Despite everything that is going on, God is still in control, and always will be.
 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)
Hang on one second… “Not neglecting to meet together”? What is happening right now? We’re in the midst of the government telling us to stay indoors where you can, don’t have social gatherings, don’t have religious gatherings… And yet here the Bible tells us clearly: do not neglect to meet together.
What do we do with that? Is God displeased that we are not meeting together?
First and foremost, God cares. This is something I will be talking more about on Sunday in my video sermon. God cares for us, as His people. He is not cross or angry with us because we are doing what the government is strongly advising us to do. It is for our own health, to keep us safe. God knows. God cares. He has not turned away.
Perhaps after this COVID-19 issue has completely gone away, and we are safe to meet once again in our old Grade II listed building, perhaps we will have a fresh vigour and enthusiasm in meeting together to worship God as one body, in one locality.
But until then, we are separate, and we just can’t meet together. * (see footnote!)
However, notice what the author to the Hebrews writes in opposition to not meeting together. He writes, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
Let me point out the obvious. The text says, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.” Let’s be clear here. It is not our habit to neglect meeting together. For most of us, meeting together every Sunday is a habit. It’s just what we do. This “not meeting together” does not come naturally. It goes against the grain. It certainly can’t be said of us that we are in the habit of neglecting to meet together.
Rather, we have been forced to not meet together, due to circumstances that are totally out of our control.
So we can’t meet together physically, but, – consider. In this weird and difficult time, consider how we can stir each other to love. How can we inspire one another in loving God more? How can we inspire each other in loving our neighbours, especially in their hour(s) of need? What good works can we do for our friends, our brothers and sisters, and for those in our lives that at the moment don’t believe in Jesus?
Finally, he gives the exhortation about “encouraging one another.” What an apt word for this day. We need encouragement. And everybody reading this right at this second is able to encourage somebody else.
Stop. Think. Listen to God for a moment. Who does He want you to phone up today and encourage? Who can we get in touch with and very simply share the love of Jesus?
It is as we give encouragement to others that we will receive it ourselves.
* by the way, I hope you’ve picked up by now that we actually CAN meet together, using Zoom! Check your email for that ID number!
It’s OK to feel how you’re feeling. God knows how you feel. We feel the way we feel for a reason. The best thing we can be doing with our feelings is to talk to Jesus about them.
Paul writes, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) In other words, don’t be anxious and do nothing about it. There is a real danger that when we get anxious, as we all do, we can allow that anxiety to, in effect, snowball – and it can become bigger and bigger in our minds until it gets out of control.
Instead, Paul writes that when we get anxious, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Force yourself to pray to Jesus. Even if it’s just blurting out to Him what is on your mind. That is a good start. And then say to Him – “please give me Your peace.”
God wants to give us His peace in exchange for us giving Him what we are anxious about. Verse 7 says that when we pray to Jesus and let our requests be made know to Him, that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
For most of the world, including Christians, Coronavirus is the thing that is among the top causes of anxiety today. There are bound to be other serious things going in in people’s lives – but Coronavirus and the sociological effects of it is the one thing that most of us have in common.
It’s OK to feel how you’re feeling. Let’s pour out our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to give us His peace and to guard our hearts and our minds with it.
For further reading, you might find the following article useful, entitled: “Caring for your soul in the time of Coronavirus.”
Praying for peace for us all,
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and under guidance from the UK Government, we have suspended all CCC meetings including Sunday services from today – Tuesday 17th March 2020.
Please see Pastor Dave’s email relating to this by clicking on this link
We know this is difficult but we are working very hard at online and other options to help us stay connected in the weeks ahead. Following this post, Pastor Dave will be taking over this blog to communicate directly with the church.
Steve (Web Admin)
On Saturday 1st December we had our Annual General Meeting which was well attended by the members of the church. We enjoyed fish and chips together in the hall prior to the meeting which was a great social time.
Appointment of Deacons
This year’s AGM was a voting year and all of our current leaders allowed their names to go forward for re-election with nobody new standing for the first time. The result was that all were re-elected and there was therefore no change for the next two year period.
Finances were presented as usual with some questions being answered. As was said at the meeting, we are grateful to God for His provision over the year and thankful to our members and regular supporters for your very generous giving both financially and practically toward the work of the church here in Christchurch. Your generosity not only helps us locally, but supports ministry that is far reaching. Thank you!
Vision and Purpose
Pastor Dave presented in more detail what he believes the purpose and vision of the church is moving forward into 2019. He unpacked this even further, also giving members time to contribute some ideas toward a particular part of this more focused vision.
Retirement of Assistant Pastor
One of the most significant items to conclude the meeting was the announcement that Pastor Dudley Powell was now retiring from his position as Assistant Pastor after approximately 15 years in this role. We are very grateful to him and his wife Jenny for their contribution to the pastoral work of the church, prayer ministry and also for so much practical work that has been organised and carried out on the building during those years. They were both presented with a gift and our gratitude was made very clear to them both. Although Dudley is no longer officially our Assistant Pastor, we’re quite sure he’ll continue to be quite involved in the life of the church. Thank you Dudley and Jenny for all of your hard work!
We were pleased to have Shane Cooke with as all the way from Australia teaching a small group of us at our workshop on Saturday 17th November followed by his message to us at our All Age morning service on the Sunday.
Shane’s focus was on generational ministry. He encouraged the teachers, leaders, parents and grandparents among us to see the potential in our children and to encourage them in the gifts of the Holy Spirit even at a young age. With some amazing and inspiring testimonies along with some practical workshops during the 3rd and 4th sessions, we all left having much to think about and having seen the young people among us better equipped for service.
If you came along, we hope you enjoyed it. You’re most welcome to join us on a Sunday at our 10:30 and 18:30 services!
20th November 2018
As from 16th November 2018, church news, updates and articles will be posted here to this new news page. If you’d like to take a look at older news items prior to this date, please click here and you’ll be taken straight there.
You’ll notice there are a couple of historic posts at the bottom of this new (resurrected) news page which may also be of interest to you.
Hope to see you back here soon!
We have just celebrated 20 years since Elim Christchurch moved from Jumpers Road to this much larger facility in Millhams Street now known as Christchurch Christian Centre. At our celebration last weekend, Pastor Dave introduced us to the beginnings of something significant which will lead to us looking at the purpose and future vision of this church. We’re getting ready to launch into this very soon and have even prepared a page ready for you…
Watch this space!
We used to be found on blogger but now that our website has been updated and had a spring clean, we thought it much better to keep it all in the same place. To view old posts please visit this link but be sure to come back won’t you!!
We’re looking forward to putting some very interesting things on here in the coming weeks, months and years ahead!
Christchurch Elim Church, Millhams Street, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1DN
To God alone be all the glory
In 1937, following an evangelistic campaign held by a lady evangelist, Christchurch Elim Church was planted. The congregation met in a hired upper room in Millhams Street Christchurch (we do not now know the location of that room) until 1939, when just before the beginning of world war two, in faith, a gospel hall was built in Jumpers Road, Christchurch. The land cost £100 and hall cost £217 and was built by a Mr. Leat of Bransgore. The work was completed in November 1939.
The new gospel hall was small and could only seat about 60 people comfortably. In 1984 a new porch was added to the building, which cost about £4,000. Research was undertaken, plans were drawn up and consents were obtained from the authorities for the building of the porch and the Church began to pray. Little by little the money began to come in starting with a gift of 50p from one of the children who wanted to give to the project from her pocket money. The porch was built without borrowing any money.
In 1991 the congregation began to grow and by 1993 the church needed some extra room. By faith, plans were drawn up to extend the building at a cost of about £40,000. The Church prayed and the money came in just in time to meet the bills. With the addition of the new extension in 1994, the building could now hold up to about 120 people.
For many years the church had been praying for new premises with better facilities as the children were meeting for Sunday school in the kitchen and in the small back room and there was no more room to build on that site.
It is important to this account that an incident is mentioned that occurred some years before the need for a new building became plain. What happened was this. Several years before the congregation began to grow, the Pastor had been walking along Millhams Street in the town centre. Situated in Millhams Street was the second largest church building in the town with a clock tower and large facilities, including a separate hall and numerous rooms suitable for Sunday School and other activities. The building was in a very poor state of repair with missing slates, broken windows, seriously eroded stonework and many other visible signs of a lack of care. As the Pastor walked past that building, he asked God, “Why is this church in such a state?” Immediately the question was asked, God answered by giving a very clear and precise thought to the pastor. The thought was silent but as clear as if spoken out loud, “Because the life has gone out of it!” In an instant, the Pastor responded, “Then put the life back in it”.
Little did He know how that prayer would be answered.
By the time the extension to the building in Jumpers Road was completed, it became clear bigger facilities were needed if the church was to continue to move forward.
On land adjacent to the church there was an old factory building which came onto the market. After prayer, the pastor enquired wanting to make an offer but the property had just been sold. God had different plans.
It was subsequently learned that the believers who met in the URC building in Millhams Street were considering leaving the building as so much work was needed to restore the property to a useable standard. The building was and is a grade II listed building.
On hearing about this probability, the pastor of the Elim Church contacted the URC church officials and offered to purchase the building for £1.
After an inspection by the Elim Church Leadership and discussion with the URC leadership, the URC decided not to sell the property. On hearing that news, the Elim pastor went home and with his wife prayed a simple prayer, “Lord give us the building and fill it.” Later, and without any prompting by Elim, the URC contacted Elim and agreed that the Elim Church could take over the building for only £1.00.
It was decided by Elim to go ahead, believing it was God’s will for them to do so despite the fact that there was an enormous amount of work to be undertaken. At that time, Christchurch Elim had less than £4000 in the building fund. The church buildings in Millhams Street were to be transferred without the kitchen and toilets as they were sited on a piece of land that was to be sold separately by the URC to a developer who planned to build houses on the land. Despite this, Elim went ahead fully persuaded that it was God’s plan for them to do so.
On the surface £1.00 seems very little, but the amount of money required to fix the building was estimated at over £250,000. Subsequent to moving in, a quantity surveyor assessed the cost of restoration at £750000.
The Elim Church congregation took possession of the building on the 13th of November 1998, moving from the small building in Jumpers Road, to the new building with all of its problems but with space for growth and all the potential of the larger facilities.
The old building was subsequently sold for £65,000 and net sale proceeds of about £63,000, together with the building fund of £3,673 was everything that the congregation had towards the restoration project.
The roof was leaking badly in many places and for some time there were even buckets spread around the building catching the drips of water during services on rainy days. It was so bad that the electrics were being compromised by the water ingress during the services. A quite extensive (though not complete) list of works can be found on the website showing the extent of what was required.
Do take a Look at this list on our site – http://www.christchurchchristiancentre.org/restoration2.html
Although the estimated costs were so high, the Church relied 100% on God supplying the money for the restoration and they determined not to borrow or go into debt. Although there was one time cash flow seemed likely to be inadequate, in the event there was sufficient in hand to cover all needs as they arose. Prayer continued as the project proceeded and God not only sent in money little by little but He also sent some new church members along who had the skills needed for particular parts of the restoration work. In particular, the church prayed for a builder to join. That prayer was wonderfully answered and God sent a skillful builder (who had trained as an engineer) and other able tradesmen to help.
We cannot say that the numbers attending are very high but finance has still come in. This is more clear evidence that God is the God of the impossible. The first part of the request, “Lord give us the building,” was answered. The second part will be answered too, “And fill it.”
More than fourteen and a half years on and the building project is ongoing, however it is nearly completed. There has not been much financial support from outside the church and almost all of the £400,000 plus that has been spent thus far, has come from two main sources:- the generous giving of the church members and the income from a 3 hour coffee morning held each Monday morning in the church hall.
God taught this little church to exercise faith, starting with a £4,000 porch and then a £40,000 extension to the original building and now the current project. God has worked in response to faith and obedience. At times work was started when insufficient funds were available but acting in faith led to these steps being taken and the bills were always paid, although on several occasions the finance came in at the very last minute.
The amazing testimony is that all of the money required for this restoration project has come in on top of the general income required to run the church, pay the bills, employ a full time Pastor, reach out to our community with the love of Christ and to continue support for international missions each month.
Some people told the Pastor that he was crazy taking on such a project. Some told Him that it could not be done and that they would fail. However, obedience and faith in The God of the impossible are ingredients for success.
It could be said that it all started with the prayer, “Then put the life back in it,” but we believe in God’s purposes and doubtless, what we see Him doing now is what He has always intended.
We have continued in prayer, often quoting part of the Lord’s Prayer but always looking to God who alone will see His will fulfilled. We pray, “Lord give us our daily bread, build Your Church and bring in what is needed to restore this facility”. We continue in prayer, “Lord build Your Church, fill this Church and save this town.
To God alone be all the Glory and Honour.
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.