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Posts Tagged ‘love’

A salute to Primary Carers

March 8th, 2013

I’m not normally a fan of ‘Hallmark Card’ occasions, but I make an exception for Mothering Sunday. Not only because I love my mum, but also because it’s one of those rare times when our society acknowledges a role that in many ways is counter-cultural.

In fact, any primary carer; whether a dad, foster or adoptive parent, or carer of a disabled adult, fulfils a role that goes against the grain.

How is this? Because these roles involve humility and self-sacrifice; the laying down of your life for another. Things that have the familiar ring of the Good News of Jesus about them, and things which are not exactly celebrated in society. In fact, many of the values society holds dearest are relinquished in order to become a primary carer; personal freedom & independence, academic achievement, and career ambitions, to name a few.

In two fantastic blogs on Motherhood, Melissa McDonald and Rachel Jankovic explore this further. If you’re a mother I urge you to read them and be encouraged!

Being a primary carer is hard. It takes all of you. But in doing it you are reflecting the life of the Servant King Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20.28).

So in our church, let’s honour and esteem our primary carers, and look to learn something from them about how we can be more like Jesus.

Categories: Central Point Tags: , ,

No more Mr. Nasty

May 16th, 2012

What on earth has happened to Simon Cowell! I wonder if at last he presents us with compelling evidence for alien abduction. A couple of years ago, he was in his X Factor judge’s seat, dishing out the cutting, pompous put downs that had become his trademark, then after a year in America, he returns with a saintly smile and a newfound love of puppies.

In fact, it’s not just Mr Cowell who has undergone this amazing transformation. Saturday evening’s plethora of talent shows has become full of Katarina Witts, Danni Minogues and Craig Revel Horwoods queuing up to out-mean Mr. Nasty. But not any more. The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent have been most notable for their judges’ camaraderie and general nice-ness.

The bodysnatching theory seems to fall flat when confronted with this cross-channel sea change in the tone of our prime time viewing. I don’t think it can be explained by a genuine moral change in the individuals involved either. Surely this is all calculated and deliberate. The only sensible explanation for this flurry of encouragement and pleasantness is that the market research has convinced the TV executives that the British public has had enough of nastiness (at least for the time being).

I think that, as Christians, we need to take this to heart. In offices full of gossip and slander, it is so easy to be sucked into the habit of character assassination. We can be led to believe that abstaining from such conversations (or even worse, combating the tide of viciousness) might cause us to be regarded as irrelevant and trite. Similarly, sometimes as Christians, living in a world that is often so hostile to God and his values, we get the idea that we should be openly and aggressively oppositional towards our culture- being the first to criticise unwise government policy or ridicule public figures who hold views that we consider anti-Christian. You don’t have to spend long on Facebook to find Christians even slagging off other Christians who veer from their theological position.

However, we are called to be the light of the world. This means that we should show people a way to live that is different but also attractive and winsome. Deep down, the world is fed up of back-biting and an over critical spirit. Let’s show them something different. Are you known as the type of person who builds people up or cuts them down? Would people expect you to be critical first or encouraging?  In your defense of the gospel, even in the face of hostility, do you speak with pride and aloofness or with ‘gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15)?

Categories: Central Point Tags: ,

Treasure

October 21st, 2011

Some of you may have heard people claim that money is the root of all evil. It’s not. It’s also the root of all kinds of good things. So it’s not altogether bad. You can do good or bad things with your money. You could put it to good use and provide for single mums and widows and those in need; or you could use it badly and blow it all at the casino. It’s just an opportunity. And you can use it well or badly. So money isn’t evil. But the love of money, which leads to greed, is the root of all kinds of evil, just like Scripture says.

That’s perhaps why Scripture has a whole lot to say about money, wealth and possessions. It speaks of money on more than 800 occasions. And roughly 25 percent of the recorded teaching of Jesus was about what we do with our money.

One very illuminating passage of teaching from Jesus is found in Matthew chapter 6, where he says that you can’t serve both God and money. Now, for some of us, money is our functional god. It’s more important than the real God. You need to choose: Is Jesus my God; or is it money, possessions and wealth?

Jesus goes on to say that your treasure follows your heart; meaning if you want to see what you really love, value and esteem – then just look at where you spend your money. For example, I’m a dad. I can’t say to my kids, “I love you. I just don’t provide food.” They’d say, “No, you don’t love us because your money follows your heart.”

As we’ve been working through the Old Testament book of Nehemiah this term, we’ve seen how the people of God rose to the challenge facing them and were making phenomenal progress. However, as we’ll see this Sunday, the whole work was threatened by disputes among the people over money. The hearts of some were more devoted to money than God and people. And the consequences were potentially devastating. However, Nehemiah’s wise leadership pointed the way forward for them… and for us today.

Categories: Preaching Series Tags: ,

Jo Chumbley in Turkey…

June 16th, 2011

For me the past few weeks have been pretty amazing. As part of the FP Impact; working for a local church and receiving regular training we recently had the opportunity to go abroad on a mission trip for ten days. When I first found out that I would be going to Turkey I was a trifle surprised, as when I think of Turkey I think of sun, sea and cheap package holidays. But a mission trip…?

Staying in Izmir, the third largest city in Turkey, meant we got to witness the ‘real’ Turkey rather than the Turkey that tourists see when they fly out to resorts. Living with a Turkish family, walking Turkish streets and eating in Turkish restaurants really began to give you a feel for both the country and its people.

Whilst we were out there we had so many adventures including an innocent run-in with the military police, a large mob of excitable football fans and significant amounts of rain. However, throughout the whole trip we knew God with us, protecting us, challenging us, and truly changing us.

There were so many things that I learnt while I was out there, but one thing that really stood out to me was the way in which all the Turkish people that we met were so ready to love, welcome and accept us. This was something we experienced wherever we went but especially one day when we visited a family living in a small village in the mountains. They cheerfully welcomed into their home sixteen cold and soggy strangers, fed, watered and dried them as well as providing some of us with dry clothes and socks to wear. It made no difference to them that they had never met us before, or that they had to sit on the floor because we were covering every available space in the two small rooms we were in. God really challenged me that day as I watched people who currently had no interest in Christianity living out the call of Jesus to love others. And doing it better than I do. As we sat being served tea and cake and being constantly asked if we were warm enough, you knew that this wasn’t being done out of a sense of obligation or duty, these people genuinely cared and wanted to love and serve us in the best way they could.

This really spoke to me and provoked me to look at my own life and how as a Christian am I really living out the call of Jesus in my life? Without realising it, that family and those people taught me so much and inspired me to live for Jesus in every aspect of my life.

Categories: Central Point, Global Focus Tags: ,