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.

 

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

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.

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

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.

About the Author:

David Gibbs in an Elder and Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Northern England, the Midlands and Wales.

 

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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A chance to help

March 2, 2018

These winter conditions give us a chance to help, and to witness to Christ without realizing it.

The other day I was travelling along a road when I saw an elderly man walking along it. It was freezing cold, and I stopped to offer him a lift. He was quite taken aback that I should do so. But it was so cold, surely that was the least I could do. When I dropped him off, he said what a Christian thing it was to do, and that he might consider going back to church. I hadn’t mentioned Christianity or my faith. Maybe God was working with him and I did not know it, and somehow Jesus used me to reach out to him.

With these snowy, icy days come opportunities.

Help someone. You never know where it might lead!

Keep warm!

Sinead Henderson

Calming the Storm

April 24, 2015

Migrants boatIn the news this week we heard of yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean.

As many as 800 migrants drowned on Sunday after the boat they were travelling in capsized in Libyan waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Bringing the total of deaths in similar incidents to more than 1,700 so far this year. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) believes the number of migrants dying in Mediterranean Sea crossings could hit 30,000 this year, if the current rate continues.

Opinions on what should be done about this situation are divided.  UKIP leaders came under fire for suggesting Britain should offer asylum to Christian migrants, but turn others away. Meanwhile, a columnist in a popular British newspaper suggested using gun boats, saying,  “these migrants are like cockroaches.”

How are we, as Christians, meant to react to these disturbing events? What are we supposed to say, or do? At times like this, I confess to feeling helpless. But what does Jesus expect us to do, or say?

The answer is that to Jesus the migrants are not Muslims or Christians and certainly not cockroaches, they are all human beings, they are all people that he loves. Before they love him, or even know him.

As it says in Romans 5:8 (NIV), “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

For this reason, we should do whatever we can. Pull a migrant to safety, if you can. Even if you think there is nothing you can do, there is: pray for these people. After all, James 5:16 tells us, “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

And without a doubt, something powerful and effective is just what these people need right now.

By Pete Mill