Let’s change now

January 25, 2019

Perhaps it’s not too late. We may all have played a part in wrecking the natural world, but let’s do something about it.

This week Sir David Attenborough addressed the 49th summit of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, and his major concern is that we act now to protect the Earth. Things are getting worse, not better, and it is high time that national leaders and their citizens make meaningful changes. “The Garden of Eden is no more” (*) , he explained, and we’re in a new age, the age of humans.

The reference to the Garden of Eden is taken from the beginning of the Christian Bible. It refers to the pristine state of the world, uncontaminated by humanity’s unrestrained greed and selfish ambition. The Bible presents our natural environment as God’s creative gift to us, and calls for us to care for it, to nurture it, and to maintain its God-given diversity and beauty.

“We need a plan” Attenborough said.

It’s never too late to change, is one of the underlying messages of Jesus Christ. It’s not only a spiritual message, but it also applies to lifestyle changes that celebrate the gift of our precious planet.

Let’s make some changes.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

*https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/david-attenborough-transcript-from-crystal-award-speech

 

No vengeance?

September 7, 2018

Vengeance seems to be on the mind of international leaders this week.

But should it really be payback time? The UK and its allies against Russia for the alleged deployment of nerve gas on UK soil? Russia against the UK for making what its leaders view as unfounded allegations? And, the more we look into the news, the more examples we come across.

Some have thought that God has vengeance on his mind, and that he plans to bring the world to an end in a fit of wrath. Typically, that’s what many of the Judgment Day pundits claim. That a disillusioned God will satisfy his anger by destroying the earth and sinners like you and me. As society appears to go from bad to worse, the more religious zealots preach that view.

But, is this true? Actually, the Bible proposes something different. It’s not that God is intent on revenge, but that he offers outgoing love to a resistant humanity. God prefers to return evil with good. Vengeance is subsumed in grace. Jesus returns in power as the Prince of Peace, and not like some charging, vengeful warrior king.

How will all this play out? I don’t know.

What I do know is that God is the God of amazing grace, not of spiteful vengeance, and, because of that, there is hope for all of us.

Accept his grace.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

The best light source

August 31, 2018

Sometimes things, which we regarded as helpful and innovative, become outdated and of questionable value. For example, halogen bulbs, which were heralded once as affordable and durable light sources, are being phased out in Europe because they are regarded now as costly to us and as unfriendly to the environment.

Similarly, the Bible tells us that belief systems, which we might have valued once as being sources of spiritual light, have been upstaged in favour of something uniquely better. All those religious ideas, claiming that somehow through our own actions or by our own state of mind we might achieve enlightenment, are obsolete. They are not relevant anymore.

This is because the only true source of life-giving light is neither a code of behaviour nor a meditation technique. Rather it is a person, and his name is Jesus Christ. Any other lights fade away in the glory of his brightness.

Jesus is the Light of the World.

Accept Jesus. Let his light shine through you.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

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

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

Breakthrough

January 19, 2018

I’m sure all of us hope that the news of a breakthrough in cancer detection will prevent many people from suffering. Early detection brings with it the hope of treating this terrible disease before it takes root and spreads.

The Bible mentions the idea of early detection when it comes to dealing with sin and its consequences. One of its writers, James, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, warns against letting wrong thoughts take root in our minds because, if we do so, those thoughts will fester, grow and develop into sinful actions.

The good news for us is that Jesus himself is the breakthrough we need to tackle the spiritual cancer that is sin. Through his death and resurrection all of our sins have been detected, forgiven and their effect nullified. And, when we begin to think of doing something wrong, Jesus’ Spirit is there, working with us to identify it and to overcome it.

Accept Jesus and the healing he brings.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

Plastic choices

January 12, 2018

Sometimes what seems like a good idea turns out to be a bad one. Take plastic, for example. Since it was first patented in 1856 in Birmingham, UK, it has revolutionized the world.

It was cheap, flexible, light-weight, durable, water-resistant, and just the answer for the mass production of household utensils, bottles, bags, containers, etc. It’s used in spacecraft and in hospital equipment. It’s in cars, trains, and planes. You name it, and probably plastic is in there somewhere.

Using plastic materials meant that we could preserve the planet a little longer because we wouldn’t need to use materials such as wood, stone, leather and glass. But look what’s happened now. Plastic degrades so slowly that it’s led to an environmental crisis. No one saw the consequences at the time. If only we had known!

There is, of course, a spiritual analogy. What we think is good for us morally or spiritually might in the end not be. This is why Christians point to Jesus and his words as the best path to take when it comes to how to live our lives and to how we relate to others. Plastic alternatives to what Jesus teaches might seem attractive, but resist them, follow Jesus and avoid a spiritual crisis.

Therefore, as well as being environmentally responsible, let’s be spiritually responsive, and accept Jesus Christ.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Beyond the rainbow

September 15, 2017

It’s been ideal conditions for rainbows this week. Did you see one?

Rainbows signify hope. According to the Bible, God sent the first rainbow as a sign of his intervention when all seemed hopeless. Everyone was doing his or her own thing without any regard to consequences, and, on the international front, there was a build-up of tension and intrigue. Does this sound familiar? And then came the weather, lots of it, 40 days of rain and storms, and a great flood destroyed the known world.

Thankfully, God came to the rescue and sent the gift of a rainbow to proclaim that the chaos was over. This points to the idea that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to save us and to proclaim the end of hopelessness.

As we listen to or read the news today, we fear what tomorrow may bring. The world seems more unstable with each passing day. Where is it all leading us? Is there global chaos and upheaval ahead? Perhaps. But, even if there is, there is still the rainbow, that splendid colourful refraction of light. For us, it can be like a sign that reminds us of Jesus, who is the Light of the world.

Therefore, when I see a rainbow, I think that, no matter how bad things get, both personally and for humanity in general, God does and will save us.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

You don’t have to copy

September 1, 2017

Did you yawn today? And if so, was it because you saw someone else yawn first and you followed suit?

All of us sometimes copy other people without thinking about it. It can seem automatic, and contagious yawning is a typical example. According to research reported this week, such responses occur in the part of the brain responsible for motor function. Of course, we don’t just copy physical actions such as yawning and smiling, but we may also respond to the negativity of others by becoming negative ourselves. For example, we get angry when someone is angry with us, we attack when attacked, we hit back when under fire.

Christianity tells us to imitate Jesus Christ, and thus develop new ways of responding emotionally to situations and to other people. Instead of automatically responding with aggression when someone threatens us, with Christ we learn to respond with grace and love. The Bible puts it this way: don’t return evil with evil but return evil with good.

Someone next to me just yawned, and I am trying and failing to stifle a yawn in return. My automatic physical response beat me, again.

It doesn’t have to be that way spiritually, however.

With Jesus, we can overcome our negative reactions.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

 

 

 

Who’s listening?

July 21, 2017

“Alexa, what time is it?” my friend asked. I thought she was talking to me, and I said, “it’s me, James”.

And then a voice announced the precise time from a small, white dome-shaped box by the TV. We laughed, and then proceeded to ask all kinds of questions that we thought Alexa couldn’t answer.

Alexa, the wireless personal assistant device, is gaining much popularity. It can do all kinds of things, from searching the web to dimming the lights, from telling you the weather to reminding you of your name!

Unless you purposefully switch it off, Alexa is always listening, ready to go into action at the sound of your voice. Its critics see it as having frightening “Big Brother”- like future possibilities whereas others hail it as a comforting companion for the lonely.

When it comes to the idea of someone who is always listening, the reality is that God is always listening and aware of us, and we can’t switch him off, try as we might.

God is not, of course, the private personal assistant of the faithful. Rather he is aware of everyone’s situation and his desire is to save all of us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Talk to Jesus.

He’s always listening.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

 

 

 

 

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