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

 

Breaking free

April 20, 2018

Would you like to break free from your past?

On the eve of the Commonwealth discussions about future leadership, one of its member states has changed its name. What was once Swaziland is now the Kingdom of eSwatini, meaning “land of the Swazis”. King Mswati III explained that this was a bold return to the country’s ancient name and thus indicated a defining break from the captivity of its colonial past.

Biblically speaking, we all need to break free from a past that’s held us captive. It’s the captivity of our sins, which have colonised our lives to such an extent that we can’t be the people God intended us to be.

Changing our name won’t set us free. In fact, there’s only one name that can help us, and that’s Jesus. He alone is the once and future leader that can bring us out of that bondage into a new and liberated future.

If you’d like to know more about how Jesus can help you make that break from the past, let us know.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

Does it have to be war?

April 13, 2018

It’s no surprise that world leaders are talking war once again.

Why do I say this? It’s because Jesus Christ said that there’d always be wars and rumours of wars. It’s part of our human condition.

But when will it all end? Does it have to be this way?

In the UK there are protests to say that the current call to arms is undemocratic. If only the people could be heard, then their collective will would prevent involvement in war.

According to the Bible, what will end war forever is not the will of the people, but the will of God. We’ll be fighting and ready to fight right up until the last moment, even as Jesus returns to stop the nonsense and to rescue us from ourselves. Jesus will come to usher in God’s eternal peace, and there’ll be no more war, but when? God only knows, said Jesus.

Christians everywhere are praying fervently for Christ’s return, and we can understand why.

In the meantime, let’s do whatever we can do for peace.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

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