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


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

Summer Church Services

Church Services continue during July and August as usual.  Tea and coffee after the 10.30am service.  There will be a service of the Lord’s Supper (traditional BCP) each Sunday in July and August at 9am.  Evening services continue at 6.30pm each week in the hall throughout July.  We will have some guest preachers in July.

Our Wednesday Morning Prayer services in Church continue through July and August.  This is a Said Service at 11am.  It is devotional with a short sermon.  All welcome.

Our church prayer meeting continues through the summer on Tuesday nights.  7.30pm in the Knock room.

Rector’s Letter Summer 2022

Dear Friends,

Sun worshippers

‘For you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.  You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.’ Malachi 4.2

Why did the ancient pagans worship the sun?  Was it because it was by far the largest thing in the sky?  Or, because they understood it as the source of all light, heat, power and life?  As we move into July and August we should (hopefully) begin to feel its warmth and allow its effects to lift our spirits and make us feel better.  The sun may even make us think of God.

In the Bible, believers were constantly warned that the sun could become an idol (Deut. 4.19; 17.2-5; Jer. 8.2; Ezek. 8.16).  Unlike God, the sun is not eternal – in Genesis 1 it is not created until Day #4 (!) and Revelation tells us that one day it will no longer be needed because ‘the Lord God will be their light’ (Rev. 22.5).  Unlike God, the sun is not in control – it can be made to stand still (Joshua 10.12-14).  The sun is to be regarded as a gift from a loving Creator, not an idol.

The sun, however, can provide us with profound ways of thinking about God.  It can illustrate some of the amazing attributes of God in a way that nothing else can.  It can help us reflect on God’s glory, his otherness (holiness), transcendence and immanence.  It reminds us of his all-seeing, all-illuminating character which brings heat and revelation to the entire world (Psalm 19.4-6).  When the apostles want us to see the splendour of Christ, sunshine is the only metaphor they need: ‘He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light’ (Matt. 17.2).

The sun is the gravitational centre-piece of the solar system, pulling everything else into its orbit.  Although it is created, its existence points to the independence of God, since it produces light itself, unlike the moon which can only reflect light.  It is at the centre of how we measure time (the hours of the day) and space (the points of the compass).  Apart from human beings it is hard to think of anything in creation that highlights as many of God’s characteristics as the sun.

Perhaps this is why Christ is described as the sun of righteousness.  Malachi 4.2 (above) prophesises that the Lord himself will come to judge all wickedness and usher in the joy of God’s kingdom.  The return of the King will make the whole world feel as though it is being healed by beams of celestial light.  We will want to dance with joy because the long-awaited Day of sunshine has come.  As we enjoy the summer sunshine this year, may it remind us to ‘hail the sun of righteousness – light and life to all he brings; risen with healing in his wings.’

Sincerely in Christ


Chris & Lotta’s latest Prayer Letter

Prayer Letter from Chris and Lotta, May 2022

Dear friends and mission partners,

“Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory.” Ps. 24:10

Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers concerning the Ester family service. Both the children and adults were engaged in the service, what a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our risen Christ.  We had several first-time visitors and the place we are renting was packed with people, so we had to look for more chairs. You can imagine the joy in our hearts to see all those people!  After the service we enjoyed a wonderful potluck.

We are continuing to train the core team in Södertälje and their next test worship service will be on 22nd of May. Please keep them in your prayers as they have a lot on their plates, jobs, studies, and planning and organizing their new church plant.

We will finish the Marriage Preparation course this coming Saturday and after that last session we will have a big party at our place. We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to get to know all these wonderful couples.

The “preaching training” course for beginners that Chris is doing in cooperation with another local church in Stockholm is now halfway through. If all goes well the plan is that the first level will be finished in June.

Praise points:

  • Thanks for prayers for Lotta’s health, she is doing so much better now.
  • We thank the Lord for the test services that are going well in Södertälje
  • For all the couples who soon have finished the Marriage Preparation Course and for their upcoming weddings
  • We give thanks for the preaching training course and for all the people attending it.

Prayer points:

  • Pray for Chris as he is preparing for the preaching and teaching, he has in May.
  • Continue to pray for the plans of a church plant in Södertälje and Simon.
  • Pray also for Simon who is going to do his third sermon in May.
  • Pray for a young couple Dennis and Maria who Chris & Lotta are mentoring. They live in Uppsala but are coming to Emmaus church in Åkersberga. One of several potential young couples for future leadership/ministry.

Yours in Christ,

Chris & Lotta Strajnic

Rector’s Letter June 2022

Dear friends

The Stability of God’s Word

‘All Scripture is breathed out by God.’ 2 Timothy 3.16

A landmark event like the Queen’s platinum jubilee makes us reflect on how things have changed over the decades in so many ways.  Some change has been relatively gradual.  Technology has improved over the decades so that we now easily communicate by emails and mobiles, whereas when I was growing up one of our neighbours did not even have a landline!  At other times the world changes almost overnight.  In March 2020 the Prime Minister spoke those stomach churning words: “You must stay at home.”  If we are honest, many of us fear what will change next and how we will adapt.

That’s why we need to remember and celebrate how the Word of God does not change.  It is always true, always good, always relevant to our lives.  What a comfort that is.

As our culture’s values continue to shift we can rejoice that God’s Word is always true.  It shows us right and wrong, good and evil, wisdom and folly.  ‘In your light we see light’ (Psalm 36.9).  When it comes to the fundamentals we are not left on our own, guessing how God wants us to live.  God has revealed himself to us in his Word, the Bible, and it tells us that our Lord Jesus is ‘the way the truth and the life.’  This will always be the case.

God’s Word is also good.  God does not tell us what is true in the style of an instruction manual, which is dull and dreary to persevere through.  Instead, his Word is so good it can be described as ‘more precious than gold, than much pure gold; sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb’ (Psalm 19.10).  Through humorous stories, soul-stirring poems, breath-taking visions and everything in-between, God blesses us abundantly as we read his Word.

God’s Word is relevant – for everybody, every age, every nation.  Imagine a believer living on another continent in a distant century in the past.  Imagine all the things which are different about you: your language, your work, your clothes, your home, your expectations, the way you see the world.  And then consider how extraordinary it is that God wrote a book with the power to speak to both of you.  It is a mirror that reflects your heart (James 1.22) and a lamp that guides your way (Psalm 119.105).

This is true for you and I today as well as for the generations of tomorrow.  Young and old, rich and poor, male and female – God’s Word is his gift to all of us.  Whether you are a child, a teen or an adult; whether a Christian or not yet a Christian; whether you want to deepen your faith or you are just hanging on by your fingertips; let me encourage you to open up the Bible and hear God speak.

Sincerely in Christ


On the bookstall

12 Things God Can’t Do…and How They Can Help You Sleep at Night by Nick Tucker and published by The Good Book Company.

nick tucker

What’s the secret to truly trusting God so that we can rest easy at night? How can we have the same faith and confidence as David who said: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8)?

The answer lies in focusing on God’s greatness. When we consider God’s greatness, we usually tend to think about what God can do. However, this book explores 12 things that God can’t do. They all express aspects of his nature and character which we can embrace with relief, celebrate with joy and worship with awe. You will marvel both at God’s otherness and at how he became one of us in the person of Jesus.

Read this book to grow in faith, live with confidence and rest easy at night, trusting in the God who never sleeps.

Chris & Lotta’s latest Prayer Letter

Dear friends and mission partners,

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Is. 53:5

In our last prayer update we mentioned that the church planting team in Södertälje will have their first test worship service, which they did, and it went well. Their next test worship service is on 24th of April. As we continue to work with the core team in Södertälje, meanwhile they are coming regularly to our worship services in Emmaus church and are involved in different ministries, which is good training and preparation for them.

We are hoping to finish with the Marriage Preparation course by the end of April. It’s such a blessing to be part of their journey, and to have the opportunity to follow these young couples and see how they grow in their faith and knowledge.

The preaching training Chris is doing in cooperation with another local church in Stockholm is going splendidly and the guys seem to respond well and are hungry for the word of God. This was the second session that was done and the third is going to be on the 28th of April.

As we are approaching our biggest Christian holiday, Easter, we are preparing for the Easter family service which we all look forward to and hope that we’ll have some first-time visitors. After the service we are having a potluck and that will be a fantastic opportunity for us as a church to spend time together.

Praise points:

  • The test service in Södertälje that went well
  • For all the couples attending the Marriage Preparation Course.
  • Give thanks for the cooperation with a local church in Stockholm City and for the preaching course.

Prayer points:

  • Pray for Lotta’s health as she is still struggling with post-covid.
  • Pray for Chris as he is preparing for the preaching and teaching he has in April.
  • Pray for the Easter family service for all who are involved in it and that many will come.
  • Pray for the church plant in Södertälje.
  • Pray for the next preaching session on 28th April.

Yours in Christ,
Chris & Lotta Strajnic