A loving Father

Sunday’s sermon will be based on the parable of a loving father.

God is not just a “loving” God — the scripture says that “God IS love” [1 John 4:6]. When we fully realize that His love cannot be earned but is freely given, then we will serve our Father because of His love for us! With so much work to be done, let’s be sure we’re working in and out of love — and not because we’re trying to earn it!

 


A first for ABC?

A first for ABC? A second consecutive Sunday morning where the message is based on the same text. In this case it is Isaiah 48.

Is the preacher being a bit lazy? Did they get it wrong the first time? Well, I would hope not. It’s just that the passage contains so much; so much preachable material and so much which appears to be relevant to ABC at this point in time.

Sunday evening is Open to God (O2G), where through worship, prayer and attentiveness to God’s Spirit in all his richness and diversity, we will reflect on loss and also on the fact that God has nothing whatsoever to do with death.

 


Christmas 2019

All Is Calm, All Is Bright

And so, Advent moves into Christmas. The waiting is over and the time of the coming of Jesus, becomes his arrival and we draw from the Bible’s narrative and select the words and phrases of the Prophets, the Angels and Mary to describe and define this time; framing this and every Christmas with transcendent words, themes and realities:

‘…you have increased their joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest’ 

‘Glory to God in the highest’

‘He has… lifted up the lowly, he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.’

So may you know this joy – a joy which eclipses happiness, May you wonder in your worship and give glory to God. And may you act in step with God as you welcome and fill the lives of the lowly, hungry and lonely.

 


Come on church, there is still much to do

Thursday’s General Election produced a stunning result for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party. On Friday morning the breakfast news channels were ‘a-buzz’ with analysis and prediction of what this means for the country over the next five years. As much as political commentators can over-egg and get over-excited in what they say, there does seem to have been some fundamental shifts which have taken place with a bold new vision and agenda for the country. In the church however, it is business as normal.

As the US theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, likes to point out, ‘The first job of the church is to be the church’, so it’s carry on with what we were and always have been doing. What is that exactly? Well as another Christian leader, Alan Hirsch, puts it, ‘Unless the church is equipping believers to embrace the values and vision of the kingdom of God and turn away from the materialism, consumerism, greed, and power of the present age, it not only abandons its biblical mandate, it is rendered missionally ineffective.’  Come on church, there is still much to do.


When a man comes around

On Wednesday I was in Homebase, returning a tin of paint. It was busy,  there was one till open with a girl in her early 20’s and there was a long queue. For a time they opened a second, but it went back to one and I was still in the queue. I wasn’t the only person returning something and there was some impatience, as I got to be served the girl on the till was at the point of losing it – anxiety written across her face, bottom lip beginning to go, eyes reddening. She picked up the walkie-talkie, called for a manager and without much concern as to whether I or anyone else could hear she told him, ‘Take me off the till, I just can’t do this anymore.’ She continued to serve me while the manager was on her way, so I just leaned in a bit and said ‘Well done. You are doing the right thing. Look after yourself.’

Sunday morning we will look at some of the darker aspects of Christmas, while Sunday evening we will slow down and ‘listen’ to Brother Lawrence as he helps us in the way of ‘Practicing the Presence’.

 


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