December 17, 2017
“The Son of God came so we could recognise and understand the truth of God - what a gift! ... Jesus is both true God and real life.” 1 John 5:20 (Message)
Have you ever received a Christmas gift, that disappointed you?
In his letter, John describes the coming of Jesus (that we celebrate at Christmas) as a “gift”.
And what a gift!
This gift from God is personal, practical and useful.
This gift won’t break. In fact, it will last forever.
And … it will change our lives. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
This gift from God helps us to lose our loneliness, get a new start, discover our true identity, and receive strength to keep going.
December 11, 2017
Did you know, that “light” is a major theme of the Bible?
The Bible says - “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
The first act of creation was - “… let there be light.”
Jesus said - “I’m the light of the world.”
On Christmas, the very first Christmas, light played a major role. The angels put on a spectacular light show for the shepherds when they announced - “Behold born this day, in the city of David is a Saviour, Christ, the Lord.” The wise men followed some kind of star that led them from the east to the west to find Jesus.
Light played a major role because Christmas is a celebration of God’s light entering our world. John 1 says - “Before anything else existed, there was Christ with God… His light is the light, that shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
November 28, 2017
Many parts of the Christian church will celebrate this Sunday, the last before the season of Advent begins, as ‘Christ the King’ Sunday. The celebration has its origins in the early 20th century as a response to increasing, worldwide movements of secularisation.
We can see Jesus’ own view of His “anointing” in Luke 4:18-19 … “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me, to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent Me, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to recover the sight of the blind, to release the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
No matter where we’re at, if we’ve got a broken heart, if we feel hopeless about our situation, if we’re a captive to something, Jesus (Christ the King) wants to proclaim God’s favour for us. It’s the same favour we celebrate at Christmas – Jesus is “Emanuel”, God with us.
May you know God’s favour as we celebrate Christ the King.
November 19, 2017
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector – despised by society. He was a notorious sinner who ripped people off for a living.
But he had an encounter with Jesus that changed his world for ever. Jesus accepted him where he was at, and from that, transformation took place.
When we encounter Jesus for real, our lives start to transform in a radical way. It doesn’t matter where we are right now, Jesus loves us and accepts us. He calls us by name to follow Him and be transformed from glory to glory.
November 13, 2017
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 50:31 (Living Bible)
We’ve all had a time of waiting. Truth is, many of us long for something. There's something in our lives, that we can't get by our own wit, by our own schemes, by our own finances, by our own endurance. It seems as if only God can grant it.
Then, why does God make us wait? If God can do things immediately, and He can, why do we have to wait? Scripture points to at least one answer. Because of what happens inside of us, when we wait. Because waiting is one, of God's greatest tools for growth.
Waiting renews our strength, it refines our character and focuses our purpose.
When we’re waiting it often helps to wait on God, to wait with others and to remember that God waits for us.
May God be close to you and you close to God in your times of waiting.
November 5, 2017
We’ve all experienced it! Temptation. Paul, when he was writing to the church in Rome said it this way … “What I don't understand about myself, is I decide one way, but end up acting another way, doing the things I absolutely despise … A power within me, keeps sabotaging my best intentions. I obviously need help, and I don't have what it takes.” (Romans 7:14 ff)
Temptation is a human problem. In the Lord’s prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught, He prays … “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. It’s like Jesus is saying –
God … help us not to go there, in the first place, but when it happens, please help us out.
Scriptures gives us some clues about how to respond in a “season of temptation”. Today we’ll explore how we might anticipate temptation and then act responsibly, ask God for help, find support and avoid tempting situations.
October 29, 2017
I'm looking forward to Sunday because Mark Landrum from Jews For Jesus will be our guest.
Each year, we try to touch base with the ministry and mission of Jews for Jesus. We occasionally host their activities here in our building.
Mark is going to help us think about "The Gospel in the Autumn Feasts of Israel".
In particular he will be sharing about:
the gospel in the the Feast of Trumpets - (Rosh Hashanah)
The gospel in the Day of Atonement - (Yom Kippur)
The gospel in the Feast of Tabernacles - (Sukkot)
Understanding the Jewish celebration customs in Biblical times, is significant for our understanding of the context of so much of the New Covenant. It will also help us understand more about key holidays our Jewish friends observe.
October 24, 2017
"Children are a gift from the Lord." Psalm 127:3
We may not think of parenting as a season of life, but it is. If we’ve got kids, they’re not going to remain kids forever, and most likely we won’t have them “with us”, forever. One day we’re strapping them into their car seat, and it only seems like the next day that they’re asking for the car keys!
Even if we’re not parents, there are going to be children involved with our lives, at different times; nephews and nieces and neighbours kids.
We naturally want to be good parents and long to be part of loving and effective families and communities. The Bible gives us some important clues about parenting and relating to kids. And perhaps it’s not surprising that what kids need is also what we need and God, “our Father in heaven” gives to us. Rick Warren summarises kids needs (and ours) for - compassion, counsel, correction, confidence, celebration, challenges, and consistency.
May God equip you as you parent your kids, or relate to the kids in your community.
October 15, 2017
Grace the most authentic of Christian words.
It facilitates the best of attitudes e.g. gracious and grateful.
It is a unique Christian contribution and is the life transforming power of God, which reaches into people’s lives and brings them new possibility.
This coming Sunday Rev Keith Garner will be talking about how grace is applied to our lives.
He will be speaking from Matthew 20 but will clearly be making reference to the cornerstone of our understanding God’s grace “For by grace you have been saved by faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
October 8, 2017
The writer of Ecclesiastes says - "Sometimes something useless happens on earth. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people." (Ecclesiastes 8:14) We don’t always get what we think we deserve in life.
Life is full of losses. And it's sobering when we realise that nothing around us is permanent. We will go through times of tragedy and seasons of grief and loss. We can lose our finances, our job, our health, our relationships, and one thing that is inevitable for all of us; people we love will die.
The Bible gives us some clues about how we might approach a season of loss. They include:
releasing our grief to God
letting others help us
refusing to be bitter
remembering what’s important, and
relying on God
May God hold you in your times of loss.