Positive contact

November 13, 2020

“As you have been identified as a contact of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, you are under a legal obligation to self-isolate from now until…”. As soon as the text arrived my mind start rushing through all the things I should have done to prepare for potentially spending the next two weeks at home.

People who have near death experiences often say a similar thing. As their life flashes before them they think of all the things they haven’t done but wanted to do. All the things they should have done but never got around to.

Is this the fate that awaits us all? That at the end of our lives we are to be judged for all our mistakes and all our regrets?

The Christian message is one of hope. It tells us that we have all tested positive for grace and that if we turn to Jesus, he will both redeem our mistakes and turn our regrets into joy.

For hope, turn to Jesus.

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

You’ve passed!

August 21, 2020

It’s been a time of ups and downs with exam results. It’s been hard for so many young people as they wondered how things would turn out, but now there are shouts of joy at the record grades received.

Is life a test and we need to pass it with flying colours? Some religious groups have thought so, and they put pressure on their followers to meet the mark. Failure has disastrous consequences. When we analyse the message of Jesus Christ, we can see that, if life is a test, he has passed it for us!

Cheer up, he says. Life will be full of trials and testing moments, but don’t worry, I’ve overcome all of them for you.

 

It sounds too good to be true!

Relax with Jesus and enjoy the results.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

The Real Story

June 26, 2020

If things are not going the way we’d like them to go, should we change the story?

For example, what if the government intervened and changed the weather forecast? It sounds preposterous, but think about it: since so many are rushing to our beaches and thus possibly might be risking a second peak of coronavirus, what if the prediction was for really bad weather, meaning that fewer sun-seekers would flock to the seaside? Of course, we’d disagree with anyone changing the weather forecast to suit his or her own purposes!

What about people of faith? Should they change their story in order to adapt to current moods and trends? For example, there’s too much violence on the streets, so Christians say their message is all about being against violence. Or racism must go, and so the message is all about how true faith is against racism. Or sexism. Or whatever social injustice we may think of. Of course, Christianity stands up and is counted as being against all those things, but to say that’s the main message is a change to the story.

The Christian story is, quite simply, that Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Because of all the mistakes we’ve made, do make and will continue to make, all of which lead to the mess the world is in right now, Jesus died. The only way forward is to accept him and let him change us personally and collectively.

It may not be PC. It might not fit in with what people want to hear right now.

But we’re not going to change our story to make ourselves more popular or more in vogue with how things are.

We preach Christ crucified.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

The handwriting on the wall?

May 15, 2020

There seems to be an App for everything these days. By downloading one, we can play online games with family and friends, check our own health, identify plants and chart the stars. And now, hopefully, an App will help us beat the coronavirus.

Another App helps us decipher our own handwriting. Sometimes I’ve come across a scribbled note of my own from years ago and I can’t work out what I had written. But now, thanks to the wonders of technology, an App may help me work it out!

It brings to mind a painting by Rembrandt called Belshazzar’s Feast. It depicts a scene from the biblical book of Daniel. The king, Belshazzar, thinks that he has all the answers, but then the hand of God writes a mystery statement on the wall. What did it mean? The handwriting told the king that no, he doesn’t have all the answers at all: in fact, things were about to get worse.

Is there a parallel here for our society? We think we can sort everything out ourselves, but, actually, the writing on the wall is against us.

The message for Belshazzar was, whether things go well or go badly, turn to God.

You don’t need an App for that: just talk to him.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Message in a Bottle

March 9, 2018

Perhaps you heard this week that the oldest recovered message in a bottle has been found in Western Australia. The message was thrown into the sea in 1886 by a German ship as part of an experiment into ocean and shipping routes. The Illman family who found the bottle have expressed their amazement and wonder at finding the bottle lodged in the sand.

For some, the Bible is just an historical document, the writings of a particular time and a particular place. To others, the Bible is like a message in a bottle, a personal note that survives the vagaries of the tides of time to bring amazement and wonder to those who read it. It tells the story of Jesus Christ and his ‘eternal message’, encouraging us to ‘worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and fresh water!’ (Rev 14:6-7 MSG)

Open the Bible and see what has been kept for you within.

Gavin.henderson@gracecom.church 

Billy Graham

February 23, 2018

A man called Billy Graham died this week. He might be unfamiliar to recent generations, but in the latter part of last century his was almost a household name.

He preached about how Jesus loves us. I remember going to hear what he had to say. The large hall was packed, every seat taken, and people were standing in the aisles and corridors. He didn’t talk about himself. He had no gimmicks, no miracles to offer, no promise of health and wealth if you followed him. His message was uncomplicated. Just one thing. Or rather just someone. Jesus.

Regardless of what we might think about Christian evangelists, the world needs more people like Billy Graham. He would often use the phrase, “the Bible says”, and then refer to a saying of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, quoting the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, CJB).

That’s a message for all of us – who is not struggling and feeling burdened?

Billy Graham would point to Jesus.

Come to Jesus, accept him and find rest.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

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