Avoid the tolls!

December 14, 2018

New Severn bridge

At last! Some good news! Work has begun to remove the toll booths on the Severn Bridge, which is a major motorway link between England and Wales. Some of the frustration of years of tolls is express in the poem Ode on the Severn Bridge by Harri Webb:

Two lands at last connected

Across the waters wide,

And all the tolls collected

On the English side.

In Ancient Greek mythology, the river Styx separated life and the afterlife and a toll was paid to the ferryman to cross. Is there a toll required to enter into the afterlife? Is heaven only available to those who are carrying exact change?

The good news of Jesus Christ, is that he came to abolish the cost of sin, to remove the tolls for us, so that all who turn to him can have everlasting life.

Avoid the tolls and turn to Jesus Christ.

Gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Ascension

May 4, 2018

Next week Christians remember that Jesus Christ went up to heaven.

You’d have thought that was a given, so why fuss about it? Surely, if Jesus is who he said he was, then he would have gone straight there without passing go, so to speak.

There are many excellent ideas about what is called the Ascension, referring to how Jesus ascended into the sky, but there’s one part of the story that always sticks with me. His followers are dumbfounded as they watch him go up into the clouds, and an angel says to them, “this Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven” (the Good News Bible, Acts 1:11).

In other words, Jesus, whose presence is with us now through the Holy Spirit, will return. Just as he ascended to heaven, one day he’ll descend with heavenly blessings for us and for the whole world. He will do this because we have been included in God’s loving and eternal grace.

The bottom line is that Jesus, the King, is coming back.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Write your name in heaven…!

September 29, 2017

If there were such a thing as a book of evil, whose names would be in it?

Probably quite a few people come to mind. Last weekend a telephone directory, which was found by a British officer at the Nazi HQ in 1945, was sold for £33,000. Among the many names and numbers listed in it are some of Adolf Hitler’s top men, such as Himmler, Goering, Hess and Goebbels. It’s a chilling read.

I guess, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all probably somewhere on the spectrum of evil. Maybe not at the extreme end where we would place war criminals, but still, in comparatively lesser ways, we might lie, cheat and cause harm to others. Of course, it’s a mixture. Some days we may be kind, and on other days not so.

One of the writers of the Christian Bible, a scholar called Paul, commented on this. He said that really it is only Jesus who is truly good, and that no one else was good in and of themselves — no, not one. Therefore, we turn to Jesus and imitate him.

And, when we follow him, said Christ, we can rejoice because we’ll find our names written, not on a real or imaginary record of sinners, but in the heavenly Book of Life.

That’s one reason why you need to follow Jesus.

 james.henderson@gracecom.church

Heaven vs Hell

December 9, 2016

One of the news headlines this week involved the UK foreign secretary’s comment that “one of the biggest political problems” in the Middle East was that certain nation states were engaging in “proxy wars”.

Some religious leaders portray Earth as the battleground of a proxy war between Heaven and Hell. A cosmic battle between good and evil where humanity’s souls are the way of keeping score.

Yet the good news recorded in the Bible is that this battle has been won overwhelming in Christ who gave himself for humanity! This was the first Christian sermon, given by the apostle Peter and recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 2:34). Peter declares that God is victorious in Christ.

Let’s join in and celebrate the victory of good over evil.

Let us praise our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Gavin.henderson@gracecom.church 

Our Rags to His Riches

April 3, 2015

This Easter teenagers and children of all ages are excited about the release of a new movie about Cinderella, the rags-to-riches story of a young servant girl.

Co-incidentally, the Bible discusses the sacrifice of Jesus in terms of a rag-to-riches story: our rags to his riches. In a spiritual sense every one of us was like Cinderella, wearing clothes that have been stained by our sins, thus causing us to be excluded from the party that is heaven.

What Jesus did on the cross was to change all that. Jesus died that we might receive “the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7 KJ21). You could say that the blood of Jesus washed our sins away. The Bible even goes on to tell us that God gives us new clothes to wear!

Of course, what happened to Jesus on our behalf was no fairy tale. It was a harsh and cruel reality that involved all of us. Jesus explained that he did it for the joy of living happily ever after with us.

It is because of the cross that we go from our rags to his riches.

So we do get to go the ball.

Accept Jesus, and let’s dance together forever.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk