Count Your Blessings

Some of us used to sing a song:

Count your blessings
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done
.

We meet together about once every two weeks to read the Bible together and talk about it. The Bible can seem a bit complicated and it helps to talk together about what it means for us, today. This week we started reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It said that God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing”.

But what are these blessings, we wondered?

When we continued to read and talk, we got a bit more detail.

  • He has chosen us because he wants to change our lives around;
  • And he has adopted us as his children – so that we can talk to him like we would to a loving parent, knowing he cares;
  • He’s sorted out all the things that seem to get in the way of our relationship with him – that’s what Jesus did when he died for us to forgive us for all the wrong thing things in our lives;
  • And it’s not just for now – it’s for our whole life and after we die – we’ll still be his children for ever!
  • God will work out our lives in a good way – he’ll be in charge if we let him;
  • So he gives us the Holy of Spirit who lives with us and helps us sort our lives out.

So that’s a lot of blessings!

What an amazing God we have!

If you want to join us this week in finding out more and serving those in the local community, then please feel free to come to any of these meetings:

  • Heroes – a group for children of primary school age, meeting from 4.30-6pm on Tuesdays. There is a weekly subscription of 80p.
  • GB – a group for girls of school age, which meets on a Thursday night.
  • Coffee morning – the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month from 10.30am-12pm.
  • Church service – 10.30am every Sunday morning.
  • Litter pick – a one-off event organised along with Emmanuel Church. Bring your own lunch at 12.30pm on Sunday 13th and then join in in cleaning up the local area.
  • Bible study and fellowship group – alternate Monday nights from 7.15pm (next meeting is the 14th October)

Cafe Church: Operation Agri

As rainstorms sweep across northern England, it is clear that autumn is setting in. And autumn means harvest time – traditionally a time of plenty and to celebrate God’s wonderful provision. After all, we believe that he created the crops which we benefit from.

However, this time of year also means that around the world people will be thinking about how they are going to survive another tough winter, storing their produce to get through the dark months ahead, or budgeting as Christmas and the New Year approach.

Next Sunday morning we will be holding our monthly café church service (first Sunday of the month, at 10.30, followed by a free light lunch) and as well as celebrating God’s creation, we are going to talk about a project called Learning for Life in NepalOperation Agri BMM. Organised by a development charity called Operation Agri, this Christian-led project aims to help people in the mountains south of Kathmandu. In particular, the women in the community are learning about saving and investing their money, and how to farm sustainably and more effectively so that they can support themselves and their families. You can watch their YouTube channel to learn more.

There will be an opportunity for people to donate money to OperatioDurham Foodbank | Helping Local People in Crisisn Agri during the service, as well as to bring non-perishable items which will be used closer to home – by the Durham Food Bank. In particular, the Food Bank are asking for UHT milk, men’s toiletries, instant meals (kettle foods), rice, coffee, custard and sponge puddings. They have plenty of baked beans!

The Bible tells us again and again to share what we have with others:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcome me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. – Matthew 25

Join us next Sunday morning as we strive to do just this for our local community and others around the world.

Heroes: preparing for the Indoor Garden Party

Heroes is our weekly children’s group (find out more about it here) and they have had a very busy two weeks. Old friends and new have come along to play ice breaker games and get to know one another. Whilst thinking about how God has created each of us differently but loves us all the same, the children have been making paper flowers to decorate the church building for Saturday’s Indoor Garden Party.  Everyone is welcome to this free event, which will involve food, craft and games. It starts at 3 pm on Saturday. Hope to see you there!

 

Reflecting on 2 Corinthians

At least once a fortnight, we provide an opportunity for members of the congregation to share with the church during the Sunday service. Sometimes people share about their work with local and global charities, others speak about how God has worked in their lives, and some give an insight into their role in the church and how we can all get involved.

This week our treasurer, Janet, spoke about where our church’s money comes from and how it is spent. She reflected on 2 Corinthians 9:7, which says:

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

We need to plan and pray about how much we all give to the church as it is really being given to God. It’s a privilege to be able to serve God not only with our time and gifts, but also with our money. As a church, DCBC gives away a tenth of our income to help our Baptist family in this country and overseas. A lot of money is also spent on the church building, and Janet explained how making the building welcoming to everyone who uses it is part of the church’s mission. The next opportunity for this is our Indoor Garden Party, which will take place on Saturday 21st September, from 3-5pm. Everyone is welcome for afternoon tea, crafts and games. The event is free, but any donations will be given to Macmillan.

Cafe Church: A God of Second Chances

This morning we choose to read the story of Jonah as part of our café church series (the first Sunday of every month at 10.30am). Or, rather, we decided to act it out and illustrate it with some clever hand-made fish. Stretching the theme to its limits, we had a DCBC classic meal – fish-shaped fish and chips.

The focus of the service was that we have a God of second chances. When God first called Jonah to do something difficult, the first thing Jonah did was run away. But Jonah got a second chance to do the right thing – and he needed a third chance at the end of the story too! The sailors Jonah meets on the boat to Tarshish and the people of Ninevah also get a second chance – and as soon as they find out what God wants them to do, they transform their lives and follow him. So this week we are going to think about what God might want us to do with our lives, and how we can take the second (or third, or fourth, or millionth) chance that he is offering us. 

A splash of colour: redecorating the small hall

This week has been a busy one for some of us at DCBC – we have started redecorating our small hall. The exposed brown bricks have been transformed with a lick of paint (well, actually about 10 litres of it) and we have brightened up the room with some re-upholstered chairs. There’s plenty still to do – but already the space looks a lot more welcoming for the different church groups that use this room during the year. This room is used for our weekly children’s work (Heroes and GB) for church meetings, and can be hired out. It is also used for our Christmas Fun Day and Fair (get the date in your diaries now – Saturday 30th November, 10am-12 noon).

 

Focus on the local community: Handcrafted Projects

Over the past couple of months at DCBC, our regular church services have included short presentations on a whole range of topics, including Open Doors and the Baptist Missionary Society. The purpose of these presentations is to raise awareness of issues affecting Christians in our local community and around the world, as well as promoting ways in which we can actively support these causes.

The first presentation looked at the issue of homelessness in the UK and what can be done locally to support those who find themselves homeless or vulnerably housed for whatever reason.

An organisation that works locally is Handcrafted Projects, which renovates houses for and with homeless people and provides training in a variety of skills (such as woodworking, bike maintenance, and basic cooking skills). One of our church members has volunteDSC_1031ered with this charity for about 2 years and he helped us to support this organisation by running a fair after the service at which woodcrafts could be purchased or commissioned.

You can find out more about Handcrafted at: https://handcrafted.org.uk/

A Watery Miracle! (Cafe Church 4/8/19)

At August’s café church service (the first Sunday of each month at 10.30) we heard the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 from just 5 loaves of bDSC_1024 (2)read and 2 fish. By doing a quiz on different types of bread, we realised just how fundamental it has been throughout human existence (and how important it remains today too). Talking about this story was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on God’s provision for his people – providing them with exactly what they needed at the right time.

If that wasn’t miraculous enough for one week, we then heard that Jesus had gone on to walk on water! (Unfortunately not all of our origami boats managed the same feat.)

The servicDSC_1027 (2)e was followed by some delicious sandwiches and a time of fellowship.

The next café church service will be at 10.30am on Sunday 1st September.