weekly encouragement - 29 July

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 62 – My Soul Finds Rest and Refuge in God

Hove you noticed how God uses tough times to teach us new things about himself? Surely God has used this global pandemic and the resulting lockdown and economic stress to teach us about finding rest and refuge in God. When life feels easy we can easily forget our daily dependence upon God for our life and health and livelihoods. We can take the joys of life in London and of our church family for granted. When these were taken away we began to realise how frail and vulnerable and dependent upon God we really are.

In Psalm 62, great King David of Israel beautifully expresses his personal trust in the LORD for rest and peace in his soul. He praises God as his dependable rock in whom he can take refuge from his enemies. While he acknowledges his frailty, like a, ‘tottering fence’, he is confident of his protection and eternal salvation in God’s love, active in our Lord Jesus Christ.

As always, this song-prayer finds its fulfilment in Jesus Christ who, surrounded by vicious enemies who crucified him, found rest and refuge for his soul in his Father in heaven.

As before, I have followed each verse with a line of prayer for us today – you could pray this on your own, or with friends or Growth Group members on Zoom, or with the family around the meal table.  

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
With turmoil all around me, my soul finds peace in you Lord; for you are my Saviour;

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
I praise you for being solid and reliable – in you I am safe and secure forever;

How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down – this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
I am surrounded by threats and Satan wants to bring me down for I am weak and vulnerable;

Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.
There are those who wish me harm, who believe in lies about you and delight when I struggle;

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
I praise you Lord that I can come to you for comfort knowing my future is safe in your hands;

Truly he is my rock and salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
I praise you Lord for being reliable and faithful to me, the one in whom I can feel safe forever;

My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
My salvation and reputation are safe in your hands, for you are my powerful protector;

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Please give me opportunities to recommend you to others that they may find comfort in you;

Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath;
Life is short and the privileged think they matter, but I know we are all but a brief morning mist;

10 Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Help me not to depend on what I earn or own or to invest my life in material things;

11 One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you LORD, is unfailing love;
Lord I praise you for the great twin truths that you are sovereignly powerful and you are faithfully loving;

and ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’
I praise you that living for you is rewarded in eternity;

Thank you Lord Jesus,

AMEN.



Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

weekly encouragement - 22 July

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 138 – God of the Nations and of the Lowly

We have been working our way through the book of Acts in our weekly Bible study with the Dundonald staff and Co-Mission Resources Team.  Among the many encouragements I’ve received through Acts, is the repeated reminder that the God of the rapid spread of the gospel is also the God of the inward change in the lives of individuals; God calls many thousands to himself in a single day, and also arranges an intersection between one enquirer and a potential evangelist on a desert road.  Cities are turned upside down (right side up?!) by the good news of Jesus, while stories of one household coming to faith are also celebrated.  The God of the vast harvest fields, is also the gardener who tends to the individual branches on his vine (Luke 15:1-2).

Psalm 138 reminds us that this aspect of God’s character has always been true! David speaks of his own relationship with God, which spills over into praise. But he also knows that God is worthy of praise from “the kings of the earth,” and he encourages them to join in. It’s appropriate for all the earth to acknowledge the glory of the Lord. And yet David is also convinced that God cares for and preserves the lowly, his faithful people who have nothing particular to commend them to his attention, other than that they are his.  These people are all different, and yet God sees them all, and shows his glory to all.

Most of us, I imagine, feel ourselves to be more alike the lowly than the kings of the earth! But whoever we are, Psalm 138 encourages us to praise God, with all his people!  This is the first Psalm of David in group of eight Psalms, David’s final contribution to the book. And what a contribution! A reminder to us, God’s people, whoever we are, to praise God boldly, whether or not others join us, and in the face of whatever contrary message we face!

As we’ve done for each Psalm in this series, I’ve expanded upon each line in the form of a prayer. Perhaps you might pray it as you prepare to join in with our online service stream this week, to ready your heart and mind to praise our God.

Psalm 138
A prayer of David

I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
Our great God, it is a privilege to sing your praise, even amidst the competing messages of our word, and even if no one else were to join with us. Please enable us to be those who worship you always, in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.
Though we are small in all creation, you have come to meet us and shown us your love, not in a building, but in your Son, Jesus. A greater demonstration of your love we cannot imagine or comprehend.

When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
We thank you that though we have nothing to offer you, you hear our prayers. And for you to hear is to answer. How can we refrain from pouring out our hearts in prayer when this is the access we’ve been given!

May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD, when they hear what you have decreed.
You are worthy of praise from every person, high or low, and every nation, near and far. Use our feeble efforts to speed the day when multitudes from every nation will praise, you and your Son (Revelation 7:9).

May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great.
You have shown us the wonders of your character, and the depths of your love, through your faithfulness to your people, and pre-eminently in sending your Son, to die in our place, and save us from hell for heaven. Oh to sing of this glory forever!

Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.
We thank you that when we feel small, insignificant, weak, or forgotten, the reality of our relationship with you, seated with Christ in the heavenly realms is unshaken.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.
We praise you that you are always with us, and you have preserved us as your people, even in the uncertainty and difficulty of this global pandemic we now experience.

You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.
You are just, and there will be none who escape justice, and none to whom justice is denied. When life seems unfair to us, remind us of your righteousness and justice, we pray.

The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.
Convince us afresh of your unfailing love, that we might be ever mindful of your work in us by your Spirit, and that you have begun a good work in us, and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

In Christ,

Clayton Fopp
Senior Assistant Pastor

weekly encouragement - 15 July

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 86 – Praying to our God who hears and acts

There are many Psalms in the Bible in which the author tells his fellow Israelites, or even the nations around, about God, and his character and actions.  Think of Psalm 18 as one example, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (18:2).  Then there are some Psalms in which the Psalmist speaks to God about God.  Psalm 86 is one of the clearest examples of this kind!

Through David’s words in this Psalm, we are reminded much about the character of God, but perhaps most especially that God hears and answers when we call to him.

We don’t know the detail of the distress that Israel’s King David finds himself in as he writes this Psalm, but verse 14 suggests there is a very real threat to his life!  In this moment of trial, David finds comfort in God’s goodness and mercy, and in the confidence has that God will act.

While COVIC-19 restrictions are easing, and some of us are even thinking about going away on summer holidays, there are still times of concern and anxiety for many. For some it’s fear of illness.  Others in our church family are mourning the passing of loved ones.  Some fear the loss of jobs, and the financial implications of lockdown.

What a time to be reminded of our God who hears and acts!

As with each of the Psalms in this series, I have expanded upon each verse in a prayer. You might like to pray on your own, or with your small group, or together with others in your household.

In Christ,
Clayton Fopp

Psalm 86
A prayer of David

Hear me, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Gracious LORD, you know our true state, and our real needs, even as our own assessment of these things is so often warped by our sin.

Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you.
As Peter said to Jesus, “you have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). There is no one and nothing else we can trust in for salvation, security, and provision.

You are my God; have mercy on me, LORD, for I call to you all day long.
You have made us your own, and we can approach you as dearly loved children.  In your mercy, hear our prayers, we ask.

Bring joy to your servant, LORD, for I put my trust in you.
We thank you that the deeper our trust in you, the greater the depth of our joy, so make us truly joyful, we ask!

You, LORD, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.
We don’t deserve your love, yet you pour it out on us, forgiving us in Christ Jesus, enabling us not just to be saved from sin, but to know you and understand your goodness.

Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.
Not because we deserve it, but for your glory, we ask you to act – to work all things for our good (Romans 8:28).

When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.
Whether it’s anxiety in the face of illness or death, loneliness and isolation, financial difficulty, or relational turmoil, this season has caused much distress. May our first response be to call on you, confident that you hear and answer.

Among the gods there is none like you, LORD; no deeds can compare with yours.
Guard us from the temptation to put our trust in anyone or anything, though they look dependable and reliable to our tired eyes.

All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, LORD; they will bring glory to your name.
How we long for the day, when all nations come to worship you. Use us now, towards that end, through our words, our invitations, and a godly life that commends the gospel of Jesus.

10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
Father, we have learnt that who you are, and what you do, are beyond comparison to any other. Forgive us when we exchange your glory, for created things (Romans 1:23).

11 Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Use the challenges and difficulties we face, to draw us closer to you, to deepen our confidence in your goodness and trustworthiness, and to grow us in our understanding of who you are.

12 I will praise you, LORD my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
Whether in difficult times, or in good times, may the whole of our life be lived to the praise of your name!

13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
We praise you that when we were dead in our transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1), you saved us and raised us up in Christ, seating us in the heavenly realms – this is the status we enjoy now.

14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God; ruthless people are trying to kill me— they have no regard for you.
We know that many who oppose the name of Jesus will hate us (John 15:8), and we pray especially for brothers and sisters around the world, who die for their obedience to Jesus and their faithfulness to his call.

15 But you, LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
What wonderful words to hear LORD, when we’re tired, anxious, or frustrated at our own sin. There is always grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

16 Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.
The mercy and sacrifice that David looked forward to with such confidence, we look back on with awe and wonder; you acted for your people, to save us from our sin.

17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
Thank you that in Jesus, we can see and know you; your glory and goodness are made known.

weekly encouragement – 8 July 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 97Let’s Worship our Glorious God

Sometimes it’s hard to worship God or to rejoice at who he is and what he’s done for us.  It might be because of our personal circumstances; perhaps we don’t feel like worshipping God if we’re struggling, sad, or busy and tired. Maybe we hurt because of the hardships that others dear to us face, and so to rejoice in the LORD feels a bit like we’re ignoring those we love, and are blind to their suffering.  Or maybe we find it hard to worship God because of the state our world; there is adversity and oppression on a huge scale, and so perhaps we’re a little bit angry at God, or at the very least confused by what he’s doing, so it doesn’t feel easy to worship God.

And even though COVID-19 restrictions are easing slowly, it may be that the pandemic has given rise to some or all of those circumstances which make it hard to worship God. Perhaps we feel less inclined to worship God than we did six months ago.

In our fallen world, the reality is that it’s not always easy to worship God, that is, to recognise his worth and give him the honour he deserves.  For some of us, perhaps COVID-19 hasn’t dented our eagerness for worship at all, and that’s a wonderful gift for which we can give thanks to God. But for most of us, it’s good to be encouraged to praise God and worship him, to rejoice in who he is and how he’s acted for his people. 

Psalm 97 encourages us to worship our glorious God, and to rejoice in his goodness and his character. And the Psalmist reminds us of plenty of reasons for doing so!

As we’ve done with each Psalm in this series, I have written an expansion of each verse as a prayer. You might like to pray it with others in your household, or in your small group, or just quietly on your own.

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
We praise you LORD, for your reign over all the earth, and that your power and rule is good news for all nations.

Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
We are mindful that we have no right to come before you. You are holy and just, in who you are, and in everything you do.

Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side.
Were we to come into your presence on our own, we would be utterly consumed, and so our need for cleansing and holiness is ever apparent.

His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.
As lightning, for a moment, lights the world, it is only by the light of the gospel that we can see ourselves and our world truly.

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the LORD of all the earth.
We marvel that even what we see as huge and permanent, is temporary and weak before you, for you made it all.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory.
We praise you that all your works are good and just, and find their fulfilment in Jesus, in whom we can be counted righteous.

All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols— worship him, all you gods!
Guard us, we pray, from the foolishness of trusting in things that will disappoint us; money, career, status, even family, or our devotion to ministry.

Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, LORD.
When we are reminded of how you have acted in the past, we rejoice and are glad, knowing that you are unchanging, and still work only for our good.

For you, LORD are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
There is no one like you, and none more deserving of honour and praise, and yet you draw us into relationship with yourself in Jesus!

10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
We praise you that you enable us to turn from sin and temptation, by the power of your Spirit whom you have placed within us. What we are powerless to do on our own, you do in us!

11 Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
There is no joy like that of being forgiven, cleansed, and welcomed, by our glorious and powerful Father God.

12 Rejoice in theLORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.
May we sing, and speak, and meditate on your praises, for we are those to whom you have made yourself known!

Clayton Fopp
 Senior Assistant Pastor

weekly encouragement – 1 July 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 61Lead me to the rock that is higher than

However tough we are, we all get exhausted sometimes. Perhaps after a tiring week at work, a stressful day with small children, or after months of wearying anxiety and adjustment under lockdown. Where do we go when we feel weak and weary? Where do we suggest our kids go when they’re struggling?

Some people seem to think that heading for the pub on July 4th for a few beers will do the trick! Apart from the fact that lots of us aren’t old enough, or can’t afford it, or are still self-isolating, or can’t stand the pub – how do a few beers actually change anything? Aren’t the problems still there the next day – along with a sore head?

Christians have a wonderful place to go for the comfort and reassurance we all need sometimes. This beautiful Psalm 61 asks God, ‘lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ – referring to the great rock of Mt. Zion, on which Jerusalem with its temple dwelling place of God was located. The Bible teaches us that, like Mount Sinai before it, the rock of Mt. Zion is a picture of God himself, revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Indeed the ‘rock’ on which Jesus said he is building his church is the gospel of Jesus, the messiah and Son of God (Matthew 16). So, ‘lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ is a prayer that God will lead me to Jesus, to take refuge in his protective power. Indeed, when the psalm says, ‘I long to dwell in your tent forever, and take refuge in the shelter of your wings’, it’s referring to the comfort and joy of intimate love in a healthy marriage!

So when our spouse, friend or child next says how weary or anxious they feel, let’s encourage them to go to ‘the rock’ who is Jesus, for safe refuge and protective love.

Indeed, we could pray this psalm on our own for ourselves. Or why not pray this psalm with them? As before I have separated out the verses with a line of explanation so we can pray it. May this Psalm lead us to ‘the rock’ and there ‘take refuge’ under the shelter of his love.

Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father…

For the Director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David
Thank you that as King David wrote this psalm for his musicians, our King Jesus has given it for our prayers;

1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer
Remembering what it cost Jesus to make this privilege of prayer possible, I humbly ask you to hear me;

2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;
However far from you and your blessing I feel; however weak and weary I am, please hear my prayers;

lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Help me find and take refuge in Jesus, the foundation rock on which your church is built;

3 For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe
For you have always been my safe refuge and reassuring comfort in the struggles and conflicts of the past;

4 I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings
I long for the security and joy of living with you, enjoying the intimacy of your love in heaven;

5 For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name…
I speak with confidence knowing you have heard my commitment to you and have dignified me with the privileges of your people;

6 Increase the days of the King’s life, his years for many generations…
May Jesus rule in glory forever, over all the generations of his people;

7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him
May Jesus be enthroned forever in your power – eternally loved and protected by you;

8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfil my vows day after day.
Help me praise you with my life and my words, to your face in worship and to others in evangelism, forever;

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN’

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

weekly encouragement - 24 June 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 150PRAISE THE LORD

Why do Christians miss singing in church so much? Why do our Dundonald congregations sing with such passionate when we gather? Why were the song arrangements in our network ‘Revive Sunday’ celebration last Sunday so moving? What is it with Christians and singing?

Our Prime Minister has just announced ‘our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end’, with the easing of some restrictions on lockdown. He has encouraged us to rejoice on July 4th when pubs are finally opened. But Christians can’t properly rejoice until we can gather to sing God’s praises together. While some small churches may soon be allowed to meet in their buildings (with appropriate social distancing and sanitising measures) we are still some way away from being able to plan to return to church. And even then, the continuing restriction that congregations can’t sing would seriously diminish our joy in gathering (to be honest I am less bothered by the condemnation of trombone-playing as a particular means of infection). Since the only necessary activity of a true church is the precious experience of God’s Word being taught to God’s people, are we just being a bit too ‘sentimental’, or a bit too, ‘charismatic’ (Christians who emphasis God’s spiritual gifts) in lamenting the opportunity to sing?

Well the book of Psalms is a collection of 150 prayer-songs of many kinds, which Jesus would have learnt and sung regularly. Throughout Church history and in every culture of our world today, Christians love to sing songs of praise to exalt God and to encourage one another and to call unbelievers. Since we sing the truths of the Scripture, singing is actually a Word Ministry, and therefore empowered by the Holy Spirit, embedding the word of God in the affections of our hearts. So the Apostle Paul writes, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God’ (Colossians 3:16)  Notice that the word of Christ dwells richly in us not only when we teach and admonish, but when we sing! That’s why Bible-teaching churches will want to invest seriously in singing ministries.

And churches that teach and sing the ‘word of Christ’ will do so with ‘thankfulness’ because the Word of Christ is focussed in the wonderful news of what God has done for us in Christ to save us! If a church is really all about the wonderful gospel of God’s amazing grace, it will sing with great joy! Indeed, as sin is the failure to glorify God (Romans 1), a godly and holy life is to live in praise of God – to his face in thankfulness, to believers with encouragement, and to others in evangelism – ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name’ (Hebrews 13).

Evangelism is praise – and praise is evangelistic! And joy in Christ is what gives us strength when we are exhausted, for ‘the joy of the LORD is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8). That’s why singing together strengthens us to live for God!

Indeed, if we needed any further explanation of why Christians want to sing, the final crescendo of Psalms, the exquisite little Psalm 150, begins and ends with a simple command (as does psalm 146 which begins the concluding set of five psalms) with a simple instruction, ‘Praise the LORD! It’s a command to the whole world!

Thankfully, while we long to meet up again to praise God together in song, we can still do so in our hearts by praying this psalm! As before, I have broken up the psalm to expand of each phrase of the psalm for us to pray on our end, with friends on zoom or now in the garden, or with the family around the tea table….

‘Almighty God, our loving heavenly father,

1 Praise the LORD
Help me to praise you from my heart because you are our living LORD and loving Saviour

…Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens…
Thank you that by faith in Christ, we are in your presence in heaven, praising you with your heavenly church;

2 Praise him for his acts of power…
We praise you for your absolute power – for creating everything in this amazing universe out of nothing by your Word, but above all for sending Jesus to conquer sin and Satan and death on the cross, and then raising him to rule over us and to create new life in all who believe; your acts of power are astonishing, LORD;

…Praise him for his surpassing greatness.’
We praise you for your sheer majesty – the greatness of your being, your attributes and your names; all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful, just and yet merciful – you are great beyond our understanding;

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet…Praise him with the harp and lyre…
Thank you for our musicians who lead us in praise – please encourage and help them during lockdown;

4 Praise him with timbrel and dancing; Praise him with the strings and pipe.

5 Praise him with the clash of cymbals…
Thank you that like the different instruments in an orchestra, we are different members of the body of Christ with different gifts and ministries for praising you – please energise us in this wearying season and equip us with your word to praise you with our words and our lives;

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
May the gospel of what you have done in Christ spread to all nations until the world is full of your praise;

Praise the LORD

Help me praise you from my heart and with thankfulness; help me to praise you to your face and to others, both now and when we can once more meet to sing our hearts out in church again;

In the precious name of Jesus,

AMEN’

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

weekly encouragement - 17 June 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 16 – IN GOD WE TRUST

In previous generations if you said to a friend, “This is what I believe,” they’d likely respond, “Is it true? Where’s the evidence?”

There’s been shift though, in western societies which means that the question, “Is it true?” has largely been replaced by another question; “Does it work?”  There seems to be much less interest in truthfulness, in the empirical facts concerning something – look at the persistent spread of false information about Coronavirus and 5G mobile technology. Today people seem to be more interested in whether a particular approach to life works. Whether or not someone will adopt a particular belief or approach to life is determined less by the truthfulness of that approach, but on “does it work?” and particularly on the individual working out, “does it work for me?”

Psalm 16 looks a lot like what today we might call a testimony, a testimony of someone’s faith in God. We are always greatly encouraged when hear our brothers and sisters share their testimony of God’s faithfulness to them, and the same is true when we read this Psalm.  Here we’re encouraged that not only is it true that we can put our trust in God, but doing so actually works! Trust in God, in his provision and salvation, makes sense of life, whatever the uncertainties we face.  Those around us who see and hear of our faith in God, might ask us in the midst of the present uncertainties, does it work?  Psalm 16’s answer is a resounding “yes!” in four different ways:

To trust God is to know that you have enough 1 – 2

To trust God is to delight in God’s people and reject his rivals 3 – 4

To trust God is to be delighted in what he gives 5 – 6

To trust God is to take confidence from him and his Word 7 – 11

Title: A miktam of David.

We don’t know the exact circumstances that caused Israel’s King David to write this Psalm, but the repeated ideas of death and dying in the closing verses suggest to us that whatever the situation was, the risk was very real. Here is a Psalm about trusting in God in real life! 

As we’ve done with all the previous Psalms in this series, I have added a single line of expansion to each verse for us to pray, either individually, or with others in our household or small group.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge
In our changing and at times confusing and frightening world, keep us safe, our loving Father, as only you are able to.;

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing“…
Though you are Lord of heaven and earth, and ruler over everything, your care of us is so complete that every good gift we have comes from you;

3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight“…
In uncertain times, what a joy it is to be united with Christ, and through him, to all those you have made your own, in this country and around the world;

4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips
Convince us that human hearts, even our own hearts, are factories for idols. Show us the emptiness of their promises and guard us from putting anything in the place of honour and rule in our lives;

5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure
May we not cling to you only because we’re convinced you offer what we need for the life to come, but that in Christ, we have all we need for life and godliness now;

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance
While we may feel anxious at economic recession or financial difficulties, help us remember not to depend on the physical resources we have at hand, but to remember you are our inheritance; we are secure in relationship with you, and our eternal glory is guaranteed by the gift of your Holy Spirit;

7  I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me
We praise you for the counsel and instruction in your living Word; there is never a time when you a silent, because you have spoken completely in your Son, Jesus;

8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken
Whatever our circumstances, we can have confidence for the future, fixing our eyes on Christ in the Scriptures, knowing you have drawn near to us in him;

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure
In these days when we’re confronted with the reality and ugliness of death, we praise you that our trust in your goodness and salvation won’t be proved empty at our own death, but will be shown to be of eternal value;

10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay
Since you raised Christ victorious over death and united us with him in his life, help us not to fear death, but to hold firmly to our trust in Jesus;

11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand
Grow in us a trust in Christ whatever our circumstances, and in the face of every hurt and distress, knowing that his promises of life now and into eternity are true, and that they work – for our good;

AMEN

Clayton Fopp
Senior Assistant Pastor

weekly encouragement - 10 June 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH

Psalm 36 – WICKEDNESS COMES FROM PRIDE – TAKE REFUGE IN GOD’S LOVE!

In a world of deadly sickness, financial crisis and shocking racial injustice, we are surely compelled to recognise the powerlessness, folly and evil of humanity. And to seek the comfort, wisdom and justice of God in heaven.

In the psalms we are given many prayer/songs that either lament human sin or praise God’s loving righteousness. This beautiful Psalm 36 does both.

Vss.1-4 are a withering diagnosis of the origins of human wickedness – in pride before God. Vss.5-12 are a contrasting and thrilling description of God’s commitment to unfailing love, coming justice and eternal blessing.

We meet this God fully in Jesus, who died for our sin and rose for our acceptance into heaven. He graciously invites us all to repent of our pride to trust in him, and to enjoy the abundant delights of his presence, now by faith and one day in heaven. It’s a perfect psalm for us as we grieve with those who are oppressed by hatred and long for justice to be done.

As before, I have fashioned the psalm as a prayer, introducing a line of explanation after each verse. You could pray this on your own, with friends over zoom or around the tea-table with you family. Let us bend the knee in prayer…

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

For the Director of Music. Of David the servant of the LORD
Thank you for giving us musicians and words from your servant King to sing from our hearts;

1 I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: there is no fear of God before their eyes…
We are grieved to realise that sin and wickedness derive from a lack of reverence and accountability to you;

2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin
We are grieved that arrogant pride makes sinners ignorant and unashamed of their sin;

3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good…
We are grieved by the selfishness and lies of so many who neglect your wisdom and justice;

4Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong
We are grieved by those who plot immorality and exploitation and who fail to resist or condemn injustice;

5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies
We praise you that your love, even for us, is so immense it is beyond measure;

6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals…
We praise you that you are just and will bring justice in the end for you care for all you have created;

7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings
We praise you for your precious and unending love – that we find safety and comfort in your presence;

8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights
We praise you for your many generous blessings, and for the delights you have prepared for us heaven;

9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light
We praise you that, even in this world of death and darkness, in Christ we have inexhaustible life and light;

10 Continue your love to those who know you; your righteousness to the upright in heart…
Please keep loving all of us who know you and are trying to be upright and just for you;

11 May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away…
Please protect us from those who would oppress and hurt us, and give us access to the resources we need;

12 See how the evildoers lie fallen – thrown down, not able to rise!
We praise you that justice will be done – and are humbled to realise that evildoers will not share your glory;

AMEN

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

weekly encouragement - 3 June 2020

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD UNDER LOCKDOWN

PSALM 131 – ‘PUT YOUR HOPE IN THE LORD – LIKE A CONTENTED CHILD WITH ITS MOTHER’

Our world seems increasingly chaotic and alarming doesn’t it?

The global Covid19 pandemic which has killed 40,000 people in the UK and kept us hiding in lockdown seems to finally be relenting. But then we began preparing ourselves for an economic crisis that will apparently make the Great Depression seem like a picnic. And now with the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, exposing racism and systemic prejudice in criminal justice systems on both sides of the pond, there is growing violence and protest on the streets of America and on social media channels here in London. These worrying developments have exposed the weakness of human power and the folly of human pride: our science couldn’t control the Virus, our wealth couldn’t protect us from financial loss and our liberal education couldn’t eradicate the hatred in human hearts. In truth, it is only the good news about Jesus Christ, who died for our sins (to exhaust the wrath we deserve) and rose again for our justification (to qualify us for heaven) – who can rescue us from our sin and from the sickness, poverty and injustice of our world, into his glorious heavenly kingdom of holiness, health and happiness. Never has it been more obvious that our world, our city and our community needs Jesus.

I have written at length about a Christian response to the shameful murder of George Floyd and the issues it raises in my article posted yesterday on the Dundonald and Co-Mission websites [HERE].

But now, having listened for months to our angry press condemning the government at every turn, having dipped into the angry world of enraged bloggers and tweeters, having heard a little of the anger expressed on all sides of every debate about race, don’t you sometimes want to escape from all the alarming chaos and curl up into a little ball like a hedgehog and go into hibernation? Or as this precious diamond of just three verses, Psalm 131, puts it, to find the contentment of a small child with its mother?

Faith in Christ is not only about zealous proclamation and public works of righteousness; it is also about finding our safety and contentment in the loving arms of our heavenly Father. Indeed in the gospels we read of Jesus welcoming little children to himself, saying, ’Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ (Matthew 19; Mark 10; Luke 18). He was not saying that we must be childishly simplistic and naïve; he was saying we must come to Jesus with the kind of unrestrained trust that children show, before they become cynical and proud. This psalm is particularly comforting when we remember its twin title: ‘A psalm of ascents’ mean this psalm is ideal as a prayer or song to encourage those who, like pilgrims struggling along the arduous journey up the mountain road to Jerusalem, are finding the Christian life wearying; and its other title, ‘A Psalm of David’ reminds us that this call to rest in God like a child in its other’s arms, comes from the great warrior King David himself. This psalm is not only for the weak and vulnerable among us, but for strong leaders too. Indeed, as with all the psalms of King David, this prayer points forward to the faith of Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who regularly took refuge in prayer and found contentment amidst turmoil, in the love of his Father.

It is this kind of trusting contentment in God to which Psalm 131 calls us, like a mother calling her child to her arms. As before, I have interweaved each line of the psalm with a line of explanation, and fashioned it as a prayer for us to pray on our own, with our friends on zoom, or with the family around the kitchen table. 

“Almighty God, our loving heavenly father,

A song of ascents. Of David
Thank you for this psalm which comforts weary pilgrims, and calls us to the child-like faith of Jesus;

1 My heart is not proud, LORD my eyes are not haughty…
We have no cause to be proud or to look down on others, for we are so often weak and confused;

I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me…’
The huge issues raised by this global pandemic, economic crisis and racial injustice are beyond me;

2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother…
We calm our fearful hearts and quiet our anguished minds as your little children taking refuge in your love;

Like a weaned child I am content…
We are content to leave what we cannot understand or change in your hands and trust you;

3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.
We place our hopes for the future, not in governments, banks or movements, but in your gospel plan to bring us home to yourself, to your world free of sickness, sorrow and injustice, to enjoy your glorify forever;

In the name of Christ, in whom we have been adopted as your beloved children,

AMEN

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

George Floyd: a white Christian's response

For the LORD is righteous; he loves justice…he will
proclaim justice to the nations…you neglect justice…
he will judge the world with justice

Ps.11; Mat.12; Lk.11; Acts 17

George Floyd:
a White Christian’s response

Over the last few days, I have been encouraged by some black reformed evangelical pastors in London, both within and outside Co-Mission, to write in response to the shocking murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. This is the most recent example in a long history of systemic racism which has erupted in rioting across the US and in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign that has spread to the UK. What more potent image of oppression could there be than a white policeman kneeling for more than eight minutes on the neck of a black man? In chilling film footage, captured in a Washington Post report available online, the policeman shows no concern and ignores the protests of onlookers while George Floyd pleads for his life, passes out and then dies of asphyxiation. It is an act of appalling brutality with the sulphurous stench of racism. Biblical churches on both sides of the pond are searching for godly ways to respond.

I don’t often reflect like this upon current affairs. I mostly keep my observations for my weekly preaching. I’m not an experienced blogger, tweeter or commentator, but I am a pastor of a church and a leader of a church-planting network that both aspire to the glorious cultural inclusivity of the heavenly church. For me to remain silent now begins to make me complicit with the gross injustices I fail to condemn. I recognise there are many great evils in our dark world on which I’ve not commented like this before (though I have referenced them often in sermons). So why speak up on this issue now?

Firstly, because the Bible says, ‘the LORD is righteous; he loves justice’ (Ps.13) and so being ‘godly’ includes seeking justice. Jesus condemns leaders who are obsessed with trivia but, ‘neglect justice and the love of God’ (Luke 11).  

Secondly, because I think my black sisters and brothers in Christ, both here in London and in the US, need to hear white pastors like me, however insignificant, powerless or remote we may feel, stand with them and say something publicly.

The situation in London is different to Minneapolis, and Christians of all backgrounds will want to thank God for the countless fair-minded police officers who serve and protect us, often in extreme circumstances such as this dreadful pandemic. Nevertheless, there are disturbing parallels in the recent history of London e.g. in the deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Mark Duggan, and most recently the death in April of Belly Majinga from Covid-19, after being spat upon while she worked at Victoria station. These deaths are only the more obvious examples of the more subtle social disadvantage along ethnic lines which was exposed in the Grenfell Tower Disaster, the Windrush disgrace, the recent explosion of knife-crime, and in the higher incidence of Covid-19 deaths among key workers from BAME backgrounds (explored by my colleague Rev. Dr. Jason Roach in the article partnered with this one on the Co-Mission website).

I have no wisdom of my own to enlighten the darkness of this world, currently gripped by a killer pandemic and now by widespread protest at such gross injustices. But in the Scriptures we can access the holy wisdom of God, supremely in our Lord Jesus Christ in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  For a scripture-soaked reflection on these issues I would recommend the article on The Gospel Coalition website by Jamaal Williams, Timothy Paul Jones and Jarvis J Williams – The Gospel and the Pursuit of Justice in Your City.

As my black sisters and brothers in Christ try to reach their own communities with the eternal hope of the gospel of Christ they are often met with anger and suspicion towards the Christian church. Yet, as Thabiti Anyabwile (our illustrious preacher on REVIVE Sunday on 21st June) has so eloquently explained in his recent tweets, becoming a Christian does not require anyone to renounce their ethnicity or distance themselves from the pain of their communities. I want to reassure them that we read the same Bible and worship the same God who delights in justice. I think Christians of every background need to hear white church leaders say that in Christ we will together grieve this crime, listen to those who suffer, proclaim our hope of justice in the gospel of Christ, and bend the knee in prayer to the God who loves us and will bring justice to all humanity on the day when Jesus returns.

Let us grieve with those who grieve.

It must be right to lament injustice as the psalmists do. Our Lord Jesus was ‘deeply troubled’ and burst into tears at the suffering caused by the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11). It must be right to grieve, not only with the people of God who are persecuted for our faith in Oman, Pakistan and North Korea, but with all who suffer from other kinds of prejudice – whether apartheid in South Africa, Islamophobia in Myanmar, Anti-Semitism in politics or police brutality in Minneapolis. We must not harden our hearts toward the pain of those who grieve.

Let us listen to those who suffer.

Those of us who have enjoy white privileges and don’t live in the daily expectation of prejudice, suspicion and disadvantage need to listen to those who do. I’ve been helped by those of different ethnicities in my church and among our Co-Mission Senior Pastors to realise that rather than trying to be ‘colour-blind’ and live as if there are no cultural issues among Christians, I need to be ‘colour-brave’ –  to celebrate diversity – and to discuss how to remove the social barriers which those from socio-economic and ethnic minority cultures encounter in our churches when they try to belong. And to recognise the diversity of the heavenly church (Revelation 7) is not merely a happy accident in God’s salvation plan. It is God’s glorious and deliberate fulfilment of his gospel promise to Abraham (Genesis 12) to extend the glory of his servant King Jesus (Isaiah 42). It is therefore a characteristic that our churches must to aspire to, pray for, and work towards. The trans-cultural global appeal of the gospel of Christ is a powerful testament to the universal truth of the gospel, in striking contrast to the cultural restriction of human religions (e.g. Buddhism requires an Eastern culture, Atheism a western culture and Islam an Arabic culture).

Becoming more inclusive requires me as a church leader to engage and empathise with the experience of racism in its many forms among my own church family and network in London. In truth, this is really a conversation we have only just properly begun. After listening, I need to take advice – to allow the voice of those who have hitherto been ignored to actually influence my decisions. I will need to make appointments from among those qualified to serve in leadership that recognise potential and the value of culturally diverse perspectives, even where there is a lack of experience through lack of privilege. I’ve been greatly helped by Ben Lindsay’s book, ‘We Need To Talk About Race’ and have bought copies for all our church ministry leaders. While I don’t agree with absolutely everything he says (we come from slightly different church traditions), his book has hugely impacted me. Thank you Ben!

Let us proclaim the hope of justice in the gospel.

In encouraging both legitimate protest and political action, ex-President Barack Obama writes, ‘I know the past few months have been hard and dispiriting. But watching the heightened activism of young people makes me hopeful. If we can keep channelling our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, this can be the moment when real change starts.’ I hope he’s right. But Christians know that even if this proves to be a great moment of reformation in criminal justice systems on both sides of the Atlantic (and sadly it may not), sin will emerge in other ways to bring pain and suffering. The only true hope of lasting justice and freedom from sin is in the kingdom of heaven – accessed through faith in the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Our hope for justice and equality can only be fully satisfied in Christ, who died to reconcile all nations, tribes and classes in himself to bring us home to heaven. There we shall enjoy the glory of God in the victorious unity of the multi-cultural people of the sacrificial lamb, and victorious lion, our saviour Jesus. He suffered the grossest injustice in dying in our place for our sins on a cross to redeem us from the wrath we deserve and the injustices of this world, into the freedom and equity of the kingdom of heaven. This loving Saviour and living Lord, himself a ‘person of colour’, is our hope for ultimate justice and joy and our motivation to pray and strive for it now.

So let us redouble our efforts to gossip the gospel in our chat-rooms and proclaim the good news in our Sunday livestreams. For while Covid-19 has tried to lock us down forever, our God has opened up the airways for the gospel like never before!

Indeed, the gospel is not only our only hope for peace everlasting, it is also our only hope for transforming racist and vengeful hearts in our cities right now. For only the Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts through the gospel to repent from sinful hatred to obey his commands, ‘Love each other as I have loved you’ and ‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ (John 15; Romans 12). One black pastor reminded me that the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King was grounded in Christian theology (whatever you make of his personal faith). Which is to remind us that the hope we hold must not be based on secular thinking, but only in the Gospel of God regarding the Son of God – which is the Power of God to save all who believe it, for in him the Righteousness of God we need to survive the wrath of God is given, and now unites us in him (Romans 1). So let us keep proclaiming the hope of eternal justice and joy that are only found in the gospel of Christ. And finally,

Let us pray to the only one who can bring deep change.

As children of God, let us together bend the knee – not merely in protest but in prayer. For our loving heavenly Father can see what we need and delights to give us what is good for us in becoming more like Jesus when we pray. Let us pray for the comfort of God’s love and peace in Christ for the family of George Floyd and for all those affected by racism and injustice in the USA and here in London. Let us pray that justice will be done and seen to be done for brutal police officers – but also for their personal saving repentance and faith in Christ. Let us pray for peace on the streets and in the hearts of all through faith in the gospel of hope in Christ. Let us pray for courage in presidents, and in civic, community and church leaders, to speak and act for change. Let us pray for yet more patience in those who are weary of being ignored. Above all, let us pray that in this darkness, the glory of Jesus, the ‘light of the world’ (John 1) might shine ever more brightly!

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor of Dundonald Church
and CEO of Co-Mission

We love you, Dundonald

Here’s a happy message from some of the Dundonald staff. 
We love you and miss you!

weekly update - 27 May 2020

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD UNDER LOCKDOWN

PSALM 29 – ‘THE VOICE OF THE LORD REVEALS HIS GLORY’

This exhilarating psalm likens the power of the Word of God among his people to the breath-taking sights and sounds of a thunderstorm crackling with lightning in the night-sky over northern Israel. This stunning Psalm of King David contains echoes of the creation narrative in Genesis and the redemption narrative in Exodus. It calls us to the same reverent praise and confident trust in the power of God’s word as Jesus later demonstrated.

The two verse introduction (vss.1-2) calls us to ‘worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness’. The two verse conclusion (vss.10-11) celebrates the LORD enthroned in power who, ‘gives strength to his people’ and ‘blesses his people with peace’. Four times in both the introduction and the conclusion our creator is called ‘the LORD’ – celebrating God’s gracious commitment revealed in the Exodus of Israel to redeem his people for heaven.

Seven times in the central section (vss.3-9) we read of the power of ‘the voice of the LORD among his people, illustrated by the lightning flashes of an awesome thunderstorm watched from Jerusalem – as it moves across the sky from the west over the Mediterranean Sea, across Lebanon in the north, to Kadesh in the desert to the east.

This thrilling prayer/song reminds us to seek strength and peace, for the challenges of life under lockdown and for serving God in eternity, in his powerful word, the Bible. For there, ‘the voice of the LORD’ reveals his lightning glory…in Jesus Christ.

As before, I have divided up the psalm, verse by verse, to add a line of explanation, to fashion a prayer for us to pray – on our own, with friends over zoom, or with the family around the tea-table. Let us pray…

‘Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father

1 Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength…
For you are worthy of praise throughout all heaven and earth;

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness…’
Stir our hearts with this psalm to recognise your glory and worship you in the beauty of your holiness;

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters…
We praise you that like when your word created the universe, so now your word is gloriously at work among your people, for we are your new creation;

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic…
We praise you for your personal word to us in your Son, Jesus, powerfully revealed to us in your written word, the Bible;

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon…
We praise you that as lightning splits open powerful cedar trees, your gospel word splits open our stubborn hearts;

6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox…
We praise you that as rainstorm bring joy to desert regions, your word of grace brings joy to our hearts;

7 The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning…
We praise you that like electric lightning, your word reveals your dazzling glory, supremely in Jesus;

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh…
We praise you that like thunder, your word is always living and active, shaking up your church;

9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’…
We praise you that your word is powerful to humble and transform sinners like us, so that in your presence, in heaven and on earth, are cry out in worship, ‘Glory!’ For in Jesus we behold your awesome glory;

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LLORD is enthroned as king forever…
LORD, Jesus Christ, you are ruling over your creation, over viruses and economies, for you alone are King;

11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace…
Sovereign LORD, give us strength in our weakness to serve you, and peace in our anxious hearts to trust you,

AMEN

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

Weekly Update - 20 May 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH DURING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC

Psalm 33 – THE CREATOR IS OUR HOPE!

The great truth celebrated in the Bible that God is our creator is not primarily concerned with the scientific questions of Western culture confused about our origins (although the Word of God is, of course, utterly consistent with the best science). The Bible constantly reminds us that God is our creator to assert our dependence upon him (we need him), our accountability to him (we have no right to rebel against him), the glory of Christ (by whom God created the universe through his Spirit-empowered word) and our security for the future when we turn back to him (our daily lives are under his control).

This beautiful psalm has:

            Vss.1-3: an invitation to praise God

            Vss.4-9: a reminder of the power and reliability of our Creator’s Word

            Vss.10-12: a reminder of the indestructability of our Creator’s saving Plans

            Vss.13-15: a reminder of our watchful Creator’s Care

            Vss.16-19: a reminder of our Creator’s protective Power

            Vss.20-22: an invitation to place our hopes for the future in our Creator

Psalm 33 is a glorious celebration of how the power of creator is our hope for the future. We certainly need to hear this as we look from lockdown into a future likely to include serious restrictions upon all our lives, financial challenges for many, and grieving for some. While this is a slightly longer psalm, you will find the verses have the cumulative effect of gentle waves on a sunny seashore – gradually stilling our anxieties and restoring our confidence in the love of God.

As usual I have divided the psalm up – each verse followed by a line of explanation – to form a prayer. We could pray this on our own, with friends on zoom (instead of a quiz?), or around the tea-table. Enjoy…

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

Thank you for this immense privilege we have in Christ of speaking with you as your children in prayer;

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him…
Help us sing with joy to you from our hearts – for you count us righteous and upright in Christ;

2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre…
Help us praise you to your face and to others, in our words and deeds; thank you for musicians who help us;

3 Sing to him a new song; play skilfully, and shout for joy…
Refresh our joy in you, especially with your gospel; empower our musicians with excellence to help us proclaim you boldly with joy;

4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does…
For your word, the Bible, is perfect, completely true and trustworthy – and you keep all your promises;

5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love…
We praise you for being holy and just, commanding purity and impartiality; yet your grace is enjoyed by all;

6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth…
By your word, empowered by the breath of your Spirit, you created the universe and its galaxies;

7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses…
You have gathered the mighty oceans, including the depths beyond our view, to where you want them;

8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him…
May the gospel spread to people of all nations so they may learn to worship you with lives of reverent awe;

9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm…
When you spoke at creation, as now when you speak through the gospel in new creation, your works are indestructible;

10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples…
As when you crushed the rebels trying to construct the tower of Babel, you will always defeat your enemies;

11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations…
But your gracious plans to glorify your Son by saving a vast people to worship him will never be defeated;

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance…
How happy we are to be your people, how privileged to be chosen from among sinners to be yours forever;

13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind…
You know everything that’s going on in the hearts of everyone everywhere in our world;

14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth…
Despite the shameless and rebellious selfishness of mankind, you govern and provide for us all;

15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do…
You gave us hearts to love you and our neighbours and you see how our hearts have turned towards idols;

16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength…
No-one can avoid your judgement, however wealthy or powerful they are; 

17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save…
No-one can escape your wrath, however advanced and powerful we think we are;

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love…
We praise you for watching over us – our hope for the future is in your loving grace toward us in Christ;

19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine…
We trust you to keep us alive and protect us through this pandemic and recession, to bring us to heaven;

20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield…
We are content to trust for the future in you LORD, for you strengthen and protect us each day;

21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name…
In the midst of anxiety and trouble, we rejoice in you LORD, for we trust in the holiness of your character;

22 May your unfailing love be with us LORD, even as we put our hope in you…
May your saving grace towards us in Jesus be always with us as we entrust ourselves and our futures to you;

AMEN

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

weekly update - 13 may 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH DURING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC

May God be gracious to us – for the salvation of all!

Psalm 67

For the Director of Music. With stringed instruments. A Psalm. A song.

Is it selfish to ask for God’s blessing? Is it okay to pray for safety from Covid-19 especially for our family and church? Is it alright to pray for financial prosperity and church growth? It feels natural to care most for those we know and love, and especially for Christians, who are the children of God. But if God answers our prayers as we hope, and while the ambulance sirens scream past outside our parents stay virus-free and our job is secure, should we feel a bit guilty? Is it alright to ask God for blessing?

The Psalms teach us how to pray/sing as Jesus would. Psalm 67 teaches us how to pray rightly for blessing from our loving heavenly Father. It uses some of the words of the beautiful prayer given by God to Aaron and the priests for blessing Israel, which Jesus our priest is presumably now praying for us in heaven, ‘The LORD bless you and keep you, the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26).

Psalm 67 warmly encourages us to pray for God’s blessing as his beloved and dependent children, but with some wonderful reminders:

  1. Remember to pray in plural (as in the LORD’s Prayer) – for all of God’s people and not just ourselves;
  2. Remember his primary blessing is in knowing Christ – whose life qualifies us for heaven and whose death paid for our sins and whose presence by his spirit is our greatest comfort;
  3. Remember that God wants people from all nations to be saved and so blessing us is part of commending his love to people of all nations;
  4. Remember God is so wonderful he deserves grateful praise from people of all nations and not just us;
  5. Remember that evangelising all nations to become Christians who praise God is for their joy under his just government;
  6. Remember the harvest in Israel in the Old Testament points to the fruitfulness of holy evangelism in the New Testament – so blessing is not only physical provision (health, homes and jobs) but spiritual growth (in our godliness and gospel outreach) –

So let us now pray for the physical and spiritual health of our family and church – for the salvation and welfare of all people i.e. for God’s blessing in the salvation of all. As before, I have broken the psalm up verse by verse with some additional words for us to pray – on our own in private, with friends on Zoom, or around the table with our family. Let us pray…

‘Almighty God, our loving heavenly father,

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us –
Please be kind to us: count us acceptable in Christ and watch over us with protective love;

2 so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
May unbelievers around the world see how you bless your people and so be drawn to Jesus;

3 May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.
During this humbling pandemic, may your people all over the world enjoy and proclaim the peace and hope we have in Jesus – who was crucified for our sins and raised for our justification to rule in glory;

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.
May many people be drawn to faith in Jesus during this lockdown through the online ministries of your churches everywhere;

5 May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.
May this world be increasingly filled with the joyful praises of people saved in Jesus;

6 The land yields it harvest; God, our God, blesses us.
We praise you that even during this dreadful pandemic, your people are being purified and unbelievers are turning to you;

7 May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Please bless us all with physical and spiritual health so that unbelievers, among our family, friends and around the world, will realise how kind you are and be saved for serving you;

In the name of Jesus Christ our LORD, AMEN.

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

Romans // Habakkuk – Catch Up

Last Sunday we finished our sermon series in Romans 8 during the daytime, and the book of Habakkuk in the evening.  If you missed it, you can catch up here https://dundonald.org/media

This Coming Sunday 

We have two one-off sermons this Sunday.  At the daytime online gatherings we’ll be considering “What will heaven be like?”, and in the evening we’ll be answering the question “What will happen when we die?”  These would be great opportunities to invite someone you know to join us online and think these things through – www.dundonald.org/live-stream

weekly update - 06 may 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH DURING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC

HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

Psalm 136

The core of human sin is ingratitude towards God – ‘for although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him’ (Romans 1:21). It’s the bitterness of the unbelieving heart that complains, ‘What’s he ever done for me!’ It fuels our rebellion and idolatry.

But the gospel of God’s sacrificial kindness to us in Christ creates thankful praise towards Godoverflowing with thankfulness’ (Colossians 2:7). It’s the joy of the believing heart that is that sings, ‘thanks be to God for his indescribable gift’ (2 Cor.9).

The psalms abound with prayer-songs full of joyful thankfulness. They teach us how to be grateful for God’s countless blessings, including the simple things we often take for granted, which is especially important in a season of anxiety and sickness like this Covid19 pandemic. And none more than Psalm 136.

It praises God for his supreme power and wisdom in creating and governing the universe. It recounts the history of God redeeming Israel from slavery in Egypt, preserving them on their journey through the hardships of the wilderness and from savage enemy kings, to bring them into the ‘inheritance’ he had promised in the land of Canaan. The Bible everywhere regards this redemption as pointing forward to Jesus’ journey through life, death, resurrection and ascension to glory in heaven; and to Christians as we follow Jesus through the hardships of life, including this pandemic and lockdown, to our inheritance in heavenly glory. The psalm’s repeated refrain, ‘his love endures forever’, compels us to keep recognising his redeeming love – to remember that, whatever the stress, sickness, bereavement, or economic hardship we are facing now, ‘nothing…can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8).

As before I have separated each verse of the psalm with a line of application and formed it as a prayer – for us to pray privately or with family or friends – perhaps taking it in turn to read a couple of lines each.

For whenever we give thanks like this to God, we will feel less self-pitying and more thankful that he is our loving heavenly Father. Let us pray…

‘Almighty God, our loving heavenly father,

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever…
We praise you for always being wonderfully good – and we thank you for your constant love;

2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever …
We worship you as the only real and living God, supreme over all rivals – and your love is everlasting;

3 Give thanks to the LORD of lords. His love endures forever…
We honour you as sovereign over all the powers of this world – and you have never stopped loving us;

4 to him who alone does great wonders. His love endures forever…
You alone could accomplish a mighty salvation – and your love is never exhausted;

5 who by his understanding made the heavens. His love endures forever…
You created this universe in all its complex beauty – and have loved us from before its beginning;

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters. His love endures forever…
You have designed this world – and have always loved your people;

7 who made the great lights – His love endures forever…
You have provided the resources of nature from which our prosperity comes – you have always loved us;

8 the sun to govern the day. His love endures forever…
You direct the business of all our lives each day – and never forget to love us;

9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever…
You govern and protect us from the unknown perils of nature – and have loved us despite our sin;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt. His love endures forever…
You have rescued us from the misery of our slavery to sin, Satan and death – your love never ceases.

11 and brought Israel out from among them. His love endures forever…
You redeemed us for freedom through the Passover sacrifice of your beloved Son – because you love us;

12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever…
You acted in power in the death of Jesus to release us from your wrath – because your love is unbreakable;

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder. His love endures forever…
You brought us out of Satan’s condemnation into the forgiveness of you Son – because your love is forever;

14 and brought Israel through the midst of it. His love endures forever…
You have broken Satan’s claim upon our lives through Jesus satisfaction of your law – because of your love;

15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea His love endures forever…
Satan and his demons have no power over us now – because of your promise-keeping love;

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness. His love endures forever…
You are bringing us safely through the hardships of this life – because despite our sin you love us every day;

17 to him who struck down great kings – His love endures forever…
You have only ever allowed us to suffer what will help us become like Jesus – because you love us;

18 and killed mighty kings – His love endures forever…
You can protect us safe from all threats, whether political or economic – because of your love;

19 Sihon King of the Amorites. His love endures forever…
Terrifying rulers have often persecuted your people – but your love is always watching over us;

20 and Og king of Bashan – His love endures forever…
Religions and ideologies have threatened your children – but your love brings all of us home;

21 and gave their land as an inheritance. His love endures forever…
You will give us the joy that others claim in your glory in heaven – because your love is victorious;

22 He remembered us in our low estate. His love endures forever…
Though we deserve nothing you have given us everything – you are loving because you are love;

23 and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever…
You have given us freedom from guilt to enjoy forever – because your love is forever;

24 He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever…
You sustain us in every day of our lives – because you never stop loving us;

25 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

AMEN.’

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

Romans // Habakkuk – Catch Up

Last Sunday we continued on in our sermon series – Romans 8 during the daytime, and the book of Habakkuk in the evening. If you missed it, you can catch up here https://dundonald.org/media – and don’t forget to tune in to Sunday church next week at our usual times – www.dundonald.org/live-stream.

weekly update - 29 April 2020

THE LORD IS WATCHING OVER YOU!

Psalm 121 – A song of ascents

This profoundly reassuring and beautiful psalm is another in the collection called ‘Songs of ascent’ (Psalms120-134). These were probably sung by pilgrims during their arduous journey along the steep and winding roads to Jerusalem for one of the great Jewish feasts celebrating God’s saving grace. They speak powerfully of simple faith in the goodness of the ‘LORD’. Indeed, this name is a reminder of his ‘Covenant’ promise to redeem his people from slavery for freedom to worship him. Theses psalms point forward – first to our Saviour Jesus, who perfectly exhibited this faith in his arduous ‘ascent’ – his journey through death for our sins, resurrection and ascension to glory with the Father. His ‘way of the cross’ is also the pilgrim path of all his followers. This is the arduous journey we must all travel through the sufferings of this life, including the anxiety, sickness and economic perils brought by Covid19, until we arrive to be with Jesus forever in the happiness of the heavenly Jerusalem.

As before, I have divided the psalm verse by verse, each with a line of expansion, as a prayer we can pray – whether on our own or with our flatmates, friends on zoom, or family around the kitchen table.

The wonderful assurance of this psalm is supremely in the phrase repeated five times: the LORD ‘watches over you’. This means that the LORD who created the universe, is the guardian protector of all who follow Jesus, for we are now is beloved children. This doesn’t mean we are immune from all sickness and trouble – a loving Dad will watch his child scratch their knees in the playground, watch them cry as the dentist gives them a tooth filling, and watch from the touchline as they get injured playing football. As children must go through hardships to grow up, so Christians must go through suffering to become like Jesus in our faith. But only and always under the watchful eye of our loving heavenly Father…the LORD who is ‘watching over you’!

‘Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father, our LORD who keeps his promises,

1 I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?
In this worrying season of sickness and economic difficulty, we are very aware of our weakness and need;

2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth…
We are trusting in you LORD, for you are the powerful creator and governor of the universe;

3 He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber…
We trust that you will never let go of us because you are watching over us constantly;

4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep…
We know that you have always watched carefully over your people, and you never get tired or fall asleep;

5 The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand…
We trust you are watching over us right now, protecting us from anything that isn’t good for us becoming more like Jesus;

6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night…
We know your natural world, including Coronavirus and economic recession, cannot hurt or frighten us without your loving permission;

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life
We rejoice in the presence of your Spirit protecting us from all harm, for you are our watchful heavenly Father;

8 The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
We rest in your protection throughout the day, watching over us constantly through life and death, today and every day, now and forever,

AMEN

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

New Teaching Series  – Catch Up

Last Sunday we began two new sermon series – in Romans 8 during the daytime, and the book of Habakkuk in the evening. If you missed any of the services, you can catch up here https://dundonald.org/media – and don’t forget to tune in to Sunday church next week at our usual times – www.dundonald.org/live-stream.

Spotify Playlist

The Worship Ministry Team have created a Spotify playlist of the songs we currently sing on a Sunday which can be found here. We hope people will find this encouraging as these wonderful words dwell richly in our hearts!

Reasons for Dundonald Church staff furlough

Do feel free to read this letter from Richard, our Senior Pastor, detailing the reasons why a number of the staff are taking a brief period of furlough in the weeks to come, as part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Weekly update - 22 April 2020

HOW TO BE FILLED WITH JOY – EVEN DURING A PANDEMIC (Psalm 126)

Psalm 126 is part of a collection of Psalms from 120-134, each entitled, “A song of ascents”.

This is probably because they were sung by Jewish pilgrims as they approached Jerusalem for one of their great annual feasts celebrating God. Though they vary in content, they share the common perspective of believers enduring the trials of an arduous pilgrimage through desert terrain and then climbing steep mountain paths – daily sustained by the joyful prospect of gathering with God’s people in his glorious temple in Jerusalem. These psalms are precious to us today, for Jesus said the Old Testament speaks about him (John 5) and in his Apostle Paul said the Old Testament was written for our encouragement (Romans 15). These prayer/songs speak not only of Jesus arduous journey of faith through death and resurrection to heaven, but also of our Christian lives following Jesus through hardships to the heavenly Jerusalem, our home in heaven with God.

This particular prayer/song is in two halves.

Each is introduced in v.1 and v.4 by reference to “restoring fortunes”, which is more accurately translated as “returning captives”. It’s a phrase used elsewhere of the Jews who had been exiled to Babylon returning home (i.e. restored) to Jerusalem in the C6th BC. So this psalmist wrote for God’s people living (as we also now live0 between two stages of restoration by God – they were able to look back and remember their restoration from exile in Babylon to their new life in Jerusalem; but they were still looking forward to a future restoration into the abundance of blessing and joy promised long ago by the LORD for his kingdom.

This is like Christians today –

Especially in a tough season like this Covid19 crisis: we look back to when we became Christians (for we had been exiled far from God in our slavery to sin) when we were restored by Jesus to our wonderful new life, enjoying his love and freedom from condemnation in his kingdom. But our life is sometimes still very hard – indeed, there is currently sickness and death all around us and we may be facing great economic hardship. So we long for the abundant blessing and ecstatic joy promised by God’s gospel in heaven. This psalm reminds us that we can look back to the joy of our first restoration when we became Christians as the guarantee of the joy of our second restoration when we arrive in heaven – as Paul says, “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil.1). And it reminds us that if we want the extreme joy of the harvester brining in a abundant harvest, we need to take every opportunity to sow the seed of the gospel now, however painful that feels. Indeed, there are probably more opportunities than ever right now, in this lockdown season of sickness and hardship, to talk about our confidence in Jesus and to invite people to join us in church on-line, as increasing numbers are doing.

As previously, I have formed a prayer out of each line of the Psalm interspersed with a line of explanation, for us to pray – either alone or with others – as an encouragement in this difficult season – to take every opportunity to explain the hope that we have to unbelievers we know, in the sure expectation of great rejoicing when we finally arrive in heaven…

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed…
LORD Jesus we remember how wonderful it was when you ended our exile and welcomed us into your church family as your adopted and beloved children – how glad we were to be forgiven and loved by you;

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongue with songs of joy…
Your mercy and love made us feel so happy, you made our hearts sing with such joy;

Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them”…
We remember how other people noticed the difference in our lives and recognised that you have deeply blessed us; indeed…

3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy…
LORD Jesus, in this difficult Coronavirus season, we remember how good you have been to us, and even in the midst of lockdown and hardship, we can rejoice every day in know you and your gracious salvation;

4 Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev…
But now LORD Jesus, we, your people and your world face increased physical suffering and economic hardship; please act again in mercy to rescue us from these troubles, restore us spiritually, physically and economically – like streams of water bringing beautiful spring flowers in the desert;

5 Those who sow with tears, will reap with songs of joy…
Help us to remember that if we want to arrive in heaven with songs of joy like reapers bringing in an abundant harvest, by bringing unbelievers into your family through the gospel, we will have to take every opportunity we can to sow the good news of Christ, crucified, risen, protecting, providing and returning;

6 Those who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.
Help us be willing to speak about Jesus, even through tears of embarrassment and frustration – please help us to take every opportunity we can to share the reason for our hope in Christ, to invite friends and family to join our church services on-line, and to help them discover the overwhelming joy of forgiveness in Jesus;

For we ask in the name of our loving and living Saviour, the great restorer of our souls, Jesus,

AMEN

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

Weekly update - 15 April 2020

AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR DUNDONALD CHURCH DURING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC

LOCKDOWN IS A GREAT TIME TO READ OUR BIBLES!

Psalm 1 tells us the way to the most blessed life, even during this Covid19 Pandemic. It’s not about hand sanitising, personal distancing and exercise but about the blessings of reading God’s Word in the Bible.

While the Psalms are rightly treasured for revealing how to approach God in prayer and praise, the NT writers primarily value them as revealing the relationship between the LORD and his chosen but despised king David to help us understand Jesus. Psalms 1-2 form a joint introduction, launching the overall development in Psalms from songs of lament to songs of praise, reflecting the journey of Christ from suffering to glory.

Ps. 1 begins, “Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the LORD” i.e. who enjoys studying the Scriptures (including Psalms); Psalm 2 then introduces us to the three main characters in these Psalms (and all of scripture): the nations united in rebellion against God; the LORD in heaven laughing at our impudence, and his Son the King, who will inherit the nations and smash his enemies, so Psalm 2 ends, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him”.

This introduction to blessing is completed by the end of Book 1 where Ps.41 begins, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak” i.e. God’s blessing now and forever is experienced by those who meditate on God’s Word and so take refuge in God’s King and so share his compassion for the weak!

The function of Psalm 1 is to call us to delight in studying the Bible (expounded in Ps. 19 and expanded in Ps. 119). Ps 1 contrasts two ways to live: the way of the righteous who delight in God’s law and the way of the wicked who disobey God’s law. As I have done before, here is Psalm 1, line by line with some reflections as a prayer – asking the LORD to help us take delight in his Word, especially during this Covid19 pandemic…

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father

1 Blessed is the one…
In this season of fear and uncertainty, of sickness and death, of personal and economic hardship, please lead me in the way of life that you bless and approve, now and in eternity…

…who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers…
Help me to turn away from the godless pride of this world – where hope is placed in your gifts of science, wealth and community, but you are ignored, sin is indulged and faith in you is mocked…

2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD…’
Help me to take delight in reading your Word more than in Netflix or good weather…

…And who meditates on his law day and night…
Help me not to forget or be distracted from your Word but to keep considering what you say…

3 That person is like a tree…
Help me to be spiritually strong, stable and alive in this season of weakness, uncertainty and death…

…planted by streams of water,
Help me to be continually renewed and refreshed with the inexhaustible life your Spirit gives through your word…

…Which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither…
Help me to obey your Word in a life that is fruitful with appropriate works of servant-hearted kindness which witness to your grace and to endure and never give up…

…Whatever they do prospers…
Help me to prosper in the life of Christ-like faith that you have prepared for me, however hard this season proves to be…

4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away…
Help me not to be tempted into an empty and worthless life of godlessness that will not survive your judgement…

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Help me to pray and take every opportunity speak with compassion to unbelievers who will not escape your wrath or enjoy your presence with your people unless they turn to you…

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction…
Thank you that you are always watching over me and all your children to pardon our sin, provide what we need and protect us from anything that won’t help us become more like Jesus; help us during this Pandemic crisis not to be tempted by the ways of this world which lead to ruin but to enjoy taking delight in your Word,

For we ask in Jesus name, AMEN.”

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

Easter Weekend – Catch Up

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend celebrating the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus as a church family, even if it was done online!

If you missed any of the services, you can catch up here https://dundonald.org/media – and don’t forget to tune in to Sunday church next week at our usual times – www.dundonald.org/live-stream.

Hope in the face of the Coronavirus

Where can we find a hope that lasts, even in the face of death?

Watch this short film, and then why not share with a friend?

Weekly update - 08 April 2020

WEEKLY ENCOURAGEMENTS FROM THE PSALMS DURING THE COVID19 CRISIS

PUT YOUR HOPE IN THE LORD – PSALM 130

Using the words of this beautiful song for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, as we who follow Jesus are on our way to the heavenly city of God, let us pray…

‘Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father…

1 Out of the depths I cry to you LORD;
Thank you that from the depths of fear and distress, we may cry out to you, fully confident of your concern;

2 LORD hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Since you are the ‘LORD’, committed to redeeming your people, we begin by pleading for your mercy;

3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, LORD, who could stand!
We confess we have sinned and failed you in many ways: we have no right to stand in your presence;

4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
We marvel at your gracious willingness to forgive us through the self-sacrifice of your beloved Son, Jesus; we rejoice in the privilege of living reverently in your service – how amazing you are!

5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
In faith we wait for you to deliver us from our troubles, trusting in all the promises of your Word, the Bible;

6 I wait for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
We wait for you in the darkness of our afflictions, confident that your blessings will surely come;

7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
We call others to put their hopes, not in ourselves or in earthly powers, but in our LORD who provides and directs all good things, for your love is unfailing and your ransom from sin and suffering will be complete in heaven one day;

8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
For you have personally committed yourself to saving us from all our sins – from hell, for heaven, forever; We praise you LORD and, confident in your power and love, we put our hope in you, AMEN.

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

Enjoy our online Easter services

Do join us at 8 PM Friday evening for our online Good Friday Reflections. Music, prayers, reflections from Matthew’s Easter story, and a chance to pause and give thanks for the sacrifice of King Jesus.

On Easter Sunday our online services will stream at our usual service times, 9:00, 10:45, 4:00, and 6:30.  The three daytime services will begin with a special time of music and input for our children, so if you have kids, please have them join you as we begin our time together.

Join us at www.dundonald.org/live-stream or search YouTube for “Dundonald Church” if you have a smart TV.  As always, sermon resources are available on our website, https://dundonald.org/media.

COVID-19 Update 01 April 2020

22 REASONS TO BE THANKFUL – EVEN DURING A PANDEMIC

In this challenging season of uncertainty, fear, sickness, death and economic worry brought by the global COVID-19 crisis, it is hard not to be crippled by anxiety and sadness. The Bible never ignores or minimises the pain and sadness of human suffering. Jesus himself cried when he saw his dear friends Martha and Mary stricken with grief at the loss of their brother Lazarus. But God’s Word does encourage God’s people not to surrender to self-pity but rather to ‘count our blessings’ – to remember how loved and blessed we are to be saved by Jesus. One of the most wonderful reminders of our privileges in Christ is Psalm 103. The psalm is arranged in twenty-two verses, each of which starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet – it’s like the old London A-Z – an A-Z of blessings for us to remember how precious we are to our heavenly Father. Why not read this, stopping to thank God in prayer after each verse, and pray that the rest of our church family, perhaps especially our NHS and other key workers, would feel comforted by these great truths for themselves. So here they are – twenty-two reasons to be thankful – even during a pandemic:

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
In Hebrew this reads, ‘Praise the LORD, I tell my throat; all my internal organs, praise his holy name’ –the writer calls his inner being to praise God – to his face in thankfulness and to others in evangelism;

1. He’s our loving Saviour! (2-5)

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits –
It’s easy to presume upon our health and material comforts – but a pandemic humbles us to recognise how dependent we are upon God’s kindness, and to celebrate his salvation – in three stages…

3 Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
He pardons our failures and heals our sicknesses until one day in his new creation we shall be free from sin and sickness forever and ‘there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’;

4 Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
By his Son’s death in our place the LORD has ransomed us from the eternal hell we deserve for the eternal honours of his merciful affection and gracious care; and then…

5 Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Our frustrated desires for security, significance and joy find lasting satisfaction in the security of his love, the significance of being his children and the joy of his salvation – which strengthen our weary and fearful souls;

2. He’s our Merciful Redeemer! (6-12)

6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
Celebrating the LORD’s redemption of his oppressed people from slavery in Egypt, the Psalmist points forward to our liberation from sin and vindication before our critics through the death of Jesus;

7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD revealed himself and his ways to Moses in the redemption of his enslaved people by his power revealed in the plagues, the Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea which all point to the death of Jesus;

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
This first half of the LORD’s name summarising his character which was revealed to Moses, celebrates his mercy and kindness, his patience and overflowing faithfulness toward God’s people in Christ;

9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
While we deserve the LORD’s wrath and anger, the psalmist praises the LORD for his patient mercy and willingness to forgive through sending his son to suffer his wrath in our place;

10 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
This is not to say God is unjust but that he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve because Jesus volunteered to be pierced for our transgressions and punished for our iniquities on the cross – we owe him everything;

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
The psalmist uses immeasurable distances to illustrate God’s immeasurable and inexhaustible love;

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Since Jesus has died in our place, God has taken the guilt and consequences of our sin away forever;

3. He’s our Everlasting Father! (13-18)

13 As a Father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
Our loving heavenly father provides what we need and protects us from anything bad for us becoming like Jesus, including a loving family, the comfort of his Spirit, hearing our prayers and a glorious inheritance;

14 For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
He is also a sympathetic father who knows our frailties because he created us – he knows we are dust, of the chemicals of the earth, frail in our humanity and mortality – and he never expects too much of us;

15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
God is humbling us all in this pandemic – to recognise that, however much we exercise and diet, our lives our brief and fragile and may be ended by God through Coronavirus or cancer or old age as he decides;

16 The wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
God has reminded us in this crisis that we are not immortal. Our lives are brief and for all our effort to make a difference we will be quickly be forgotten in this world; where we spend eternity is of primary importance;

17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD‘s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children –
While Covid19 emphasises how temporary we are, how good it is to remember that God’s love for us is eternal, lasting from ‘from age to age’ in heaven, and will bless and provide for those we leave behind;

18 With those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
All these blessings are reserved for his adopted children, his people who have turned from sinful rebellion to keep his commands under his new covenant arrangement with his people established by Jesus’ blood;

4. So praise the Lord (19-22)

19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
Our heavenly Father is the everlasting LORD, sovereign over heaven and earth; he has raised Jesus from the dead and enthroned him over his kingdom until he ends this world; so let us fear and worship him alone;

20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
Come on, you angels, sing up for the LORD!

21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
Come on, you heavenly, sing up for the LORD!

22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion.
Come on, you galaxies and mountains and cities – sing up for the LORD!

      Praise the LORD, O my soul
Come on my soul – let my words and behaviour praise him, let my priorities and decisions praise him, let my faith during this crisis praise him, let my prayer and evangelism praise him, come on my soul praise the LORD!

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

No Sunday or Small Group Gatherings

Please remember that we will not be meeting for Sunday gatherings or in our small groups until further notice.

Our Sunday gatherings will continue to be available on our website, dundonald.org/live-stream at your regular service time. If you miss the online service, sermon resources are available as always on our website, dundonald.org/media.

Prayer Meeting Tonight

Please join us for our monthly prayer meeting tonight, at 8 PM!

Things will be a little different, and we won’t be sharing the Lord’s supper, as this is something for Christians to do when we gather in person, but there’ll still be the same great opportunity to hear what’s going on at Dundonald, across London, and further afield, and to join in prayer to our generous Heavenly Father.

We’ll be meeting via Zoom, an online meeting tool. If you haven’t received the details by email, please contact info@dundonald.org

Sadly, we won’t be able to all pray together out loud in the meeting, so please keep your microphone muted during the meeting. Pray as loud as you like at home! Once the meeting has started please turn off your video as this will enable a better call quality for everyone involved.

COVID-19 Update 25 March 2020

Dear Dundonald family,

GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH… SO WE DON’T NEED TO BE FRIGHTENED BY CORONAVIRUS (PSALM 46)

Now we’re in ‘lockdown’ – besieged by this dreadful Coronavirus pandemic. We may well feel afraid – or be struggling to cope – whether bored and lonely in a flat, stressed by being cooped up with small children, or anxious as key workers heading onto the front line each day.

What could be more encouraging in a global crisis than Psalm 46? It proclaims the security of God’s people within the loving purposes of God. It doesn’t pretend Christians are immune from stress, sickness or death. But it reminds us that our loving heavenly Father is sovereignly directing everything, even a dangerous virus like Covid-19, for our spiritual good so that we become more like Jesus.

The psalm contains echoes of God’s deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians under Moses (Exodus15) and from the Assyrians under Hezekiah (1 Kings 18). It also points forward to God’s marvellous deliverance of us from our sin – through his Son, Jesus Christ, dying in our place on the cross, to bring us peace with God.

The psalm was written to be sung in the temple of Jerusalem (the expected response from the people is repeated in v.7 & v.11). It proclaims God’s power amidst three kinds of turmoil, which we also are facing today:

  • vv. 1-3: his power over creation to protect us amidst natural disasters such as a global pandemic;
  • vv. 4-6: his power over history to protect us amidst national chaos such as a global economic crisis;
  • vv. 8-10: his power over ideologies toprotect us amidst culture wars such as global secular atheism.

Here below, the psalm is broken up sentence by sentence, with a line of reflection and prayer for each. We could pray this on our own or with family and friends in the coming week…

“LET US PRAY…

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father, we draw near to take refuge from the dangers we face, seek your strength in our weariness, and take comfort from the presence of your Spirit through whatever lies ahead;

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Heavenly father, we resolve to trust in your loving power, rather than be anxious or afraid – even when the world around us seems to be falling apart.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

We rejoice that a river of abundant spiritual life in Christ now gladdens our hearts in your presence, and that in death you will bring us home to yourself, safe and secure from the assaults of all our enemies. 

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

Thought the nations are in chaos and human powers fail, we rejoice that your word is powerful to melt all earthly obstruction and so you will keep all your precious gospel promises to us.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

We are comforted to know you are the powerful LORD of hosts who defends us, the God who has always been a mighty fortress to our ancestors.

8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

We praise you for your glorious works in delivering your people from the Egyptians and the Assyrians, but supremely in redeeming us from our sin for eternal peace with you, by the sacrificial death of your Son.

10 He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’

We repent of faithless doubt and seek rest in you, for you alone are God on high and will one day be exalted by all nations and peoples when Christ returns.

11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

We take comfort from your presence and look to you for our protection and security in the days ahead, for we are you children in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray, AMEN.”

Richard Coekin
Senior Pastor

No Sunday or Small Group Gatherings

Please remember that we will not be meeting for Sunday gatherings or in our small groups until further notice.

The latest instructions from the government about travelling to work only if it is “absolutely necessary,” and prohibiting gatherings of more than two people, mean we’ll need to make changes to how we record our online services, but these will continue to be available at www.dundonald.org/live-stream/ at your regular service time.

If you missed joining in this Sunday, sermon resources are available as always on our website, https://dundonald.org/media/.

Prayer Meeting Next Wednesday

Our monthly prayer meeting will still be happening next Wednesday, 1st April.  We will let you know the details of how you can join in online from home in the coming days.  Please do plan to join us.  Observing physical distancing doesn’t mean we can’t pray together!  We won’t be sharing the Lord’s supper in this online meeting though, as this is something for Christians to do when we gather in person.

We will me meeting online using Microsoft Teams.  Click here to download the app or join the Prayer Meeting at 8pm next Wednesday.

Some ways we can be praying

The WITNESS Leaders have asked us to pray and give thanks for these things across the life of our church:

Worship (James Williams): Praise God that we were able to stream last Sunday and for all the encouraging photos of our church family worshipping together online.

Instruct (Santhosh Thomas): Give thanks for the many creative ways people have found to help one another grow in Christ this week!

Train (Clayton Fopp): Give thanks for those being recruited into new areas of ministry, and learning new ways of equipping others!

Network: Please be praying for our brothers and sisters across London, especially those we’re connected with through Co-Mission, that they might continue to hold out the words of eternal life.

Evangelism (Tom Heasman): Give thanks to God for the number of gospel conversations that have already been had with friends and neighbours, and for enquirers tuning in to church online – pray that many would turn to Jesus for eternal life!

Serve (Iain Ridley): Praise the Lord for our large church family who are so servant hearted and always looking for ways to love one another, this past 10 days (since our last Sunday gatherings) have seen so much care going on, Ephesians 2:10 in action!

Support: Pray that we wouldn’t become insular during this crisis, but would continue to pray for people from all nations to know the love of God in Christ, and that we would support our Mission Partners well during this difficult time.

Kids (Natasha Small): Pray for the Kids team as they work to produce materials for our families under the latest restrictions on gathering.

Youth (James Williams): Give thanks for the technology that is allowing us have an online CYFA this Friday.

Women (Genevieve Johnston): Praise God – a new online group for women not previously in a small group will start up this week – pray for this to be a helpful time in God’s word and prayer together. 

Operations (Mark Nicholas): Please pray for the staff team as we adjust to working from home and work out what to work on going forward.  We love hearing from you, do drop us a line info@dundonald.org

COVID-19 Update 18 March 2020

Dear Dundonald family,

‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing’

As we journey through this extraordinary season of turmoil, fear, sickness and death, our Lord Jesus Christ, our good shepherd who laid down his life for us because he loves us so deeply, will be with each of us every step of the way. May I encourage you with some brief reflections on this beautiful and familiar Psalm 23 for your prayers and meditation…

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing; Lord Jesus thank you for leading, protecting and looking after me through this crisis;

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul Thank you for giving me in Scripture the rest, reassurance and encouragement my heart needs;

3 He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Thank you that your Word leads me in the best way to handle this crisis because I belong to you;

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Thank you that even if I get very sick or die I don’t need to be scared because you’re always with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Thank you that you love me enough to correct me when I wander and protect me from evil;

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, Thank you that you are preparing a marvellous celebration in heaven for me and all your people; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Thank you for welcoming me into the privileges and blessings of being children of God;

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, Thank you that as I follow you, your kindness and grace will be with me every day of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Thank you that I am on my way to live with you and all your people in the happiness of heaven!’

 AMEN

Why not pray this yourself, and send it to others; I’ve just had a wonderful conversation with a lady who shared how this crisis is making her think and said she’d love to listen in to church this Sunday and come along after this crisis has passed; let us take every opportunity to comfort or brothers and sisters in Christ and to reach out to those who need or Good Shepherd!

See you on Sunday,
Warmly in Christ, Richard

No Sunday or Small Group Gatherings

Please remember that we will not be meeting for Sunday gatherings until further notice.  In order for us to keep encouraging each other and hearing from God’s Word together, we will be recording a simple but uplifting church service and making it available online.  Please join us at www.dundonald.org/live-stream/ at your regular service time.

In the light of the government’s advice on Monday about stopping non-essential contact, all our small groups, including Growth Groups, KG Groups, Connect, and Stepping Stones, will not meet until further notice. The Senior’s Tea planned for next Friday has also been postponed.

We’re encouraging small groups to meet remotely if they’re able, and we recommend Zoom (which can be downloaded free on mobile devices, or used on laptops/computers without any download or sign-up needed). There is also the option for those without internet technology to ‘dial in’ to a group call using their landline.

This opens up lots of exciting opportunities – including maybe a KG ‘all together’ slot before people break out into their usual groups. Group leaders will be in touch, but please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions or concerns.   

Please see Richard’s announcement from Sunday here for further information, and check the updates page regularly for the latest news.

Kids’ Resources for Parents

The Dundonald Kids team feel privileged to continue to partner with parents in the discipleship of our children, as Sunday gatherings and Kids & Youth programs are suspended until further notice.  The team will be providing parents with materials going forward, to enable a weekly family devotional in place of our regular Kids programs.

Each Friday we will send out an email with instructions and resources for your family to complete together, sometime over the course of the weekend. The devotionals will be based on Faith in Kids ‘The Wonder of Easter’, and will contain a lesson overview, age appropriate activities, discussion questions, and a link to some videos from either Barnaby, Tim, or Natasha to watch with your children.

We hope these materials will be a source of encouragement for your family over the next 5 weeks!

Here’s a snapshot across the life of our church

Worship (James Williams): The team is working hard to prepare for Sunday gatherings online as well as looking at ways to resource people at home.

Instruct (Santhosh Thomas) We’re working out creative and manageable ways to keep growing in Christ together, especially as small groups with slightly different contexts.

Train (Clayton Fopp) We’re working hard to make sure ministry teams have the people resources they need as we learn what making disciples looks like in this different season.

Network: Please be praying for our brothers and sisters across London, especially those we’re connected with through Co-Mission, that they might continue to hold out the words of eternal life.

Evangelism (Tom Heasman): We’re seeking to creatively equip and encourage each of us to love our neighbours and share the gospel with them during these unusual times!

Serve (Iain Ridley): We’re working hard to ensure those most in need get what they require during these unprecedented times. Please get in touch if you have specific needs or are concerned for others in the church family.

Support: Let’s encourage each other to be praying for the nations and gospel work around the world, maybe especially when so much of our attention is draw to our own needs!

Kids (Natasha Small): The team are looking forward to providing parents with materials to enable a weekly family devotional in place of our regular Kids programs.

Youth (James Williams): We’re exploring ways to stay connected with our young people through technology and social media. Looking at different resources to equip families at home.

Women (Genevieve Johnston): working on helping connect women in our church for fellowship – in particular those not in a small group.

Operations (Mark Nicholas): What a busy time! We’ve asked the staff team to work from home wherever possible, you can still contact us by emailing info@dundonald.org or phoning the office number.  We’re aware that people want to help at this time and are happy to receive offers.

Please get in touch if we can be of any help at this unusual time!

A Message From Richard Coekin About Our Coronavirus Response

This message has been updated 16/3/2020 in the light of the government’s most recent advice.

Dear Dundonald Church Family,

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7)

I am writing to confirm what I outlined in Church on Sunday. But before outlining our plans for continuing our gospel ministries and caring well for each other during this dreadful Coronavirus pandemic, perhaps I could offer some encouragements:

1. We are all bound to feel anxious, especially for our loved ones and church family as well ourselves, during this crisis; it is a sobering reminder of our human frailty and mortality and of the limitations of medical science and government; however, if we trust in Jesus, our living sovereign Lord and loving personal saviour, we can be absolutely sure that he loves us deeply and that nothing can befall us except what he knows can help us become more like Jesus (Romans 8:28). So may I encourage you to ‘cast all your anxiety on him’ in prayer; you could do this in short prayers throughout the day; or you could spend some time at the beginning or end of each day of this crisis, on your own or together with your family or flatmates, to give this crisis over to our Lord; you could read through Psalm 23 which reminds us that our Good Shepherd, Jesus, is with us as we walk ‘though the valley of the shadow of death’; or perhaps work through the short readings available from Andy Mason’s comforting piece on our Co-Mission website available here; remember that nothing can ever ‘separate us from the love of God that is in Christ our Lord’ (Romans 8)! For some reflections on how God may be using the suffering of his people for good, a reminder that Jesus promised, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ and the comfort that Jesus’ love for his people is a deeply emotional love, you can hear my recent sermon on John 11 available here. Let us recognise in this virus an opportunity to encourage one another, to witness to unbelievers and to practise for the time when God will call us home one day, to remain calm in the face of sickness and death, not because we are British, but because we trust in our living Lord and loving Saviour, Jesus Christ;

2. At a time when many unbelievers will be afraid or even panicking, God may be giving us special opportunities to love and serve them – which could lead to wonderful opportunities in due course to share the gospel with them? We really do have a gloriously comforting gospel of the Jesus who loves us so much he died for us and who lives to offer us the certain hope of resurrection! So let’s pray for opportunities to speak; perhaps we could check in on neighbours, colleagues and friends, whether in person or on the phone, especially those who are elderly and frail, to offer practical help like shopping or help with accessing online help and information? It may feel appropriate to offer to pray for them and with them, and to say something about our confidence in Jesus? May I encourage you to look for opportunities to ‘give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15);

3. We can be grateful to God for his provision of excellent health care and the wisdom of eminent doctors and scientists advising our government; may I encourage us to be sensible – and to carefully abide by the latest government guidelines available here; it is not godly to ignore God’s provision of such wisdom. And so, if you have symptoms please self-isolate and do not come to church as you may infect others; and if you are elderly or vulnerable, may I encourage you to stay away from church until this crisis has passed, to access our Bible-teaching and other ministries in the ways outlined below, and to let us be in contact with you to ensure you are cared for in practical ways; it is not godly to take unnecessary risks or place others in danger of becoming infected by ignoring the advice of secular authorities that are provided by God for our blessing;

Now let me outline our proposals at Dundonald in this next season of our church life. Since we recognise that in the interests of public health the Government is likely very soon to ban gatherings above a certain size and so make gathering at church not only unwise but illegal, and to avoid putting unloving pressure upon each other to attend church or small groups when we should be remaining at home, and in light of the wonderful technology available to us, at Dundonald we propose the following:

1. Our Sunday gatherings at Wimbledon Chase School and at St. Andrew’s church will be suspended until further notice beginning next week (i.e. we will not meet on March 22nd); however, as we have been practising in the last fortnight, we are confident of livestreaming a simple but uplifting church service (including prayers, Bible-reading, sermons continuing our preaching programme as planned, notices, interviews and some music) at the usual times of 9, 10:45, 4 and 6:30 (being a different sermon to the daytime); it may be necessary to record these services and then stream them at the normal service times on Sunday (e.g. if our staff availability is reduced by sickness); this will be available directly live from our Dundonald website (or the recording of it in the normal way from the Monday of the following week) – so if you don’t currently have access to these online services, please procure them or ask for help in doing so – we would love to keep everyone connected in to the encouragements of church where possible – you could even sing along!

In the light of the most recent advice from the government, small groups will not gather to stream the Sunday services together.

We will also make our sermon scripts available on the Dundonald website after our Sunday services for any who are unable to access the livestream;  So may I encourage you to join us for church online at the usual time each Sunday or to stay connected by prayerfully reading and ;

2. In the light of the most recent advice from the government on 16/3/20 advising against all non-essential contact, all our midweek groups, including Growth Groups, Connect groups, PTS, and KG Groups will no longer meet, either centrally or in homes, until further notice. Group leaders are being given advice about how to make it possible to continue to connect electronically, online, and by phone.

3. Our Better Life events are all postponed until further notice – please do pray that guests who were willing to come will be eager to come again and bring others with them;

4. Our Children & Youth gatherings will be suspended until further notice but we are planning to offer some ideas and materials appropriate for our different Children and Youth age-groups to enjoy at home or with a few friends; please see the Wednesday updates for more information;

5. To access care and prayer – we eagerly desire to properly care for one another through this testing time; if we are aware of needs for spiritual comfort and prayer or practical care for others or for ourselves, please in the first instance contact your small group leaders; if you are not in a small group, or for help in more demanding situations (e.g. someone feeling especially anxious or in a hospital ICU or bereaved) please contact the Staff Team and Care Team on info@dundonald.org;

6. Updates and information – we will post information and programme changes and particular requests for help and prayer in the Updates section on the front page of our Dundonald website by noon on the Wednesday of each week and these Updates will be repeated in the ensuing weekly e-mail and other media channels as normal;

And remember, ‘God is our strength and refuge, an ever-present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1);

With love and prayer,
Richard Coekin

NHS guidance is available here
Church of England guidance is available here.
Contact the staff and care team info@dundonald.org;

The Lord’s Prayer in the face of Coronavirus

Our father in heaven – thank you for Jesus in whom you have adopted us as your beloved children; help us remember that sickness and death will never separate us from your love, believe you will be with us through whatever lies ahead, and trust you are fully in control and perfectly good;

Hallowed be your name – we pray this crisis will result in much praise for you – that believers will be strengthened in their faith and unbelievers will recognise our human frailty and mortality and turn from sin to worship you;

Your Kingdom come – until Jesus returns to rescue us from this world of pain, as far as this virus spreads, we pray your kingdom will grow further, in the hearts of people of all nations finding in Jesus the sure hope of resurrection into your new creation, free from sickness, suffering and death to enjoy you forever;

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – Father we rejoice in your sovereign power; in your mercy, please end this crisis soon, deliver us and all your people through this crisis, and may your gracious plans to save the lost be advanced by this season of humbling;

Give us this day our daily bread – thank you for dedicated doctors, nurses and other NHS staff, for our government and its advisors – please grant them the wisdom and endurance they need; sustain us with the daily bread of Christ crucified for our sins, in the living bread of your Word; reassure us when we’re anxious, heal us when we’re sick, strengthen us when we must die, comfort us in our bereavement, and embolden us to share the gospel of Jesus, the living bread we all need;

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us – have mercy where we have presumed upon our health, forgotten our frailty, or neglected to thank you for your daily care and protection; forgive us because Christ died for our sins, count us acceptable in his perfect righteousness, and in the light of your mercy, helps us show mercy to all;

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil – deliver us through this time of testing – help us resist every temptation to doubt your love; help us stand firm in our faith against Satan’s lies, knowing that all over the world, your people are enduring the same kind of trials;

For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

Brief update on Coronavirus situation

Dear friends,

Here’s a brief update on how we’re responding to the unfolding Coronavirus situation.

We’re continuing to monitor information from the health services as its released, and are staying up to date with the government’s advice.  In the light of the government’s announcement today that anyone who is not unwell should go about “business as usual,” we will still meet together on Wednesday night for the Central Prayer Meeting and on Sunday for our regular gatherings.

We will provide individual cups for sharing the Lord’s Supper at the Central Prayer Meeting, and will continue to have hand sanitizer in our venues. Please do make use of this, and help your children make use of it also.  And let’s allow each other some of the recommended “social distance” – let’s not be offended if others in our church family are more restrained from hugging and shaking hands than usual!

We’d encourage you to keep following the government’s advice on hand-washing as well as what to do if you start to feel unwell, and if you think you might need to self-isolate.

We’re currently investigating how to provide online access to our gatherings for those who aren’t able to attend.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Mark Nicholas | Operations Manager
Clayton Fopp |Senior Assistant Pastor

Being Coronavirus smart at church

Dear friends,

As you will know there is increasing anxiety in the UK, and in fact, around the world, with regard to the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19.

We have no knowledge of anyone at church having travelled to any affected areas since isolation was introduced on 19 February, or having come into contact with anyone infected or displaying symptoms.  Accordingly, and in adherence to the best available advice from the NHS, it is right and safe for us to continue meeting on Sundays as usual. The NHS is advising that you only need to self-isolate if advised to by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.

Even though we’re not aware of any particular risk at Dundonald Church, we want to encourage everyone to follow the advice from the NHS (further details available here), primarily washing hands regularly, especially after coughing or sneezing, and before eating. This also helps reduce the risk of various other respiratory infections such as the flu and the common cold.

To help us follow the NHS advice, on Sunday there will be hand sanitizer available at both Wimbledon Chase School and St Andrew’s.  Please make use of it when you enter the building, and repeat as necessary.  Please also continue to wash your hands with soap and water at home, and at work, to minimize the risk of getting sick.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Mark Nicholas | Operations Manager
Clayton Fopp |Senior Assistant Pastor

Dundonald Church | St Andrew’s Church Hall | Herbert Road | London | SW19 3SH
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