I have a tendency to compartmentalise God’s holiness to the Old Testament, as a job for the Levitical priests. But we are called to be holy, like God is holy, and to be modern-day ‘priests’. It’s difficult to pin down exactly what this means, but I think it has to do with living our lives in a way that will both separate us from sin and also bring people to God.Read More
Although Bible prophecy can be difficult to interpret, some predictions seem clear – for example, the return of Israel to their own land (fulfilled in 1948). The Brexit vote on Thursday, where Britain has decided to leave the EU following a referendum, is consistent with prophecies traditionally interpreted to mean that Britain will collaborate with nations other than the EU at the time of Jesus’ return. However, there are other plausible interpretations of these prophecies. So, whist I think it's good to get excited when world events seem to fulfill Bible prophecies, it is probably better to reflect on the fact that God is in control of world events, Jesus will return at some point, and we should be ever-ready for this!Read More
Q: Who is the worst sinner you know?
How different life would be if we all believed this! Recognising our sin-prone-ness – and our inability to ‘cure’ ourselves from this condition – is perhaps the fundamental Christian virtue. God offers us as many second chances as we need, provided we are trying to serve him.Read More
Today’s modern communications make it so much easier to make connections with each other, for sharing fellowship and for preaching.Read More
Jesus’ message to the Laodicean church in Revelation is stark: ‘So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’ (Rev3:16). But how do we judge whether we are lukewarm Christians? This post presents a caricature of a lukewarm Christian, with the idea that you judge yourselves against this standard as a bit of a Christian health check. I hope you find it challenging and useful.Read More
We recently enjoyed our Fellowship day, themed around lessons from Daniel. I led a few introductory thoughts on Daniel, and as I read through the early chapters, I was struck by how fundamentally Daniel influenced those around him: a succession of Kings, one notable Queen, senior government officials, and prison guards. All were moved to accept Daniel’s God as their God. The real challenge for me is how much those who come into contact with me but don’t share my beliefs and values are influenced by me (and the answer is not much)! We spent the rest of the day thinking about how we can focus on ‘glowing and sowing’ both individually and as a group in prayer, praise, and profession of our faith (in writing, drawing and eating…).Read More
A small group of singers and musicians meet once or twice a month at Newbury to just enjoy singing and prepare the odd performance piece. Our latest endeavour was to sing ‘God so loved the world’ from Stainer’s Crucifixion at the Easter Service. We didn’t record it, but here’s a well-performed version for you (by Walled Lake Western High School):
I’d like to say our performance matched this one…
The group has a range of abilities from very talented leaders and singers, to, well, others (and I include myself in the ‘other’ category). But we are drawn together by a love of God and a love of music!
If you like to sing religious music (from Handel to gospel) and you live locally to our hall, then please do contact us to find out more and perhaps come along and join us?
“In many ways, I am a very boring man. I dress badly, I really like science. And I am partial to watching football. However, in other ways, I am an interesting man. I have a unique sense of dress. I really like science. And I am partial to watching football.” My point is that whether you think I am boring or not is really a matter of perspective. A christian life should be many things: selfless, challenging, transformative, stimulating intellectually, busy, and bring a sense of emotional stability, meaning and peace. But it should not be boring. In fact, if it is boring, you have a problem that you need to address! Jesus came to give us a full and fulfilling life now, and a hope for the future.Read More
Cleopas listened to what they all had to say. He found it hard to believe. The Passover was over and it was time they made their way home to Emmaus. It was a seven mile walk and he did not want to delay setting out. They could discuss the matter on the way. As Cleopas and his companion walked they considered text after text to see if the scriptures supported this turn of events. Did they explain what this rising was? Was He going to be King or not? How could He be if He was dead? Had the plan gone wrong? They conversed earnestly as they walked along the dusty road.Read More
The soldiers outside the tomb kept vigilant watch, half of them on watch while the other half slept, turn and turn about, every three hours. As darkness fell, they remained on extra high alert for any Galilean gang creeping up. If anything untoward happened or anyone sneaked by them, they would be executed, either as a squad or by one picked out by lot to answer the crime of all. There was no chance they would doze off.Read More
udas saw Jesus arrested. He watched as He was taken to the house of Caiaphas the High Priest. But then, in the morning, Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, as a convicted criminal. And it was then that the truth hit him.Read More
Jesus was led first to the house of Annas, father in law to Caiaphas the high priest for that year. Annas sent Him on, still bound, to Caiaphas where the court had convened and was waiting in his palace. Caiaphas was the one who had pronounced some while previously that it would be a good thing if someone, whether innocent or guilty, should be put to death, rather than spark a riot amongst the people which would bring Roman wrath down on the whole Jewish nation.Read More
Jesus had now finished teaching His disciples and His ministry was at an end. He told them that He was about to be betrayed and that He would die but they did not understand the significance of this. The feast of unleavened bread was about to begin and the disciples asked Jesus where He wanted them to prepare the Passover meal. Jesus had planned for this to be a special meal with His friends, knowing that it was to be the last one, and had arranged a secret location.Read More
When Will The Kingdom Come?
Every day that Passover week, Jesus taught in the Temple. He arrived early in the morning and stayed till late at night. People flocked to hear him from the time he entered the city till the time he left. But at night, when everyone else went back to their homes to eat and sleep, Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives alone to pray.Read More
Jesus entered the Temple and stood in the Court of the Gentiles. What He saw grieved and horrified Him. So He set to and began to throw the traders out. Out went the men who changed people’s money into Temple currency at outrageous exchange rates – just so they could pay their annual taxes. Out went those who sold doves, the minimum sacrifice required from poor people, at high prices. Out went all those who bought and sold. He would not even allow anyone to carry things to sell through the Temple precincts.Read More
Six days before the final Passover feast, Jesus arrived in Bethany. A supper was prepared for Him at the house of Simon the leper and everyone came. Martha was serving as usual and Lazarus was sitting with Jesus at the table. People turned up not only to see Jesus but Lazarus as well. He was quite a figure now he had been raised from the dead and he used this to preach about Jesus. (The Pharisees were quite annoyed about it and were plotting together to execute him as well as Jesus if they could.)Read More
As we enter the Easter period, we are going to be posting a series of blogs retelling the Easter story. There will be one post per day starting from tomorrow, and concluding on Easter Monday. The idea is to match the events covered in the story each day closely with the events that happened in the week leading up to Jesus trial, death, and resurrection. We don’t know the exact order of events, but have done our best to make the story as chronologically accurate as possible.
The material for ‘Easter Retold’ has been serialized from a book of Bible stories for adults by Hilary Higgins. If you’re interesting in finding more about this, please get in touch.
We hope that you will enjoy this version of the Easter story, and that it will make you think a little!
As you can see, our Sunday School caters for a wide range of ages (from toddler to teenager). We do our best to provide a structured lesson plan of stories with moral value, all delivered by leaders who are DBS checked. We would welcome all children, so if you're interested, please get in touch.
I think we should view prophecy a bit like supporting England in a major football tournament. Each time we believe that this time could actually be it. This time I think we actually have a decent squad and a good manager and our build up has been really exciting and positive. When the first whistle starts we genuinely believe that in four weeks’ time we will be lifting the trophy. Devastatingly quickly it becomes obvious that we were wrong, our star players flounder, the youthful hopefuls get overwhelmed by the occasion and it’s clear we still haven’t practised our penalties and we go out. Once again, this time wasn’t it. Do I feel tricked by all the positivity beforehand? No, not at all. I loved all the build-up and even though in the back of my mind there were major doubts, I allowed myself to be caught up in the seeming impossibility of a victory. But one day I know that my belief in the English football team will be rewarded, one day we will win a tournament and I will not regret those previous disappointments at all. In fact, they will make the final victory in a World Cup final all the sweeter.Read More
We have been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of God in the past few weeks, taking a few different perspectives. Firstly, there's the historical Kingdom in Israel, where God ruled through judges, prophets and kings, and which foreshadowed a future Kingdom of God that will fill the whole earth. Meanwhile, we can be living and sharing his Kingdom now, albeit in a rather limited way, through the kingship of Jesus and his influence in our lives. However, it is clear that God wants us to be looking forward to Jesus’ return and the establishment of the Kingdom in its fullest sense. This is the great good news which Jesus brought us!Read More