7th January 2018 - SELFLESS

January 10, 2018

Everyone seems to be in rush to get to work these days. As life gets faster and faster we become more and more consumeristic and entitled. I often find myself complaining about the smalls things, such as the quality of the coffee I’ve just paid top dollar for. The truth is people are becoming self-obsessed and life often becomes more about what we can get and not what we can give. We suffer from the "Mesus syndrome" instead of following Jesus.
 
Jesus tells us to not only  love God but also our neighbour (Matt 22:36-40). He goes on further and tells us to love our enemies and the un-lovable (Matt 5:44). Following Jesus means that we die to our selfish desires and we take up our cross and follow him, no matter the cost (Matt 16:24-26).

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31st December 2017 - WHO MOVED THE GOALPOSTS?

January 10, 2018

We live in an age of individualism and massive social, technological, economic, political and, dare I say, religious change.
Just when we think we understand what is going on around us an “expert” tells us that this may not be the case, or the government changes the rules, or our personal circumstances change dramatically.
Is it any wonder that many people in our society are having nervous breakdowns and quite often at a younger age?

We all need an expert who doesn’t move the goalposts and who can guide us through this morass.
His Name is Jesus, His Word is Truth & He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide us.

John 14:v6 Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth & the Life.”

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25th December 2017 - THE ILLEGITIMATE GOD

January 10, 2018

These days, children being born out of wedlock is no big deal. Hey, we don’t even use that term anymore. Living together, having children without getting married … those are just, these days, seen as valid lifestyle choices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re right, just that that’s how it is.

Back when most of us were growing up, the technical name for a child being born out of wedlock was, yep, you remember it: “a bastard”.

And as unsettling as it is, as disturbing as it is to our celebration of Christmas, that’s exactly what Jesus was and how He was seen when He was born, in a society far more prudish, far more legalistic, far more concerned with social morays, than even the one in which many of us grew up. 

Jesus, the illegitimate God.

So, what exactly should we be celebrating, this Christmas?

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24th December 2017 - MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

January 10, 2018

Think about it - there is only one person in all of history who could have arranged the exact circumstances of their own birth. Jesus.

So, what did He choose for Himself? A castle? Royal comfort, prestige and wealth? Clearly not.

He choses a smelly, draughty and, shall we call it, an intensely unhygienic stable in which to be born. The most humble of circumstances, and, as things turned out, the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances that saw him becoming a refugee.

And yet, here we are, about to celebrate a nice, safe, comfortable, dare one say, ritualistic Christmas, with all its trappings, two thousand years on.

Here’s the question, then, that inevitably hits you between the eyes? What in the blazes was God thinking, schlepping His Son through this terrible place? And what is He trying to say to us, here and now, in our comfortable little Christmas ritual?

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17th December 2017 - Receiving The Gift of God’s Son

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. 

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10th December 2017 - The Promised Emmanuel

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.”   

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26th November 2017 - Good News - Jesus Changes Everything

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.

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19th November 2017 - Acceptance = Change

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.

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12th November 2017 - The Season of Waiting

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.

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5th November 2017 - The Season of Temptation

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.
Deliver us!
 
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. 

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