What’s ahead for you?

August 10, 2018

Are your joints a bit stiff today? Feeling the effects of ageing in some way?

According to a recent study by British scientists, we can no longer blame the symptoms of ageing on the simple wear and tear of our body, but it’s in our genes. In other words, getting old and even death itself are more genetically driven than was once thought. Some of the benefits of this research may be reflected in future breakthroughs in medical science and in cosmetics. We might live longer and look better to carry on carrying on.

Most of us like the idea of living longer, and everlasting life is regarded by many religions as a reward of the faithful. But, what would they do? It can be a scary idea in one way. Just more of the same forever and ever, world without end, amen? Personally, I’m not quite so sure.

Christianity explains that eternal life is not limited to life as we know it. It’s not going to be the same old life, rather a new life, the like of which we can’t even imagine. No one, the Bible tells us, has seen or heard of what God has prepared for us in the eternal life to come. All we know is that’s better than this one, and, let’s face it, despite all its ups and downs, this life can be pretty good.

With Jesus, we get a new life, and living forever becomes a new adventure, something indescribable and wonderful.

Get Jesus, get a life.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

What’s your credit?

August 3, 2018

Money has been in the news this week, from the naming of the first company worth one-trillion US dollars, to the rise in UK interest rates which might lead to more people being in debt.

Spiritually speaking, some religions see us as beginning life in a kind of spiritual debt. It’s as if we owe a huge amount, and we need to do something, sometimes quite a lot, to work our way into credit. Other ideas include that we begin with a clean slate, neither in credit or in debt, and in that way it’s fair to all.

Christianity takes an entirely different view. All of us are born into grace, with any debts we owed paid up in full through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is not a blank balance sheet because everything is for us. Everything is a plus, a yes for us in Christ. You could call it the credit of abundant grace, and we use this credit to enrich everyone and everything around us.

In fact, to God, we’re worth more than a trillion dollars!

Why not accept the grace of Jesus and realize your worth?

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Hope for the seas

July 27, 2018

I was horrified this week to read that only about 13% of the world’s oceans remain abundantly full of life.

In other words, we have been careless, not only with the land and the forests, but also with the precious waters that surround us. Where there once was beautiful and amazing diversity, now areas of our seas and oceans are becoming lifeless. Why? Because of human activity.

Sometimes religions centre somewhat selfishly on the fate of humanity and give scant regard to the salvation of the planet. Christianity has something to say about it. It likens nature to someone who is groaning under the neglect and abuse that it’s been subjected to by people like us. Creation, the Bible tells us, cries out for the salvation which Jesus alone will bring.

So, there’s hope for the planet after all. Which is just as well because we’re doing a pretty hopeless job in looking after it.

We can do our bit and help now. Also, we can turn to Jesus now and accept his salvation.

Turn to Jesus.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

The best defence?

July 13, 2018

Is collective defence still a good idea in the 21stcentury? Should nations join together to face a common threat? What about NATO? Is its future in jeopardy?

In the European press this week there’s been a lot of talk about the World Cup, Brexit, immigration, the encouraging news about the rescue of the schoolboys in Thailand, and also concerns expressed about the West’s defence capability.

Call him a dreamer, but Jesus Christ had something revolutionary to say about defence. He said it begins on a very personal level, with how we deal with each other on a day to day basis. His defence strategy wasn’t welcomed by his countrymen, who wanted to arm themselves against the forces of Rome. You may have heard of what Jesus said. His words were, “love your enemies”! It’s quite startling, isn’t it? But should we not arm ourselves first, just in case? It’s not exactly what he said or what he did, is it?

And it begins with us. You and me. In the home, on the street, at the workplace. Pray to Jesus that he would help you. Do good to those who don’t like you, or hate you, or speak ill of you. Love them.

Love.

It’s the best defence.

Let’s turn to Jesus and let him help us love our enemies.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

The whistle blower

June 22, 2018

Should someone speak up when things are going wrong? This has been in the UK news this week, following a report that doctors in a supposedly reputable hospital were administering dangerously high levels of drugs to elderly patients.

What was needed, a government spokesman suggested, was more “whistle-blowers”.

The idea is that we blow a whistle to signal that enough is enough, time-out, let’s raise an alarm, it’s time to deal with this.

Spiritually speaking, in a sense this is something that the sacrifice of Jesus does for us. It’s like blowing the whistle on our sins. It proclaims that our sins have found us out, and, thanks be to God, they have been forgiven.

No more sinning.

We have been forgiven.

Now that’s something to whistle about!

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

Living longer

June 15, 2018


If you go to church, statistics show that you’re likely to live longer. That’s according to some recently-published results of surveys the compared the longevity of Christians compared to non-Christians.

You might think that this could be a reason for Christians to feel smug, but actually it isn’t. Paul, an early Christian writer suggested that if we had hope for this life only, then what’s the point of anything? Life is not about trying to live longer. What we need is hope for life after life, an eternal life that God made possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Of course, it’s understandable that we want to live longer, and going to church is good.

But, if you want more than that, turn to Jesus and receive eternal life.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

Taking a risk?

June 1, 2018

Life is full of risks. This week in the UK there’s been a national discussion about health and safety in school playgrounds and in public parks — does the risk of a child being injured outweigh the positive value of play?

Sometimes we need to risk taking risks. For example, being a Christian can be a risky business. Nevertheless, believers have faith, meaning that they accept that following Christ is worth the risk of doing so. People may not like you for it, and, in some cases, Christians have risked and lost their lives for their faith.

Why? Why risk stepping out in faith? It’s because, spiritually speaking, the enduring love of Jesus for us is the only certainty we have in this risk-laden world.

Think about taking a risk with Jesus.

If you’d like to know more about doing so, let us know.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Stuck?

May 25, 2018

Maybe you noticed this week how you can use your smart home assistant to say grace before a meal?

By smart home assistant I don’t mean your spouse or child, but I’m referring to interactive electronic devices that are prompted by your voice to play your favourite music, tell you the weather, check out ideas, and now can lead you in prayer.

Whether this is a good idea may be debatable, but surely anything that promotes prayer is a positive move. Of course, it’s desirable that we pray, but sometimes we get stuck and don’t know what to say next. Interestingly, the Bible tells us that in such situations we have a spiritual assistant, someone who comes alongside us and helps us find the thoughts to think and words to express them. This assistant is not some gadget or invention, but he is the Holy Spirit. God himself comes to help us.

Next time, or perhaps it’s the first time, you pray and get stuck, ask God to help you.

You’ll be surprised how the Spirit helps.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Ascension

May 4, 2018

Next week Christians remember that Jesus Christ went up to heaven.

You’d have thought that was a given, so why fuss about it? Surely, if Jesus is who he said he was, then he would have gone straight there without passing go, so to speak.

There are many excellent ideas about what is called the Ascension, referring to how Jesus ascended into the sky, but there’s one part of the story that always sticks with me. His followers are dumbfounded as they watch him go up into the clouds, and an angel says to them, “this Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven” (the Good News Bible, Acts 1:11).

In other words, Jesus, whose presence is with us now through the Holy Spirit, will return. Just as he ascended to heaven, one day he’ll descend with heavenly blessings for us and for the whole world. He will do this because we have been included in God’s loving and eternal grace.

The bottom line is that Jesus, the King, is coming back.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Out of service?

April 27, 2018

 

One of the UK’s leading banks has had computer problems most of this week. It’s meant that many of its customers have not had access to their money, resulting in personal and business crises.

Banks do experience difficulties from time to time. I’m reminded of when, a few years ago, the central bank of Portugal bailed out the Banco Espírito Santo, which in English means the “Bank of the Holy Spirit”. You’d think that a bank with such a name would not need to be rescued!

What if Christians did not have access to the Holy Spirit? It would be bad news indeed. The Christian Festival of Pentecost, which is only a few weeks away, celebrates that the Holy Spirit was sent to us. The doors to His bank never close. He’s always available to and for us.

With God, who is Father, Son and Spirit, there’s no downtime. No upgrades that cause the system to crash, no maintenance that blocks access temporarily, no password problems and no shortage of assistance.

God is here in His fullness to help us at all times.

Let Him help you.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

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