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Showing posts from April, 2018

The integrity of Giving

2 Corinthians 8.16-24


We continue our theme on giving looking at 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.
The background is this: there is a serious famine in Jerusalem. The churches of Asia Minor and Macedonia, including the church in Corinth, have agreed to raise funds for famine relief.
In chapter 8.1-15, Paul has spoken about our motives for giving: that we give out of gratitude to God for what he has given us, and that is a response to the Lordship of Jesus. He is now into practicalities. He commends to the Corinthian church three people who will visit them in order to receive the gift and take it to Jerusalem. We need to remember that in the first century there were no notes, no cheques and certainly no bank transfers. If people were giving money, they were giving the hard and the heavy stuff!
So who are these three people? There is Titus, Paul’s colleague and co-worker There is ‘the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming the good news; and not only that but he has also…

A talk for St Mark's day

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Mark 13.5-13

Mark or John Mark is the writer of the gospel. He is not one of the 12 apostles, although he was probably personally associated with Jesus and his first followers. It is possible that he is the ‘young man’ who flees naked from the site of the arrest of Jesus. It is a strange incident only recorded in Mark’s gospel (Mark 14.51-52).

John Mark “was a Jew and, according to Paul’s letter to the Colossians, cousin to Barnabas. He accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey. Afterwards, he went to Cyprus with Barnabas and to Rome with first Paul and then Peter. Mark’s gospel is generally regarded as the earliest and was most likely written whilst he was in Rome. It was probably based as much on Peter’s preaching of the good news as on Mark’s own memory”.

It is an interesting gospel reading that has been chosen for today (Mark 13.5-13), but on reflection, it makes a lot of sense

Jesus is speaking here about how hard it will be to be a disciple - and Mark is pe…

Motives for giving

2 Corinthians 8:1-15



For the next four weeks we are going to be looking at what the bible teaches about giving. And I hope that what we discover will be both liberating, and life transforming.
I’m always slightly nervous when I speak about giving, because most people think that the only thing that the church wants is your money.
Story of three men in the trenches. About to go over the top. The sergeant says to one of his men, ‘This is really bad. Tell us a bible verse, say a prayer’. The man replied, ‘I don’t know any bible verses and I don’t know any prayers, but if you want me to do something religious, I’ll pass the plate around’.
We quite like it like that. It makes God and religion manageable. It means that if we give our 50 or 100 roubles, or even our 1000 roubles, we think we’ve done our bit. I’ve put the money in the basket – so its OK and I’m OK. But if that is our attitude, then we are not giving, but we are paying for a good conscience.
So, let’s look at 2 Corinthians 8.…