Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Invisible Unicorns

The BBC are today reporting on an atheist camp - an alternative to the Christian Camps that happen throughout summer:

"For the "centrepiece" of its scientific approach to religion the camp asks its participants to search for two invisible unicorns. The unicorns cannot be seen or heard, tasted, smelt or touched, they cannot escape from the camp and they eat nothing. The only proof of their existence is contained in an ancient book handed down over "countless generations". A prize - a £10 note signed by Professor Richard Dawkins - is offered to any child who can disprove the existence of the unicorns."

This is of course indoctrinatioin of the highest order - the very thing that atheists like Dawkins complains about. It is implying that the only proof of God's existence is an ancient Bible - of course this is not the case. I have never seen any person change their lives around from violent robber/drug addict/theif/ to servant simply because they have 'discovered' there is no God. I have seen many a person do so because they have discovered redemption in Jesus Christ.

Church of England in Panic Mode over SwineFlu

The orders from the head of the Church of England to 'prevent' catching Mexican Swine Flu in church:

(1) Only the Priest may partake in the wine during the Lord's Supper

(2) Those distributing bread should first wash their hands in a cleansing gel

(3) All physical contact should be avoided during the church service at all costs

What foolish panic!!!

You might as well put out a notice "Don't come to church - you are likely to catch swine flu". It is effectively banning all social functions in church (especially where food is served), banning the laying on of hands for prayer, and more importantly banning full participation in the Lord's Supper.

Why do I get the feeling that the leaders of the church have not prayed this one through and asked God for His guidance?

Why do I get the feeling that Jesus is saying "Oh ye of little faith!"?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Does Jesus believe in Hell?

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off, it is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where
"their worm does not die
and the fire is not
quenched." (Mark 9: 43-48)

From this teaching of Jesus we can see:

(1) That Jesus certianly does believe that hell (greek - geenna) exists. (Indeed if there is no hell, as many churches are now teaching, Jesus suffering was futile!)

(2) Jesus is asserting the fact that no one who has sinned can enter the kingdom of God. (Gulp! that's all of us!)

(3) The fate of the sinner is so serious that it is worth endless self-denial/self sacrifice in order to avoid sinning.

(4) Hell is like an eternal (never ending!) fire.

Bruce Milne observes, "Elswhere hell is 'a place of darkness' (eg Matt. 8:12) 'a lake of fire' (eg Rev 19:20) ... a place where we can be 'beaten with blows' (Luke 12:47) a condition which evokes "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (eg Matt.8:12) a fate describable as being 'shut out from the presence of the Lord" (2Thess. 1:9)

Now I would never preach about hell and judgement without mentioning God's grace. Our God is a God of justice indeed can not be unjust. This means that God must pronounce the just judgement given to all the guilty - the separation from God that is like entering an eternal fire. The good news is that God is also a God of grace. In His love God the Father has sent his one and only Son to die on the cross, to pay the price of our sin. All we need to do is make Jesus the Lord and Saviour of our lives and we will escape this terrible fate.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
TIll on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Question: Does Jesus believe in hell?

Perhaps a strange question, but the way many churches talk (or refuse to talk) about hell, you would think he didn't. In the next few days I am going to remind people about the truth about Jesus' beliefs on this subject, according to the most reliable source - ie the Bible.

Monday, July 20, 2009

DNA to 'Come' or 'Go?'

Question: What is the first verb in Jesus' great commission (Matthew 28:20)
That is right we are told to "GO ... therefore and make disciples of all nations". Simple isn't it?

Why then have we continuously expected people to 'come' to church, to come to us?

Jesus' model for the Church is for the Church to Go! This verb should run through our veins, should be our reason for being, our very essence/DNA. It's about time the whole church got out there in the community to proclaim to the world the Good News of Jesus Christ.

A church that is not continuously looking outwardly is dying inwardly!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who do you Trust the most?

So I arrived at Elim Church Huddersfield expecting the usual good worship and challenging sermon, only to find that this evening was going to be different. Yes there would be some worship but then we were to be sent out into the market square to witness to passers by.

How refreshing is that!

We were to use use a questionnaire called 'Who do You Trust the Most?' to start off our conversations with people and invite them to a service on this subject the following week. For some, this was their first experience of public witnessing in this way.

Conversation with Chris and his two friends

There were three students sat outside McDonalds and I felt that the Holy Spirit was guiding me to them. They were most willing to fill in the questionnaire and treated me with some respect. One of the questions was about who we trust the most. Whilst to Chris politicians were the least trustable, he thought that he himself was amogst those he trusted the most:-

Neil: What makes you think that you can trust yourself.

Chris: Well I'm a good person.

From this point our conversation turned to the subject of heaven. He thought that God was real and if there was a heaven, he would surely deserve a place there.

Neil: Chris you describe yourself as a good person, but have you ever sinned?

Chris: I don't believe I have.

Neil: OK let's take the ten commandments, one of them commands us not to tell a lie - have you ever told a lie? Even a small one?

Chris: Well yes I have occasionally lied.

Neil: Ok so you have broken one of the Ten Commandments. Another tells us not to steel - have you ever stolen anything - and bear in mind that you have already admitted that you are a lier (smile on my face).

Chris: Well yes there has been a couple of things that I have stolen.

Neil: Oh dear not doing too well here are you? - you have admitted to being a liar and a theif. Have you ever committed adultery?

Chris: No!

Neil: Are you aware that Jesus said that if you even look at a woman lustfully you are committing adultery - have you ever looked at a woman lustfully?

Chris: (Smiling) Well yes of course I have.

Neil: So let's get this straight, you are a liar, a thief, an adulterer - have you ever used God's name as a swear word?

Chris: (Sheepishly) well yes.

Neil: And now you are admitting that you are a blasphemer! Chris you told me you were a good person! (smile)

Are you aware that the Bible says that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?' - it goes on to say that 'the wages of sin is death' - ie separation from God. The good news is that God has made a way back to him throught the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says 'For God so loved the world (including you!) that he gave his only son that whoever believes (and trusts) in him shall not die but have eternal life.'

Now Chris did not say that he trusts and believes in Jesus for eternal life, but he was excited about the fact that there is a service that will allow him to find out more and he and his two friends agreed to come next Sunday. In fact so excited wre they that they bumped into two other friends and told them about the discussion. They asked for a leaflet for directions to the church.

What about you: Who do you trust the most? Can you be certian without a shadow of doubt that if you died tonight you would be in heaven?