Today’s open-minded and reformist social agenda is, in large part, based on the idea that our identity is not grounded in our biological make-up – it’s defined by our feelings and desires, our freely choosing self. Increasingly, instead of seeing ourselves as being a body we are encouraged to see ourselves as having a body. In this morning’s ‘Thinking the Faith’ we will be focusing on the implications of these progressive ideas in the context of abortion and the reform bill currently being presented in parliament. We will affirm that body matters: it matters to God … and it should matter to us. We will also affirm that the body has meaning – it is, in fact, more than matter!
When we are in the mire of confusion and struggle it is good to rest in the knowledge that the God who loves us has His ways.
As Isaiah the prophet discovered, the ways and thoughts of God are higher than ours, even if they are a bit of a mystery sometimes. They never fail to achieve the purpose that God has for them. This is both liberating and challenging. God does not think the way we think God should think or act in the way we think God should act. The ultimate example of this is the self-emptying love of God for us on the cross for our salvation. God is in control. Will we let him be?
Have a listen to this great encouragement from our March CUSundayNight service from Graham Humphris!
God’s grace is both wonderful news to us and a wonderful command. Peter says in the book of Acts “Repent and turn to God, that your sins may be wiped out and times of refreshing may come from the Lord”. God graciously enables us to see our sin in the light of the cross of Christ so we can be delivered from its deception. The people of Israel discovered that the very place of their defeat would be the place of their renewal through repentance. Jesus too will transform our sin to be the place of greatest comfort, greatest renewal and greatest hope. This is the good news that all people need.
Come, let us be refreshed in the Lord.
The notion of rest is not one that sits easy with us in our frantic, crazy, busy, demanding world.
The need for rest is built into creation and is essential to our very beings. In Genesis, we are told that God rested from his creative work and we are called to find rest throughout the scriptures; not least in the 10 commandments. How do we find the rest that our souls need for life? How can we learn to live in rest in the face of the demands that are placed on us daily? This is at the heart of the gospel and is at the centre of why Jesus came as God to us.
Today we are thrilled to welcome to our pulpit young people from the Coro Youth Group who will bring God’s word to us:
Tilly Dent, Chloe Laycock, Seg Phiri and Henry Weenink
They have each gone through some training in preaching and have a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ. We look forward to hearing God’s word of the gospel through them!
The apostle Paul says to an ancient church “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!“ He has one life and one message. The message of God’s love expressed in the person and work of God’s Son, Jesus Christ is the compelling power that directs all he does. Our prayer is that we too might have such knowledge of God in our hearts so that we also can say the same thing. “Jesus let me be so consumed with your glory, that you are my one life, my one message”. It’s a message that sets us on a course of love, of sacrifice and service. Come Lord Jesus. Fill our hearts with the good news of the gospel.
We’ve seen this week wonderful effect of good people fighting on behalf of the powerless. Bahraini Footballer and refugee Hakeem Al Arabi was released from prison in Thailand after advocacy from people around the world. It is further evidence to many that we can achieve our dream of a better world if we all just work together for justice and accept everyone.
But as history shows us, wars continue, injustice still pervades and the world is a place of winners and losers. Deep in our hearts we know the world we long for will remain a dream as it has done for the millennia of human existence. There is good news for the world though. And His name is Jesus.
Compromise is often a good thing. It helps us find a way to maintain relationship when people think differently. But not all compromise is good. For example its not right for us to compromise our obedience to God. The scriptures regularly challenge churches who seek to find a middle ground between obedience to God’s Word and the dominant view of their culture. The bible is also filled with examples of how costly this way is. What might help us to not compromise our faith without turning into miserable legalists? The New Testament’s answer is the resurrection of Jesus. There is uncompromising Hope for all of us if we don't give up.