Remember, remember

November 8, 2019

On Tuesday, bonfires and fireworks displays up and down the country celebrated the failed attempt, in 1605, to blow up the Houses of Parliament. An event that would have changed the course of British history.

Another tradition of remembrance will take place this weekend, when on Remembrance Sunday many will gather to honour the countless men and women who died in wartime defending our freedom.

Perhaps you could also spare a thought for the individual who – his followers believe – made the biggest sacrifice of all. Jesus Christ gave his life with no thought for himself, so that one day there may be no more wars or acts of wanton destruction, no more tears, or suffering or death.

Remember Jesus. He never forgets you.

About the Author:

Peter Mill is an Elder and the Missions Developer of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He and his wife Jackie are also the Pastoral Workers for Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland.

 

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash

 

Another One

November 1, 2019

‘You’re joking? Not another one!’ So said ‘Brenda from Bristol’ when Theresa May called a General Election in 2017. Now we are faced with yet another one and with it 6 weeks of electioneering before the poll on 12 December.

All candidates will be making promises of what they will do if elected in order to secure your vote: Brexit done and dusted by 31 January 2020; Brexit stopped altogether; a people’s vote to determine the way forward; more money for the NHS; more police on the streets; more choice in education or the closure of private schools; higher taxes on the wealthy, lower taxes on business. The promises go on and on. Will any of them come to fruition or are they as Mary Poppins once said, ‘pie crust promises – easily made and easily broken?’

The future after a General Election is uncertain, but the Christian Scriptures tell us of a future hope that is certain: one where every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and where there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). But are these promises just ‘pie in the sky?’ Not according to the writer of the book of Revelation: he reassures us that these words are trustworthy and true (verse 5).

Although God doesn’t need our votes to bring this future about it’s one I vote for and want to be involved in – how about you?

 

About the Author:
Barry Robinson
is an Elder and the Ombudsman of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Southern England (including the Greater London area).

(Image: Nottingham Post)

 

Because Magazine November / December 2019

October 29, 2019

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Because Magazine November / December 2019

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Hope in tragedy

October 25, 2019

We’ve all been shocked by the story of the eight women and thirty-one men who froze to death while trapped in a transport container. One can only imagine the horror and hopelessness of their final hours.

Our hearts go out to them as we think about it, and we’re appalled that people-trafficking could happen in our civilised world. A question comes to mind: are these victims of man’s inhumanity to man lost forever?

One of the Christian writers, a man called Paul, wrote that we are limited if we have hope only in the life we know. There must be more to it. And it’s true, isn’t it? As wonderful as our world is, it is hopeless when it comes to the personal and collective tragedies that happen.

Paul said the answer was Jesus. He is the hope of the dead. His resurrection to life was the precursor to a greater resurrection to come. And, therefore, for all those who die, there is hope.

Those 39 people who died such unfair and tragic deaths, there’s hope for them.

That hope is Jesus.

 

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

Hope for our future

October 18, 2019

Would Jesus be part of the Extinction Rebellion?

For a start, he was a rebel. He objected to the hypocrisy of religious leaders, so much so that eventually they killed him to keep him quiet.

In addition, he defied the idea of extinction. He said he came to bring abundant life and to reverse our trend towards destroying not only ourselves but also everything else. “I am the Resurrection”, he explained, meaning that he was the hope for all our futures. And, putting his words into action, Jesus rose from the dead after he was crucified for our sake.

 

Jesus rebelled against our extinction.

Turn to him and live.

 

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

 

Rescued

October 11, 2019

It’s been another week of last-ditch talks, bitter recriminations, heated protests and acrimonious falling outs. And once again, the British government was blamed for failing to come up with an acceptable deal.

More Brexit woes? No. I’m talking about that other European crisis, the liquidation of Thomas Cook.

Just as the final flights of Operation Matterhorn brought home the last of the 150,000 stranded passengers, out of the blue came a rescue for the 2,500 redundant staff.

Sunderland based Hays Travel pledged to save all 555 Thomas Cook shops and give the staff their jobs back. And so, in one fell swoop, tears of sadness turned to tears of joy – a heartwarming good news story.

An old English word for good news is gospel, but nowadays that word is associated with a particular kind of good news. Out of the blue, a man called Jesus entered the world with an offer to save much more than shops and jobs, nothing less than the lives of every man, woman and child who ever have and ever will live.

I sincerely hope John Hays keeps his word, just like Jesus did.

About the Author:

Peter Mill is an Elder and the Missions Developer of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He and his wife Jackie are also the Pastoral Workers for Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland.

The Gender Gap

October 4, 2019

Boris Johnson was asked on the Today Programme this week, ‘Do you have a problem with women?’, to which he replied that as Mayor of London and as Prime Minister he has had around 50% of his key posts filled by women, and that he has been a champion of girls around the world having 12 years of education.

The gender gap has also been highlighted this week with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex promoting the importance of female education in Malawi, and Dianne Abbott, the first black woman to be involved in Prime Minister’s Questions, drawing attention to the negative issues women face in modern Britain.

Is there a gender gap with God? Interestingly Jesus included women in his entourage, which was unheard of for itinerant rabbis of his day, and Peter, an early Christian leader, said that men and women are joint heirs together of the gift of life.[1]

Both genders are of equal worth, value and significance. In an age where the call for equal opportunities for women is prominent, the Christian voice has an important message to add to the conversation: Everyone is included in God’s plan for humankind, both male and female – there is no discrimination with God. Now that’s some good news to celebrate.

 

About the Author:
Barry Robinson
is an Elder and the Ombudsman of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Southern England (including the Greater London area).

[1] 1 Peter 3:7

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g29286263/prince-harry-malawi-2019-royal-tour-photos/

 

Because Magazine September /October 2019

October 1, 2019

You can see our new monthly magazine here

Because Magazine September/ October 2019

Disgrace to Grace?

September 27, 2019

It’s a disgrace! How often I’ve heard people say that this week. It’s also been in the papers and on the TV news.

It was used by frustrated protestors at the UN summit on climate control, by both sides in the US’s unfolding impeachment drama, and, of course, by concerned citizens to vent public anger and outrage at what appears to be the failure of the UK parliament in processing Brexit.

But what is disgrace? It’s the opposite of grace, a religious term that Christians use often. Grace refers to the unmerited favour of God. It involves abandoning the politics of power and the giving up of personal ambition. Jesus did this. He put the prerogatives of divine power to one side in order to die for us so that we might understand what it means to live in peace.

If only politicians, world leaders and even ordinary people like you and me would follow his example. If only we’d put aside our own agendas and make a meaningful difference.

That’s grace.

 

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

Come on in

September 20, 2019

Last weekend, a friend of mine told me he helps out at his local Men’s Shed.

If you’ve never heard of this organisation, as I hadn’t until last week, the Men’s Shed movement is huge. It started in Australia in the 1990s as a way for men to get together to “connect, converse and create” reducing social isolation and improving men’s physical and mental health. Today there are thousands of sheds and tens of thousands of ‘shedders’ worldwide.

It made me think about a similar movement that has been around for a lot longer: the Christian church. Like sheds, churches come in all shapes and sizes and are places where people come together to be uplifted and supported. Unlike sheds, churches are for men, women and children and promote not just mental and physical, but also spiritual health. Today there are churches on every corner in just about every country in the world and over two billion people inside them.

If you’ve never been to church or haven’t been for a while, come along. Whoever you are, you’ll be very welcome.

 

About the Author:

Peter Mill is an Elder and the Missions Developer of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He and his wife Jackie are also the Pastoral Workers for Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland.

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