February-March | Character that Changes the World | 2 Peter 1:3-11
There’s a story doing the rounds about someone going to the headquarters of NASA to cover the Apollo 11 mission and asking a janitor what his job was.
“I’m helping to put a man on the moon,” was his profound reply.
Not sweeping the corridors, not cleaning the toilets. Helping to put a man on the moon.
It might be a story based on some small conversation that the internet has inflated to historical fact, but it does tell a real truth. Sometimes you need a fertile imagination to know that your small contributions can make big differences.
Having spent a few weeks thinking about how an everyday incident in Philemon’s church in the NT suggested a way of a church community changing the world around them, for the next few weeks we will spend time thinking about how we can become resilient and attractive followers of Jesus in the world around us. After all, we have received good news. The least that we can do is to allow that good news to shape us.
The apostle Peter wrote a couple of letters to Christians scattered around the area we know as Turkey. He wanted their lives to make a difference for Jesus in the midst of the pressures they faced. That can sound really heroic, and sometimes it was. But most of the time it was about being a certain type of person, developing reactions to situations that reflect Jesus’ teaching, developing characters that point to a better story.
Have no doubt. Peter thought that as the believers he knew continued to grow and develop, they would surely change the world.
Want to join a Housegroup?
You might be ready to join with others in a small group from January onwards. Here are some opportunities to meet every other week.
Tuesday evening: in-person groups led by Jumi & Emmanuel; and a new one at The Vine led by Ian
Thursday: in-person groups led by Julian; Charlie & Kate; Judith
And online groups led by Neil and Ian
If you want to make this one of your new year’s fresh starts, please talk to Neil.
Something New In the Run-Up to Easter
Normally our housegroups meet every other week, with prayer between them. From Thursday 16 March to Thursday 6 April w are having a change. After 7/9 March, there will be no housegroups up to Easter.
There will be 4 different groups running every week. There is a chance to learn a little bit of the Greek New Testament; a chance to think about how we talk about the Big Questions of Life with non-Christians and a chance to read and reflect on the book, Deeper together.
This is how it will work: Charlie will lead the group beginning to get to grips with Greek; Fay will look at The Big Questions. Both of these groups will be in The Vine. Neil will lead a reading group which will be online. Ian will lead a series looking at developing spiritual practices.
For these groups to run we need a minimum of 6 people to commit to each group.
You can sign up for all the courses at the Information Point every Sunday
This is more about what each of the groups will offer:
1. A Taste of Greek
Why bother with Greek? The famous Greek scholar A. T. Robertson said (1923):
“The real New Testament is the Greek New Testament. The English is simply a translation of the New Testament, not the actual New Testament… There is much in New Testament Greek that cannot be translated. It is not possible to reproduce the delicate turns of thought, the nuances of language, in translation. The freshness of the strawberry cannot be preserved in any extract.”
Fresh strawberries really are better than those slimy tinned ones aren’t they? The thing is though, growing your own strawberries can be a bit daunting to get started with. So I’m offering a 4-week course in strawberry-picking so we can enjoy lifting the leaves, picking and eating them together.
By the end of the course you will be able to
1) Understand the use and meaning of a Greek word throughout the Bible
2) Know how to spot an author’s intended emphasis in a text
No previous language experience is necessary though it will obviously be helpful! You will need to be able to use a web browser. Bring a laptop if you have one (or smart phone at a pinch) and expect some homework.
2. Answering life’s big questions in a world wanting rationality
This group will only be for 3 Thursdays.
Can faith in God and the Christian life ever be rationalised? Does it need to be? How do you explain the response to this to non-Christians?
The sessions will cover the following:
1. Is Christian belief rationally defensible- does it need to be?
This session will be an introduction to philosophy of religion and will consider why some people want to be able to rationally explain Christian faith and how they might go about doing this.
2. What is the relationship between morality and Christianity
This session will consider why Christians want to do good and how this links with the wider concept of morality. Discussion will include non-religious people’s concerns around this focus on being moral and whether it is achievable or even desirable.
3. How can a Christian explain miracles and prayer?
This session will look at the different opinions on miracles in world and the role of prayer and what both mean for Christians. It will look at whether it is reasonable to believe in miracles and what the purpose of miracles is. It will also consider questions around how prayers are answered.
3. Book Group
We will read the book ‘Deeper’ by Dane Ortlund.
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” —2 Peter 3:18
The blurb from the back cover:
How do Christians grow? Few question the call of the Bible to grow in godliness, but the answer to exactly how this happens is often elusive.
In this book, Dane Ortlund points believers to Christ, making the case that sanctification does not happen by doing more or becoming better, but by going deeper into the wondrous gospel truths that washed over them when they were first united to him.
Drawing on wisdom from figures throughout church history, Ortlund encourages readers to fix their gaze on Jesus in the battle against sin, casting themselves upon his grace and living out their invincible identity in Christ.
We will read the book slowly and try and make sense of it for our own situations.
Thanks to the kindness of someone in church, the first 6 people to sign up for this course will get a free book!
4. Developing Spiritual Practices
Information alone is not enough to produce formation.
We need to practice Jesus’ teachings, to get his ideas from our minds into the muscle memory of our bodies. We do this by adopting practices from Jesus’ own life, time-tested disciplines for the spiritual life that open up our entire being to God and allow him to transform us into people of love. One of these is Sabbath; an ancient way to find rest for your soul.
The Sabbath is a 24-hour hour time period set aside to stop, rest, delight, and worship. It is the best day of the week. In our era of chronic exhaustion, emotional unhealth, and spiritual stagnation, few things are more necessary than the recovery of this ancient practice.
Each week will feature four session videos, weekly exercises and readings, and additional resources to help the group create life-changing daily rhythms as we apprentice under Jesus together. For more information, visit The Sabbath Practice — Practicing the Way
Joint Church Lent Course
Thursday 23 February at the Methodist Church and then each week afterwards. On 2nd March it will be held at St Johns Church hall. On 23 March it will be held at The Vine.
The studies they will be following have been produced by Christian Aid: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/resources/get-involved/talking-climate-justice-small-group-discussion-guide
Thanks to everyone who gives regular to the church. Lots of you give by Standing Orders and that is the most helpful way because it means our budgets are likely to be much more accurate.
If you prefer to give by BACS transfer, then our details are:
Name: EFGA Salford Elim
If you Gift Aid, add your name/initials as Reference
Or via the GIVT app
If you pay tax and haven’t signed (or returned) a Gift Aid form, we would be grateful if you could. It increases the value of your gift by 20% at no extra cost to you.
Dates for the Diary
Sunday 12 February: New Folks’ Lunch 1.15-2.30 @ The Vine
Saturday 4 March (Afternoon): Spring Walk
Wednesday 22 March (Time TBC): Online Church AGM/Annual Review
Sunday 2 April (11.30am): All Age Service and Church, followed by Bring & Share Lunch
Friday 7 April (10.30am): Good Friday Service
Sunday 9 April (11.30am): Easter Sunday
Thursday 8 – Thursday 15 June: Salford Week of Prayer
Saturday 24 June (6pm – 9pm): Church Hog Roast
Saturday 8 July: Afternoon at the Beach Together
Sunday 16 July: All Age Service and Bring and Share Lunch
Tuesday 1 – Thursday 10 August: Criccieth Camp for Young People
Sunday 3 September (11.30am): All Age Service followed by Church Picnic
Saturday 23 September: Salford Elim’s Big Church Day Out, Wirral
Saturday 14 October: Barn Dance with St James
Saturday 15 November (Afternoon): Autumn Walk
Sunday 10 December (11.30am): All Age Service followed by Bring & Share Lunch
All these dates are on our Events Calendar and in ChurchSuite. If you are ever unsure, please check there for details.