A Better Ruler

It’s time’s like these that it’s good to remember there is a better king, a better ‘president’ who we need. A saviour.

Unlike the rulers of this world, Jesus is perfect, morally righteous. He keeps his promises. He cares for and seeks out the lost and needy, rescuing them. He loves his enemies. He is just and brings (and will bring) real, full justice. He can deal with the world’s problems, and was willing to die in order to do so. He lives forever and won’t just be a temporary good king.

He is a king who will wipe away our every tear, instead of causing many more to fall (Rev 21:1-4).

The real king, the better king is coming back.

Because God has promised and he always keeps his promises. Because Jesus rose from the dead, so we have proof, therefore we have hope.

“He who testifies to these things says, “surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20

“Be Fishers of Men”, not just Pokémon.

Pokemon

‘And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”And immediately they left their nets and followed him.’

– Mark 1:17-18

Pokémon GO is the new craze. Our Facebook feeds are full of it, our friends are talking about it, and many of us are walking the streets and sitting at parks playing it. How can we do everything – including playing Pokémon GO – for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)?

I want to suggest that this new craze may be an open door to catch more than just pokémon: it might be a good opportunity to meet people, build relationships and share the gospel.

“Gotta Catch ’em all”

For those who don’t know, Pokémon GO is all about walking around and exploring your local area in order to find Pokémon. The whole point is to catch as many as possible, train some up and take over Gyms by battling other people’s Pokémon. It’s a clever game, it’s got the world talking and it’s made a way for people to meet one another.

“Be Fishers of Men”

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow him in Mark 1, he told them that instead of catching fish, he would make them fishers of men. Over the next 3 years he taught them the good news of the kingdom of God that the King (Jesus) had come and God’s promises were about to be fulfilled.

The good news had come: There was now a way for people to be reconciled to God, a way for our sins to be forgiven. Jesus would take them on the cross, dying the death we deserved so that by faith (trusting in Him) we can be forgiven by God, adopted as his children and live our lives for him instead of as slaves to Sin and Death.

Peter, Andrew and the other disciples were to lead the way in telling others about God’s kingdom so that they might be ‘caught’ and become part of this Kingdom. And as we read the bible we see that it didn’t just stop with them – we have the same responsibility – we, like them, are “ambassadors for Christ, God [is] making his appeal through us”. We are to go into the world and tell everyone the good news about Jesus, the true King.

What does this have to do with Pokémon?

Pokémon GO is good news for many people! Jesus bring better news than that, for all people!

Suddenly there’s people walking the streets, sitting at parks and meeting one another. There’s even people deliberately walking past our local churches just so they can get a few more pokéballs or battle whoever is controlling the Gym. Pokémon GO has created a doorway for people to meet one another. It’s created an opportunity for us to build relationships and tell people the good news about Jesus.

How can we, as ambassadors for Christ use Pokémon GO as an opportunity to glorify God and tell people the good news about Jesus? Here are some of my thoughts, if you have others please comment below!

  • Enjoy playing Pokémon GO. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the good gifts that God has given us. But don’t stop there: Rejoice in our Amazing, gracious and merciful God who gives us good gifts even though we don’t deserve them, who created the world and gave us the ability to enjoy it. Don’t just enjoy the gift, Rejoice in the Giver!
  • Don’t be distracted. Entertainment is good, and we should enjoy what God has given us. But there are far more important things in the world. The point of your life is not catching Pokémon, it should be to live for God’s glory – don’t get distracted from that goal! Don’t get distracted from serving and loving one another and world. Have more passion for Jesus than for Pokémon.
  • Be prayerful. Don’t just go catch Pokémon, pray for wisdom to know how to use this game to glorify God and tell people about Him!
  • Meet people. Next time your sitting at the local pokéstop and there’s someone else sitting nearby staring at their phone, start a conversation. All it takes is a simple: “Hey, how are you doing? Caught anything good yet”?
  • Don’t just be catcher’s of Pokémon, be fishers of Men. Use this new game to build relationships so that you can tell people about Jesus. Make friends and invite them to read the bible with you or to come to church!

We need to be salt and light in a world that is lost. We need to be honest to a world that thinks catching Pokémon is the coolest thing out, telling them that Jesus is better, more satisfying and more worthwhile.

We need to change our priorities so that instead of trying to “catch ’em all”, we start trying to catch people for God’s kingdom so they can know the Way, Truth and Life in Jesus.

How will you use Pokémon GO to do that?

The Ressurection

Why is Jesus’ Resurrection Important? Does it matter if Jesus physically rose from the dead?

In short: Yes, it matters a lot.

In 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, Paul outlines seven reasons that Jesus’ physical resurrection is important. He says that if Christ has not been raised then…

  • Our preaching is useless
  • Our faith is in vain
  • Those who preach are lying about God
  • The dead aren’t raised
  • We’re still dead in our sins
  • Past Christians who have died are gone forever
  • We are to be pitied above all men.

Jesus’ resurrection is important on a number of levels. If we look back to the fall, we see that the result of sin is death. If death hasn’t been conquered by Jesus then how can we know that sin has been dealt with?

If Jesus didn’t rise again then we also have no assurance that we will rise again at the end. If there’s no resurrection for humanity, then why bother following Jesus? If serving him is only for this life, then why not go live disobeying God? There would be no ultimate consequences after we die.

But we know that Jesus did rise again. God showed his power in raising his son back to life to prove that sin has been dealt with, death is conquered and will will rise again also – all of humanity. How we live matters then – if we reject God and the safe refuge he has offered us in Jesus then we will face his just judgement at the end. If we have given up our self-righteous trust in “me” and accepted Jesus as the only one who can save then we will be with God for eternity.

What’s more, since we know that Jesus rose again, we can have confidence that this life is not the end. We don’t have to fear death, and we don’t have to fear hardship in this life. We can have our hopes set fully on our future which is secure because our King has risen again, he lives and he intercedes for us, and he will raise us to life again also to be with him for eternity.

A Psalm to the god of Fashion

{ tim deutscher }

“Fashion, O great redeemer
Save us from our misery
Heal our brokenness
Take away our loneliness
Extinguish our ugliness
Give us value and worth
That we may feel beautiful
And all our problems will disappear
You are our saviour and god
And we will purchase you all of our days”

You’ve probably never said these words out loud or even consciously. But as they say, “actions speak louder than words.” Have your actions ever shown that you believed these words?

Idolatry is putting something in the place of God
It can be anything. Fashion. Sex. Love. Money. Achievement. Football. One Direction. Whatever. Anything you put as the number 1 in your life. It can be anything you worship. But it can also be anything you look towards to give you complete value, worth, satisfaction, joy or salvation from your problems.

We need God as number 1
God describes idolatry this…

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‘Faith’ Creed (Hebrews 11)

Living in the Present Tense

I wrote this creed for our Sunday night service, to tie in with our series on the book of Hebrews. The congregation said the bits in italics, while I read out the rest. Feel free to use it, but please acknowledge me as author 🙂 Thanks!

We are God’s people, a people who believe(through faith in Jesus Christ). We believe (through faith in Jesus Christ) that our hope is true, even though we don’t see it fully fulfilled, just as God’s people of the Old Testament were confident of God’s promises before any of them were fulfilled.

We believe(through faith in Jesus Christ) that God created the cosmos, the universe and every living thing.

We believe(through faith in Jesus Christ) that God commends us as righteous by faith alone. We believe(through faith in Jesus Christ) that we need faith to please God: faith in…

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Bible Verses that Summarize the Gospel

Fantastic verses!

James' Mirror - Christian Discipleship Guide

Gospel summaryScripture verses that summarize the Gospel are sprinkled throughout the Bible.  Here are some cited by JI Packer in the book, Grounded in the Gospel:

  • He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isa. 53:5)
  • For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)
  • God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)
  • All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:43)
  • Through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could…

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Quick thoughts on John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”love-love-31236730-500-313

1. Jesus’ love for us is our reason for loving others. That means our love for others should be similar to Jesus’ love for us – servant hearted and self-sacrificial. Costly and yet still freely given. Is it?

2. Jesus is talking to his disciples – Christians, we need to actively love one another. That means we needs to get to know each other personally, we need to trust one another and take initiative to learn each others needs so we can serve each other. Don’t look at others and blame them for not knowing about you because they’re not putting in effort. Instead put in effort yourself. You can only change your own actions.

3. We do this as part of sharing our faith. Yes, we need to preach the gospel with words (yes, that’s hard and scary, but we need to do it). But we also need to show our faith in how we live – especially in relation to the community of believers. If Jesus is real and has really saved us, then it makes sense that we should be different to the world.

4. Paul doesn’t make a distinction between believers. I don’t have the right to love Bill more than Joe, or to care for Sam instead of Tim. I don’t have the right to look at one person and see that they’re harder to love or get on with and just avoid them. No – Jesus tells us to love one another fully, regardless of who they are. That’s tough when you take it seriously. But really good. Thats what should be different about us as Christians – we shouldn’t just love people who are loveable. We should actively love and serve those who are harder to love. We don’t do it in an attempt to impress people, but to serve God.

  • Maybe a helpful point to put this in perspective: if God had only loved those of us who were loveable or worth saving because of something good in us then every single one of us would still be bound of his punishment in hell forever because of our sin.

5. Jesus doesn’t talk here about loving Non-christians, but the way we do that is by serving them. What do they need most? The gospel. We need to love them, and a massive part of that is telling them the gospel – that Jesus alone can save from God’s wrath, since he alone was perfect. We sin and deserve God’s punishment for eternity, but if we put our trust in Jesus and repent then we will be entirely forgiven. What a promise! Tell people!

  • Is my love for others clearly visible? If yes, then is that because I’m trying to win man’s praise or serve God?