Is there anybody out there?

December 28, 2018

You may have heard the expression, ‘First world problem’, a term that describes those annoying, yet trivial complications of modern life. For example, when the Wi-Fi in your five star holiday hotel doesn’t stretch past reception. Or when you lose your remote control and have to walk ‘all the way’ to the TV to turn it off.

Such a phenomenon occurred on Christmas Day this week. Thousands of people connecting up their new smart speakers were inconvenienced when the Amazon Alexa voice assistant service crashed due to a surge in demand.

Customers complained in their droves about not being able to play their festive playlists on command. Others were flabbergasted when Alexa refused to turn on their livingroom light!

In the end the outage was resolved before any serious damage was done (heaven forbid anyone would have to tell their own cracker jokes!) and Christmas wasn’t cancelled after all.

Thankfullly, the real Christmas story isn’t about a gadget, but a person.

Jesus, after whom the season is named, came to earth not to fix our trivial problems but to mend a hurting and broken world with a once and for all solution that will last for eternity.

If you’ve lost faith in your digital assistant, why not try talking to Jesus? Ask him anything. He is always listening and he never disappoints.

Peter.mill@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

Because Magazine December 2018

November 29, 2018

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Because Magazine December 2018

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Because Magazine December 2018

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Hear the message

December 22, 2017

According to some recent surveys, Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message is one of the programmes that will be most watched on TV or listened to on radio on the 25th December. Maybe you’re one of those people who will tune into it, or maybe you’re not.

If you think about it, the remarkable birth of Jesus Christ is all about a message that was broadcast for everyone everywhere. It was first announced to shepherds in a field. This is a message not to be missed, and it’s the main message of this season.

What is this message?

It’s the happiest news we’ll ever hear, something that brings more joy to the world than anything else. You see, according to the Bible, someone was born for you and me. For us, for all of us, was born a Saviour, who is Jesus Christ, our Lord.

This Christmas, accept your Saviour, the ultimate gift.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

’tis the season… to include

December 15, 2017

The season of goodwill is more than it seems.

It’s more than just sending greetings cards, giving gifts (no more socks, please!), office parties, eating and drinking in turbo drive, and generally having fun, especially with people whose company we enjoy. Of course, why shouldn’t we enjoy ourselves in the northern midwinter cold and gloom?

Jesus Christ – and Christmas is arguably about him and his amazing birth story – had something to say about how exclusive celebrations can be. For Jesus, all of life was a celebration, and it was for everyone. Even when it came to saying hello to passers-by on the streets, he said don’t limit it to family and friends and people you know. Greet those you don’t know. If there’s someone who doesn’t like you, be kind to them. That is, be inclusive.

With Jesus, inclusive words become inclusive deeds. Why wish someone well and not help them if you can? I know we can’t help everyone, but we can some. If you see someone slipping on the ice, offer to help. If it’s within your power to do good to someone – and it is often within our power – then do it. Put good thoughts into good actions.

The angels proclaimed good news for all people. All people, whether believers or not. Inclusive. If Christmas is anything, it is surely a festival of inclusion.

This season, and indeed in all seasons, let’s include others, not just in words but also in deeds.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

 

 

 

 

Because Magazine December 2015

November 26, 2015

Three Kings Desert Star of Bethlehem Nativity Concept

Our new monthly magazine is now available to download as a .pdf file.

Because Magazine December 2015

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The Godsend

November 21, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s a godsend”.

The comment was made by a charity worker in response to a generous gift received from an anonymous donor. “It came just when we needed it. Just at the right time”.

A godsend can be anything: that bonus that comes out of the blue when the bills are mounting up, an encouraging word when you are down, good news when everything else around you is bad news.

The Christmas season, which seems to start earlier with each passing year, is actually all about a godsend. Unwrap Christmas. Take away the commercialism, the tinsel traditions, the sentimentality, and the superstitions, and we’re left with a story that’s beautiful in its simplicity: God sent his Son. Although it was prophesied in the old books of the Bible, no one expected it to happen in the way that it did. The idea was preposterous. Who would believe it? That God would become one of us, sharing our humanity, so that he could die in the flesh and save us?

I don’t know how life is for you right now but, as we look around at the world, the news is bleak. Of course, there is some good news here and there, but not much. We need something good to happen unexpectedly. We need a godsend.

Jesus came to us over 2000 years ago, he comes to us personally in our lives today, and he’s coming again.

Jesus is the Godsend.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

“A child on earth for me”

December 20, 2013

A child on earth for meGod comes to us.

This was my answer when someone asked me what I thought was the most important point about the birth of Jesus.

God comes to us: this, more than anything, is central to the story.

It is more relevant than angels, gifts, glittering trees, wise men, shepherds, and donkeys in stables. That God took on our humanity by becoming flesh and bones, like we are, is more important than “the sweet and silly Christmas things, bath salts and inexpensive scent, and hideous tie so kindly meant”, as the poet John Betjeman wrote.

In his poem “Christmas” Betjeman went on to ask, “And is it true? and is it true? the most tremendous tale of all?”. That “the Maker of the stars and sea” should “become a child on earth for me?”

“And is it true? For if it is…
No love that in a family dwells,
no carolling in frosty air,
nor all the steeple-shaking bells,
can with this single Truth compare”.

Everything changed when Christ was born. Everything. It became known that God is not some remote figure, occasionally watching us from a distance. He came to us, and he comes to us still. “God” is “with us” (Matthew 1:23 NIV). Let the good news of God’s incredible incarnation comfort and change you.

God came to us in Jesus, and Jesus is coming again. What’s more, wherever you are, whatever your situation is, God comes to you now.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk