Are You Moping? Part 2

In the previous article we saw Elijah get locked in a gloomy prison and fearfully run away. He moved when God did not tell him to move. And he didn't merely run across town either. He ran several hundred kilometres away from wicked Queen Jezebel.

Now let's be fair on the man of God. He was understandably exhausted and God even took some time to refresh His servant (1 Kings 19:5-8). 

However, in his exhausted condition Elijah told the Lord he had had enough. His exact words were, "it is enough; now, O LORD..." (see 1 Kings 19:4). He had been on the move and consistently confronting the idolatry of his day. Nobody except his personal servant stood beside him on Mount Carmel and though the miracle of the fire was amazing; when it was over Elijah had to perform the most unpleasant task of executing the false prophets. No wonder he felt like he couldn't take anymore.

Do you ever feel like you cannot take anymore? Like Elijah have you ever told God, "it is enough?" 

It's quite common to feel that way when you're moping. However, the truth is, God knows better than you do whether or not you've had enough. He has even promised that He will never permit you to bear more than you're able (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). 

So, if you find yourself moping around feeling as though you just cannot take one more thing, I'd like to encourage you to press on by faith in God's promise. If you doubt the validity of His promise, finish reading the account of Elijah and you'll discover that God allowed him to continue on. Therefore, He can enable you to continue on.

Are You Moping?

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word moping in the following way: to be very stupid; to be very dull; to drone; and to be spiritless or gloomy.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and holds our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back.”

Are you being held captive in a gloomy prison? Have you become spiritless when it comes to the things of God? Have you - like Elijah - become a gloomy servant of God?

As you may recall, Elijah served God during a time of unprecedented wickedness. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were in power and they led the nation into idolatrous practices. It was actually a dangerous time to be a prophet of God because Jezebel was on a mission of execution.

In the middle of the ungodly and hostile setting was Elijah; a man of conviction, courage, and confidence in God. In fact in answer to his prayers Israel endured three and half years of intense famine as punishment for their wickedness (James 5:17). However, as a result of Elijah’s courageous ministry, Ahab viewed the preacher as the source of Israel’s problems (1 Kings 18:17).

Perhaps one of the most exciting moments in Elijah’s ministry took place on Mount Carmel when he literally prayed down fire from heaven, thus exalting Jehovah God. But that miracle only angered queen Jezebel and it was a message from her that became the bolt that locked Elijah into a, “gloomy prison" (1 Kings 19:1-3). 

A study of Scripture does indicate that Jezebel was to be more feared than her husband. In other words, it was not foolish to believe her threat was not an idle threat. But here is what is tragic about this move on Elijah’s part: he who had been so courageous had suddenly become fearful. Also, he who had encouraged others to be courageous in difficult times, was now fearful (1 Kings 17:13).  

He who had moved only at God’s command, now made a major move without any command from God. Do you hear the prophet praying or God telling him to run for his life? Why was he suddenly so fearful? On Mount Carmel, hadn’t he just proved that the gods Jezebel appealed to had no power whatsoever?

Another tragedy connected with Elijah's trip is that God was no longer ordering his steps. I have to wonder if Elijah ever stopped to consider the possibility that if Ahab previously exerted much time in searching for him, would Jezebel be any less diligent (1 Kings 18:10)? In other words, would running away do any good?

Is it me, or have you noticed that whenever gloominess takes over our spirit often we long to run away? In fact we can even convince ourselves we have a valid reason to run. As we're held captive by despair and depression we stop, "looking unto Jesus" and begin looking for an escape route (Hebrews 12:1-2). We somehow think life will be much more enjoyable elsewhere. But life is never enjoyable outside of the will of God. 

So if you're being held prisoner by gloominess and are thinking about running away may I urge you to allow God's, "heavenly hand" to push back the massive prison door? The only way to do that is by allowing him to direct your steps. Psalms 37:23 states, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way."  Why not make the decision that you will not move unless God clearly tells you to move?

Are You Hiding?

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Would you like to see your walk with God move forward this year? If so, then you must honestly answer a very serious question: am I willing to come clean of all known sin? 

Your answer to that question is imperative because God's Word reveals that concealed sin is a massive roadblock that will prevent forward movement. Hidden sin can and will prevent you from personally advancing in 2017, for you see Proverbs 28:13 states, He that covereth his sins shall not prosper....

However, a visit to the Garden of Eden reveals that it's not only sin itself we can attempt to cover. Just like Adam and Eve whenever we're the culprit of sin we may actually try to hide ourselves from God's presence as well. 

Ashamed of their sin, Adam and Eve attempted to hide when God came calling in the garden. But how does one successfully hide from God? Actually it's impossible because He sees all things and all people (Proverbs 15:3). Therefore, Adam and Eve were engaged in an impossible activity when they attempted to conceal themselves behind the trees that day. And it's just as impossible for any of us to successfully remain hidden from the all-seeing eyes of God.

But it's not only impossible, it's also not productive. How can a person actually move forward in their walk with God if they are playing a lifelong game of hide-and-seek with Him? There's no way a person can be walking with God and hiding from Him at the same time. Think of it this way, you're either walking with Him and moving forward or you're hiding from Him and not moving forward. Or at least you're not moving forward in the right direction.

Which is it for you...walking or hiding? Which would you like it to be? If you say, you would like to be sure you are walking with God and moving forward with Him, then why not take some time to honestly answer God's question He asked Adam, "Where art thou?" Then, just like Adam come on out of your hiding and come clean of all your sin. 

 

A Season to Celebrate

We are come to worship him - Matthew 2:2

We are come to worship him - Matthew 2:2

Have you begun your Christmas shopping yet? Have you begun making plans for the holidays? Will those plans include spending some time celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? 

For many, celebrations will abound. There will be school programs to attend, work related Christmas parties, and festive gatherings with family and friends. For others, sadly there will be no celebrations. Instead they will find this to be a lonely and depressing time of the year.

Whether it's a festive time or lonely time of year for you, we would like to invite you to join us every Sunday as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We're keeping the celebrations simple and you will find it to be a warm and inspiring Christmas atmosphere and most importantly it will allow you some time to slow down and reflect upon the incredible hope we have in Christ. 

Merry Christmas and see you soon.

 

What Needs to Change?

Jacob's life story vividly proves the truth taught in Galatians 6:7 - we reap what we sow. It wasn't Jacob's surroundings or circumstances that needed to change; it was Jacob who needed to change. In fact that is exactly what God was working hard at doing in his life - changing the man.

I wonder how often we're exhausted because we're working so hard to change our circumstances or surroundings, when it's actually us who needs to undergo a major transformation. Never forget that all trials are filtered by God to change us for the better (see James 1:1-5). But don't we expend so much energy wishing everybody and everything around us would change?

Peace and joy will bypass us if that is our constant wish.

The spiritual refreshment we so often crave these days will only be enjoyed when we stop wishing so hard for external changes and begin praying about the internal changes God is trying to make in us. In fact, many of us probably need to stop working in the energy of our flesh to bring about our desired changes, and begin submitting to God and allowing Him to transform us as He deems best. Remember the principle of Galatians 6:7. Remember Jacob.

So what wish do you possess that could be draining you of joy and peace? Have you been busy trying to stay in control of your circumstances and surroundings? What God-designed changes are you fiercely resisting? How much longer do you think you can hold up working and resisting so hard? Wouldn't it be more relaxing to rejoice in the Lord and submit to His master craftsmanship in your life?

Hope Restored

"Hope: a trusting expectation that God is going to keep His Word." (Anonymous) Are you a hopeful person? Do you live each day with a, "trusting expectation that God is going to keep His Word?" 

For two of the Lord Jesus' followers an excursion to Emmaus filled with sadness and hopelessness concluded with a return trip to Jerusalem filled with joy and hope (you can read about this excursion in Luke 24:13-35).

But again, what about you? are you feeling gloomy and hopeless these days? Then why not allow the risen Lord Jesus Christ to restore your joy and hope? How you ask? By simply doing the following:

  1. Tell Him. He already knows how you're feeling anyway and He's not ignoring you. In fact He wants to hear from you. It's true, Jesus really does want you to tell Him all about your gloomy feelings (Jeremiah 33:3).
  2. Listen to Him. As you discuss your feelings with Christ, make sure you listen as well. Turn to God's Word - the Bible - and heed it's instructions and that, "trusting expectation that God is going to keep His Word" will increase (Romans 10:17).
  3. Finally, invite Him into your gloominess. Don't be like the church in Laodicea and keep the Lord on the outside of your life. He wants in and will gladly enter if you will open your heart's door to Him (Revelation 3:20). If you let Christ in, the situation you're facing may not appear more hopeful, but your heart will become more joyful and hopeful. That's a promise.

 

Renew Me

At this time of year many people begin their spring garden work. I'm sure buckets will be filled with dead leaves and overgrown weeds that invaded the garden during the winter months. Perhaps uprooted plants will need to be replanted as well.

Is it possible that God has to do some weeding and replanting in our hearts this spring?

Consider the following questions. Is it possible your prayer life has dried up and withered over the winter months? Is your faith collapsing because of unanswered prayers? Have any weeds of sin grown in your heart and mind? Have any seeds of God's Word fallen by the wayside because you were not paying attention?

As winter comes to a close and spring arrives, perhaps it would be a good time to ask God to renew you. Then as you ask, allow Him to pull up those sinful weeds, replant those uprooted godly attitudes, and revive your withered prayer life.

You could even follow the pattern of David's prayer in Psalms 51:10,12. In other words, you could ask the Lord to, "create...renew...restore...uphold...." You'll have to read the verses on your own to gain more details behind those words. But in closing, remember, our need for renewal is not a one time need, it's a frequent need. Therefore, it is one we should consistently ask the Lord to provide. And guess what? He will provide it.

Santa Clause Parade 2015

December 6, 2015 10AM – 2PM

Grab some popcorn, play some games, or just say “Hi”

Every year, we’ve had the pleasure of going out into our Downtown Vancouver community and spreading His Word during the Christmas season. This year, we’ve set up two booths on Howe Street, in between Robson and Smithe (right next to former-Chapters/Chipotle). Come for a free bag of freshly-popped popcorn, participate in some child-friendly games, and get to know us, your local Baptist church. We’ll be handing out invitations to our Christmas service on December 22nd. Hope to see you around!

UCBC's 10th Anniversary (You're Invited)

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Change…it’s an inescapable reality of life. Our surroundings, circumstances, and the people around us all change. Even we ourselves experience transformation in our lifetime. Sometimes these changes are positive and exciting but at other times they’re not so positive and exciting. Have you noticed how quick we are to embrace change if it’s in our control and how hesitant we are to welcome change if it’s not in our control?

Well on Sunday October 18th, Urban Community Baptist Church will celebrate 10 years of ministry in Vancouver. During those ten years some things have remained the same (such as our location), but some things have changed as well. Whenever we experienced an unwelcome change we have learned that God never changes. After ten years we can say with unshakable confidence that He is completely dependable…100% faithful. The people at UCBC know they can trust God to meet their daily needs and wisely control their situations. We’re confident God will never leave us or give up on us. He hasn’t for ten years, why would He do so now?

At 11:00 am on Sunday October 18th we will take some time to rejoice in God’s faithfulness and we sincerely want you to come and see it for yourselves. Why? Because in a world filled with frightening change, we just want the opportunity to tell you about our unchanging and faithful God.

We sincerely hope you will join us and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 604.831.1003 orinfo@urbancommunity.ca.

Santa Clause Parade 2013

December 1, 2013 9AM – 1 PM

Grab some popcorn, play some games, or just say “Hi”

Every year, we’ve had the pleasure of going out into our Downtown Vancouver community and spreading His Word during the Christmas season. This year, we’ve set up two booths on Howe Street, in between Robson and Smithe (right next to Chapters/Chipotle). Come for a free bag of freshly-popped popcorn, participate in some child-friendly games, and get to know us, your local Baptist church. We’ll be handing out invitations to our Christmas service on December 22nd. Hope to see you around!

To: Jesus, From: You

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Is Jesus on your list of those you will give a gift to this Christmas season?

Do you know what He wants and do you know how you could present your gift to Him? It’s definitely not too early to begin thinking about that, and here’s a hint; what Christ would like is not found in any store. Therefore, you won’t have to stand in any long lines. All you need to do is join us at Urban Community Baptist Church this Sunday at 12:00 pm to begin determining what you could give to Jesus Christ this holiday season.

Beginning this Sunday November 24th, 2013.

Pathfinders Bible Classes & Fellowship at 10:30 am

A great opportunity to learn, grow, and fellowship. Don’t miss it!

Main Worship Service at 12:00 pm

A time to gather together with your church family to worship God & hear from His Word.

Wednesdays in the Word at 7:00 pm

A refreshing time of Bible study, prayer, & fellowship in the middle of your week. Why not take advantage of it?

Love Thy Neighbour

ommunity Clean Up, Craft Fair, and Games

On Saturday, August 24th starting at 11 AM, Urban Community Baptist Church will be out in full swing at David Lam Park (1300 Pacific Blvd) for a day of trash & recycling collection, pop-up craft fair, and family-style park games. If you see us in our grey, “Love Thy Neighbour” shirts, please come say hi and enjoy the sunshine and activities for as long as you would like.

-          We will have our own team of trash collectors on-site. No need to help us here 

-          Our children want to show you their crafts! Bring your little ones. No charge. Adult supervision provided.

-          Get active with our community sports and games. Adults and children very welcome.

-          Questions? Call the church at 604-831-1003 or email info@urbancommunity.ca