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Edition #8 - 2020
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A Word From Rob

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Lockdown Week Four


Dear Church, 

Like last week, I invited you to join in a group Zoom call. We had over 20 of us last Saturday and it was a real good time of catching up with everyone. I would like to do the same this week. Here are the details:

Day: This Saturday (April 25)
Time: 10.30am
Meeting Details and link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86509553169?pwd=eXZiOWtFd09UKzZjR3pwUy93WDJpdz09

Meeting ID: 865 0955 3169

Password: 057929


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

 
A Punishment from God?
 
Whenever there's something big, like this pandemic, for some Christian leaders the go-to-response is invoke God's wrath on an unbelieving world, as we have heard this past week from the leaders associated with the Pensacola Movement (Brownsville Revival) and the Toronto Blessing. We heard it quite often in Christchurch during the earthquakes too. Then, of course, came the prophecies. Let me tell you a story!

In 1503 in a small French town called Saint-Remy-de-Provence, not far from modern day Marseille, parents Jacques & Reynière de Nostredame ushered into the world their new son, Michel. He was renowned in the region as a physician and helped a number of small towns that suffered from the outbreak of plague. But around the world he is renowned as a seer. We know him today by his latin name, Nostradamus.

You can read many of his predictions today. His fear of being persecuted by the Catholic Church (he lived during the reformation and the famed religious inquisitions of the sixteenth century) drove him to write his predictions in a style known as Virgilianised Syntax (a style taken from the Ancient Roman poet Virgil). He also mixed in different languages. It's really so obscure that you could attribute multiple events to his prophecies while at the same time attributing nothing at all!  

Our modern day equivalent of Nostradamus can unfortunately be found more often in Christian circles. 

Many prophecies I hear are so vague in nature that they have more in common with Nostradamus than with anything Biblical. Other prophecies, such as the call for revival, are heard time and again but then, they never really seem to eventuate. And when a "prophet" is wrong we very rarely call them out on it.

They were rampant when Christchurch was being hit by quakes. People who call themselves followers of Jesus, whose main intent, it seems, was to see God's wrath dished out on humanity. It's almost perverse in nature. 

These pronouncements are deeply worrying. Worrying because some people feel the right to put the name of Lord to such pronouncements and prophecies, and not many of us are willing to calling them out on this. 

We readily forget the famous passage in the bible, John 3:16, and it's following verse. That God so loved the world, that he sent his only son to die for it, so that all may have the chance to embrace salvation and a new life. The cross bore all the wrath... so why do we seem to want to cling to wrath today? Why do we still feel that God is out there punishing people, righteous and the wicked together? If there were just one righteous person in Wellington, would God not spare it!? (Gen. 18:16-33)

God is love, Satan thrives on fear. So when I hear a pronouncement or prophecy that promotes fear... I can only say that it comes from Satan.

Good Friday is known as good because our Saviour died for us in the ultimate act of sacrifice. Evil is defeated. Wrath is abated. Salvation has come. 

There is a time when Jesus will return and he will judge the living and the dead. Until that time we are called to bear his image to the world and love it the same way our Saviour does. 


A Hutt City Baptist Church Call to Prayer

Have you been joining us at 7.30am and 7.30pm? It doesn't have to be long. I encourage you to join us. A short prayer. Stopping a moment and lifting your words to the Lord. Knowing we are doing it together.

Some thoughts for this week: 
 
  • For the unity of believers, that our humility, sacrificial love, hope and joy would shine through.
 
  • That no one would be forgotten; the elderly, the lonely, those who have lost work or their business, those who are hurting, those who are helping, those who are celebrating, those who are protecting.  This is the season for nurture, we look forward to the season of growth.
 
  • For governments, health workers, and those on the front line in all the essential services; from rubbish collection to delivery to food production, mental health to stacking shelves and many more.
 
  • For bubbles everywhere, to keep healthy and hopeful.


This week's reading is the 5th shortest book in the Bible... The Letter of Jude. 

Just to sharpen up your skills for the quiz this Sunday night. Can you name the top 5 shortest books in the Bible in order from the shortest?

1.
2.
3.
4.
5. Jude 


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. 
 
  • Where are you on the scale of 1 to “over it”?
 
  • What are you reading or watching right now?
 
  • Mitch Albom made this comment: “In the biblical tale, after growing impatient after a mere seven weeks in the wilderness (longer than our shutdown), the Israelites began their golden calf worship. Turned out this was one day before Moses came down from the mountain. A single day! And for that act of unfaithful impatience, they suffered 40 years in the wilderness. We don’t know what wilderness would await our impatience. But we’re not going to risk it over lawn cutting, party politics, or defiantly breathing on each other while toting our guns.” 

    How do you find or cultivate patience in an unknown wilderness? What about the protests we hear happening in America, especially around "our rights" and keeping churches services going?

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...


Blessings, 

Rob 

Tim Keller - How to Deal with Dark Times

For the Keller-ites in our congregation. Yes we have a faithful group of Tim Keller followers in our midst that I do love to point out every once in a while. But there is a reason why many of us do listen to (or read) Tim Keller. He is a gifted teacher and leader. I thought this might be good for people to listen to and share. (Click on the image below to watch the video).

Pray As One NZ

These are unprecedented times for Aotearoa, and indeed for the world. More than ever we need Christian believers to unite in prayer!
 
New Zealand Christian Network is delighted to announce that it has been able to work with a number of groups (NZCN, Move NZ, Rhema Broadcasting, Intercessors for NZ, Missions Interlink, and the World Evangelical Alliance) to pull together Pray As One NZ, a 9-day initiative intended to unite Christians all over NZ in prayer and fasting for our nation. We are inviting leaders from all over NZ to join us in leading this initiative.
 
Each evening will consist of a nightly 1-hour interactive Zoom prayer conference, from 8-9 pm.

You can connect to the prayer event on zoom HERE
 
 

May God sustain and inspire us all,

        

Dr Stuart Lange                        Gayann Phillips
National Director                        General Manager

 

The Pastor's Pasta


Continuing with the pastas from Rome... This week's pastor's pasta is:

Rigatoni Gricia.

This week is one of my favourites. 

What you will need:
  • 1 Pack of Rigatoni
  • Olive Oil,
  • garlic,
  • Romano cheese,
  • salt and pepper
Now, the traditional Gricia requires bacon (or more appropriate, Guanciale - Pig cheek). But with this recipe I wanted to make you a Roman version of mac and cheese.

Boil water in a large pot.

This recipe is really simple. In a sauce pan add olive oil (I use 1/4 - 1/2 cup) and garlic. Stir and get it frying.

At this point, like all pasta dishes, you can add whatever vegetable you would like. If you want to do a traditional Gricia you would add the guanciale (or bacon) to the pan. I like this dish with mushrooms, basically a mac and cheese and mushrooms. But really a simple mac and cheese is easy. Bascially all you need is what you see below:
 
 

Once the water is boiling, add 3 large tablespoons of cooking salt. Give it a mix and then add the Rigatoni (by the way, any pasta with a hole works, like Penne). Follow the directions on the packet for how long to cook, but always check a minute out by tasting the pasta. Pasta is supposed to be "al dente" meaning still firm when bitten. 

Once the pasta is ready, get rid of the water but leave a little at the bottom. That will help thicken the cheese as it is full of starch. 
 
Once you have drained the pasta, add it back to the pot, but remove the pot from the heat. Add the Romano cheese and stir very well for about 2-3 minutes. At this point add pepper if you would like (or cayenne pepper if you like a kick). It should begin to look like this:
 
 
As always, once served, I like to grate some parmesan and add it to the plate along with a sprinkle of oregano.
 
 
For those of you who are worried about the amount carbs from eating pasta.. don't worry. I glass of red wine breaks down all the carbs you eat!!! :-) 

Buon appetito! 

 
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