Others first at Xmas

December 24, 2020

WWJD?

Do you know the term? It’s a bit like the text shorthand “Cul8r”, meaning “See you later!”. In Christian circles it stands for “What Would Jesus Do”?

WWJD this Xmas?

It’s so frustrating to be in lockdown when we’d rather be merry-making and enjoying the festive season to the full with family and friends. Many Christians, of course, miss coming together in collective worship on the traditional birthday of Jesus.

But what would Jesus do? Perhaps I could share a controversial view. It is that Jesus would put us before him. It is that he cares more about us and our health than he does about himself. His whole life demonstrated that. When he died on a Roman cross, it was about saving us and valuing his own life less than ours.

Jesus shows all of us a way forward this season.

Save lives by putting others first.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Time for generosity

December 4, 2020

Over the last week, we’ve had Black Friday, the time of the year when retailers are supposed to move from operating ‘in the red’ (at a loss) to operating ‘in the black’ (making a profit). Then we’ve had Cyber Monday, encouraging us to spend online. It seems everyone is after our money. Then we’ve had Giving Tuesday. Now we can move away from consumerism as the focus is on giving to a good cause. That makes me feel better – or does it?

I love the concept of generosity, but if I’m honest, there are times when I’m reluctant to be generous and find it hard to give my hard-earned resources to those in need, which can lead me to feel guilty.

As a Christian, I am called to be generous, not to assuage my guilt or to be a ‘good person’, but because it reflects the heart and character of God who gave his one and only Son so we could have eternal life (John 3:16).

In a week where we’ve been encouraged to snap up the latest bargain, why not also think about those less fortunate? When we choose to give, we connect with the heart of God and the need of humanity – now that’s a good deal.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

Check the details

November 27, 2020

“The devil is in the details”, one newscaster announced this week. He meant that what may sound like good news might contain a catch or two once we know the whole story.

For example, it sounded good that UK families could meet over Xmas, but now that we’ve heard or read the details, some feel robbed that it did not go far enough. It’s like the human condition – despite the apparent good news of human progress throughout history, the details of our history make bad reading.

The Christian story is that God is in the details of our salvation. It begins with how God planned to send his Son, Jesus, to save us, and continues with the details of how he did send him and of how his Son sacrificed himself for all of us. Some call it the Christmas story, but it’s more than that. It’s a story for every season and for everyone. The child Jesus grew up to become the Saviour of the world.

Those details make good reading.

Jesus is good news.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Positive contact

November 13, 2020

“As you have been identified as a contact of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, you are under a legal obligation to self-isolate from now until…”. As soon as the text arrived my mind start rushing through all the things I should have done to prepare for potentially spending the next two weeks at home.

People who have near death experiences often say a similar thing. As their life flashes before them they think of all the things they haven’t done but wanted to do. All the things they should have done but never got around to.

Is this the fate that awaits us all? That at the end of our lives we are to be judged for all our mistakes and all our regrets?

The Christian message is one of hope. It tells us that we have all tested positive for grace and that if we turn to Jesus, he will both redeem our mistakes and turn our regrets into joy.

For hope, turn to Jesus.

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

My voice, Our equal future

October 16, 2020

This week marked the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ under the theme of ‘My Voice, Our Equal Future,’ commemorating 25 years since the adoption of the ‘Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’ – the global agenda for advancing the rights and empowerment of women and girls everywhere. Although girls have been breaking barriers in those 25 years, there is still much to do: 130 million girls around the world do not have access to education, 1 in 5 girls globally has experienced sexual violence, and nearly 80% of new HIV infections in Eastern and Southern Africa are among girls.

As a Christian I believe God’s heart breaks for the injustice girls suffer. The Christian worldview is that humankind, both male and female, was created in God’s image[1], that in living as a Christian there is to be no male/female discrimination[2] and that woman have the same glorious future as men.[3]

God loves all of humanity and treats men and women as equal. Just think what a difference it would make if our world did the same.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

[1] Genesis 1:7

[2] Galatians 3:28

[3] 1 Peter 3:7

Give prayer a chance

October 2, 2020

This week Jennifer Lopez’s 12-year-old daughter, Emme Muniz, published a Christian children’s book on prayer called ‘Lord Help Me.’ With a wisdom beyond her years, she told People magazine[1] that she has been passionate about prayer since she was five-years-old and believes that prayer has helped her get through small challenges like getting along with her brother to the bigger ones like helping to save the planet and its creatures. In her interview, she said, “I really hope children are able to learn to pray, share the book and spread the power of prayer after reading it.”

Of course, prayer is not only for children; many adults have also found help for life’s challenges, peace and comfort, and answers to their questions through prayer. The Christian evangelist, Billy Graham, once said “heaven is full of answers to prayers that haven’t been asked.”

In our world of pandemics, social unrest, environmental crisis, and yes, even struggling to get along with an annoying family member, why not give prayer a chance by asking the Lord to help us? Maybe then, like Emme and Billy Graham, we too will discover the power of prayer.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

[1] https://people.com/parents/jennifer-lopez-daughter-emme-muniz-talks-kids-book-performing-at-super-bowl/

Photo: Penguin Random House

Faithful

September 25, 2020

 

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been advised by health ministers to limit sex to well established relationships. In other words, not to sleep around and not to have multiple partners.

It’s for practical reasons, of course, and not a question of returning to old-fashioned Christian morality. It’s about stopping the spread of the virus, not about the virtues of faithfulness and of the sanctity of marriage. 

But is it the cart before the horse?

Call me old-fashioned but maybe, if we had followed the original advice of Jesus and his followers, we’d be in a better place right now. Loving faithfulness is good, and, if we put that as a first principle in relationships, there’d be less transmission of communicable diseases and more harmony in society.

Let’s be faithful.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Faith, hope and love

September 18, 2020

In the UK, an influential parliamentary committee recently described one government department as drawing up immigration policies based on “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”.

If a committee were to look at your life, what would they find? What are the three principles that underpin your decisions and actions?

This is something the early Christian writer Paul, a follower of Jesus Christ, wrote about. His conclusion was that there were three guiding principles that should underpin our life: faith, hope and love. Faith in the goodness of God shown in Jesus, hope in his power to make all things right, and a love that overcomes all adversity.

As we face the challenges of life, choose to engage in faith, hope and love.

The greatest of these being love.

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

Historic Journeys

September 4, 2020

Over the last few days, I’ve been reminded of two historic journeys. This September marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower setting sail from Plymouth taking 102 passengers to America to start a new life. On Monday, Israel’s airline El Al made its first-ever flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, which is seen as the beginning of a thawing of relations between the two countries.

Journeys often mean new chapters in life which can present challenges as these two journeys did. It takes courage to step out of our comfort zones and set out on a journey, especially one of historic proportions.

When my children were young, and I took them on a journey, they were always concerned with the destination – ‘are we there yet?’ was a familiar refrain. We humans always want to arrive. But for the Christian, the journey is an integral part of God’s will for our lives. He can use it to teach us to trust him, to refine our character and equip us to help others on their journey.

Why not consider journeying with God? It will take you out of your comfort zone, it will be challenging as you set out on a new adventure, but you might just become a history maker in the process.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

Because Magazine September / October 2020

September 3, 2020

You can see our new monthly magazine here

Because Magazine September / October 2020

It is also available to download as a pdf file.

Because September / October 2020

To view this file you need a pdf reader. Adobe acrobat .pdf reader can be downloaded for free here.

Next Page »