,” “God is Just,” etc.), but rather in more organic descriptions (“God is teaching,” “God will show you,” etc.).  The former is really an exercise of academics – how able we are to remember and regurgitate x number of facts about God.  The latter is about being alive through God.  And even in Bible studies and perhaps in our own quiet times, we discuss and analyze God almost like in a petri dish as a science experiment.  Yet the God we are trying to dissect is very alive and very present in our lives.  He should not be relegated to simply the “third person.”  He needs to be brought into our lives and discussions as well as our interactions with others.

Betty (my wife) and I were talking on our way home from church and were thinking that we did not pray together as much as we did when we first started dating.  Read more on Exploring Community: Family…

Exploring Community: United Hearts

I have been thinking about Pastor Bert’s sermon this past Sunday, and I realize he is very right — there is something very different from communities of this world and a community of God.  Most communities in this world have an object of focus.  But the latter has a focus on a personal God — THE personal God.  God is that unique focal point Whom we can engage and the relationship by which we can develop.  I think I too easily fail to embrace this reality.

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Encounter Weekend

So registration has now closed for this year’s Encounter Weekend. We may have another one later this year, depending on how things go.

I thought it’d be good for me to share a little on why we’re bringing back the Encounter Weekend, and what I hope we can get out of this little retreat together.

This year’s theme is Love the Lord Your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. And love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31). I’m feeling more and more, that perhaps this is less of just a “theme” for 2009, but rather a calling for our English congregation. This is what we are called to do, and how we are shaped to live. In a sense, this makes up one of our core visions and values of the church.

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the good ol’ days

Exodus 14-17 are filled with the complaints and grumblings of the Israelites as they leave Egypt and head out to this “promised land.” But the road to the “promised land” was wrought with far more trials and uncertainties than they expected. And after the initial excitement of the freedom from Egypt wore off, they were faced with the reality of being a nomadic people, headed for an unknown destination, following a man who was raised by Egyptians, but exiled for years. And they were the chosen people of God who they were just beginning to learn about again.

And so in chapters 14-17 they are faced with what we would see as dead ends. Fleeing from Egypt they were blocked by the Red Sea. Wandering in a desert they were without water. Then they had no food. Then they were without water again. It seemed as if their lives had reached a dead and, and the obstacles in front of them were insurmountable.

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Passover

 

Tradition!  While Pastor Bert was preaching on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof when he explained: “Because of our traditions, everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”  This is the same with us.  But with Tevye, as with us, he often did not know why the traditions were there to begin with.

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