Pastor’s Thoughts – February 2019

Dear friends, 

So we have begun to celebrate 200 years of God’s faithfulness to us here at BSBC. In 1819 the church was planted by three men and a married couple who had moved here from Sawbridgeworth with that intention. The foundation stone of the new chapel was laid on 30 November. 

It is easy to think of all the things that have changed over 200 years. 

In 1819 steam locomotives were still being developed and it would be 10 years until the first public railway opened. It would be 44 years until the Underground opened. Gas lighting had not long been invented and electric lighting would not come for another 50 years. The telephone arrived about the same time. 

That doesn’t even scratch the surface of everything that is different – they are easy to see. But what about those things that are the same? What hasn’t changed? Actually, as it turns out, the things that haven’t changed are the things that really matter. 

The church was planted so that Jesus Christ could be proclaimed as our Lord and King; so that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Triune God – could be worshipped; so that people could respond to Christ in believer’s baptism. 

Worship, prayer and preaching may take different forms today but they were as fundamental to our forebears as they are to us. So it’s important that as we begin our celebrations we do so not with a fancy event (those will follow) but with prayer. In fact 40 Days of Prayer, which begins on 3 March. 

40 Days of Prayer is a campaign that comes from our friends at Saddleback Community Church in California. We have used 40 Days campaigns before and they have been a source of great blessing. So now we want to invite you to take part in this campaign as well. The importance of prayer cannot be overestimated. There is nothing more important than prayer in growing in our relationship with God. 

As Rick Warren says: God created us to pray. Prayer is so simple a child can do it. So why is it that as adults we sometimes struggle to know how to pray? 40 Days of Prayer helps us to think about these issues and to grow in our prayer lives. 

Over the course we will look at the following: 

  • The Purpose of Prayer 
  • How to Pray with Confidence 
  • The Pattern for Prayer 
  • Praying for a Breakthrough 
  • How to Pray in a Crisis 

As before with these campaigns we will have teaching on the subject on Sunday mornings, small group materials to follow in our Life Groups and individual ways to grow in prayer. 

We need you to do two things to get the most out of this experience: 

  • Join a Life Group 
  • Get a Handbook 

If you can’t find a Life Group to join speak to Richard Lake about starting one! Saddleback started 600 new groups when they began this campaign. We should be able to manage a few as well! 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Yours in Christ,
John