Prayer letter from Chris & Lotta Strajnic in Sweden

Prayer Letter from Chris and Lotta Strajnic in Sweden

Dear friends,

As we write this newsletter, our apartment gets more and more filled with moving boxes. Yes, we are moving – again! As we have now moved over 20 times, we now consider ourselves as ‘moving experts’. With all the lists and labels, we even have pictures of every bookshelf so when we move into our new place on the 1 November, the unpacking process should be quite quick and painless, or so we hope.

Church update
By God’s grace, Emmaus church is doing well. We, as a church, are in the middle of preparations for the biggest annual outreach – Hallåvän (safe and non-scary Halloween party for children). We have a group of people in our church who want to become members. They have been coming regularly and are engaged in different church activities for some time now, so in two weeks’ time we are starting a new member’s class.

Apprenticeship and ministry
It’s our great privilege and joy to be able to announce that we are going to have our first apprentice. Until now we have only had a trainee, Simon, who is soon heading to plant a new church in Södertälje. As soon as we got to know our upcoming apprentice Henrik, we knew that he would be perfect for an apprenticeship. After time of prayer on both sides, we decided to proceed and will soon finalise all the practicalities. The apprenticeship journey can then begin at the end of November. Through our different ministries we have come across several young guys who have the same desire to be trained in a local church as an apprentice. Together with the church in Gothenburg, which we partner with, we want to develop an apprenticeship program that we can use in our churches. Our common goal for the future is to introduce and make the apprenticeship program available for the local church in Sweden.

Regional conference
Together with the church in Gothenburg, we are also running a small regional conference that started very spontaneously after seeing the need to encourage and train young potential leaders. Unfortunately many have no faithful Bible preaching church in their cities, and as they are meeting in homes, there is a possibility of planting more churches in the near future. This will be our third conference, held on 12 November. The theme will be the gospel: ‘What is the gospel, how to share and what is evangelism?’ Do pray!

Future ministries
In our cooperation with the church in Gothenburg we saw a great need for Bible training for our apprentices and for other interested. After a time of brainstorming and prayer, we came to the conclusion that we need a summer Bible school, which we hope will start next summer in 2023. Thanks to Trevor Watson from Northern Ireland (who was a Crosslinks missionary in Sweden but has now returned to NI), this might just happen. But there is more in the pipeline, also thanks to Trevor. Hopefully next autumn, we will start a Cornhill Swedish language group that will attend the Cornhill Training course online. These things are still in the early stages but so important for our need to train the next generation leaders in Sweden. So as you see, we have an exciting time ahead of us. As ever, we are so grateful for your prayers for us.

Praise points

  • For our cooperation with a church in Gothenburg and their pastor Daniel Noren
  • For our apprentice – Henrik
  • For the new members

Prayer points

  • For the outreach event – Hallåvän, which will be on 30 October
  • For the regional conference
  • For the upcoming summer Bible school in 2023
  • For the Cornhill Swedish language group

Yours in Christ,

Chris and Lotta

 

Rector’s Letter November

Dear Friends,

The Bible is a Letter

To the saints who are in Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Belfast.

The Bible is a Library – 66 books, composed by over 40 writers, perfectly expressing the mind of God.  The Bible is a Landscape – a landscape of life, full of wisdom about living.  The Bible is also a Letter.

What is a letter?  It is writing addressed by a particular person, the composer, to a particular person or persons who read it.  Not everything that is written is a letter because not every document is addressed to particular people.  In Scripture, not only were all 66 books written by human authors who had an intended readership in mind (like Paul writing to the Thessalonians), but the whole Bible is God’s letter, consciously addressed by him to every single person who reads it.

Does that take your breath away?  This is the wisdom of God.  Holy Scripture is the Word of God addressed personally to everyone to whom it comes.  If you have a Bible and your name is written in the front of it, think of it as though the Lord himself had written it there.  And instead of something like RSV (Revised Standard Version) printed on the introductory page it could be RSVP (Reply if you please).  The Lord who has written to you this letter would like to know your response to it.

Just reflect on what Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3.15-16, ‘you have known the scared writings [the Bible] which are able to make you [singular] wise for salvation.’  Paul is saying, ‘Timothy, think of those Scriptures that you have, and which you were brought up on, as the Lord’s personal word to you – given to make you personally wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’

And he goes on, still in the singular: ‘All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuke, correction and instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God [that means you Timothy] might be equipped for every good work.’  All Scripture is breathed out by God – the product of God’s creative breath – so that it can be described in Article XX of the 39 Articles as ‘God’s Word Written.’

The Bible is totally human, of course, but it is totally divine also.  In that sense it is comparable only to the incarnate Christ – where total humanity and total deity were together in personal union.  This book comes from the Lord through human writers, the Holy Spirit prompting, guiding and inspiring each one of them to write God’s Letter.

Sincerely in Christ

Bill

Rector’s Letter October 2022

Dear Friends,

A Landscape of Life

Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you that the one who hears my word and who believes the one who sent me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’  John 5.24

In the last edition of the Breda Messenger I began to write about how much I appreciate God’s Word, the Bible.  We discussed how it was a Library – a collection of 66 inspired books in which God is speaking to his world.  Continuing our series and following on from the concept of Library we can also describe the Bible as a Landscape – a landscape of life.  God’s Word is not only a message from Him, it is about people.  It is a God-book and a people-book.  It has a lot to say about life.

In the Bible you meet all sorts of people – some of them extremely fascinating.  As we read their stories we can learn a great deal about the right way to live – and often the many wrong ways to live.  We learn from the pitfalls they experience. We also learn from triumphs in God which many of them experience.

So, the Bible is not really about abstract formulas.  It is not like a theology textbook for undergraduates.  Yes, it is God’s teaching and preaching, but primarily it is a people-book.  It is about people to whom God spoke, who either did or did not respond, who obeyed or did not obey.  We have stories of people who found eternal life, who missed life, who spiritually triumphed, who experienced spiritual disaster.  All the way through it is people, people, people.

In the Bible there is a whole section called Wisdom Literature.  It too is about humanity and how we should go about the business of living.  There is Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament; and the Letter of James in the New.  An old summary of these Wisdom books says: the Psalms teach you how to pray, Proverbs how to live, Job how to suffer, the Song of Solomon how to love, and Ecclesiastes how to enjoy.  Then there is James who strikes all these notes together in the five succinct chapters of his letter.

Yes, the Bible is a Landscape of Life – a painting of how people can live – which we should pause and look at regularly.  It is full of real people from whose behaviour and faith we can learn a great deal.  Often they act foolishly and experience catastrophe.  Sometimes they meet with God and begin to walk with him.  The Landscape of Life gives us lessons about God and godliness the whole time.  Study the Bible and you will learn how under all circumstances to serve God.

Sincerely in Christ

Bill

Prayer Letter from Chris & Lotta Strajnic in Sweden

Dear friends and mission partners,

August has been an eventful month. First, we had the Family camp – what a success and a blessing. Everybody loved it, at the beautiful venue there were plenty of activities for children and families. The preaching and teaching were much appreciated by everybody too.
At the end of August, we had the big outreach event at Åkersbergas fair day.  A lot of people passed our Emmaus table (more than previous times) which gave us the opportunity to speak with people. We had a quiz with basic Christian facts questions and face painting for the children. Even though it rained at the end of the fair day it still was a very blessed day.

Our autumn’s church activities have started. In the bible study groups we will be focusing on the theme of “Mission”. We will have three bible study groups this autumn. In LiFT the women’s group Lotta has done a teaching on prayer “Why is prayer so important?” and is now preparing a teaching on “Why do we need to read the bible?”. Chris is continuing with the last part of his preaching series on Acts 24 -28. Chris is also continuing to work with the mentorship he has with several guys.

Next week we are attending another church camp where we are the guest speakers. Do pray for us as we are preparing our teachings and workshops. And pray for the camp and the people we are going to see there.

We are planning to visit Serbia in the middle of September. It has been a while since we have been there so we are really looking forward to seeing Riste and Tea and all our other friends there. We will do some training there too.

Praise points:

  • We are grateful to the Lord for a successful family camp
  • We give thanks for a fair day in Åkersberga.

Prayer points:

  • Please pray for all those people we connected with on the fair day. That the Gospel will reach through.
  • Pray also for the bible study groups and all other activities that have started
  • Pray for us as we prepare our teaching for the next church camp.
  • Pray for our upcoming trip to Serbia

Yours in Christ,
Chris & Lotta Strajnic

Harvest Thanksgiving Services

Join us for our Harvest Thanksgiving service at 10.30am where our preacher will be Rev Bryan Martin (St Anne’s, Dungannon).

Come along at 6.30pm where our preacher will be Stuart Balmer (Knockbreda Parish).

Everyone is very welcome.

Prayer Letter from Chris & Lotta Strajnic in Sweden

Dear friends and mission partners,

“I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” Ps. 13:5

We had a wonderful time of rest and relaxation during our Holiday and are now looking forward to all the different activities, old as new this coming autumn. As we write this prayer update, we are in a wonderful place called Holsby. Here we are having for the first time a family camp organised by Trevor Watson (another Crosslinks mission partner) and Emmaus church together with the Baptist international church in Gothenburg. We will be here Wednesday through Saturday and are happy and grateful for the opportunity for people from our churches to get to know each other better, but also to have fellowship around God’s word.

Chris is teaching on Thursday and organising the morning group discussions (the theme will be “a fruit bearing life”) and Trevor Watson is doing the talks in the evening services, looking at the 1 Cor 13 about love from three different perspectives.

Thanks for praying for our team day in June. We had a great fellowship and did a good planning for the autumn ministries. In August, our three bible study groups will start, and Chris is hands-on in preparing the teaching for that.

In August we are looking forward to Åkersberga Fair Day – “Kanalens dag” on the 28th of August, where we as a church will participate. The team will be divided in two groups, one will be on the “Kanalens dag” in the morning and the other team will run the Sunday service and then we who were in the church will join and help at the Kanalens Dag in the afternoon. This is one of our greatest opportunities to make ourselves known in Åkerberga and to inform about our children’s activities, like the children’s choir that is starting up again and the new teens ministry amongst other things.

Praise points:

  • We are grateful to the Lord for the rest he gave us.
  • We give thanks for the Family camp

Prayer points:

  • Please pray for the Family camp, and for all those who are attending. That they will get to know the Lord better and enjoy the Christian fellowship.
  • Pray also for the Fair Day – Kanalens dag.
  • Pray also for the bible study groups and all other activities that will start next week.

Yours in Christ,
Chris & Lotta Strajnic

Rector’s Letter September 2022

Dear friends,

The Word of Life – a Library

‘Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the Word of life.’ Philippians 2.15-16

My next three letters in the Breda Messenger (DV) will be about the Bible – a book I have grown to treasure more and more as God’s Word ever since I became a Christian in my teens.  I hope you don’t mind ‘apt alliteration’s artful aid’ because the three realities I am going to write about are the Bible as a library, a landscape and a letter.

First, the Bible is a library.  It consists of sixty-six separate pieces of all sorts of writing.  There are history books, visions, sermons, poems, philosophical reflections, genealogies, statistics and much more besides.  All these books are bound together by a common purpose and an extraordinary unity of subject matter.  The common purpose is to give us information about God and godliness.  Remarkably, though written over approximately 1500 years in a number of different cultures, the unity of their presentation of God is stunning.

The theologian Karl Barth used to speak of ‘the strange new world of the Bible.’  What he meant was that the world it describes is so different from the world that modern human beings think they occupy.  In this strange new world of the Bible, God the creator is actively in charge, working to carry out his great plan of redemption.  As the books in the library make clearer and clearer, this plan is to centre on a particular person: a Messiah, a Saviour whom in due course he will send.

In Scripture we have history – the narrative of the Creator becoming the Redeemer – and with it a great deal of explanatory material, expressing the faith of God’s people.  All of it is revelation, God telling us things in order to make himself known.  The books themselves teach us to see the library like this.  God is not the dumb God of philosophers.  He’s not the impotent God of modern, liberal theologians.  He is the sovereign, vocal God who speaks.

In the library God condescends to employ human language – the language he gave to his creatures.  He is not playing a game of cosmic charades – actions without words – where we are left to guess what his actions might mean.  Nor is he illuminating the minds of good people so that they are able to guess more or less correctly what he has been up to.  We should not read Holy Scripture as a series of fairly good guesses about God – guesses which are not necessarily definitive and from which we may allow ourselves to depart.

No, we should read the books of the library as teaching given by God – doctrina Dei, as the Reformers called it.  God has spoken to tell us what he is doing and why, and Scripture is the transcript of God’s own testimony.  The library is God’s commentary on his actions.  Though there are over forty contributors to the library, the mind of God expressed itself through them.  The library is a divine-human product, the Word of God in the form of the words of humans.

Sincerely in Christ

Bill

Prayer Letter from Chris & Lotta Strajnic in Sweden

Dear friends and mission partners,

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Ps. 136:1

We are finally getting to the time of the year when the daylight is getting longer, the evenings are brighter, and nature is flourishing.  All this is a great reminder for us of God’s goodness, love, and faithfulness toward us.

We are looking forward to our annual team day in the church. A day when all who are involved in different ministries in the church will come together for BBQ, fellowship, and brainstorming. We are going to make plans for our annual outreach activities in the autumn: “Kanalens dag” (a fair day in Åkersberga) in August and “Hallåvän” (a substitute for Halloween) in October.

Chris has started a new preaching series called “Life changing meetings with Jesus” through the gospel of Luke.

On the 19th of June, we are going to have a Family service and that will be the last Family service before the summer. After the service, the whole church will have BBQ and fellowship. We are hoping for pleasant weather so that it will be doable.

In July we’ll have our summer holiday, and we’ll take the opportunity to visit our family in Gothenburg.

Praise points:

  • We are grateful to the Lord for new visitors coming to our services.
  • We give thanks for the preaching training course

Prayer points:

  • Please pray for our team day
  • Pray that the new preaching series, that the Word of God will really touch and transform people.
  • Pray also for the Family service.

Yours in Christ,
Chris & Lotta Strajnic