Forgiveness

Last Saturday Night was Grace Community Church’s annual Autumn Supper . This is a great formal evening consisting of a fantastic meal followed by a guest speaker , we all try to invite family and friends who are not yet committed to the Lord. This years guest speaker was Robin Oake former, police commissioner and Christian.  Robin’s son Stephen Oake ,also a Christian and anti terrorist police officer was murdered during an anti terror raid in Manchester where he was stabbed by an alleged terror suspect. He was just 40 , married with children.

Please have a quick read of this article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2008/09/22/20080922_robin_oake_feature.shtml

How can anyone forgive the killer of someone so dear to them, that person who rips them savagely away from you and their loved ones. A life time without them.

As a Christian myself i find it so difficult to get my head around. What strong unshakable faith you must need.

I know i could forgive someone if they say, told lies of me, but for murdering a loved one??

But the bible teaches us that sin is sin no matter what the action is , SIN IS SIN. Who are we to judge others and condemn them when we ourselves blindly sin every day of our lives.

We have been forgiven by the grace of God , so we to should through God forgive those who Sin against us. We should not judge others only God can judge.

What if the person we need to forgive is not a believer?

I have found that prayer is one of the best ways to break down the wall of forgiveness in my heart. When I begin to pray for the person who has wronged me, God gives me new eyes to see and a new heart to care for that person. As I pray, I start to see that person as God sees them, and I realize that he or she is precious to the Lord. I also see myself in a new light, just as guilty of sin and failure as the other person. I too am in need of forgiveness. If God did not withhold his forgiveness from me, why should I withhold my forgiveness from another?

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Is it okay to feel anger and want justice for the person we need to forgive?

This question presents another reason to pray for the person we need to forgive. We can pray for God to deal with the injustices, for God to judge the person’s life, and then we can leave that prayer at the altar. We no longer have to carry the anger. Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice, it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin.

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

When Jesus says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged,” Jesus is not saying that we must not judge people so that people do not judge us. Jesus is not teaching some sort of relativism that we just let people believe what they want to believe so that no one is judging each other. Jesus is talking about God judging others. Do not judge others and you will not be judged by God. Do not condemn others and you will not be condemned by God. Forgive others and you will be forgiven by God.

Previously, Jesus taught to do to others as you want them to do to you. Now Jesus teaches this principle: Do to others what you want God to do to you.Treat others, not only how you want them to treat you, but also how you want God to treat you. Jesus is not teaching that we can avoid the day of final judgment if we somehow be sure not to judge other people. No one can avoid the day of judgment. All must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Living The Script

From the beginning God made it clear that he intends for us to be significant players in his drama. No doubt, it is first and foremost God’s story. But we can’t passively sit back and just watch what happens. At every stage he invites humans to participate with him.

Here are three key steps to finding your place in the drama.

1.IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BIBLE

If we are unfamiliar with the text of the drama itself, there’s no chance of living our parts well. Only when we read both deeply and widely in the Bible , marinating in it and letting it soak into our lives , will we be prepared to effectively take up our roles. The more we read the Bible ,the better readers we will become. Rather than skimming the surface we will become skilled at interpreting and practicing what we read.

 

2. COMMIT AND FOLLOW JESUS

We’ve all taken part in the brokenness and wrongdoing that came into the story. The victory of Jesus now offers us the opportunity to have our lives turned around. Our sins can be forgiven. We can become part of God’s story of new creation.

Turn away from your wrongdoing. God has acted through the death and resurrection of the Messiah to deal decisively with evil , in your life and in the life of the world. His death was a sacrifice, and his resurrection a new beginning . Acknowledge that Jesus is the rightful ruler of the world, and commit to follow him and join with Gods people

 

3. LIVE YOUR PART

Followers of Jesus are gospel players in the local communities living out the biblical drama together. But we do not have an exact script for our lines and actions in the drama today. Our history has not yet been written. And we can’t just repeat lines from earlier in the drama. So what do we do?

We read the Bible to understand what God has already done, especially through Jesus the Messiah, and to know how we carry this story forward. The Bible helps us answer the key question about everything we say and do: is this an appropriate and fitting way to live out the story of Jesus today?

This is how we put the scriptures into action. life’s choices can be messy , but God has given us his word and promised us his spirit to guide us in the way.You are God’s artwork, created to do good works. May your life be a gift of beauty back to him.

 

 

 

Chill in the park

https://www.facebook.com/CITPARK

chill

Its that time of the year again in kempston ,Bedford for the wonderful event that is Chill in the Park. on Sunday June 16th 1-5 p.m

Last year 2000 people made there way to kempston,s Addison Howard park for a chilled lazy afternoon of free Music , kids activities and picnicing with friends and family.

The afternoon is hosted by /http://www.graceinthecommunity.com/, Bedford Borough Council and Project 229 – Bedfordshire – Spurgeons.

I have attended the last two and enjoyed them greatly even last year when i was on litter picking duties!!.

Events like these are crucial to a community- they bring so many people from so many different backgrounds , faith groups and social standings together to enjoy each others company in a relaxed atmosphere, its a chance to slow down and take a breather even for a few hours from the break neck speed of  life.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

The above passage is an encouragement to Christians to be bold and to meet together to encourage one another to good deeds and love, and to be faithful to the Lord. As a Christian days like Chill in the Park are a great way for fellow Christians to spend time together  and to show an outpouring of Gods love onto our local community. I will be praying that the Lord will be with us and will open up opportunities to meet and talk to people who are yet to come to know the Lord. If a tiny seed is planted in one person who is yet to come to know The Lord that will be a great victory!

CHILL_IN_THE_PARK_GRACE_04

A church garden. Good idea?

 

In recent years i have gradually been bitten by the grow it yourself bug. Before we moved house we had no room in the garden to grow much fruit and vegetables, but we was lucky enough to get our hands on a local council allotment.

Great we thought , we had big plans of transforming the plot into a growers paradise full of neat raised beds full to the brim with wholesome goods, set between gravel paths with a nice little shed to sit in and enjoy a well-earned cuppa.It was going to be a family project and we would reap the benefits! But our own best laid plans usually fall short and this one was no exception. It started ok, although at first sight the overgrown plot looked quite intimidating.

After a few weeks of hard graft and plenty of stings from nettles and thistles we had the plot pretty much weed free. A composter was added to the plot. We put some manure over the plot and spent the next couple of months controlling the weeds and enriching the soil ready for the spring. Even in the winter months we was spending around 6 hrs per week at the plot removing the odd stubborn weed and turning the soil over , working in the compost and manure.

In our first year we produced carrots, parsnips, potatoes, lettuce, onions and garlic and raspberries. Throughout the summer we needed to spend an hour a  day, at least, on the plot just to keep the weeds under control. The second year was a different story, mine and my wifes hours increased at work , this along with a house move and the kids after school clubs and activities increasing ment less time could be spent on the plot and it became more and more over grown, eventually we had to concede and give up the allotment.

Now with a bigger garden we are able to grow a little bit at the end of the garden. We are currently nurturing leeks, onions, peppers, beetroot, carrots, strawberries, green beans and potatoes.

 

Then the other day i thought wouldn’t it be great to be able to grow enough fruit and vegetables to be able to give out to those who really need it in our community. So my thoughts have now turned to whether i should look into starting a group through my church who are able to give up the time to grow enough produce to make a real difference to peoples lives. But i dont really know were to start!

so many questions .Where would we grow it?. Who and how many would be needed to help?.  How would we distribute the produce and how would we identify those who would benefit the most? What if we have a poor yield of crops.

So i think the place to start is in Prayer. To pray for some answers, for some guidance and for God to bless my plans. The lord has  put these ideas into my heart so i hope and pray he can guide me in the coming months to whatever outcome he has in store for me.

It would certainly be exciting to be able to be part of a team who plants the seed and watches as God nurtures and provides for those who need. The same way as he provided through his Son Jesus for all of us who truly needed him to save us.

Psalm 104:14

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth

Matthew 25:31-46 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, …

 

 

Colossians 3 : 1-4

 Colossians 3:1-4

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

I have spent the last couple of Friday evenings with a friend studying the above passage , in some depth. I have been blessed with the help Edward has provided in interpreting scripture , the Lord has gifted him great skills in teaching and we continue to be a blessing and an encouragement to one another.

These 4 verse’s when dug into deeper have  reveal so much to us , and personally have been a real blessing in keeping on track , faithful and, importantly, aware of how easy it is to be distracted from our loving God.

Two lines really stood out for us :

1. Set your hearts on things above

2. Set your mind on things above

These too statements are not requests but commands from God. But how can we achieve this?

1. Acknowledge that its no longer i that is living but Christ living in me.

2. Reading the bible and praying.

Ezekiel 36:26

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

The above verse from Ezekiel tells of how God has given us a new heart ,a loving heart of flesh filled with his glorious spirit. If we fail to keep our heart and mind on God however things soon slip back and our heart turns back to stone as we turn away from him.We find ourselves stumbling blindly along the path that is our own inferior plans ,set to fail, putting our trust in perishable things that cannot ultimately bring eternal happiness.

So turn back to God set your heart and your minds fully on him, accept that his plans are the key to our ultimate happiness , do not let your plans intersect the Lords plans,

and most importantly PRAY. Pray that his will be done.

Birthday

Today is my birthday. It’s a great time to sit back and reflect on God’s love. We each are special  to the Lord.

God’s plan of salvation is available to every human being, so that we may enjoy happiness and life with him forever. Birthday’s are a time for celebration especially for Christians who have been born again.

 

Psalm 71:6
From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.

 

Isaiah 46:4
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

James 1:18
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

 


 

Today I found myself,
After searching all these years,
And the man that I saw,
He wasn’t at all who I’d thought He’d be,

I was lost when You found me here,
And I was broken beyond repair,
Then You came along and sang Your song over me

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
For the very first time,
In my life

Make a promise to me now,
Reassure my heart somehow,
That the love that I feel,
is so much more real than anything
I’ve a feeling in my soul,
And I pray that I’m not wrong,
That the life I have now,
It is only the beginning

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
For the very first time

It feels like I’m breathing
It feels like I’m moving
For the very first time
For the very first time

I wasn’t looking for something that was more,
Than what I had yesterday,
Then You came to me,
Then You gave to me,
Life and a love that I’ve never known,
That I’ve never felt before

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
I’m living for the first time

It feels like I’m breathing
It feels like I’m moving
For the very first time
I’m living for the first time,
In my life

John 3:3
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. ”

 

The Frontline

So what is ‘The Frontline’?.  Well as Christians we all have one. It is the positions and situations we find ourselves in on a daily basis, a place God has intentionally put us in to use us as his special agents! A place were we can make a real difference  for Christ. It may be at home with the family, it could be as we meet up with friends or team mates and for most of us when we are at work. It is  easy  , at church on a Sunday, to build up high barriers between us and the outside world to feel safe and secure within our church family, but the real work for Christ happens out beyond the church at all of our frontlines. Maybe you are fed up with your job , bored and feel like you are ‘better than this job’ . But stop and think –  has God put me in this place for a reason?. Of course he has, and you should learn to make this your motivation.

We need to respond to what is in front of us on our frontlines. We should trust that God will lead us where he wants us to go and will make clear what he wants us to do. Maybe we just need to hear the cries of the world around us to know how best to offer the good news to people . Maybe we need to develop our alertness to the promptings of God, who we believe is at work in his world.

Remember wherever your frontline may be God has given you a set of  unique skills, to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Colossians 3: 12-17

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Small Screen – Big Impact Social networking

The link below is to a sermon by a Martin Salter one of the Church leaders at Grace Community Church in Kempston, Bedford.

It is a great insight into the impact of social media on our lives. It is part of a series of 6 talks based around the title small screen – big impact.

Have a listen it will be of great help i,m sure.

He talks about the dangers of social media , and also the great benefits of using social media.

I will try to add each talk in the series daily.

http://www.graceinthecommunity.com/Media/Player.aspx?media_id=98851&file_id=108539

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 
Ephesians 4:29


Mark 15:16-41

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.

27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28]  29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days,30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

 

Christ met death in its greatest terror. It was the death of the vilest malefactors. Thus the cross and the shame are put together. God having been dishonoured by the sin of man, Christ made satisfaction by submitting to the greatest disgrace human nature could be loaded with. The Roman soldiers mocked our Lord Jesus as a King; thus in the high priest’s hall the servants had mocked him as a Prophet and Saviour. Shall a purple or scarlet robe be matter of pride to a Christian, which was matter of reproach and shame to Christ? He wore the crown of thorns which we deserved, that we might wear the crown of glory which he merited. We were by sin liable to everlasting shame and contempt; to deliver us, our Lord Jesus submitted to shame and contempt. He was led forth with the workers of iniquity, though he did no sin. The sufferings of the meek and holy Redeemer, are ever a source of instruction to the believer, of which, in his best hours, he cannot be weary.  Shall I indulge anger, or utter reproaches and threats because of troubles and injuries?

 

The place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, was called the place of a scull; it was the common place of execution; for he was in all respects numbered with the transgressors. Whenever we look unto Christ crucified, we must remember what was written over his head; he is a King, and we must give up ourselves to be his subjects, as Israelites indeed. They crucified two thieves with him, and him in the midst; they thereby intended him great dishonour. But it was foretold that he should be numbered with the transgressors, because he was made sin for us. Even those who passed by railed at him. They told him to come down from the cross, and they would believe; but they did not believe, though he gave them a more convincing sign when he came up from the grave. With what earnestness will the man who firmly believes the truth, as made known by the sufferings of Christ, seek for salvation! With what gratitude will he receive the dawning hope of forgiveness and eternal life, as purchased for him by the sufferings and death of the Son of God! and with what godly sorrow will he mourn over the sins which crucified the Lord of glory!

 

There was a thick darkness over the land, from noon until three in the afternoon. The Jews were doing their utmost to extinguish the Sun of Righteousness. The darkness signified the cloud which the human soul of Christ was under, when he was making it an offering for sin. He did not complain that his disciples forsook him, but that his Father forsook him. In this especially he was made sin for us. When Paul was to be offered as a sacrifice for the service saints, he could joy and rejoice, but it is another thing to be offered as a sacrifice for the sin of sinners. At the same instant that Jesus died, the veil of the temple was split from the top to the bottom. This spoke terror to the unbelieving Jews, and was a sign of the destruction of their church and nation. It speaks comfort to all believing Christians, for it signified the laying open a new and living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Saviour who was wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.

Jesus Christ reigns supreme for ever.

Amen