Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Forgiveness? Love of enemies? Non-violence?

'Many things that Christians feel are “non-negotiables” today are at major variance with what Jesus actually taught and emphasized. How can you read the Eight Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, for example, and not know that Jesus clearly taught nonviolence and simplicity of life?
Wouldn’t you think the clear non-negotiable in Jesus is forgiveness and love of enemies? But we didn’t emphasize that at all. That could’ve changed history. But we weren’t interested in changing this world. We were more interested in the next world, and we ended up acting pretty much like everybody else in this world. None of the Christian nations have

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hellbound? The Movie - Screening in Newton Abbot with Director Kevin Miller

On Saturday (20th July) we have our screening of Hellbound? in Newton Abbot.  This is the first and, so far, only screening of Hellbound where Kevin will be on hand for a Q&A session in the UK.

Be great to see you if you're in the area as it will be a fascinating time of conversation and discussion.

Hope you can join us.

'Does hell exist?  If so, who ends up there and why? "Hellbound?" is a provocative, feature-length documentary that will ensure you never look at hell the same way again!'

Kevin Miller, creator and director of Hellbound? is coming over from Canada to The Bushell Theatre, Coombeshead Academy, Newton Abbot on Saturday July 20th to do a Q&A screening of the film.  After watching the film there will time to reflect,

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Kingdom Matters

Oscar Romero spoke beautifully about building the Kingdom: “We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete… No statement says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith…
We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.”The Kingdom of God is at hand even if it is not complete.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Mormon Missionaries

Over recent weeks I've been having in depth discussions with Mormon missionaries who keep coming round my house.

The missionaries tend to change after a few weeks and it is fascinating how when I ask what their name is they always reply 'Elder...'.  I then ask them what their name is again and again they reply 'Elder...'.  So I then ask them what their first name is and we finally get on first name terms.

This is important, and I tell them so, because it is very easy to caricature people, but when we are on first name terms we are getting to know each other as people created in God's image.

Week by week we have been engaged in debate and discussion with laughter and seriousness all thrown in for good measure.

One of the most interesting times was about a month ago when I asked them what their doctrine and theology of God was.  They looked at me with blank expressions, shuffled in their seats (there was three people round), looked at each other and then said

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hear and Obey

'When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.

The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.' Deuteronomy 17

This is a spectacular passage of Scripture.

 It is a passage for the church today.

 God instructs the people of Israel that if they want to set a king over them like the nations around them here is what the king should look like. He is to be one of them to keep them as a distinct and peculiar people that they may continue to show the nations what it looks like to worship YHWH.

The king is not to build a great army and seek revenge.

The king is not to be full of lust for many woman.

The king is not to desire great wealth. 

In other words the king is not to be full of violence and greed. Most peculiar for a king.

This is a foretaste of what the One True King looks like, YHWH made flesh, Jesus Christ.

So what is the king called to do then? Meditate on God's law.

That is his calling. Read it. Hear it. Obey it. Worship God.

The same is true for the church.

In the midst of endless conferences, entertainment, 'relevant'services, God calls the church to meditate on His word that we might hear and obey the Word made flesh. Too many of our churches neglect the public reading of Scripture. We might read out a couple of verses for the sermon, but that is often it. We need to read great chunks of Scripture out in our worship together so that God would shape us through it, by His Spirit rather than us trying to shape Scripture according to our favourite topics and trying to be 'relevant'.

The Gospel quite simply is relevant and God will do what God does. By allowing Scripture to be heard we can then hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. When we ask 'what do you want us to do God?' We can reply, with Israel, 'Do whatever you see YHWH doing.' Or as Jesus said, 'I only do what I see my Father doing.' Scripture enables this to happen for the church.

May the King of Kings, YHWH made flesh, Jesus the Word of God, speak to us by His Spirit as we hear and meditate on Scripture. And may we obey His voice. Amen.