Crossing the benches

May 17, 2019

Why is it so hard to work together?

Perhaps you heard the recent news that the weeks of discussion between the two main political parties in the UK resulted in no agreement with regard to how to proceed with the UK’s exit from Europe. Many in their respective parties felt that the talks were doomed from the start – the differences between the two parties too great to be overcome. This seems to be the story of our times.

What about God? If there is a God, could there ever be an understanding between God and humanity? Are the differences between us too vast?

Christianity believes that this gulf was bridged when God became human, like you and me, in the person of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we are able to discover who God is, and be assured that God knows what it is like to be one of us.

In this time of political madness, find comfort in praying to a God who understands you.

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56761074

 

Rising damp

May 10, 2019

Sensationalist headlines screamed from our national newspapers this week; “Climate crisis ‘may force UK towns to be abandoned’” was the Guardian’s version. It went on to say that, according to the Environment Agency, the impact of a forecast global temperature rise of 4C could lead to whole communities having to move away from coasts and rivers, leading to towns and villages being abandoned.

As a Christian, which to me means a follower of Christ, my knee-jerk reaction was to ask myself what would Jesus think about it all? How would he react? What would he say or do?

On the subject of climate change, he is silent. Perhaps not surprising when you consider how different a place the world was 2000 years ago. Yet in his famous Sermon on the Mount, he made this simple, yet profound, statement: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

The implications behind those words stretch far beyond our management or mis-management of the environment.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

1Matthew 7:12 (NIVUK)

Let’s Celebrate

May 3, 2019

In the midst of all the bad news this week my borough has cause to celebrate. Leyton Orient, the football team I was taken to watch by my dad and whom I’ve supported ever since, came top of the National League winning promotion to the Football League. I joined with other supporters celebrating this achievement. But as I did so I reflected on how transient such celebration of a football team’s success is. Next year they could have a mundane season, or even worse be relegated.

In contrast, as a Christian, I’ve found the love of God to be permanent. The Old Testament of the Bible tells me that it endures forever (Psalm 136:1) and the New Testament shows that nothing can ever separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:35). My own personal experience bears that out.

In a world that is full of negativity, brokenness, and bad news, the one thing that has kept me from despair is the consistency of God’s unfailing love that is sure yesterday, today and tomorrow. Now that’s something worth celebrating.

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

Because Magazine May/June 2019

May 1, 2019

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Because Magazine May/June 2019

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Because Magazine May/June 2019

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Hope in Christ

April 26, 2019

This week the news has been dominated by the tragedy in Sri Lanka. The 9 suicide bombers, who killed 359 people and wounded more than 500 others, targeted Christians during their Easter Sunday services. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with those affected.

Yet this time of grief is not without hope. The Christians affected by this terrible atrocity came together to celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. In so doing, they were acknowledging that violence, hatred and death no longer have the final word.

Those who died are safe with God.

Looking forward to the resurrection to come.

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

 

Crown of Thorns

April 19, 2019

A crown of thorns.The crown of thorns was saved.

Did you see it on TV, or read about it in the news? Notre Dame’s most venerated relic was rescued from the flames that engulfed the world-famous cathedral earlier this week. Some claim it is the original crown of thorns that Roman soldiers forced onto the head of Jesus Christ before he was crucified.

Of course, no one knows for sure whether it’s authentic or a fake. Whatever its history, the crown of thorns reminds us of the reality of the suffering of Christ and of what he did for us. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed himself for all of us, and was raised from the dead that we might live forever with him.

Accept Jesus, your Saviour.

He’s the real thing.

James.henderson@gracecom.church

Your first love

April 12, 2019

Do you remember your first love? The infatuation, the thrill of the chase, the need to have what your heart desired; oh the joy of discovering chocolate!

According to research carried out by Kantar[1] people in the UK have already spent £146m on Easter eggs in 2019. I say Easter eggs but Premier Christian Radio reported that Easter is not mentioned on 80 per cent of chocolate egg boxes,[2] and Humanists UK  have stated  “for the vast majority of us Easter is just a fun celebration where we enjoy extra days off work and school, spend time with our families, and eat more chocolate than usual.”[3]

But there is more to the egg than just chocolate. It is an ancient symbol of new life, and for Christians, the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The hard shell of the egg represents the sealed tomb of Christ, and cracking the shell represents Jesus’ new life from the dead.

Did Jesus rise from the dead? Can it be proved? For me it’s difficult to explain how Christianity could have taken off if its leader was crucified and that was the end of the story. It’s something worth exploring and Easter is a good time to begin that investigative journey. Why not check out the Christian claim that Jesus rose from the dead? You may just find a love even more important than chocolate.

Have a good week leaving no stone unturned,

 

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

 

[1] https://uk.kantar.com/consumer/shoppers/2019/supermarkets-await-easter-sales-boost/

[2] https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Easter-not-mentioned-on-80-per-cent-of-chocolate-egg-boxes?utm_source=Premier%20Christian%20Media&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10450842_daily%20news%208%20april&utm_content=1&dm_i=16DQ,67ZX6,619YCR,OII2L,1

[3] https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Humanists-tell-Christians-not-to-complain-over-Easter-eggs

 

 

Jesus. Catch the bug

April 5, 2019

The old saying, “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” is certainly true of measles.

Measles is a highly contagious virus spread in droplets from coughs, sneezes or by direct contact with an infected person. And recent statistics show it is on rise again– already there are more cases of measles worldwide in 2019 than for the whole of last year.

This week I was reading about something else that is spreading fast –Christianity. Since the authorities tried to stamp it out by murdering its founder 2,000 years ago, Christianity has grown to become the world’s largest religious group. And its numbers are still increasing more quickly than the rate of population in three continents, Africa, Asia and Latin America.1

C.S. Lewis said of the person who started it all, “He (Jesus) came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life he has — by what I call ‘good infection.’”2

Like measles, Jesus is contagious. But unlike measles, only good things can come to those who get the bug.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

 

1Source: Pew Research Centre https://www.pewresearch.org

2 C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity

What sacrifice will you make?

March 29, 2019

Sacrifice has been in the news this week. From politicians sacrificing their positions for a principle, or their principles for a position, to the unsung heroes who risk life and limb to help victims of cyclone Idai.

The word “sacrifice” is a religious term whereby you’d make an offering in order to be restored to God. Nowadays it also means giving up something of value in order to achieve a common cause or an individual goal.

Next month Christians recall not how we should make a sacrifice to God, but rather how God gave of himself for us. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed himself willingly on the cross for our salvation. It’s a message of hope and restoration.

This April, why not make a sacrifice to help someone else? And, also, let’s think about how Jesus died for you and for me that we might share eternally in his life.

Best regards,

james.henderson@gracecom.church

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.

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