Edition #9 - 2020
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A Word From Rob

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Level Three Week One

Dear Church, 

Before I get into things... A big, BIG, shout out to James Webber (and Carl) for organising what was a wonderful time together last Sunday night for the first, EVER, Hutt City Baptist Church Zoom Quiz Night! So, when's the next one!!?? :-)

I continue to invite you to an open zoom gathering for our everyone connected with our church. But this time, let's get together after the Sunday morning service. Here are the details:

Day: This Sunday (May 3)
Time: 10.30am
Meeting Details and link:

Meeting ID: 884 5276 6179

Password: 054987

Feel free to join in and leave as you please. Looking forward to "seeing" you all. 

We Need Your Creativity!
We would love, from our church, any forms of poetry, art or creative project that we can share either on a Sunday morning in the service, or with the our church body through other means. If you have something or know of someone, please contact Gareth (

Building an Arsenal?
World War One was called "the war to end all wars." When the war ended in 1918 world leaders got together to put processes and policies in place to make sure that a war like that would never happen again. In 1920 the Paris Peace talks were held and out of it the League of Nations was formed (the precursor to the United Nations). 20 years later the world would go through another world war that would make the "war to end all wars" look like a child's play. An estimated 17 million military and civilian deaths occurred in World War One. Over 60 million are estimated to have died in World War Two.

World One brought the advent of aircraft in war. World War Two brought the advent of the atom bomb.

In 1945 only one country had the atom bomb, the United States of America. The atom bomb was an ethical dilemma for the then American President, Harry Truman. The American public would have rioted if they knew the US military had a powerful enough weapon that would stop the war but didn't use it. Yet, the power of the weapon meant that thousands of civilians would die. The argument was that the incendiaries  (fire bombs) they were using was already killing thousands, and it seemed that the war was going to drag on condemning hundreds of thousands to die.

It was a not an easy decision to make.  

On August 6, 1945, a B-29 named Enola Gay dropped the first atom bomb on a civilian population. They named the bomb "Little Boy." The city the bomb hit was Hiroshima. More than 70,000 people were killed. Many more were to die from the radiation fallout.

By the war's end the United States were the only nation that had an Atom Bomb. This gave them quite a bit of authority over the other nations, the Soviet Union in particular. Several times the US used the threat of using the bomb on USSR during this time. There were many in the military who argued strongly that they should.

In 1949 things changed however. The Soviet Union developed their own atomic bomb, courtesy of an American spy. 

For the Americans the problem now was to develop a bigger bomb before the Soviets could. They developed the Hydrogen bomb. The ethical dilemmas that arose with the development of the atom bomb were now thrown out the window. It was a race to have the biggest and the best. A number of those scientists who worked on the atom bomb, refused to work on the hydrogen bomb. Their argument was the atom bomb already destroyed a city, why would you need something bigger.

Just to put things into perspective... the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons. The first hydrogen bomb developed by the US in 1952 had a yield of 10,000 kilotons. 

Once the Soviets developed the Hydrogen bomb, the race became who could create the most. Billions of dollars later, (the Manhattan Project that developed the first atom bomb cost $2 billion in 1945... the equivalent of $27 billion today!!), we've thrown time, energy and development into what has ended up being a bullying contest. 

Conflict, when unchecked, has a way of losing focus on the original intentions and driving us to do things that are both irrational and destructive.

Paul tackles this issue head on in the book of Romans. The Romans at this time were dealing with a lot of upheaval. The Jews were expelled from the city and those remaining would have been Gentile Christians. It wasn't really safe for them and there may have been murmurings of committing reprisals against the authorities who were mistreating them. Paul challenged their intentions. Here's what he says (Romans 12:17-21):

Never pay back evil with more evil.
Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honuorable.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge.
Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

In light of the manner of an American President who seems bent on "blowing away" anyone who disagrees with him (while committed, Evangelical Christians stand at his side!), how can we show that Jesus is different? That being a Jesus follower means being radically different? 

Has conflict gotten a little out of control in your life? Have you been building up an arsenal so that if you were to confront a person who has wronged you, you could "blow them away?"

What do you need to do to honour what the Lord is sharing with us from the above verses?

Conflict is not an easy thing to deal with, but we need to be careful not to get so entrenched in it that we lose sight of God's redeeming Grace for you, me, and those around us. 

A Hutt City Baptist Church Call to Prayer

Some changes to our prayer plans for the week. We are putting some focus to our daily prayer times. Beginning today we will outline a daily prayer need. If you do find time, remember we gather together in our homes 7.30am and 7.30pm. Here are the topics to consider each day for the next week:

April 30 - Just praise God (spend time praising God)

May 1 - Pray for our prime minister and all government departments that they would continue to make wise decisions about the future of our country at each level across all sectors

May 2 - Pray for families who have lost loved ones to the virus both here and overseas, that they would know Gods love and comfort at this time.

May 3 - Pray for the on going work on finding a cure

May 4 - Pray for those in refugee camps especially in and around Myanmar where Doug, Claire and the team are working with and for.

May 5 - Pray for those who are vulnerable in our communities, lonely or struggling with mental health. For families who are struggling and for those who have lost jobs and income. 

May 6 - Pray that in this time of uncertainty and fear, people would find and know Gods love, hope and peace. 

Sunday Morning Prayer Gathering

Prior to our Sunday morning service (before Covid-19 and being confined to our homes), we had a group of faithful members gathering before the service to pray. We would like to continue that, but open it up to anyone who wants to join us together on zoom. This Sunday will be our first "pre-service" prayer Sunday morning prayer gathering. We've structured it as follows:

Time: Sunday morning, 9.00am to 9.45am
Structure: 3 x 15mins sections
  • Section 1: The world 
  • Section 2: NZ
  • Section 3: Our church and the community we live in
Each section will be lead by one of the Whakarongo Mai team (they will begin and end the session in prayer).

I will then close the prayer time at 9.45am with a benediction. 

The Zoom link for this Sunday's meeting is:

Meeting ID: 829 0865 3705
Password: 011351

Looking forward to joining with you all in prayer this Sunday morning! 

Questions to Ponder at home or in LifeGroups

I've thought about some things we can talk about/share amongst ourselves, in groups online or in our family bubble. 
  • Many people are saying their dreams have been more vivid during this time. Has that been your experience? Is there a recent dream that stands out for you?
  • The sentiment "believe the science" comes up frequently in terms of climate change and now Covid-19. How do we as non-experts believe the science and what role do experts play in shaping what we think and believe? Why are some people more reticent to believe what scientists have to say? Does religion have a role to play in this?
  • What do you want to see changed when we emerge into the new reality?
  • Many churches, including our own, have offered “virtual communion.” Discuss the theology involved here. Some traditions, such as Roman Catholicism, hold that the elements become the actual body and blood of Christ, and have to be shared in person via an ordained priest - making ‘virtual eucharist’ impossible. At the same time, other communities invite people to ‘choose their own elements’ while they share virtual communion. Discuss.


May the Lord bless you and may His peace cover you and your family through this time. 

Psalm 46:1-2 
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear...



Craig Groeschel - Search Me (Dangerous Prayers)

I first met Craig Groeschel in 2006 when he spent some time helping us with our church plant in Sacramento through the Growing Healthy Churches Network. His own church has pioneered the church online experience with In addition to being the senior of, he is a regular speaker for the Global Leadership Summit. This one is challenging but good for some inner reflection (Click on the image below to watch the video).

The Pastor's Pasta

This week's pastor's pasta is:


What you will need:
  • 1 Pack of Lasagna noodles (the instant kind is what I use)
  • Olive Oil,
  • garlic,
  • Basil leaves,
  • Oregano,
  • Mince meat,
  • Eggplant,
  • Mushrooms,
  • Passata (Red Sauce),
  • Ricotta Cheese,
  • Mozzarella (shredded),
  • Parmesan Cheese,
  • Carrots (shredded),
  • Spring onions (shallots),
  • salt and pepper.
This is a Rob and Monica special. Lasagnas can be made in many different ways. I have never encountered a lasagna that I didn't like! Bex Escott's lasagna does need special mention here though. That's one thing I am looking forward when things return to normal!  

In a sauce pan add olive oil (I use 1/4 - 1/2 cup) and garlic. Heat up and then add about 500ml of Passata. Add a pinch and a bit of salt. Add basil leaves (2-3). Cover and simmer. Allow for the sauce to simmer for about 20 mins. 

In another a sauce pan add olive oil (I use 1/4 - 1/2 cup), garlic and shallots. Stir and get it frying. Add mince, salt, pepper, and cook. Add carrots and mushrooms. After a couple of minutes, add about 500ml of Passata. Lower heat to simmer.  

Prepare the eggplant by peeling it and cutting it into circles. Then add oil to a pan and brown each side of the eggplant circles. Once done. Set aside. 

In a baking pan, butter the bottom of it and, once the red sauce has simmered for 20 mins, with a large spoon, grab some of the sauce and pour on the baking pan. Then use the back end of the spoon to spread the sauce. 

Now begins the layering. 

First layer: Lay the pasta then add the meat sauce. Spread it evenly. Then add the ricotta. 

Second Layer: Lay the pasta. Spread the passata sauce. Then add the eggplant. Add ricotta. Then cover with mozzarella. 
Third Layer: Exactly like the first.

Top Layer: Lay the pasta. Spread the passata sauce as in layer two. Add a lot of mozzarella. Grate parmesan cheese evenly over the layer. Add a pinch of salt and a spread of oregano.
Preheat oven to about 200-210 degrees then put the lasagna in. It will take about 45 minutes to cook. But monitor it. You want the top to look nice and brown, like this:
And that's the Rob and Monica lasagna special! 

Buon appetito! 

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