The Real Story

June 26, 2020

If things are not going the way we’d like them to go, should we change the story?

For example, what if the government intervened and changed the weather forecast? It sounds preposterous, but think about it: since so many are rushing to our beaches and thus possibly might be risking a second peak of coronavirus, what if the prediction was for really bad weather, meaning that fewer sun-seekers would flock to the seaside? Of course, we’d disagree with anyone changing the weather forecast to suit his or her own purposes!

What about people of faith? Should they change their story in order to adapt to current moods and trends? For example, there’s too much violence on the streets, so Christians say their message is all about being against violence. Or racism must go, and so the message is all about how true faith is against racism. Or sexism. Or whatever social injustice we may think of. Of course, Christianity stands up and is counted as being against all those things, but to say that’s the main message is a change to the story.

The Christian story is, quite simply, that Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Because of all the mistakes we’ve made, do make and will continue to make, all of which lead to the mess the world is in right now, Jesus died. The only way forward is to accept him and let him change us personally and collectively.

It may not be PC. It might not fit in with what people want to hear right now.

But we’re not going to change our story to make ourselves more popular or more in vogue with how things are.

We preach Christ crucified.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Freedom plan

May 29, 2020

FREEDOM!!!

It’s beginning. Many of us can go out more often, see a few others, buy a little more, enjoy the fresh air and breathe a sigh of relief. But, responsibly so, of course. Without hurting people or breaking laws. With freedom always come responsibilities.

Oddly enough, this weekend many western Christians celebrate the Spirit of freedom. It’s a special festival called Pentecost and it’s about how God’s Spirit frees us from our past to live new and different lives.

Paul, a Christian writer, put it this way, “We have freedom now… the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things”.1

As lockdown unfolds, that could be our freedom plan.

What do you think?

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

1The Bible (Easy-to-Read Version) Galatians 5:1,22-23

The unlikely volunteer

March 27, 2020

Where would we be without our health workers, carers and all those who assist in the current crisis? Let’s continue to thank them and to rally around them.

Also, to thank the army of volunteers who have come forward at our time of need. Let’s not underestimate their contribution.

In a few weeks Christians remember an unexpected volunteer. One that came out of the blue. Someone that many people thought was distant, and too high and mighty to be concerned deeply about us. But they were wrong. I’m talking about God, who sent his Son to save us.

Jesus, God’s Son, volunteered to comfort us and to provide a life for us beyond this one. Of his own volition he chose to die in our stead, and, in so doing, gave us hope not only for this life, but also for a future beyond the grave.

He still volunteers to help us today. Not even death could stop him. He rose from the dead so he could continue to serve each and every one of us.

Thank God for volunteers.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Kangaroo Island

January 17, 2020

In the news this week there were distressing pictures of the destruction wrought by bushfires on Kangaroo Island in Southern Australia. The fires are not just a threat to human life – there are fears that the fires could lead to the extinction of several native animals unique to Australia.

Kangaroo Island has been described as a kind of Noah’s ark for many animals because it has not been affected by many of the deadly diseases and invading species that plague mainland Australia. For many Christians, the story of Noah’s ark is one they treasure because it tells of God’s desire to save not just humanity, but the rest of his creation as well. In the story God, through Noah, saves two of each kind of animal from an impending flood.

With the severity of the bushfires in Australia having been linked to man-made global warming, maybe it is time we learnt from Noah’s story and did something positive to prevent the ongoing destruction of our beautiful planet.

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

Gavin is an editor at Because

In for the long haul

November 15, 2019

I would have loved to be have been on the 19-hour, long-haul flight from London to Sydney that took place this week. It was a Qantas flight, the first of its type, and passengers were fitted with various monitors to track how their bodies fared.

Long-haul is an interesting phrase. It implies a sense of commitment, a spirit of endurance, a desire to stay on board to the end of something. Of course, the passengers had little option but to stay on board!

You could say that, when we have children, we’re in for the long haul. In other words, we’re with them through thick and thin come what may. The same idea also applies in marriage and in friendships.

Christians believe that Jesus is in for the long haul. His unfailing, unflinching love for us endures. He doesn’t give up on his love for us, come what may.

What about you in your caring love for others?

Are you in it for the long-haul?

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Disgrace to grace?

September 27, 2019

It’s a disgrace! How often I’ve heard people say that this week. It’s also been in the papers and on the TV news.

It was used by frustrated protestors at the UN summit on climate control, by both sides in the US’s unfolding impeachment drama, and, of course, by concerned citizens to vent public anger and outrage at what appears to be the failure of the UK parliament in processing Brexit.

But what is disgrace? It’s the opposite of grace, a religious term that Christians use often. Grace refers to the unmerited favour of God. It involves abandoning the politics of power and the giving up of personal ambition. Jesus did this. He put the prerogatives of divine power to one side in order to die for us so that we might understand what it means to live in peace.

If only politicians, world leaders and even ordinary people like you and me would follow his example. If only we’d put aside our own agendas and make a meaningful difference.

That’s grace.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

 

No ships ahead

August 30, 2019

“I see no ships”, said Horatio Nelson as he held his spy-glass to his blind eye while facing the enemy fleet, and within hours he had won a decisive victory at sea.

Turning a blind eye to undesirable news and carrying on regardless is seen often as a sign of strength in leadership, although it is not always a strategy that pays off. Leaders often have more faith in themselves than anything else.

Christians view faith in God as more important than our faith in ourselves. Faith in God involves a giving up or a sacrifice of self-trust. It’s a letting go of relying solely on oneself. When everything seems out of control and I don’t know who to believe or where to turn to, I turn to God.

I’d love it if more of the world’s leaders had faith in something other than in themselves or in their political persuasion, wouldn’t you?

A place to start, not just for them but for all of us, would be to have faith in God.

Put your trust in God.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Pending Deadline

August 23, 2019

First it was cold calls and now a flood of media adverts telling us the deadline on 29 August to claim because of the PPI scandal. The various leading institutions have set aside billions over the years to cover the compensation for their mis-selling.  It is a sad story of greed by sellers and misinformation given to customers who were not aware they were paying for something they neither asked for nor needed.

Is Christianity just another scandal? Is there any need for church beyond hatch, match and dispatch?

In a world run by money, it is easy to see the church as just another institution trying to make a profit, yet if you speak to Christians the reason we want people to know about Jesus Christ isn’t financial, but personal. Jesus has changed our lives for the better and given us hope in a world that often seems hopeless.

Unlike with PPI there is no pending deadline for you to call on your local church and experience the benefits it may bring.

David Gibbs info@because.uk.com

 

All year round

August 2, 2019

Did you see in the news this week that Christmas has come early, 149 days early, as Selfridges in London opened its Christmas shop claiming to be the first in the world to have a Christmas section? I thought it was bad enough having all the Christmas paraphernalia in the shops at the end October never mind the end of July! Soon, it seems, Christmas will be in our stores all year round, and the pop group Wizard, who belt out their song every year, will get their wish for Christmas to be every day.

This got me thinking about the reason Christians celebrate Christmas. It’s not for the parties, the presents, or engaging in some kind of pagan winter solstice ritual. It’s to celebrate and rejoice in the coming of Jesus into this world in order to show us the love of God and demonstrate that love to us. That’s a message that is relevant all year round and not just at Christmas.

Sadly many people, if they go to church at all, only go at Christmas time to hear some carols and enjoy a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine. But why not be revolutionary and take a leaf out Selfridges’ book and go to church months before Christmas to hear the message of Jesus? In fact if you went to church all year round you might just see that Jesus isn’t just for Christmas.

Barry Robinson

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/christmas/selfridges-christmas-shop-2019-open-day-world-record-department-store-london-a9025151.html

 

Because Magazine May/June 2019

May 1, 2019

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Because Magazine May/June 2019

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