Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cost of Discipleship

‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”’ Matthew 13:31
Last week we looked at some of the parables about the Kingdom of Heaven and saw among other things that Jesus speaks about the cost being everything you have. (See Matthew 13: 44-46). Today Jesus speaks about denying yourself and taking up the cross if you want to follow Jesus, if you want to be a disciple.
The concept of taking up your cross is difficult for us to comprehend, yet we can understand what it means to ‘deny yourself’. It is about putting Christ first in all our decisions, making him the priority. To deny yourself goes against everything that we stand for as a society. Our materialism wants us to look after ourselves first and then look after others.
Now in some situations such as on an airline it is valid, and yes in looking after children we need to make sure we are well enough to look after them. But those attitudes seem to flow into all areas of our life. It is against the culture of our society to deny yourself, yet that is what we are called to do.
This is not about making yourself nothing, we are special to the Lord, we have an important contribution to make to God’s Kingdom, he has given us gifts that he wants us to use for the common good, but we are called not make ourselves the top priority, nor the major focus in our lives.
This week spend some time reflecting what it would mean for you to deny yourself in your relationships.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

SRE – From small seeds

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.” Matthew 13:31
Teaching Scripture in our schools is becoming more and more of a challenge.
The major problem used to be about resources, about having enough teachers and sufficient finances, now the biggest issue facing the ministry of SRE in schools is the attitude of society to religion and in particular to Christianity.
While there has always been those who have opposed the work of SRE in schools that is a growing number, in particular the great majority are at best apathetic, so if their child, due to peer influence, wants to opt out of SRE the parents will happily support them. As a result more and more children are choosing not to participate in SRE, this is more pronounced as the children get older.
Please pray for that children will still want to participate in SRE in both Primary and High Schools.
Having said that SRE remains an important ministry in our schools as for many children it can be the small seed that grows in their lives. It is always encouraging to hear stories of people for whom SRE was a significant part of the Christian journey to faith. I am sure that in years to come we will hear many similar stories of children who were impacted in small ways through SRE, and that the seed plant then was watered by other encounters until it flourished into faith.
Pray for the children in SRE that seeds of faith may be planted in their lives.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Whose Kingdom?

“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25
As we look at the Kingdom of Heaven we understand that not all are part of the Kingdom of Heaven, there is another kingdom. It is not popular to talk about Satan, but Satan is very much active in the world today.
Today many people struggle to believe that there is a God, many more accept that there is a God but cannot accept that there is a Devil. Society plays loosely with the idea of demons and the devil. For them it is comic book ideas.
The problem becomes when we in the church also dismiss the idea of there being a spiritual world. The passage in Matthew 12 makes it very clear that there is two kingdom. As Christians we are part of God’s kingdom. We cannot be part of another kingdom.
Living in the world often feels as if we are in a different kingdom, certainly God’s kingdom does not completely reign in this world – though that will happen later. What we can know is that God will have the ultimate victory.
Whenever you consider the Spiritual world it is comforting to know that God is stronger, it might be a difficult time, but God is always the one who comes out on top.
Let us give Him the glory.