Christmas Services at Grace Church Wanstead

People often wonder if there is a God and if we could ever get to know him. The great news of Christmas is that God has really visited us through Jesus Christ so that we can know him. 

Come and find out more at one of our Christmas services:
Family Carol Service, 16th December 11:15am
Children and Tots’ Carol Service, Christmas Eve 4:30pm
Christmas Day 11:15am

For those already following Jesus we have a variety of meetings, small groups and Bible studies to support you and encourage you to get to know Jesus better. Please see our “What’s On” page for more details. 

Who is to blame for Hurrricane Irma?

I keep seeing Facebook posts with pictures of ‘Christians’ who claim that the disasters caused by the weather are being caused by ‘The Gays.’

I would like to set the record straight.

It is caused by homosexuals and heterosexuals, abortionists and pro-lifers, paedophiles and the young, the old, the middle-aged, transsexuals, men, women, Donald Trump, Mexicans, bank robbers, Bankers, the unemployed, the employed, mothers who breastfeed, mothers who don’t…

non-Christians and Christians,

you and me.

It was my fault.

I’m sorry.

Romans 3: 23-24  … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

When humans decided that they could make a better job of running the world than the God who created it, He gave us what we wanted; He gave us the opportunity to go it alone.

Even though we ruined His perfect creation, He gave us a way back, and the promise that one-day it would be all made new and perfect again.

The only difference between a non-Christian and a Christian is the fact that Christians have said sorry – we are the ones who recognise that we are the problem.

If you call yourself a Christian and you are pointing your finger at other people, I ask you to go back to the Bible and look for the part where it says, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; (except you – insert your name here).’

If you find it, please let me know.

If you don’t consider yourself a Christian why don’t you come along to Starbucks Wanstead, on 9 November at 8pm? There will be a short talk called, Is there enough evidence for Atheism?, with the opportunity to ask questions afterwards. Best case scenario you leave with the free gift of eternal life, worst case scenario, you get to shelter from the terrible weather whilst enjoying a free cup of coffee and a slice of cake.

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Is there enough evidence for Atheism?

Is there enough evidence for atheism? David Wilks (MSt Philosophical Theology) will delve into 2 of the key issues: science and human evil.

Where: Starbucks Wanstead

When: 9 November 2017, Thursday @ 8pm     Add to Calendar

The Encouragement Manual

Hi, I’m Clare. My husband and I have five children (aged between 11 and 2). Most of the time I feel incredibly blessed to be a busy Mum, but occasionally, well, I don’t! Raising children is hard, exhausting, and sometimes unappreciated work, requiring reserves of patience, wisdom and strength that I just don’t have.

Fortunately, there’s an Encouragement Manual written for people like me. And, amazingly, it’s written by someone who created my children, and loves them even more than I do.

When the dirty dishes are piling up, laundry is everywhere and I can’t see the floor for the toys, it tells me that all these menial tasks can be holy and meaningful too.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Through endless days and disturbed nights, it encourages me to keep going.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

When I am worried about how life is going to turn out for my children, it tells me not to be.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

When my children are driving me crazy, the Manual reminds me to view them the way that the author, their Creator, does:

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3-5)

When I feel like what I am doing is not important or worth much, it reminds me that spending time with my children and teaching them about God is exactly what I should be doing.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6v5-7)

And that if I am faithful in this, the benefit to my children will be immeasurable.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace. (Isaiah 54:13)

In all this, and in many many other ways, God’s Word the Bible supports me, lifts me up, and gives me hope on a daily basis. I am certain that it can be an Encouragement Manual for you too, no matter who you are or what you do. God created you and loves you and wants to tell you:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

How much money is enough? Just a little bit more.

A few years ago we had a really big shed built at the end of our garden.
That same weekend, the sermon at church was about the man who built a really big barn to store all his stuff.* (You can find it in Luke 12:16-21)

The irony was not missed.

Unlike the man in the parable I didn’t die the same night, (or if I did, I didn’t notice) I survived to ask myself a few questions:

Do I need all this ‘stuff’? (And I don’t just mean all the half empty tins of paint and left over bits from badly thought out DIY projects).
What am I working for?
What do I really value in life?

When we die our ‘stuff’ is left behind to sit in someone else’s big shed, or line the tax man’s pockets. Thankfully though, we don’t have to rely on our wealth to save us – after all we can be rich one day and the wind changes and it’s gone; stolen, paid out in medical bills, or as it goes in this house, vet bills, and shed roof repairs.

Jesus calls us to change our focus – to see the one thing that has lasting value, that can’t rot, be lost or stolen, that is not affected by the economy; our relationship with God. That’s the only thing that will last forever.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We don’t need to buy our way into heaven; Jesus has paid that price for us – it was far too costly for us to pay ourselves!
He paid with his life then offered us eternal life as a gift.

A funeral plan might be a sensible thing to buy, but why plan for your death when you haven’t planned for your life?

*Please note there is no treasure in my shed – we keep the gold bullion under the mattress.

How to reboot your life?

Sometimes life can feel like a computer that isn’t working very well. And it’s frustrating. Maybe life hasn’t worked out as you’d hoped, and you’re in a rut, or even a midlife crisis. Perhaps you’ve got too many tasks and the system has crashed, or there are things in the memory you regret. And you long to start over. If only you could reboot your life and wipe the slate clean and start again. But where’s the button? How do you do that? Is it even possible? Jesus says it is. It’s something God can do for us.

On the 9th of March, we would like to invite you to join us for a talk entitled, ‘How to reboot your life’. There will be an opportunity to discuss and ask questions afterwards. Come one, come all!

Where: Starbucks Wanstead

When: 9 March 2017, Thursday @ 8pm     Add to Calendar

Who: Rev. Marcus Nodder

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I know that I know nothing…

I worry that I don’t really ‘know’ anything. There are so many people out there who are experts at stuff. Some people can cut open a human body and mend it, speak 2, 3 or 4 languages – (French, Spanish, Japanese and Elvish), play the piano, understand how aeroplanes fly and TV works. I don’t.
Well – I know I’m alive; ‘I think therefore I am’ (Descartes said that… or so we’re told. But did he really say it first? Maybe his mum said it at breakfast and he just wrote it down. We’ll never really know for sure will we!)
I know a lot of really bad jokes that I laugh at myself. (Well it saves there being an awkward silence after I’ve spoken).
I know I love my children.
I know I have a lot of cats, but even that is relative – I know people with more!

I also know I don’t need to worry about my limited knowledge.

God knows; he knows everything.

He’s revealed to me everything I need to know (not me alone! I’m really not THAT special!) and promised to reveal everything else to me in time.

1 Corinthans 13:12
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

He knows me intimately –

Psalm 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

And He has given us the opportunity to know Him through his Son.

John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

That’s it.
All we need to know.
The good news of salvation is simple, accepting that it is that simple is what is hard for us.
Anything else we learn along the way is a bonus – or a distraction.
Focus your knowledge today.

Suggested reading

What Christmas means to me

About Lucy

Lucy is a professional musician, freelancing in and around London. She has lived in Wanstead for 8 years, since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, and has been a member of Grace Church Wanstead since July 2015.

What was your favourite Christmas present as a child?

As a child, presents were never really the main focus of our Christmas celebrations – although my sister and I certainly enjoyed them! The main thing for us was spending time together as a family. Whether that was helping cook the turkey, walking the dog, playing games, or just watching TV in the evening, that family time was key. We occasionally went to church, but for me at that time it was just another tradition – mainly attractive because of the carol singing, and of course the mince pies. I could have quoted from various sermons that “Jesus came to save me from my sins”, but what that actually MEANT, I had no idea!

As an adult, how have your feelings about Christmas changed over the years?

Having become a Christian while at university, Christmas now means so much more to me than it ever did before! Christmas is no longer just one isolated day at the end of each year, but part of something much, much bigger. I had assumed in the past that Jesus Christ only existed for the 33 years he lived on earth – and that was his whole story. I remember being absolutely astonished to learn that he was actually around long before that – the Bible says that he was there since before the creation of the world, as he himself is God! And more than that, he still lives today in heaven, and will one day return to judge the world! This was an enormous revelation to me, and gives Christmas a huge amount of significance. That Jesus, the Son of God, would humble himself to be born as a human being, in order to give us sinful people the possibility of a personal relationship with God, and eternal life after death with him in heaven – still seems unbelievable to me at times. Yet it shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us who enjoy a good carol service! (Something I do a lot of, in my work as a musician!) In addition to many Bible passages which explain this clearly, if we look closely at some of the words we sing in carols time after time, we see that “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all…and he leads his children on, to the place where he has gone”. Likewise, we sing of “Christ the everlasting Lord” and of “God and sinners reconciled”. God’s own reason for Christmas? “Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die!”And the result for the rest of us? “Not in that poor lowly stable with the oxen standing by, we shall see him, but in heaven set at God’s right hand on high. When like stars his children crowned, all in white shall wait around.” (Carol excerpts taken from ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.)

In a sentence, what does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas is about the past AND the future, not just one day…there is a lot more to Jesus than just the baby in the manger.

Fed up!

A few days ago, a colleague and I did a Q&A at work. She suggested that it was turning into a bit of a debate. “Which one’s Trump?”, one joker shouted. I laughed out loud!

But lots of people aren’t laughing.

All around the world, more and more people are fed up. Millions of Americans are fed up with politics. Millions of Britons are fed up – either of the EU or of leaving it!

Why are we so discontented?

Because behind all this, there’s a deeper moral discontentment. According to a Gallup poll, 86% of people rate the state of moral values in the UK as “fair” or “poor”. 83% think it’s getting worse.

Why?

Because society’s morals used to be grounded in Christianity. Jesus gives us both moral teaching, and the way to be forgiven when we don’t live up to it. Drop Christianity, and our society’s traditional morality no longer makes any sense.

But our consciences tell us that we need a moral foundation. Without it, we get a gut feeling that something about society isn’t right.

What should we do with this gut feeling? After all, some of its effects are pretty ugly…

Our church is running an event called “What’s gone wrong?” It’s on 8pm Thursday, 24th November at Starbucks Wanstead. We’re looking at why people are so fed up and how listening to God can give us hope and vision. Come along – I hope to see you there!