Today as we think about the 100 years since the end of WWI, I want to focus on the last 100 days of the war in which victory was finally won. The reasons for the breakthrough included technology and strategy. Yet at ground level the deal was the same: when the whistle blew you went over the top and ran into enemy machine gun fire - it was insane! How did the weary soldiers summon enthusiasm for these attacks? One reason was morale - attrition had taken its toll but the allies had fresh supplies. Morale goes a long way - I guess that is why our reading today talks of (chapter 12 verse 1) 'a great cloud of witnesses'.
Sunday, 11 November 2018
Sunday, 28 October 2018
Life is full of examples where someone says "The old deal isn't working, can we have a new one?". Think of rail franchises, health provision contracts at the national level, but maybe you've personally had to go back to someone to ask for new terms yourself.
Challenge: Extend that same new deal of forgiveness to someone this week
Sunday, 14 October 2018
A frustration many a pastor may face can be the desire to press forward with a new initiative, only to be told that people want 'more teaching first'. It raises the legitimate question 'what about applying the teaching you already have?'. Also what about learning on the job? In Hebrews the author seems to have that same frustration, and pleads with the readers to 'Grow Up - move to solid food from the initial milk diet!'.
Sunday, 7 October 2018
God speaks! God is not silent, He lets us know. We heard that back in 1:1 and now the author skilfully weaves that same theme through v12. The word of God is what God speaks - sometimes that reaches us written down, sometimes as a direct message to people, but ultimately in the form of a person - a messenger of God - His Son Jesus.
Sunday, 23 September 2018
We all do pecking orders. Put is in a room of new people and sub-consciously we start working out who is head of the pack and where we fit. The author gives a pecking order by quoting Psalm 8: it's God - angels - humankind - animals/plants/rocks etc. But the much bigger ad more important point is that in this amazing creation is the fact that God intended humankind (i.e. us!) to be in charge over the rest of creation! We are to look after it, to steward it. This includes creation care, it includes wise looking after of animals, but we should also realise that it is a spiritual thing.
Challenge: When disturbing news comes, first look to Jesus
Sunday, 9 September 2018
Having started off talking about Christ, our author quickly gets into his/her argument starting with angels. Why angels? For Jewish Christians they would have been important. Remember key messages were given through the Old Testament by angels appearing to people, e.g. Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Ezekiel etc. Angels generate curiosity - and the subject of angels has large scope for 'folk theology', i.e. things people believe without having any firm basis. Certainly the angel appearances are strange: sometimes bright shining figures, sometimes human, sometimes seeming to interchange with the Lord Himself! We will not try and deduce our own 'angelology' - but we can say that if God sends and angel to give you a message, then sit up and take note!
Sunday, 2 September 2018
We start our new series diving into the book of Hebrews. We have to scratch our heads because we don't know the author, nor do we really know who it is addressed to. Yet regardless of this we will find the letter is a gold-mine all about Jesus. Many times the author's logic is 'Jesus is greater than <something>, therefore <some application>'. In fact the word 'therefore' occurs no fewer than 10 times, and we will use these as the decision points through the series.
Challenge: Help the phrase 'If you want to see God, look to Jesus' go viral