On things above

March 22, 2019

It wasn’t until 1969 that human beings had ever seen a picture of the earth from space. Once our astronauts captured the image, and we saw the sparkling jewel we call home against the blackness of night, the wars, problems, and struggles on earth were able to be reframed from a heavenly perspective.

Sometimes we can have our eyes so fixed on the personal problems and challenges in our day-to-day existence that we begin to get discouraged and lose hope. But Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled by the cares of this life. Because he has reconciled all things to the Father in his body, we can “set our minds on things above,” and get a true picture of our lives and situations from a heavenly vantage point.

Let’s embrace the beauty God has bestowed on us, and share the heavenly point of view with others.

Jeff Broadnax

Pastor of Grace Communion Columbus, Ohio.

Jesus the Feminist

March 8, 2019

Today is International Women’s Day and it is rather depressing to be reminded, once again, that we still do not have gender equality in the world today. Not even in Britain.

As a man living in the 21st Century it is easier to be a supporter of women’s rights than 150 years ago, when women in this country weren’t even allowed to vote. So I was encouraged to read my ancestor, John Stuart Mill, being called out in the Guardian newspaper this morning as a strong supporter of women’s rights in his time.

As a Christian, I am sometimes criticised for being a part of a movement that has been responsible for the oppression of women, yet a close examination of the facts fails to support any such claims. When I look at the life of our founder, Jesus Christ, I see a proud feminist. A man who always treated women equally and boldy broke the customs of his day to involve them in his ministry.

I am thankful that “in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female”1. Let’s celebrate everything that International Women’s Day has achieved over the last 110 years and is still achieving all over the world today.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

 

1 Galatians 3:28 (NCV)

An unconditional offer

February 15, 2019

Should universities give students unconditional offers of acceptance?

Recently this practice has come under increased scrutiny after it was revealed that the number of unconditional offers issued by universities was increasing and that the students who received the offers often miss their predicted grades. Would students be better off, more resilient, if they had to earn their place?

As a Christian I believe that we have all been given an unconditional offer in Jesus Christ. We haven’t earned this place, yet if we accept it, it will change our life forever and open up opportunities beyond our wildest imaginations.

The offer reflects God’s confidence in who we will become with his help, rather than what we have achieved.

Maybe it is time to consider his unconditional offer of grace?

Warm regards,

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

The value of an apology

February 1, 2019

You may have been shocked as I was to see the pictures of Prince Philip’s recent car crash. As he pulled out of a driveway his Land Rover collided with a Kia and flipped over. The 97-year-old prince was fortunate to get out alive, whilst Ms Fairweather, a passenger in the Kia, suffered a broken wrist.

Following complaints that she had received no direct communication from Prince Philip after the accident, a letter of apology was issued earlier this week which seemed to alter her attitude. She said ‘I thought it was a really nice touch that he signed it off as Philip and not a formal title. I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalised nature.’ [i]

Giving an apology can have a powerful effect on people who might otherwise be antagonistic. I’ve seen how they can defuse issues and reconcile people; whereas if they go unsaid attitudes can harden and deepen making it much more difficult to achieve a resolution. Perhaps that’s why the biblical book of Matthew encourages me to stop any religious activity in order to first be reconciled to someone I have a problem with[ii]

I could write more about apologising, but I think I need to stop and make some apologies; how about you?

Have a good week,
barry.robinson@gracecom.church

 

[i] https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/47019867
[ii] The Bible, Matthew chapter 5, verses 23-24

Let’s change now

January 25, 2019

Perhaps it’s not too late. We may all have played a part in wrecking the natural world, but let’s do something about it.

This week Sir David Attenborough addressed the 49th summit of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, and his major concern is that we act now to protect the Earth. Things are getting worse, not better, and it is high time that national leaders and their citizens make meaningful changes. “The Garden of Eden is no more” (*) , he explained, and we’re in a new age, the age of humans.

The reference to the Garden of Eden is taken from the beginning of the Christian Bible. It refers to the pristine state of the world, uncontaminated by humanity’s unrestrained greed and selfish ambition. The Bible presents our natural environment as God’s creative gift to us, and calls for us to care for it, to nurture it, and to maintain its God-given diversity and beauty.

“We need a plan” Attenborough said.

It’s never too late to change, is one of the underlying messages of Jesus Christ. It’s not only a spiritual message, but it also applies to lifestyle changes that celebrate the gift of our precious planet.

Let’s make some changes.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

*https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/david-attenborough-transcript-from-crystal-award-speech

 

Because Magazine February 2019

January 22, 2019

You can see our new monthly magazine here

Because Magazine February 2019

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Because Magazine February 2019

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Mission to Earth

January 11, 2019

Satellite picture of Earth and MoonDid you see the pictures from the Yutu 2 “Jade Rabbit” lunar rover this week?

If you are a fan of space exploration (and who isn’t?), these pictures are not to be missed as the Chinese rover is the first chance we have had to see what the far side of the moon looks like at ground level*. While previously we have had pictures taken by satellite of the far side of the moon, this is the first time we are able to see it up close, and experience what it is like to travel along its stark landscape.

Space has often been associated with the divine and mankind has often tried to see God, but can we ever truly know what God is like? Is God too far away? Is our image too blurry?

The good news of Jesus Christ is that God came to us so that we no longer have to guess what God is like. Through Jesus we can see God up close and encounter him personally.

Don’t miss out on God’s mission to Earth.

Gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

* The moon is tidally locked to the Earth, which means that only one side is ever visible from the Earth’s surface.

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

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

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