Archive for December, 2010

Smelly Shepherds?

December 14th, 2010

Well the nights are rolling in and there’s a chill in the air. Everybody is tired and I’ve just watched the Coca-Cola advert on the television. This can only mean one thing… Christmas is nearly upon us.

For many of us this strikes fear to our very core as well realise how unprepared we are for the festive season. There are presents to be wrapped, Christmas cards to send to distant Aunts, cakes to be baked and turkeys to roast.

But what is Christmas actually all about? Is it merely about presents and chocolate, or is it about hanging sparkly objects from pieces of dead stick? Or maybe it’s about managing the odd family tension and  going ‘ooo’ and ‘aaa’ as we watch kids dressed in bed sheets and tea towels stumble through their version of ‘Little donkey’.

Well yes, Christmas contains all these things but it has a much more profound and exciting purpose as well. Christmas marks the birth of Jesus and this is not just a cute story we can tell the children, nor is it a story of poverty and the triumph of good over evil. The Christmas story symbolises the beginning of hope for a lost world. It is a story of new beginnings and fresh starts, not only was it the start of the life of a child but the moment at which God enacted his rescue plan for the world. At this moment in history God sent his son to earth for us, and thirty three years later we see that baby growing up and being crucified on a cross. However, this was not the end of the story as three days later we see him being raised to life, once and for all destroying the power of Satan and making it possible for us to enjoy a relationship with God.

So, the Christmas story… an outdated tale of smelly shepherds and an unimportant child born to a poverty stricken couple. Or a story of God’s son becoming man for our sake, the story of hope for the human race and the restoration of the relationship between God and man? You decide.

You can join us to celebrate at one of our Carol Services on Sunday 19th or on Christmas Day. Click here for more info.

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It’s No Mistake

December 10th, 2010

Sin is a very uncomfortable word. It implies that there exists a moral absolute that we are accountable to and a moral absolute that we have fallen short of. And as a result, this word has almost completely dropped out of our vocabulary. But when we allow the concept of what sin is to be distorted, there are far reaching consequences. Rather than getting us off the hook, ignoring the reality of sin actually robs us of much of the joy there is in the Christian life!

That many of us can at times have a half-hearted approach to God and find it hard to muster up any passion in our worship of him is often down to an inadequate understanding of sin. One of the richest treasures of knowing God is knowing his grace. But if we have a deficient view of the reality of sin, we will never fully fathom the depths of God’s amazing grace!

If you want to understand why the Christian message is such incredibly good news, you don’t want to miss the final installment of the ‘Distorted’ series this Sunday morning at Churchcentral.

Categories: Preaching Series Tags: , ,


December 3rd, 2010

I’m not sure that there’s any area of life where there’s been a greater sea change in recent years than in the whole area of attitudes towards sex and sexuality. As recently as the 1960s, married couples on TV weren’t even allowed to be in bed together unless they were fully clothed and one of them had a foot touching the floor. Just forty years on, a study found 20,000 scenes of suggested sexual intercourse or other sexual behaviour on prime time TV in a single year! And the vast majority of these sexual encounters took place between unmarried people by a ratio of six to one.

Now the change I’m talking about here isn’t that people misbehave sexually far more nowadays than they used to. That’s been going on since time began. What’s changed in our culture isn’t that people struggle with sexual immorality. What’s changed is people in our day are denying that sexual behaviour has anything to do with morality — that morality is even a relevant category.

This whole change in attitudes is epitomised by the character I recently saw on a prime-time TV show who was horrified that people might think that at 30 years old, she’s still a virgin. Up until 40 years ago people were usually embarrassed about being sexually active outside marriage – about sexual immorality in general. Nowadays, people are genuinely embarrassed about not having been sexually immoral.

Our culture’s attitude towards sex is that there are no objective moral absolutes; that whatever’s agreed upon between two consenting adults goes. But I believe in our heart of hearts we know better. And I know that regardless of what’s in our hearts, the Bible certainly teaches something better. So, this Sunday we’re going to examine God’s intent for human sexuality. It just might be the most important talk you ever hear!

Categories: Preaching Series Tags: ,