There we have a beautiful Christmas tree in the garden, and I’m reminded of another garden, long, long ago. It was called the Garden of Eden, a garden God planted right back at the beginning of all gardens, and the Bible tells us that in the middle of it was a tree and it was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Hark, how all the welkin rings,
"Glory to the King of kings;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Friday, December 8, 2017
The Advent season sounds the alarm, once a year, with a wake up call to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ. Many of us press the snooze button the rest of the year, but if we let Advent do its work ... No more hitting the snooze button! The message of Advent insists that the first step in getting ready for our Savior is to wake up and stay awake.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Sourced here)
Pastoral Message from Cedric for my worldwide JohnWesleyProject.com community
‘And He who sits upon the throne said ‘Behold I make things new” Rev 21:5
Pastoral Message from Cedric for my worldwide JohnWesleyProject.com community
‘And He who sits upon the throne said ‘Behold I make things new” Rev 21:5
Happy New Year !!!!!?????
Advent marks the beginning of a new year in the Christian calendar. The liturgical year starts with the first Sunday in Advent, which in 2017 is 3rd December, and then
10 years of my ministry (1996-2006) were spent at the worldwide epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic ... rural KwaZulu Natal in South Africa ... which had the highest per capita rates of new infections and number of deaths worldwide. That many of those deaths were completely preventable is the well documented story of denialism and quackery that were the institutionalized order and government policy of the day in South Africa. Praise God that His will was eventually done in terms of justice and mercy. I have journeyed professionally and compassionately through the path of this scourge. In my 3rd year as a dental student (1980) our lecture in Virology (which we did together with the medical students) on the subject was a simple 4 or 5 lines of notes on this new disease !!! The rest, of course, is (ongoing) history.
Please pray the prayer below, which I republish from last year, as often as you can:
Gracious God and Father of all comfort, Creator of all life and Purveyor of all creation, Almighty God of the Universe to You belongs all life. Today, on World AIDS Day, we give you thanks and praise for Your mercy, grace, compassion and love which are beyond measure. In You is our Salvation and in You
Friday, November 17, 2017
Why do we have communion as often as we do? Plain and simply, because Jesus told us to. And if Jesus said: “Do it!” ... we believe we ... must ... do ... it. And if we are going to be people who, with integrity, are going to back up our arguments with: “The Bible says ...; or, Jesus says ... ” ... well, then we have to be very, very, careful. Because we can’t pick and choose which commands we will obey and expect others to obey ... and which we will ignore and tell others they can ignore as well. Jesus had a name for people like that .... hypocrites ... and hypocrites and church growth don't go together.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Why does God allow deep furrows of pain, of suffering to dig into the otherwise clean fields (there are no weeds in this furrow) of our lives?
Are there any seeds we can bring to sow into the deep furrows of our own suffering .. into the suffering of others ... into the suffering, on occasion, of God’s church .. into the suffering of the world... ?
Friday, November 3, 2017
The story of Pocahontas is different to The Lion King and Aladdin, because Pocahontas was a real historical figure. She was born in 1595 and was 12 years old when she met John Smith. She didn't marry John Smith, she married a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe. She died when she was 22 and is buried in Kent, in England.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Last week, when we celebrated 500 Years of Reformation (read Reformation 500 years: A Fish Rots from the Head) I ended with the words: "I call the church of Jesus Christ and every Christian, to ongoing re-formation" and then said: "More on that next Sunday."
Friday, October 20, 2017
As a fellow sinner with the rest of humankind, but a saved sinner because of my Lord Jesus Christ, I look today at the 500 year celebration of Luther and the Protestant Reformation, wondering if the church of Jesus Christ in 2017, and our church here at MWC, needs reformation. And I suggest we answer that with a simple Yes, or a simple No!
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
We continue our series on "The Old, Old, Stories" which we began with Adam and Eve's descent into disobedience, followed by Cain's murder of his brother Abel and today we find ourselves at Noah, which really is a story of the cycle of violence, mankind's violence towards God (our sin) which always leads to violence (sin) against others.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
The story of Aladdin is from 1001 Arabian Nights and it's about a young man who was orphaned very young and ended up raising himself and who survives by stealing food in the market. In an early scene we see him stealing some bread and immediately we're tempted to think: "Hmmf ... a thief!" but we need to be careful. Let's watch the first clip
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Here in the Northern Hemisphere it is the season of Harvest Festivals and I have been reminded that Passover/Easter, Pentecost (Jewish and Christian) and Tabernacles (Final Harvest festival, yet to be fulfilled in Christianity) are all related to various stages of Harvest. Mindful also of Wesley's instruction to preachers: "Everywhere avail yourself of the great festivals, by preaching on the occasion" it seems that the Harvest season lends itself to the saving of souls.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Sunday, September 10, 2017
A front page newspaper headline this week announced that more people in the UK don’t have any form of religious faith than do have ... and in an editorial comment the next day the paper asked if we should care?
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Today we begin a new series looking at the Disney classics and we start with the LionKing. This idea of a lion king that Disney picks up is actually a Biblical idea: it starts all the way back in the time of Jacob, who had 12 sons, one of whom was named Judah. When Jacob is dying, he pronounces a word over each of his sons. These words would come to define their lives ... that’s the power a father has ... the power to define what a child is like and when Jacob came to Judah, who wasn’t his oldest son, he spoke a special word about Judah and his future descendants. Let’s hear that word again:
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Read my sermon on Daily Quiet Time here
Daily Quiet Time-some tips
· Quiet time is when you find a quiet place to be alone with God to pray, to read the Bible and to meditate. You should try to be regular and disciplined about this.
· This outline is offered to help you structure your daily quiet time. You do not have to stick to it slavishly. Use as little or as much as you need, and add to it as you wish. Start small and allow it to grow gradually.
· You may want to keep a hymn book or chorus book handy and make use of it during your devotions.
· Try to set aside 10-30 minutes a day for this.
Every now and again we should revisit the basics, and that's just what we've been doing over the Summer. This week we look at Personal Devotion and the Daily Quiet Time.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Three weeks ago we started a series which will run for the Summer break which I've called Back to Basics. The first week we looked at the truth that God has a unique plan for each of our lives and He reveals that plan to us through Call. Last week we looked at the one thing Jesus spoke about more than any other, the Kingdom of God. This week … well, I’ll get to that in a moment.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Last week we started a series which will run for the Summer break which I've called Back to Basics. Last week we looked at the truth that God has a unique plan for each of our lives and He reveals that plan to us through Call. This week we look at the one thing Jesus spoke about more than any other:
The Kingdom of God.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
God has a plan for your life ... "Lord, what career should I pursue ... should I do an apprenticeship, go to college or uni ... where should I study ... should I marry or pursue a single lifestyle ... who should I marry ... what house should I buy ... when must I retire ... ??? God has a plan for your life. "I know the plans I have for you" says God in Jer 29:11. Can I expect God to tell me what His plans are for my life, or is that left for me to work out on my own. A God who has plans for my life but doesn't tell me what they are would be a devil.
Friday, July 21, 2017
In our series on "Partnership" we have covered a great deal of ground. We started off by looking at the Beginning and saw that God entered into partnership with the humans He created, commanding them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. He could have created the earth full of people, but He left that up to us. He could have subdued the earth He created, but instead, He asked us to subdue it, working with Him. Partners with God, here on earth. Not equal partners, but partners nonetheless.
Friday, July 14, 2017
I would suspect that in teaching about sex, most would expect to hear a whole lot of do’s and don’ts, especially don’ts. But the language that says “do not” all the time is the language that is still under the Law and as you might remember from last week, we are now free of the Law and to quote Paul:
This morning our subject was Anyone for Sex. This evening we look at a great Biblical hero, King David, who thought it was Anyone for Sex, and we see the destruction sexual sin can cause. But our focus will be on the good news that, in the story of David and Bathsheba, and in your story and mine, the last word is not David’s sinfulness but God’s grace.
Friday, July 7, 2017
This is an extremely difficult subject, while at the same time being an extremely easy subject. There were Jewish converts in Galatia who were teaching that salvation was possible only for those who kept the Old Testament laws. Using circumcision as an example of a clear command of God, their argument was that in order to be a “real” Christian, one must keep all of the Law. Paul's answer, although it takes five chapters of argument, is basically that we are free of the Law ... we're free of it!
Friday, June 23, 2017
As our Creation Walk draws to a close, return to page 3 and Day 1: Record any new light our Lord has shed on your path as a disciple going into the future.
For later reflection
Having enjoyed God’s creation today, what do the following verses reveal:
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
Jesus appreciated the beauty of nature (Matt 6:28-29) and showed respect for nature in His parables, which are rich in nature imagery. Through His upbringing in rural Galilee I imagine He would have learned about God’s care for creation by observing fruit trees, flowers, birds and fishermen and byMark 10:6; 13:19; Matt. 19:4).
Jesus knew that nature reflects the activity of God and does not operate independently (Matt. 5:45; 6:26-30; Luke 12:6). God is a loving Father who sustains and cares for all creation. God gives life to all beings (John 5:17, 6:33; Luke 24:38) and provides food for animals, birds and plants (Matt 6:26-30; Luke 12:6). Since He loves all people, He causes the sun to shine and rain to fall on both righteous and wicked people (Matt 5:45; Ps 50:11; 104:14, 17). As
Depending on the train schedule, we might see a train crossing one of the fields during our walk.
Why did I think of Herod when I saw these flowers during our first visit to Sheringham to plan our Creation Walk?
You’ll find the answer somewhere in Luke 13
Still in Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree. I’m not sure whether there are any fig trees in the park, but there are lots of other trees, some of which you might notice are being specially cared for by the park gardeners ... I suspect in order to get the best from the trees.
Some particular reflections
The broad way is much easier isn’t it?
‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ Mt 7:13-14
Lord, please show me where I am walking on a broad road and bring me back on the strait and narrow (The older translation from which we get the idiom reads: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.)
On our walk, keep your eyes open for different things from different days and perhaps keep a record here of anything that is special to you. Perhaps use Day 1 to record any new light that God may/will shed on your path.
At the beginning of our teaching series on Partnership, we went back to the beginning and were reminded that "In the beginning" God created human beings, male and female "in His own image" and placed them in His newly created earth, giving to them the command ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ We looked at the language of humans having dominion over nature and saw that that should be exercised for the good of creation, not the selfish destruction of nature. Yes, the dominion given to humans in Genesis 1:26-29 does imply a human preeminence, and that theme is echoed in Psalm 8 but it opposes a theology of domination
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Saturday 24 June
Sunday 25 June
Read sermon here
Welcome to our Creation Walk. It is my hope and has been my prayer that today we will all have a fresh encounter with the God, our God, who made everything you see in the natural world ... for us, .... for you, .... for me.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Friday, May 26, 2017
‘What is truth?’ retorted Pilate.
Pilate says to Jesus at His trial “What is truth?” This is a question that is debated to this day, “How do we define truth?” Pilate would have debated this question during his education which qualified him as Rome’s legal administrator of Judea. He will have studied the same philosophers that form the basis of western philosophy today, namely Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Their teaching was already a few hundred years old by the time of Jesus, and that same teaching is taught in universities today ... and that same question is debated in first year law courses and in many of the arts subjects: What is truth?
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
To His throne above the skies, Alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals given, Alleluia!
Reascends His native heaven, Alleluia!
There the glorious triumph waits, Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates, Alleluia!
Christ hath conquered death and sin, Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in, Alleluia!
Circled round with angel powers, Alleluia!
Their triumphant Lord, and ours, Alleluia!
Conqueror over death and sin, Alleluia!
“Take the King of glory in! Alleluia!”
Him though highest Heav’n receives, Alleluia!
Still He loves the earth He leaves, Alleluia!
Though returning to His throne, Alleluia!
Still He calls mankind His own, Alleluia!
See! He lifts His hands above, Alleluia!
See! He shows the prints of love, Alleluia!
Hark! His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on His church below, Alleluia!
Still for us His death He pleads, Alleluia!
Prevalent He intercedes, Alleluia!
Near Himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
Harbinger of human race, Alleluia!
Master, (will we ever say), Alleluia!
Taken from our head to day, Alleluia!
See Thy faithful servants, see, Alleluia!
Ever gazing up to Thee, Alleluia!
Grant, though parted from our sight, Alleluia!
Far above yon azure height, Alleluia!
Grant our hearts may thither rise, Alleluia!
Seeking Thee beyond the skies, Alleluia!
Ever upward let us move, Alleluia!
Wafted on the wings of love, Alleluia!
Looking when our Lord shall come, Alleluia!
Longing, gasping after home, Alleluia!
There we shall with Thee remain, Alleluia!
Partners of Thy endless reign, Alleluia!
There Thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heaven of heavens in Thee, Alleluia!
Saturday, May 6, 2017
This morning we are going Back to the Beginning to remind ourselves of the relationship that God established with humans when He created them and I'm going to suggest that the word "Partnership" best describes that relationship. We were created to partner with God in the rule and care of creation. Sin disrupts and destroys that partnership and most of the Bible is about the lengths God will go to in order to restore that partnership so that we can once again take up the role we were created for. Those lengths culminate of course in the life, death and resurrection of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we can be born again, this time with power from above; saved from the sin that destroyed the partnership and set free to be everything God intended. We can of course use the word relationship instead of partnership, but as you will see, and perhaps already know, partnership implies a lot more than relationship.
Friday, April 28, 2017
Last week, Danny looked at the first part of John 21 and explained how Jesus renewed his friendship with his disciples, more or less repeating how He first called them, by acting like a partner in their fishing enterprise, directing them to the big catches. Danny suggested that in doing so He showed how their future relationship was going to be more a partnership which would flow from their relationship with Jesus, but would involve partnering with Jesus in the fishing of people. He didn't say this and these words are not original from me either, but Jesus needs our hands, our feet, our mouths ... He needs us as full partners with Him in the business of bringing salvation to the world. The problem is there is often blood on our hands, our feet, our lips and in our minds. Peter had, so to speak, blood on his lips, lips which had denied Jesus, as much as the Roman soldiers had blood on their hands.
Scripture has much to say about fear. In the NIV fear occurs 334 times. If you look for afraid, you can add another 205 references. If you add worry and anxious … well, you’re getting the picture. Fear is spoken of both positively and negatively in Scripture …. and the truth is that everyone of us here has some element of fear in us, and that is as it should be. The issue is not do we have fear, the issue is what type of fear do we have, and what we do with our fear.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
To understand Easter in all its fullness and beauty, it helps to have some understanding of Jewish and Biblical timing. In each of the four gospels we are told that it was early in the morning on the first day of the week, that the women went to Jesus’ tomb.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
If we read the accounts of the crucifixion in each of the four Gospels, we find that each Gospel writer records different details: same story, but different details. They record Jesus saying different things during the 6 hours he hung on the Cross, and if we take all the accounts and read them as one, we find Jesus saying 7 things from the Cross.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Hopefully, this has been a nauseating week for us all … and I have chosen my words carefully, so let me repeat and say the same thing in a different way: hopefully we have been sickened in the past week, as we’ve read, heard or watched the news. And hopefully a few news items have caused this, but I’m going to focus on the Syrian gassing, as we look at the church at Laodicea in Asia Minor.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
You may know that Jesus was Jewish and that Jews, even to this day, don’t eat pork … in fact they don’t eat a number other very good foods as well. In Jesus’ day, the Jewish faith had many laws relating to what was clean and what was unclean. These didn’t only relate to food, but also to disease and illness. So, for example, people with leprosy were considered unclean and were to be avoided at all costs. They often lived in exile in their own homes. Dead bodies and graves were also unclean. People with bodily discharges were also unclean.