Hope for our future

October 18, 2019

Would Jesus be part of the Extinction Rebellion?

For a start, he was a rebel. He objected to the hypocrisy of religious leaders, so much so that eventually they killed him to keep him quiet.

In addition, he defied the idea of extinction. He said he came to bring abundant life and to reverse our trend towards destroying not only ourselves but also everything else. “I am the Resurrection”, he explained, meaning that he was the hope for all our futures. And, putting his words into action, Jesus rose from the dead after he was crucified for our sake.

 

Jesus rebelled against our extinction.

Turn to him and live.

 

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

 

Rescued

October 11, 2019

It’s been another week of last-ditch talks, bitter recriminations, heated protests and acrimonious falling outs. And once again, the British government was blamed for failing to come up with an acceptable deal.

More Brexit woes? No. I’m talking about that other European crisis, the liquidation of Thomas Cook.

Just as the final flights of Operation Matterhorn brought home the last of the 150,000 stranded passengers, out of the blue came a rescue for the 2,500 redundant staff.

Sunderland based Hays Travel pledged to save all 555 Thomas Cook shops and give the staff their jobs back. And so, in one fell swoop, tears of sadness turned to tears of joy – a heartwarming good news story.

An old English word for good news is gospel, but nowadays that word is associated with a particular kind of good news. Out of the blue, a man called Jesus entered the world with an offer to save much more than shops and jobs, nothing less than the lives of every man, woman and child who ever have and ever will live.

I sincerely hope John Hays keeps his word, just like Jesus did.

About the Author:

Peter Mill is an Elder and the Missions Developer of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He and his wife Jackie are also the Pastoral Workers for Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland.

The Gender Gap

October 4, 2019

Boris Johnson was asked on the Today Programme this week, ‘Do you have a problem with women?’, to which he replied that as Mayor of London and as Prime Minister he has had around 50% of his key posts filled by women, and that he has been a champion of girls around the world having 12 years of education.

The gender gap has also been highlighted this week with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex promoting the importance of female education in Malawi, and Dianne Abbott, the first black woman to be involved in Prime Minister’s Questions, drawing attention to the negative issues women face in modern Britain.

Is there a gender gap with God? Interestingly Jesus included women in his entourage, which was unheard of for itinerant rabbis of his day, and Peter, an early Christian leader, said that men and women are joint heirs together of the gift of life.[1]

Both genders are of equal worth, value and significance. In an age where the call for equal opportunities for women is prominent, the Christian voice has an important message to add to the conversation: Everyone is included in God’s plan for humankind, both male and female – there is no discrimination with God. Now that’s some good news to celebrate.

 

About the Author:
Barry Robinson
is an Elder and the Ombudsman of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Southern England (including the Greater London area).

[1] 1 Peter 3:7

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g29286263/prince-harry-malawi-2019-royal-tour-photos/

 

Because Magazine September /October 2019

October 1, 2019

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Because Magazine September/ October 2019

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.

Out of this world

September 13, 2019

Stop the world, I want to get off!

What with all the political shenanigans here in the UK and Europe, and with the general parlous state of the world, I’ve felt often like that in the past few weeks.

And now there appears to be somewhere I could go to. It’s called K2-18b, and, according to scientists, it may be able to support life. And it’s only 110 light years away, meaning it’d take a million or so years to get to.

It’s been argued that, if life is found outside our blue jewel of a planet, then Christianity becomes irrelevant because it’s only about God and human beings. Wrong, actually! The Bible explains that Jesus came and will come again to restore and reconcile all things, not just humanity. Even those dead places where life is unlikely or where life might exist but not as we know it.

A renewed universe, wouldn’t that be great? Then maybe we could stop the world to go explore somewhere new and exciting.

Fancy a trip to K2-18b?

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

 

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)

Liberation

May 31, 2019

Next week marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. It was a combined Allied operation that led eventually to the liberation of Europe from enemy occupation. It seems so distant to us now, but its success helped create the modern world.
Although much has changed since 1944, in one way you could say that we are under a new kind of occupation. It’s partially self-inflicted because we’re our own worst enemy. In the west it looks like we’re trapped in political stalemate, and there are mounting tensions in other parts of the globe. Not the least concern is our natural environment and what we’ve done to destroy it. One biblical writer, Paul, explained that all creation was subject to a destruction of our making, and that it yearned to be set free.
We need a new D-Day. Something or someone has to liberate not just us but the whole of nature.
That’s where Jesus Christ comes in.
He’s the ultimate liberator, and he’ll bring the freedom of his peace to this waiting earth.
james.henderson@gracecom.church

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