Church in the Marketplace
What the Passion of Jesus Tells Us About God

What the Passion of Jesus Tells Us About God

March 23, 2020

Mel Gibson’s movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’, was a controversy at the time.  In every newspaper.  On the cover of Newsweek and Time.  Talked about in television shows.  
Very few movies get, the amount of attention, as ‘The Passion of the Christ’ received at the time.  
 
When Mel talks, about the passion of Christ, he’s using the old English word “passion”, which literally means “suffering.” Specifically, technically, the passion of Christ, refers to the last twelve hours of Jesus’s life.  
 
That drama plays out in three acts.  In the trial, in the death, and in the resurrection of Jesus. In those three events we learn about God’s purpose (I’m sending my Son for you), God’s passion (the vastness of God’s love for us) and God’s power (available for us as we live our lives today).
 
Paul, writing to the Philippian church says - “Christ was truly God.  But … He gave up everything, and became a slave, when he became like one of us.  He even died on a cross.  
Then God gave Him the highest place, and honoured His name, above all others.  So, that at the name of Jesus, everyone  will bow down – those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” 

More ‘Bout Heaven

More ‘Bout Heaven

March 15, 2020

2020 is well underway.  And there are probably some things we thought were “urgent” for this year; other things not so much.  
 
Mostly “heaven” isn’t in our Top 10 list of things that occupy our minds attention.  Maybe that could be a helpful change for us, because there’s no greater truth, than the truth of heaven … 
to give us perspective in life, especially in those times when we face problems ...  
to help us make it through the tough times of life ...  
to help us see the great kind of life that God wants us to live …  
to reduce anxieties in everyday life and show us the significance of everyday life. 
 
Paul, writing to the Philippian church put it this way - “I’ve got my eye on the goal.  God is beckoning us onward to Jesus.  I am off and running and I’m not turning back. Let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything that God has for us.” (Philippians 3:14)

Lent - 40 Days

Lent - 40 Days

March 8, 2020

Lent is often used as a defined season - 40 days - to reflect on our lives in relationship with God. 

As followers of Jesus, and from within a Protestant tradition, we are encouraged to do more than that: we are encouraged to reflect on the disciplines (think ‘disciple-things’) that build and strengthen our relationships with God and others, and our service in the world. 

The Gospel of John tells us the story of a woman, Mary, who poured out extravagant love for Jesus as she anointed him with expensive perfume. In Lent, might we have a focus that becomes a discipline for us beyond this season, in which our goal is to live more like Jesus, focusing on what God is seeking for the world: justice, mercy, love…?"

Heaven is Real

Heaven is Real

March 1, 2020

Paul reminds the Christians in Colossae - “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honour and power” - Colossians 3:1 (New Living Translation).
 
What a great reminder for us too.  Especially as we begin the weeks of preparation for Easter with it’s remarkable and unique claim, that Jesus is resurrected.  Paul reminds us that because Jesus is raised to new life, we get new life too.  And ultimately a resurrected life we live “in heaven”.
 
Scripture reminds us that heaven is God’s ultimate purpose for us and that our faith and trust in Christ is God’s way of making us ready for heaven. 

Choosing the Right Team

Choosing the Right Team

February 23, 2020

God gives us the freedom to make choices.  And the choices we make, in different areas of our lives, will make a real impact on how our lives unfold and determine whether or not we’ll live the kinds of lives that God has purposed for us.
 
To be who God created us to be and to do what God has made us to do we need to –
have the right values, and 
have the right guide (the Holy Spirit), and 
walk through the right doors.
 
We also need a team, a group of friends and a support group.  Because successfully living our lives is never a one-person show.  We need others to become our models, mentors, partners and friends. 

Yesterday, Today and Forever

Yesterday, Today and Forever

February 16, 2020

It's 2020 and we are living in the most technologically advanced time in history - It's certainly an incredible time to be alive!

The world is forever changing its values and ideologies. We live in a time full of fads that come and go like the changing wind.

But Jesus is the constant. Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” We can put our trust and hope in  Jesus because He has stood the test of time. He is trustworthy.

Choosing Which Doors We’ll Walk Through

Choosing Which Doors We’ll Walk Through

February 9, 2020

If we’re to own a vision for how we live out our days and if we’re to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives then our choices are important. 
 
The word "door" is used in the Bible probably 400 or so times.  In the Bible a door can represent the entrance door of salvation, or the passage door of discipleship, or the service door of ministry, or the outside door to our mission in life.  It could be the access door of prayer, or the holy door of worship, or the door to fellowship in life.  
 
The author of Revelation sees God as sometimes opening doors in our lives and sometimes closing doors in our lives –The doors that I unlock and open, no one else can close. And any doors, that I shut and lock, no one will ever, be able to open ... So look!  I am placing before you, an open door, that no one can shut!”  (Revelation 3:7-8).
 
Our future will be shaped by which doors we choose to walk past and which doors we walk through. 

Choosing the Right Guide

Choosing the Right Guide

February 2, 2020

We live in a “self-help” world, where we’re left to find the resources we need (well, there’s “You Tube”!) for just about every need or circumstance that touches our lives.

Jesus, on the other hand, promised that we’re not left to our own devices. Before He was crucified and resurrected, He said to his followers -"It's actually best for you that I go away, because if I don't, the Helper won't come to you. But if I do … go away, He will come because, I will send Him to you … And when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you" (John 16:13).

Now that’s something! Our own personal guide to help us …

know what we need to know

get where we need to go

say the right things

wait for God’s timing

resist the temptations of self-indulgence, and

avoid dangers and mistakes.

How could anything be better, than having God’s spirit guiding us, personally through life?

The Right Values

The Right Values

January 27, 2020

Jeremiah 29:11 is a well-known Old Testament text; a personal favourite for many people - "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future".

Yes, God has a purpose for our lives, but we can miss it. It’s not automatic. And God isn’t going to force us into the purposes He has for us. God’s purpose has to be chosen, has to be accepted and has to be followed.

Moses is a great example of “choosing” God’s life purposes (read Hebrews 11:23-27) and an example we can follow. His choosing included –

refusing to be defined by others

choosing short-term pain for long-term gain

choosing what God values, not what culture values, and

choosing to live by faith, not by fear.

May God strengthen us to choose His purposes for us in 2020

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

January 19, 2020

Our Father in Heaven ….
The Lord’s Prayer is only about 70 words, but is a prayer that stands at the core of Jesus teaching.
A prayer that we can rattle off without thinking, without commitment, because it is familiar.
How will our life be different if we take this prayer seriously?