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.

 

Back from the Dead

June 14, 2019

One news headline that grabbed my attention this week was ‘The snail that came back from the dead’. On further investigation, It turned out to be fake news – this wasn’t a tale of mollusc resurrection at all. It was the story of a rare species, the Bermuda land snail, that was thought to have gone extinct 40 years ago, but has now been found still alive and is being rescued from the brink of extinction by a successful breeding programme carried out by Chester Zoo.

The Bermuda land snail is one of a number of ‘Lazarus species’, named after the bible story where Jesus brought his dead friend Lazarus back to life. Later, after his own brutal death by crucifixion, the bible tells us Jesus himself was raised from the dead, this time to eternal life. Is this just a myth, as some say, or is resurrection for real, as millions of Christians believe? And if so, what does that mean for all of us?

Jesus answers those questions with a profound statement, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die”.1

That could possibly be the boldest claim anyone has ever made. Is it worth looking into? You can bet your life on it.

All the very best

Peter Mill

  1. John 11:25 (NIRV)

Crown of Thorns

April 19, 2019

A crown of thorns.The crown of thorns was saved.

Did you see it on TV, or read about it in the news? Notre Dame’s most venerated relic was rescued from the flames that engulfed the world-famous cathedral earlier this week. Some claim it is the original crown of thorns that Roman soldiers forced onto the head of Jesus Christ before he was crucified.

Of course, no one knows for sure whether it’s authentic or a fake. Whatever its history, the crown of thorns reminds us of the reality of the suffering of Christ and of what he did for us. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed himself for all of us, and was raised from the dead that we might live forever with him.

Accept Jesus, your Saviour.

He’s the real thing.

James.henderson@gracecom.church

Death at the Oscars

March 1, 2019

Many millions of people all around the world watched the Oscars this week. It’s an evening filled with laughter, music, dance, creativity, surprises, tears, and a few dodgy speeches. People just seem to like the joy of living in a make-believe world for a few hours. But just about the time everyone is getting into the show we become aware of a disturbing reality. A touching tribute was paid to those show-business stars who had died during the last year.

It is things like this that can make most of us contemplate the frailty of life and realise how much we hate death. However, simply hating death cannot eliminate its power over us.

The Christian message is one that provides hope for the future. It claims that death is not the end because there is someone who defeated it by being resurrected from the grave.

If you are concerned about death and the future why not explore the claims of Christianity? You might just find them more captivating and more rewarding than the Oscars.

Have a good week,

barry.robinson@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

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

Will it end?

September 28, 2018

November of this year is the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War — the war some hoped would be “the war to end all wars”. It would have been great had it been so, but it was too idealistic a dream.

Since H G Wells coined the phrase, there have been well over 120 conflicts which we could call wars, including the Second “World” War. Only this week news has come out about the civil war in the Sudan, which has been ongoing since 2013. It’s estimated that approximately 400,000 have been killed so far, and chances are the number is higher.

I wonder that we think when we hear of news like this. It’s far away, and it doesn’t really affect us. Do we shake our head in disbelief, and then don’t give it a second thought? What about the victims involved? Will they be missed? Have they become just statistics that will soon be forgotten by most of us? Is the essence of who these people were lost forever?

How can we respond to such questions? Christianity proclaims that the only hope for the dead is Jesus Christ. In other words, there is hope for everyone who has died and will die, be it in warfare or not. Jesus himself was crucified for us, and he rose from the dead three days later so that all of us might live again. No one is forgotten by him.

That’s the Christian message. And it is his life that will end all wars.

Turn to Jesus and live.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Hope beyond the grave

September 21, 2018

The news of celebrity deaths has hit the headlines over the past month or so. At the same time people close to you may have passed away, and this has left you with feelings of sadness and loss. On a personal note, someone whom I held in high regard died this week.

Is there hope that somehow our loved ones will live again?

Depending on your perspective, there are different points of view in this. Some say no, there cannot possibly be life after life. Others say perhaps but we just don’t know. Some religions offer more definitive ideas.

As for Christians like me, we proclaim the certainty of God’s love for all of us who live and who have ever lived. God demonstrated this love by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for us, and, because of that, there is a resurrection to come. Jesus, in referring to himself, said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25, the NIV Bible).

In Jesus there is hope for the dead.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

Hope for the seas

July 27, 2018

I was horrified this week to read that only about 13% of the world’s oceans remain abundantly full of life.

In other words, we have been careless, not only with the land and the forests, but also with the precious waters that surround us. Where there once was beautiful and amazing diversity, now areas of our seas and oceans are becoming lifeless. Why? Because of human activity.

Sometimes religions centre somewhat selfishly on the fate of humanity and give scant regard to the salvation of the planet. Christianity has something to say about it. It likens nature to someone who is groaning under the neglect and abuse that it’s been subjected to by people like us. Creation, the Bible tells us, cries out for the salvation which Jesus alone will bring.

So, there’s hope for the planet after all. Which is just as well because we’re doing a pretty hopeless job in looking after it.

We can do our bit and help now. Also, we can turn to Jesus now and accept his salvation.

Turn to Jesus.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Future Plans

July 20, 2018

London RainThis week has been a frustrating time for many of us who live in the British Isles as it has become clear that there is no consensus in the British Parliament about what the UK’s relationship will look like after the 29th of March 2019.

It sometimes seems like the UK government has no plan, and that our future is being carelessly left to the whims of politicians and whatever time will bring.

This same claim is sometimes brought against God. That there is no great plan of which humanity is a part and that what happens to us is solely time and chance.

The Bible tells a different story though. It tells us that God so loved the world, so loved you and me, that even before the universe was created God had chosen to give us his son, Jesus Christ. That God planned from the beginning to make his dwelling among us and that in Jesus Christ we have life and hope, no matter how dreary and dark the world seems.

That God’s love for us is so resolute and unchangeable that nothing can separate us from it, not even the mess we might make of Brexit, or of this planet or even of our lives.

Turn to Jesus, for in him is the hope of the world.

Gavin Henderson

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