On things above

March 22, 2019

It wasn’t until 1969 that human beings had ever seen a picture of the earth from space. Once our astronauts captured the image, and we saw the sparkling jewel we call home against the blackness of night, the wars, problems, and struggles on earth were able to be reframed from a heavenly perspective.

Sometimes we can have our eyes so fixed on the personal problems and challenges in our day-to-day existence that we begin to get discouraged and lose hope. But Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled by the cares of this life. Because he has reconciled all things to the Father in his body, we can “set our minds on things above,” and get a true picture of our lives and situations from a heavenly vantage point.

Let’s embrace the beauty God has bestowed on us, and share the heavenly point of view with others.

Jeff Broadnax

Pastor of Grace Communion Columbus, Ohio.

What’s wrong with us?

March 15, 2019

What’s wrong with us?

This was my thought as the news came in about the terrorist attack in New Zealand. What could possibly justify the murder of these people? The slaughter of unarmed men, women and children? Our prayer is that God would comfort all those caught up in this terrible tragedy.

When the world stops making sense where do we go for answers? For me, I turn to my faith. Christianity does not explain fully why people choose to hurt one another, but it does tell us that there will be a time when this world will no longer be shaped by hate. Instead it will be shaped by God’s love for us.

 

While this time is still to come, we don’t have to wait. We can turn to Jesus and choose a life of love now.

Kind regards,

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Jesus the Feminist

March 8, 2019

Today is International Women’s Day and it is rather depressing to be reminded, once again, that we still do not have gender equality in the world today. Not even in Britain.

As a man living in the 21st Century it is easier to be a supporter of women’s rights than 150 years ago, when women in this country weren’t even allowed to vote. So I was encouraged to read my ancestor, John Stuart Mill, being called out in the Guardian newspaper this morning as a strong supporter of women’s rights in his time.

As a Christian, I am sometimes criticised for being a part of a movement that has been responsible for the oppression of women, yet a close examination of the facts fails to support any such claims. When I look at the life of our founder, Jesus Christ, I see a proud feminist. A man who always treated women equally and boldy broke the customs of his day to involve them in his ministry.

I am thankful that “in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female”1. Let’s celebrate everything that International Women’s Day has achieved over the last 110 years and is still achieving all over the world today.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

 

1 Galatians 3:28 (NCV)

Death at the Oscars

March 1, 2019

Many millions of people all around the world watched the Oscars this week. It’s an evening filled with laughter, music, dance, creativity, surprises, tears, and a few dodgy speeches. People just seem to like the joy of living in a make-believe world for a few hours. But just about the time everyone is getting into the show we become aware of a disturbing reality. A touching tribute was paid to those show-business stars who had died during the last year.

It is things like this that can make most of us contemplate the frailty of life and realise how much we hate death. However, simply hating death cannot eliminate its power over us.

The Christian message is one that provides hope for the future. It claims that death is not the end because there is someone who defeated it by being resurrected from the grave.

If you are concerned about death and the future why not explore the claims of Christianity? You might just find them more captivating and more rewarding than the Oscars.

Have a good week,

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

 

Moving On

February 22, 2019

“Politics is broken, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s change it.” This is what Chuka Umunna said this week as a new political group was launched. The BBC recently aired some of Jimmy McGovern’s powerful contemporary dramas about characters wanting to ‘move on’ with their lives as they face some very difficult dilemmas. How about you? Are you facing a challenge and want something new and different?

Each of us is unique, bringing something very special to our many and various relationships. There are times when we too have to make some difficult decisions about what to do as we think about our career, finances, health, politics and much more.

The good news is that when we are burdened Jesus invites us to come to him because he wants to help. The toil and impact of these decisions can weigh heavily on us, and others, as we try to move forward and we need relief.

Remember you are not on your own when faced with tough decisions – even if you feel lonely. Some are tempted to share their dilemmas on social media, but instead, turn to a trusted friend, or better yet, turn to the one who can always be trusted: Jesus Christ.

Warm regards,

david.gibbs@gracecom.church

Also remember, organisations like the Samaritans are there to help those in need.

Because Magazine March/April 2019

February 22, 2019

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Because Magazine March/April 2019

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Because March/April 2019

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An unconditional offer

February 15, 2019

Should universities give students unconditional offers of acceptance?

Recently this practice has come under increased scrutiny after it was revealed that the number of unconditional offers issued by universities was increasing and that the students who received the offers often miss their predicted grades. Would students be better off, more resilient, if they had to earn their place?

As a Christian I believe that we have all been given an unconditional offer in Jesus Christ. We haven’t earned this place, yet if we accept it, it will change our life forever and open up opportunities beyond our wildest imaginations.

The offer reflects God’s confidence in who we will become with his help, rather than what we have achieved.

Maybe it is time to consider his unconditional offer of grace?

Warm regards,

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Poles apart

February 8, 2019

This morning I almost choked on my toast when I read that the Magnetic North Pole is on the move. It’s been in the Canadian Arctic for 400 years, but now it’s heading towards Russia. Not only that, but it’s picking up speed, accelerating from 10km a year 30 years ago to as fast as 60km a year today.

Apparently this is all perfectly normal but I find it deeply disturbing. Not even North is true! Nothing for it but to add this to a growing list of life’s disappointments.

Over the years, I have been variously let down, put out and left in the lurch. I have been stood up, cast down, my hopes dashed and my prospects ruined. But through all of these setbacks, one person has always been there for me: my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He never changes, never disappoints and is always true to his word.

When all else fails, he’s the one thing you can definitely count on. Put your trust in Jesus. Compared to everyone and everything else, he’s poles apart.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

The value of an apology

February 1, 2019

You may have been shocked as I was to see the pictures of Prince Philip’s recent car crash. As he pulled out of a driveway his Land Rover collided with a Kia and flipped over. The 97-year-old prince was fortunate to get out alive, whilst Ms Fairweather, a passenger in the Kia, suffered a broken wrist.

Following complaints that she had received no direct communication from Prince Philip after the accident, a letter of apology was issued earlier this week which seemed to alter her attitude. She said ‘I thought it was a really nice touch that he signed it off as Philip and not a formal title. I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalised nature.’ [i]

Giving an apology can have a powerful effect on people who might otherwise be antagonistic. I’ve seen how they can defuse issues and reconcile people; whereas if they go unsaid attitudes can harden and deepen making it much more difficult to achieve a resolution. Perhaps that’s why the biblical book of Matthew encourages me to stop any religious activity in order to first be reconciled to someone I have a problem with[ii]

I could write more about apologising, but I think I need to stop and make some apologies; how about you?

Have a good week,
barry.robinson@gracecom.church

 

[i] https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/47019867
[ii] The Bible, Matthew chapter 5, verses 23-24

Let’s change now

January 25, 2019

Perhaps it’s not too late. We may all have played a part in wrecking the natural world, but let’s do something about it.

This week Sir David Attenborough addressed the 49th summit of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, and his major concern is that we act now to protect the Earth. Things are getting worse, not better, and it is high time that national leaders and their citizens make meaningful changes. “The Garden of Eden is no more” (*) , he explained, and we’re in a new age, the age of humans.

The reference to the Garden of Eden is taken from the beginning of the Christian Bible. It refers to the pristine state of the world, uncontaminated by humanity’s unrestrained greed and selfish ambition. The Bible presents our natural environment as God’s creative gift to us, and calls for us to care for it, to nurture it, and to maintain its God-given diversity and beauty.

“We need a plan” Attenborough said.

It’s never too late to change, is one of the underlying messages of Jesus Christ. It’s not only a spiritual message, but it also applies to lifestyle changes that celebrate the gift of our precious planet.

Let’s make some changes.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

*https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/david-attenborough-transcript-from-crystal-award-speech

 

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