Monthly Newletter — March 2012

Posted by colin on March 2, 2012 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

March 2012 / Issue 26

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • March Letter

  • A Reflection on Self-denial

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotable Quotes

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Our Communion service takes place each month on the second Sunday of the month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Our discipleship course will take place each month on the third Sunday of the month. This month we will be looking at the topic “Why Jesus Gives Us Hope” (Chapter 5 of the booklet).

March Letter

We have now entered the season of Lent, the 40-day period leading up to the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Much of the Christian world observes this period as a time of spiritual reflection and renewal in preparation for Easter. It is an opportunity for us too to reflect on Christ’s willingness to lay down His life for us.

As Christians we have been called to follow Jesus. This is not a one-time call with a one-time response. It is an ongoing call that requires an ongoing response. How are we responding to God’s ongoing call to be conformed to the image of His Son and to display the same kind of sacrificial love?

This is a good time to reflect on some of the tough statements Jesus made during His ministry:

  • Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
  • No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
  • If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27)
  • … any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
  • The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me” (John 12:25-26).

These are challenging statements. They serve to remind us of the total commitment we made at our baptism. We gave up our former life in exchange for a new life in Christ. How is that reality being translated into the way we now live our lives?

It is very easy for us to settle into a spiritual rut – to get comfortable with the status quo. And yet Jesus is continually calling us into an ever deeper relationship with Him. A life of dying to self and living for Christ, symbolized in baptism, is one we develop over a lifetime as we learn to surrender control of every area of our lives to the Lordship of Christ.

The reality is that if our relationship with Jesus is not growing and deepening, it is regressing. It cannot remain stagnant. During this time, as we reflect on the depth of Jesus’ commitment to us, it is good for us to examine the depth of our commitment to Him.

Warmest regards,

Colin and Sue

A Reflection on Self Denial

(Excerpted from a lecture on Self-denial by Charles Finney)

“He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

I. What self-denial is not:

It is not the giving up of one form of selfishness for the sake of another form:

  1. Breaking off from any form of sin for fear of the consequences, or with the expectation of a reward, is not self-denial; this is only self-interest.
  2. Forsaking any form of indulgence for prudential reasons such as health, wealth, reputation, etc. This is only one form of selfishness triumphing over another.
  3. Self-denial does not consist in either doing or omitting anything whatever from selfish motives. It is absurd to talk of denying self to promote self-interest. This is not self-denial, but is only denying self in one respect for the sake of gratifying self in another respect.

II. What self-denial is:

  1. It is the denying of self for the sake of doing good to others.
  2. Self-denial is a real sacrifice of self-interest from disinterested motives; that is, from a singleness of mind to glorify God and do good to others.

III. What is implied in true self-denial:

  1. God’s glory is so preferred to our own happiness or convenience that we deny ourselves for the sake of glorifying Him.
  2. We deny ourselves for the sake of promoting the happiness of others, whenever their happiness is a greater good than our own.
  3. Self-denial implies the joyful giving up of what we need, or what might contribute to our comfort, for the purpose of doing a greater good to others.
  4. Every sacrifice of ease, convenience, health, time, talents, property, reputation, and whatever might be lawfully enjoyed, from a disinterested desire to promote the glory of God and the greater good of others is self-denial.
  5. Self-denial implies the death of selfishness. Self-denial and selfishness cannot exist in the same mind at the same time.

(Source: http://www.gospeltruth.net/1841OE/410317_self_denial.htm)

Things to Pray for:

Please continue to pray for:

  • Dougall Clutton (back pain and foot); Lisa Masse (arthritis in her knee); Barb Dutton (health); Scott Blaine (MS); Ian Palmatier (rheumatoid arthritis); Lloyd Mitchell and Georgina Faw (loss of spouse).
  • Our brethren around the world, in particular those facing persecution. March 2nd is the World Day of prayer for the country of Malaysia.
  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.
  • Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others, and the courage to do so.

 

Quotations Worth Thinking About

Everything we have and are in Christ both comes from God and returns to God. It begins in his will and ends in his glory. For this is where everything begins and ends. Yet such Christian talk comes into violent collision with the man-centredness and self-centredness of the world. Fallen man, imprisoned in his own little ego, has an almost boundless confidence in the power of his own will, and an almost insatiable appetite for the praise of his own glory. But the people of God have at least begun to be turned inside out. The new society has new values and new ideals. For God’s people are God’s possession who live by God’s will and for God’s glory.

John Stott (“God’s New Society”)

Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.”

—    Karl Barth

It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourself so, my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God’s. He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present.”

George MacDonald

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