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Showing posts from January, 2016

It is all about love

1 Corinthians 13


It really is all about love.
This is one of the most beloved passages in the bible. It is the favourite at weddings. I also think it makes a great passage for a Christian funeral! I would love to ask you to consider choosing it for your funeral, but I am not quite sure how that sounds!
The chapter speaks of
1.The Necessity of Love (1 Corinthians 13.1-3)
Without love, Paul says, the greatest speaker is a noisy gong. You speak eloquently, you write with flair, but if love is not controlling your words, you are just noise. Without love, the most spiritually powerful man or woman, who can make astonishing things happen, and who has deep knowledge, is nothing. That is a bit of a wakeup call. You can be very spiritual, even have spiritual power, and still be lost. Without love, you can give away everything, subject yourself to strict spiritual disciplines, suffer the most dreadful ordeal, and it will all be for nothing. In other words, if we want our speech to matter, to ring …

The fire of the Holy Spirit

Luke 3.15-22


It is a dirty place out there. Herod, in our reading, is an example of that. He wants to live life his way. And when John challenges him, he uses his power to silence him.
And that is not unknown today: we think of rulers, political parties, businesses who have used their power to suppress those who would challenge what they do. And it has not been unknown for the Church to use its position of power to cover up its dirty secrets.
But there also dirt in here, in the human heart. John the Baptist calls the people who come to hear him preach, ‘a brood of vipers’. Not the quickest way to win friends and influence people. He declares that God’s judgement is coming on a generation of people who have forgotten God and yet are spiritually complacent. They have chosen to be blind to those in need, to live for stuff, and if they’ve already got stuff, live for more stuff, and to use whatever power they have to push others down so that they can get more and go up.
And so John, in his p…

Building our life on the rock

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Matthew 7.24-27
There is something odd about this simple story that Jesus tells. It does not say quite what we think that it should say.
We think it should be saying that the house of the rock is the person who has built their life on Jesus. The house on the sand is the person who has rejected Jesus.
But if you read the story again, you will notice that it is saying a little bit more than that. Both the person who built their house on the rock and the person who built their house on the sand heard Jesus.
They both came out to listen to Jesus. They both were attracted to him as a person. They both loved his stories. They both admired his teaching. They were both fans.
Today, those people are us. The person who builds on the sand and the person who builds on the rock could be you or me. They are the people who do pick up their bible and read it. They are the people who do spend time with the word of God. They are people who do come to church and hear the teaching of Jesus.
The difference be…