WIC Weekly April 25th 2021
Warsaw International Church
Mobile +48 601 331 032
Worship every Sunday at ul. Miodowa 21 (near Old Town) at 11:00 AM
Entrance from Schillera Street
We were pleased to welcome Olivier from Rwanda (currently living in Rzeszów, Poland) to last Sunday's service.
Our planned ethnic service (focusing on Kenya) had to be postponed and is now set to take place on 9 May.
Here is your link for the Sunday service: Warsaw International Church - Sunday Service Meeting ID: 818 1714 5932
Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website or by googling "Warsaw International Church YouTube".
Thank you for your continuing support and prayers for our church and for one another. Please remember that WIC is entirely self-supporting: without your contributions we cannot operate as a church.
Should you wish to make a contribution to WIC, the church's bank details are as follows:
Warsaw International Church Santander Bank Polska S.A. IV/Oddział w Warszawie ul. Jana Pawła II 17 00-854 Warszawa Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
We pray for the recovery of people we know who have caught the Covid virus, and give thanks to God for those who have already recovered.
Your prayers are requested for Sister Anna's sister-in-law in Turkey, who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. We pray that the therapy may be successful, and that the Lord will bring about a healing miracle.
Please support WIC President Ania's mother with your prayers. She lost her sister only very recently, and now a brother has passed away too. May the Lord comfort her and her family in this time of grieving.
We pray that war may not break out between Ukraine and Russia.
We also pray that the pandemic and its consequences may cause increasing numbers of people to turn to God in their time of need.
Please continue to pray for our English-speaking friends Brother Kenz, Sister Kelly and their three children, who are in Azerbaijan trying to find a church in another country to sponsor them so they can start a new life with work prospects. They are still in great financial need and any contributions for them are greatly welcomed - please contact Pastor Harry for payment details.
Vahid in London also welcomes our continuing prayers in his own wait to be granted asylum in the UK.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry.
Have you got a cellar in your house or apartment? Cellars are very useful for storing articles that won’t fit well into your rooms: a bike, for example, or tools, or food preserves like home-made jam – best to keep them in the cellar. But we often also put things in our cellars which we just leave there and don’t use at all. I’ve got old paint pots in our cellar; and lots of pieces of wood; and some books from my university days which I haven’t looked at for 45 years! There’s quite a bit of junk in our cellar!
You know, we can think of our conscious self as being a house; and our subconscious as a cellar in that house: a cellar deep down in our mind! What do we store there? Old memories, perhaps – sometimes memories we prefer to forget, like situations and people that caused us pain. Or memories we like to dig out once in a while, when it suits us, such as an immoral but pleasurable experience. Probably we keep bad habits there, which we’ve learnt to overcome: smoking, drinking, drug-taking and so on. And definitely you keep your former personalities there, which you’ve outgrown: you as a child; you as a teenager, and so on – with all your previous thought patterns, such as you as an atheist, you as a seeker, you as a member of a different religion. It’s all there in the cellars of the mind – and from time to time we go into our cellar and take something out of it: for example, when we indulge in a former sin, or when we experience a hurt all over again.
But when we do such a thing, we have to be very careful, because we could easily allow the devil to take us captive – which is just what he’s waiting for. The devil is always trying to break into our house and take possession of us. He wants to be the strong man in our house. Going into your cellar is a bit like opening the front door to Satan at the same time. We could easily be tempted to fall into sin or doubt or unbelief again. We have to learn to bind the strong man with the authority Christ has given us – and we have to do it ourselves. No one else will do it for us.
In our Gospel reading, the greatest commandment is for us to love God with not only our heart and soul, but also our mind. That’s important to remember – because many people love God with their hearts, but they don’t realize that they don’t always love Him with all their minds. We have to be careful not to pollute our mind with junk which we normally keep down in the cellar, out of sight and use. The mind is the real target of Satan’s attacks; and today’s reading from 2 Timothy speaks of the “trap of the devil” and of his taking us captive to do his will. What we Christians have deep down in the cellars of our minds is not necessarily evil in itself – but by getting us to be absorbed with it, Satan keeps us from giving our whole attention to God. He diverts our mind from God.
As an example, let’s take all the information we keep stored in our cellars. We are bombarded by information and images from newspapers, radio, television, and above all, the Internet. In fact, the cellar of your mind is a bit like the Internet itself – you’d be surprised what it contains. Information isn’t evil in itself – but some of what’s in the Internet is bad for us. Pornography is just one example – many people fall a victim to that.
But there’s another form of online information I want to focus on today, because I feel it’s becoming a problem even in church circles. The potentially harmful influence of this information amazes me, simply because I’m hearing it more and more often – which means it’s becoming increasingly prevalent, increasingly powerful. And it fact, it’s already causing serious division between Christians, in many churches – which is exactly what Satan wants: to weaken the church.
Our access to the Internet feeds us with all sorts of strange theories, which are indeed harmless – as long as you don’t believe in them. But when you do believe in them, and propagate them, you preach what Paul calls “a different gospel” – in his day, it was issues like circumcision or abstaining from food; but in our day, it’s conspiracy theories, usually linked to the pandemic. What frightens me is that more and more people are trying to convince me personally that they are true; or are asking me, for example, whether Christians should get vaccinated. Don’t get me wrong: if a Christian doesn’t want to get vaccinated, that’s their decision and I respect it – though I strongly would advise people to take the vaccine, simply because I don’t want anyone to suffer and die!
But for example, Ania and I have a Christian friend who’s encouraging us not to wear masks, because she believes they’re made in China and contain hundreds of tiny worms which will get inside our bodies and kill us off! And she doesn’t even believe that the coronavirus exists! Where do people get such information from? – from websites. I’ve even been told that I’m in danger of losing my salvation if I get vaccinated – because Satan will get inside of me and take me to hell. That scares me – it scares me because it’s not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why do people believe such ideas? One reason is because, in the cellar of their own mind, there’s uncertainty. The Bible says God permits plagues, in order to turn people back to Him – which is pretty clear to me. But many people want more information than that, about how the pandemic started – and they easily embrace conspiracy theories because they’re looking for information certainty. But this to me suggests a lack of faith in God’s word, deep down.
Another, closely related reason for believing all kinds of theories is that, in the cellar of our mind, there may be worry, fear, lack of security. Along comes a pandemic – and people lose their fragile sense of security, because the whole structure of society is threatened, including their own life. Again, the Bible has very clear answers – for example: “Don’t be anxious about anything, but just take your requests to God in prayer”; “Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself”; “In all things, give thanks” – and so on.
But again, many good Christians are lacking in faith to obey God’s word completely – and they therefore turn to a theory which will at least explain to them why they have no control over the situation: so, for them, Satan is controlling the world, or American Democrats are controlling the world, or even the United Nations is controlling the world with a horrible conspiracy. I’ve heard all these arguments. The Bible tells us that God controls the world, not Satan. Satan only controls it as far as God allows him to. If our main premise isn’t God and Jesus, but a conspiracy by Satan or American Democrats or the United Nations, and we build our whole thinking around that premise, then we can end up going crazy, because our perception of reality has been altered. All because we don’t have faith in God. And the preachers who preach such views on the Internet are not from God, either.
Let me make my point clear. I’m certainly not attacking anyone: Paul said our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities: it’s against Satan, not people. And Satan wants to cause division in the church – through arguments; anger; false gospels; turning to cults and non-Christian churches, and so on. In this way, he exploits our complexes and anxieties – which is why we must be careful with the junk in our cellar; and we must “capture every thought for Christ”, as Paul says: for Christ, and not for a conspiracy theory.
Dear Friends, the apostle Paul also wrote that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”. That’s a beautiful, victorious message that should dispel all our uncertainty, fears and lack of security! Because Christ rose from the dead, He has seated us believers in the highest place with Him! It means we have the authority, in Christ Jesus, against Satan, against all his tricks, all his insinuations, all his lies! We are called to be a victorious church! Jesus gave us authority over all the power of Satan! Our authority is from the power of the blood of Jesus, in which we are washed! That’s enough for us! The Gospel is sufficient for each one of us! We don’t have to add anything to it.
Yes, there’s junk in our cellars. And yes, we can be vulnerable. But you know, nothing need pollute our minds – no lusts; no hurts from the past; no bad habits; no crazy ideas – nothing need pollute us – because Jesus is all our hope and peace, He is all our righteousness; and in His blood we are washed clean and kept safe! So let’s keep turning to Jesus – crucified, but then resurrected - and let’s claim our peace, claim our victory over evil! Christ is alive! We need to constantly remind ourselves of our powers in Him. And then we will gain the victory over Satan in our daily life, and will be able to distinguish right from wrong, and truth from falsehood. May we all succeed in this, by God’s grace. Amen.
Readings for 25 April
Verse for the week: "I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again" (John 3, 3).
Psalm: 51, 1-6. 10-12. Old Testament reading: Isaiah 44, 1-5. New Testament reading: Acts 8, 9-24. Gospel reading: John 3, 6-8.
Food of the Spirit
Conspiracy Theories And Biblical Faith
When we believe and spread these theories, we are being inconsistent with biblical faith in Christ. Our faith in Christ is based on trusting eye witness accounts. We believe the most credible sources for what happened on Good Friday and Easter Sunday are those that were there. Belief in the various theories being spread by Christians right now concerning the coronavirus, the economy, and the American election is founded upon the opposite kind of evidence. These theories are based on hunches, circumstantial evidence, amateur analysis, discredited scientists, and often implicit bias. Thus, when we promote these theories, we are doing much more than just that. When a Christian propagates these theories, it is far more harmful than just passing along information or ideas. It is serving to cement in our culture what they already want to believe about us: that we are willing to believe something even when the evidence points to the contrary. The message of Jesus Christ can thus be ignored, not because someone is rejecting the message itself, but because we have made it appear to be built on sand.
Why would someone believe us when we tell them that they can trust the biblical witness concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, if we also tell them that they can trust a scientist who has been discredited, arrested for stealing lab books, and caught lying about the reason for that arrest in the documentary “Plandemic”? Why would someone believe our proclamation that Jesus really did rise from the dead, if we just as passionately make the baseless proclamation that COVID-19 is being blown out of proportion so that Trump can’t hold rallies? We are revealing ourselves as witnesses without grounds, and so making it appear that the gospel relies on reasoning that is just as faulty.
The disciples have the best credentials, by far, for telling us about the death and resurrection of Jesus. They were there. They saw him. And they are very clear about what they think happened. The accounts may vary, but they all agree that Jesus was killed on Good Friday, and rose on Easter morning. They all claim it was physical. And they all claim that this means that Jesus is Lord and Savior. To say, 2000 years later, that we are now able to discern that the disciples actually saw visions, despite the clear wording of the text, or to say that they were lying, because they were seeking power, is an option. But it is a belief built upon sand. This is actually the very definition of “blind faith”—belief when all of the evidence points to the contrary, just like the conspiracy theories many Christians hold today.
It is possible to believe these conspiracy theories, but when their reasoning and evidence is not built on a solid foundation, we should resist affirming them, let alone expanding their reach. Not only is it bearing false testimony, but it hurts our witness concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. It appears to show that we are the kind of people who believe without grounds or even in spite of evidence. But biblical faith is not blind. It is faith in a historical event proclaimed and interpreted clearly by those who were there. We don’t hold on to that testimony for no reason. Let us not hurt that witness by holding onto theories for far less.
Joel Miles, Associate Pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Chicago
Please be informed that your Data Administrator within the meaning of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation, ”GDPR”), is Warsaw International Church with its registered office in Warsaw (00-789) at ul. Willowa 1.