Fake Good News

Ninety-nine lost sheep, nine lost coins and a son excluded from his family. These are the stories that Jesus didn’t tell.

Ninety-nine lost sheep

A shepherd had 100 sheep. He let them out one morning to roam at will on the mountain side. Because they had free wills he allowed them to go wherever they fancied. As evening time approached he set off to find his sheep but he couldn’t see them anywhere. He despaired of finding any at all but eventually found one. The lost sheep signed a quick form and received a guarantee certificate of a nights safe keeping in the sheep fold.

[Read more…]

Seeking Justice through Love

Justice and love are two sides of the same coin. We can seek justice through love.

  • Love means wanting the best for a person or group of people and acting accordingly.
  • Justice means wanting to eliminate those things which do harm to the person or group of people who we love.

In seeking justice I am not taking about legal punishment of those who steal from, act violently or oppress their fellow human beings but about seeking to change the system where injustice is encouraged or tolerated. [Read more…]

Jesus and Politics

or, “How would Jesus vote?”

With a general election looming in the United Kingdom I am asking the question, “How, as a follower of Jesus should I vote?”  Does Jesus give us any clue how we should act in a democratic age?  Jesus said a lot about how we should order our lives, but very little about how we should go about choosing a politician or political party to rule over us.  But if we want to be true to following Jesus we need to look carefully at his life and words and see if we can glean some clues.

  • What are the cultural differences between Jesus’ day and today?
  • Was Jesus a nationalist?
  • Was Jesus a socialist?
  • Did Jesus believe in a free market?
  • How would Jesus vote? [Read more…]

Love God, Yourself and Neighbour

lovegodandneighbour

(But the arrows need to go both ways!)

Love is the most powerful force in the universe.  Love is the only way of fulfilling a relationship. Without love, relationships cannot exist and without  relationship, there is no need for love. For love to change the world, three relationships are necessary:

  • Loving God
  • Loving ourselves
  • Loving our neighbour

Jesus was asked the question: “What is the most important commandment?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NIV)

God’s plan is to change the world in which we live.  Not through exercising his power, not by commanding us to live better lives, not through fear of punishment but by using his love, enabling us to love him, to love ourselves and to love those around us. [Read more…]

Tell the nations that love has won

carillonChristine and I belong to a choir.  We have just held a number of Christmas concerts and we sang this carol among others. It starts with typical words about Christmas bells and “Peace on earth”.   The carol goes on to say:

“Tell the nations that love has won”

But then suddenly comes this verse:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth”, I said,
“for hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, goodwill to men”.

[Read more…]

Optimism and the Kingdom of God

sun-and-wheatMy last blog was about nationalism and racism and how the future is effected by them. When we look at the world we could be very gloomy.  But basically I am an optimist because I believe the ultimate future is what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus taught us to pray in what is called “The Lord’s Prayer”, he says we should pray:

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 NIV)

When we use those words we are asking God to rule on the earth in the same way that his will is always done in heaven. In fact we are firstly asking God to rule in our own attitudes, words and actions. Then we are asking God to extend his rule over the whole of humanity. But the way God rules is very different from the way earthly dictators have power over the citizens of their country. [Read more…]

Amazing Grace

P1000815The word “grace” has many meanings such as a prayer before a meal, courteousness, or the elegance of a dancer.  But the word takes on a totally new meaning when we talk about grace in the context of God’s relationship with humanity.  I respectfully submit my definition:

“Grace is the unconditional love of God extended to all men and women.  Grace forgives us for the wrongs we commit towards our creator, his creation and one another.  Grace includes us in the love relationship which God the Father shares with Jesus Christ his son.”

God is love: and the fact that he loves us is truly amazing, fantastic, mind-blowing, and whatever superlative you can think of. [Read more…]

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