Tag Archives: forgiveness

“Good News For the Poor?” Sermon Video

Last Sunday I had the great privilege of sharing with St Matthew’s Church Luton on the subject of ‘Good News For The Poor’ :

 

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5 Controversial Things You Never Knew About Jesus | 1Africa

Checkout this excerpt of a piece I wrote for 1Africa, click the link below to read more:

#1 Jesus Had Some Rotten Branches in His Family Tree

Unlike our politicians and celebrities, Jesus was not ashamed of the skeletons in his family’s closet. The list of His ancestors includes: Abraham who let another man sleep with his wife, Judah who sold his brother into slavery, Rahab who was a prostitute and citizen of an enemy country, David a murderer and adulterer, Solomon a womaniser, and the list goes on…

#2 Jesus’ Main Opponents Were Religious People………..

#3 Jesus’ Friends Came From the Rough Side of Town…

#4 Jesus Was a Revolutionary……..

#5 Jesus Never Said “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”…

5 Controversial Things You Never Knew About Jesus | 1Africa.

I’m really excited about what they’re doing, an excellent and aesthetically beautiful blog!

Jesus hung out with the wrong side of town…

 

 

“Jesus hung out with he wrong side of town, and that was one of the reasons he was crucified” – Rev Dr John Smith, International President God’s Squad CMC

 

These words really helped a piece of the puzzle fall into place in my thinking. It’s so simple yet so true! Why is that Christians are known for being so prim and proper when our master was characterised for being a ‘friend of sinners’?

 

Have a little look at the video below for more about John and God’s Squad:

 

John Smith – On the road again 

 

Much peace

Epiphany At The Bar

This is the story of a friend I met. We’ll call him ‘Marty’. ‘Marty’ is a significant player in the biker scene, and a fairly notorious man.

I met Him at a party in an area I’d never visited before. Marty is one of those guys with a rough exterior and a twinkle in his eye to hint at a keen wit. His behaviour was chaotic, with all the usual trappings of the biker lifestyle.

I’d been chatting on and off with him all night, and by the time we got down to brass tacks it was the wee hours of the morning. It came down to this. Marty told me that he had read the Bible cover to cover several times last time he was in prison, and his next words were even more surprising.
Continue reading Epiphany At The Bar

A Friday Morning Musing…

So, as Bob Dylan once wrote, ‘The times they are a changin’. I’m currently in the process of a shift in work, lifestyle and (to use a horrible Christian jargon term) ministry. One thing that has come out of the countless application forms, retellings of my life story and newsletter writings that have characterised the last few months, is that I find writing incredibly therapeutic. Also, every once in a while some reads through my poorly constructed prose and gleans some kind of encouragement from it. With this in mind I’ve decided to start sharing my thoughts in a ‘blog’ of sorts. Being lazy and increasingly technophobic this format will have to do for now. So, if for some unknown reason you decided to read any of this, read it in the understanding that it’s more for me than for you. Something about attempting to communicate my thoughts in a way which others can see is a salve to my over-active ADHD brain.

My musing for today is this…. What a curious thing it is for us Christians to claim to be ‘In the presence of God’? Having read the Old (and New) testament quite a few times it seems pretty clear that God is not a fan of what us Christians call ‘sin’. This is basically an old fashioned way of describing a cock-up, a little foible or a monumentally destructive behaviour. These leaves me with a problem, because (don’t tell anyone) I make a lot of those. And I don’t mean in a polite preacher’s false humility kind of way, I mean I’m a bit of a bastard. I remember reading somewhere many years ago in a little ‘Thought for the day’ words to the effect of “as the years go by I’m more amazed at the goodness of God and more ashamed at the blackness of my own heart”. Those were the probably the first words of extra-biblical Christian literature that I really connected with.

There is this great dilemma of the goodness of God and the incredible fallibility of humans, especially humans like me. We Christians preach a God of forgiveness and mercy, but how often do we really live like we believe it? How often have we cast and angry eye at the behaviour of others to mask the shame of our own actions and attitudes? The late great preacher and lifelong alcoholic Brennan Manning said this:
“French philosopher Blaise Pascal said. ‘God made man in his own image, and man returned the compliment’ – the God of so many Christians is as superficial, petty and judgemental as they are”
More words which resonate with me. My only concern is that many in what is known as the ’emerging church’ seem to take these ideas too far, and somehow lessen the weight of the very sin which led God to sacrifice his own son, something of himself, to be tortured and killed as a sacrifice in our place. And at that pivotal moment in history (without getting into a debate about how God exists in linear time) the unrelenting hatred of sin and unimaginable mercy of God are acted out on a hill in an area of the world which has seen little of peace and forgiveness since. Utterly mind blowing.

So here I sit, a couple of millennia later, still wrestling with, and at once comforted by, an idea which the mightiest empires known to man have tried to crush. Which has outlived countless sects, wars, philosophies and nations. Which has brought the most savage of men to their knees and strengthened and empowered the weakest of underdogs. Maybe I’m to be scorned for still being fixated on this most basic tenet of the Christian faith, or maybe this glorious juxtaposition is the foundation upon which all we understand about Our God is built. I am loved.

Much peace to all.

(Photo by Rich Pearce instagram @rich_)