A little respect

July 19, 2019

How honest are you? Would you return a lost wallet you found?

A recent scientific study examined which countries around the world were most likely to return a lost wallet. The research discovered a surprising fact: the more money that was in a wallet, the more likely it was to be returned. They explained this result by suggesting that most people do not want to view themselves as a thief, and the more money that was in the wallet the harder it became to justify not returning the wallet to its owner.

What we think of ourselves can have a big impact on our confidence and mental health. We all want to think positively about ourselves, but for many of us, we struggle to view ourselves in a good light.

The biblical writer Paul struggled with this same concept. He found that despite his best efforts, he often let himself down and that he did what he did not want to do. Yet for Paul there was hope, because he had discovered in Jesus Christ that his identity was defined more by the love of God, then by the mistakes he made.

Maybe in our search for self-respect we need to be honest about our need for God’s love.

Gavin Henderson

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Face value

July 12, 2019

An article about automated facial recognition caught my eye this morning. Apparently, the Home Secretary has backed trials by police forces in the UK using the technology to spot suspected criminals in public spaces.

But civil rights campaigners warn this latest development is a grave threat to privacy, claiming the system has the potential to turn us all into suspects. What do you think?

Of course, we humans have our very own facial recognition system built into our brains and we use it all the time. It works so well that often we remember faces better than names. For Christians like me this points to something beyond ourselves. A God who created each of us with unique faces that can be immediately recognised by family and friends must surely be a personal God who knows every one of us and cares for us all wherever we are.

 

All the very best,

Peter Mill

peter.mill@gracecom.church

Image via www.vpnsrus.com

 

Advantage Grace

July 5, 2019

Did you hear that a Wimbledon tennis player has been fined for allegedly not working hard enough? It made me wince a little — do I make enough effort? Whatever you do, please don’t ask my wife and children!

Some have thought that salvation is granted only to those who do their best and work hard in life, but this is just not true. At least when it comes to Christianity, it isn’t. Not that we shouldn’t apply effort in all that we do, but it’s not our effort that saves us.

That’s the Christian message, and it’s called grace. It’s because of what Jesus has done for us, in dying on the cross and in rising to newness of life, that humanity in general and each of us individually can be saved.

Why not turn to Jesus and accept his grace?

Now, that’s worth the effort!

Best regards,
James Henderson

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Centre_Court_Wimbledon_(2).jpg

Authentic Bravery

June 28, 2019

Should Boris Johnson appear in TV debates to discuss his leadership credentials? Should he answer questions about his private life? Does the public care? Do Conservative Party members, who will select the next party leader and Prime Minister, care? Maybe Boris feels to do so would make him vulnerable to attack with no mercy shown by press and public alike? As a result his rival in the leadership campaign, Jeremy Hunt, has called Boris a coward for not addressing these issues.

Certainly it calls into question whether our leaders can be one thing in public and another in their private lives. A Christian is not afforded that luxury. To be one thing at home where no-one or only our family sees, and then put on the mask of respectability in public is rightly viewed as hypocritical, and hypocrisy is often quoted as a reason why people have a negative view of Christians and are reluctant to come to church.  

As a Christian I try to live out my Christianity in both the public arena and in my private space, but I recognise that I do so imperfectly, just ask my wife. But there is bravery and authenticity about a Christian acknowledging their failings and that they have no grounds to look down on anybody. Yes, it makes us vulnerable to admit our mistakes, but the Christian message is that with God there is no attack or condemnation, only grace. Now that’s something to care enough about to investigate.

Kind regards,

Barry Robinson  

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-48744493

 

Because Magazine July/August 2019

June 28, 2019

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Because Magazine July/August 2019

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Because July/August 2019

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Collateral damage

June 21, 2019

This week my heart went out to the sailors on a Japanese tanker that was attacked in the Middle East. Many commentators view the attack as a form of collateral damage in the rising tension between Iran and the United States.

We are very good at ignoring collateral damage – we prefer not to think about the civilian cost of the wars we wage or the cost to the workers and the environment of our desire for cheap food and commodities.

Part of what it means to be a Christian is to acknowledge the collateral damage that our wrong decisions and poor choices – our sins – cause. Christians, like the rest of humanity, are a long way from being perfect. Yet, there is hope. I believe that God has not left the world to our sins.

He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to break this cycle of collateral damage.

In Christ there is the power to change.

Gavin Henderson

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Back from the Dead

June 14, 2019

One news headline that grabbed my attention this week was ‘The snail that came back from the dead’. On further investigation, It turned out to be fake news – this wasn’t a tale of mollusc resurrection at all. It was the story of a rare species, the Bermuda land snail, that was thought to have gone extinct 40 years ago, but has now been found still alive and is being rescued from the brink of extinction by a successful breeding programme carried out by Chester Zoo.

The Bermuda land snail is one of a number of ‘Lazarus species’, named after the bible story where Jesus brought his dead friend Lazarus back to life. Later, after his own brutal death by crucifixion, the bible tells us Jesus himself was raised from the dead, this time to eternal life. Is this just a myth, as some say, or is resurrection for real, as millions of Christians believe? And if so, what does that mean for all of us?

Jesus answers those questions with a profound statement, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die”.1

That could possibly be the boldest claim anyone has ever made. Is it worth looking into? You can bet your life on it.

All the very best

Peter Mill

  1. John 11:25 (NIRV)

Time to give Church a try?

June 7, 2019

Today marks the end of Theresa May’s tenure of office as Conservative Party leader, though she will stay on as Prime Minister in a caretaker capacity until her party selects a new leader. For some her premiership has failed because of compromise with the EU and her failure to deliver the Brexit people wanted. For others she made a valiant effort to secure a withdrawal agreement and was let down by a lack of support from Parliament. History will no doubt reflect on the extremely difficult task of delivering Brexit, whoever the Prime Minister.

One thing that impressed me about Theresa May is that throughout all the ups and downs of her time in No10 she and her husband Philip regularly went to church each week, at a time when it’s estimated that only 11.4% of the UK population attend church once a month.[1]

As a Christian, regular church attendance has been of great benefit to me: In difficult times I’ve found inspiration in the worship, guidance in the teaching and encouragement from fellow believers; in good times I’ve been able to celebrate and rejoice in a family community; and in all times my faith in Jesus Christ has deepened.

If you are one of the 88.6% who don’t go to church regularly why not give it a try? It might just be better than you think.

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

[1] https://www.compassionuk.org/02-million-people-attending-church-regularly/

Liberation

May 31, 2019

Next week marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. It was a combined Allied operation that led eventually to the liberation of Europe from enemy occupation. It seems so distant to us now, but its success helped create the modern world.
Although much has changed since 1944, in one way you could say that we are under a new kind of occupation. It’s partially self-inflicted because we’re our own worst enemy. In the west it looks like we’re trapped in political stalemate, and there are mounting tensions in other parts of the globe. Not the least concern is our natural environment and what we’ve done to destroy it. One biblical writer, Paul, explained that all creation was subject to a destruction of our making, and that it yearned to be set free.
We need a new D-Day. Something or someone has to liberate not just us but the whole of nature.
That’s where Jesus Christ comes in.
He’s the ultimate liberator, and he’ll bring the freedom of his peace to this waiting earth.
james.henderson@gracecom.church

Decisions, decisions

May 24, 2019

The Euro elections were not meant to happen in the UK. As a result some are frustrated, others angry, many bored and hoards are disillusioned. Fingers are pointing in every direction looking for someone to blame or to take control. Yet as one political pundit stated recently; “We are where we are!”
As we can see and have probably experienced, life is full of unexpected consequences and surprises that often we don’t see coming. Consequences arising from the choices we make as individuals, as groups or as a nation. As I read my Bible, it too is full of surprises, with unpredictable outcomes like Jesus showing mercy to those who had made poor or wrong choices.
We also need to show a little mercy, patience and understanding to others who make decisions, especially when we may not agree. Also, perhaps extend a little kindness to ourselves in our decision-making because it is not always easy.
We never know what the end of a matter may be. Therefore, let’s pull together to support each other as we collectively face the consequences of our decisions.
Best Regards,
David

david.gibbs@gracecom.church

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