Back from the Dead

June 14, 2019

One news headline that grabbed my attention this week was ‘The snail that came back from the dead’. On further investigation, It turned out to be fake news – this wasn’t a tale of mollusc resurrection at all. It was the story of a rare species, the Bermuda land snail, that was thought to have gone extinct 40 years ago, but has now been found still alive and is being rescued from the brink of extinction by a successful breeding programme carried out by Chester Zoo.

The Bermuda land snail is one of a number of ‘Lazarus species’, named after the bible story where Jesus brought his dead friend Lazarus back to life. Later, after his own brutal death by crucifixion, the bible tells us Jesus himself was raised from the dead, this time to eternal life. Is this just a myth, as some say, or is resurrection for real, as millions of Christians believe? And if so, what does that mean for all of us?

Jesus answers those questions with a profound statement, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die”.1

That could possibly be the boldest claim anyone has ever made. Is it worth looking into? You can bet your life on it.

All the very best

Peter Mill

  1. John 11:25 (NIRV)

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.

An unconditional offer

February 15, 2019

Should universities give students unconditional offers of acceptance?

Recently this practice has come under increased scrutiny after it was revealed that the number of unconditional offers issued by universities was increasing and that the students who received the offers often miss their predicted grades. Would students be better off, more resilient, if they had to earn their place?

As a Christian I believe that we have all been given an unconditional offer in Jesus Christ. We haven’t earned this place, yet if we accept it, it will change our life forever and open up opportunities beyond our wildest imaginations.

The offer reflects God’s confidence in who we will become with his help, rather than what we have achieved.

Maybe it is time to consider his unconditional offer of grace?

Warm regards,

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Poles apart

February 8, 2019

This morning I almost choked on my toast when I read that the Magnetic North Pole is on the move. It’s been in the Canadian Arctic for 400 years, but now it’s heading towards Russia. Not only that, but it’s picking up speed, accelerating from 10km a year 30 years ago to as fast as 60km a year today.

Apparently this is all perfectly normal but I find it deeply disturbing. Not even North is true! Nothing for it but to add this to a growing list of life’s disappointments.

Over the years, I have been variously let down, put out and left in the lurch. I have been stood up, cast down, my hopes dashed and my prospects ruined. But through all of these setbacks, one person has always been there for me: my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He never changes, never disappoints and is always true to his word.

When all else fails, he’s the one thing you can definitely count on. Put your trust in Jesus. Compared to everyone and everything else, he’s poles apart.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

The value of an apology

February 1, 2019

You may have been shocked as I was to see the pictures of Prince Philip’s recent car crash. As he pulled out of a driveway his Land Rover collided with a Kia and flipped over. The 97-year-old prince was fortunate to get out alive, whilst Ms Fairweather, a passenger in the Kia, suffered a broken wrist.

Following complaints that she had received no direct communication from Prince Philip after the accident, a letter of apology was issued earlier this week which seemed to alter her attitude. She said ‘I thought it was a really nice touch that he signed it off as Philip and not a formal title. I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalised nature.’ [i]

Giving an apology can have a powerful effect on people who might otherwise be antagonistic. I’ve seen how they can defuse issues and reconcile people; whereas if they go unsaid attitudes can harden and deepen making it much more difficult to achieve a resolution. Perhaps that’s why the biblical book of Matthew encourages me to stop any religious activity in order to first be reconciled to someone I have a problem with[ii]

I could write more about apologising, but I think I need to stop and make some apologies; how about you?

Have a good week,
barry.robinson@gracecom.church

 

[i] https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/47019867
[ii] The Bible, Matthew chapter 5, verses 23-24

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

 

Feed the world

January 18, 2019

Is it possible to feed the world?

Well according to a group of scientists in the news this week, it is. Over 30 experts from the EAT-Lancet commission spent two years devising a diet that, they say, could sustainably feed every single person alive today. As far as this group is concerned, it is possible to feed the whole world without destroying our planet.

Wouldn’t it be great if that could be achieved? Yet, even if it could, would the world be happy? Not according to New Scientist magazine, which recently argued that humans have a God-shaped hole that needs to be filled. A deep longing for spirituality in our lives.

On that subject, Jesus, founder of the world’s biggest spiritual movement, famously declared: ‘People cannot live on bread alone’. Meaning that, to be truly fulfilled, we need to have more than just our physical and emotional needs met.

Do you hunger for something other than food? Why not make Jesus part of your daily diet?

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

 

 

Mission to Earth

January 11, 2019

Satellite picture of Earth and MoonDid you see the pictures from the Yutu 2 “Jade Rabbit” lunar rover this week?

If you are a fan of space exploration (and who isn’t?), these pictures are not to be missed as the Chinese rover is the first chance we have had to see what the far side of the moon looks like at ground level*. While previously we have had pictures taken by satellite of the far side of the moon, this is the first time we are able to see it up close, and experience what it is like to travel along its stark landscape.

Space has often been associated with the divine and mankind has often tried to see God, but can we ever truly know what God is like? Is God too far away? Is our image too blurry?

The good news of Jesus Christ is that God came to us so that we no longer have to guess what God is like. Through Jesus we can see God up close and encounter him personally.

Don’t miss out on God’s mission to Earth.

Gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

* The moon is tidally locked to the Earth, which means that only one side is ever visible from the Earth’s surface.

Take a look

January 4, 2019

winter landscape panorama with sunset and the forestIt is conventionally thought that the month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of gates, beginnings and transitions. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. In the UK as we look back to 2018 we probably recall the entanglements of the Brexit negotiations and as we look ahead to 2019 we may wonder how it’s all going to be resolved.

As a Christian when I look back in time my focus is on the cross of Jesus Christ where my salvation was secured and when I look into the future I live in the light of his anticipated return to earth. But my looking doesn’t stop there: I look up to see that God provides the power and strength for me to live in a dangerous world; I look in to see that God lives in me and has promised never to leave me; And I look around at my fellow Christians reminding me that we travel together on this journey as part of a Christian community. In 2019 I hope to deepen my vision in all of these aspects of my Christian walk.

If you are a Christian and are concerned about what the next year holds for you why not try and do the same. If you are not a Christian and you are apprehensive and anxious about the future, 2019 might just be a good time to take a look at this thing called Christianity. It is well worth a look.

Barry Robinson (Barry.robinson@gracecom.church)

It’s all about the timings

December 21, 2018

Christmas is all about timing. Festive music in the supermarkets from late November seems too early; rushing around on the 24th of December for the present you forgot seems too late. Will those Christmas cards sent to Australia arrive in time? If you are travelling to be at home for Christmas, will you get there on time? Then there’s the Christmas dinner. Will the turkey be ready before the Queen’s message? Have the brussel sprouts been left on too long? How many hours does it take for a Christmas pudding to simmer? Time after time Christmas brings us timing issues.

Interestingly, the Bible tells us ‘when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman’ (Galatians 4:4 The Message). Ultimately, for the Christian, Christmas isn’t about the presents, the cards or the dinner; it’s about the time when God came to be with us (Matthew 1:23) in order to save us from our sins (v.21).

If you feel that Christmas is just a hectic round of trying to get everything done on time, why not take some time to explore the Christian claims about Jesus? It will be time well spent, and you might just find that it is his coming into the world that makes this the most wonderful time of the year.

I hope you have a good time this Christmas.

Barry.robinson@gracecom.church

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