Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

And have not love!

1Corinthians 13 talks about Love. No matter how you read it it is a real challenge to live out what we are charged with in this passage. In recent times I have been internally challenged about my love for others. The passage tells me that even though I am one of the ‘good guys’ i.e I give my wealth away, I do all sorts of generally accepted good things etc this means nothing if I do not have love.
Now I think it’s only fair to declare what kind of love we are talking about, the model is the TRUE love we see in God’s extended hand towards us and not the lightweight so called love we read of and see demonstrated in many peoples live (mine included) today.
“My Lord, what love is this,That pays so dearly, That I, the guilty one, May go free!
Chorus: Amazing love, what sacrifice, The Son of God, given for me, My debt He pays, and my death He dies, That I might live, that I might live!
Verse 2: And so, they watched Him die, Despised, rejected, But oh, the blood He shed, Flowed for me!
Verse 3: And now, this love of Christ, Shall flow like rivers, So come wash your guilt away, Live again!”

It is so easy to think that we tick all of the boxes when it comes to loving others, however we often hide from some of the more difficult questions when it comes to love. This love, the one we are called to live in, under and by is pure, is deep and is wide. “… So high you can’t get over it so deep you cant get under it, so wide you can’t get round it…” as the kid’s chorus reminds us. Yet my love can be so shallow, you see my love is all about ME. God’s love is all about others (You and me and everybody).
Well I suppose there are some changes I can make if I were to try hard enough, however even though I put all my efforts together and pray for a good trade wind to blow it along, it won’t meet the requirements of what God intends for me in this passage. I need therefore to live in God’s love. That means I need to receive it first and then ask Him to live through me by His Holy Spirit.

Our lives are challenged each day by all sorts of new things. For those like me who are seeing the years pile up in terms of numbers, it is a bit scary that these new things and situations are coming along at a very fast rate. Race, disability and gender issues are all now quantified and so are impossible to ignore, and rightly so, however legislating for such things does nothing to deal with the difficulties we find in our hearts. When we allow God’s love to permeate through us and emanate from us we can more successfully deal with such issues.

Those of us who are ‘of the household of faith’ are not immune from such issues. We can find that there are those that we find who are difficult to love, our co-workers or those who as yet are in the world. His love shown to us is mirrored in the way in which we can reach out to those who are not perhaps our first choice of associate but with whom we are called to live and serve and relate to each day.

Having said all of this I often fall so far short of the standard and pray that somehow I can be more like the one who loves me with an everlasting love. “behold what love, what boundless love the Father hath bestowed, on sinners lost, that we should be now called the Sons of God”.

May we find Him who can share His love with us and through us to others in such a way that we bring him all the glory.

Read Full Post »

The challenges of living as a Christian in a dark world:

 In recent days it seems that there is a considerable period of time revealing one disaster after another taking place.   There are international, national, local and individual/personal disasters which stun us in their gravity.

 Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, and war on the international scene give rise to fear in our hearts and a feeling of frustration as it would appear, on the surface that things are somehow out of control.   We may not be closely involved with the events ourselves however we feel as Christians that we should do something.

 National debt in Europe and America stands at staggering levels which is causing all sorts of strains on western nations and on those whose jobs and homes are at risk due to the turmoil that the crumbling economies deliver.   Personal family tragedy is causing for many a deep sense of foreboding and a feeling that nobody really cares any more.

 Lately in my work as director of Mission International I have witnessed tragedy too.   A Mission International project in Ghana saw the roof blown off from the school, causing poor children to lose out on their education, the one thing that has gone well and has been a positive in their young lives recently.   A young mother in Uganda left crippled and unable to move, in a road accident and sent home to die by the hapless medics in a national hospital.   Her husband walks out leaving her with young children in a hopeless condition even unable to bathe herself; devastated she resigns herself to a sure and early demise.   A group of Christian believers in Pakistan are hounded by Islamic extremists who burn down their homes and businesses leaving them with nothing, coupled with the fact that they are treated like second class citizens in their region their hope is for more of the same if no help materialises.   Hundreds of poor families in Burundi see their homes and livelihoods destroyed by flooding which comes relentlessly day after day.

 Not all hope is lost however.   At the cusp of disaster there is one who cares.   He taught His followers care too.  A Christian’s finest hour is when disaster strikes.   The Christian sees God at work in his personal life in order that the extension of God’s Kingdom can be brought about through offers and efforts of service and loving care.   It is when the Christian begins to seek God’s perfect plan for this situation and, whether that be to give selflessly, bring a word of comfort or get dirty hands by becoming practically involved, then because of the selfless example of their Lord and Leader they pray, get direction and step in in His Name not counting the cost, ready to love and serve their fellow man and live for Him no matter what.

 The school roof in Ghana was replaced by a selfless act of giving, the broken wife and mother is comforted by a loving Christian neighbour and live for Him no matter what.

 The school roof in Ghana was replaced by a selfless act of giving, the broken wife and mother is comforted by a loving Christian neighbour who offers to bathe and support her neighbour, who was by all intents and purposes perceived as, ‘til now, to be an enemy being a Moslem.  The Christian neighbour, poor herself by any standard, extends her help in such a way that the Moslem lady is given a second diagnosis via a scan by another hospital to find that surgery will allow her to walk again, thus bringing her ‘enemy’ back to ‘life’.

 The Pakistani believers are provided with support and the flood victims too see help come from a far off land from those who believe that their ‘brethren’ around the world could just as well have the same colour of skin and live in a street near them because of God’s global family link.   Maybe not all believers but joined as those made in God’s image and worthy of as much love and care as any other person or neighbour.

 You see Jesus teaches us that we should give in order to receive.   This is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme to be viewed in a mercenary way seeking self-promotion or the increase of wealth.  It is a command of which demonstrates the heart of God towards humankind which He has placed in the hearts of His people.   He teaches us that we should, like no other teaching approaches, go as far as loving our enemies and that we should selflessly love one another too.   His personal bravery in going to the Cross of Calvary at God’s command is not, as some might portray it, an act of Cosmic child abuse, rather it is an act of unparalleled Love for us as lost human beings, demonstrating to all who have the eyes to see that this is the kind of love that will break even the hardest heart.   This has been proved generation after generation right from the moment of His death to this present day.   This was clearly depicted in the words of the attending Roman soldier, who declared “surely this is the Son of God” and of one of the two thieves who hung alongside Him.  

 You and I as followers of His need to put on Holy Spirit inspired bravery in the same way; and I don’t mean only to ‘carry our cross’ in the insipid way we have learned in recent Christian discipleship training, but to ‘sell all that you have and give to the poor’.  This proved to be too large a step of ‘bravery’ for the rich young ruler who came to Jesus seeking to inherit the Kingdom; he walked away sad.   If I am to confess my shortcomings I have to confess it is too much for me too, but I’m not walking away.   I am saying “Teach Me Lord”, “Help me Lord” to be able to serve you in the right way, to be able to serve you like this.   Let me become one of yours, let me be one of those who don’t bury my talents for fear of losing it, let me be one who proves to be yours in my finest hour for the Glory of God and of His crucified and raised from the dead and most Glorious, Son

Read Full Post »

Snow at Christmas!

Firstly let me wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and exciting New Year 2010!

I sit writing this message looking out on the deep snow that has fallen around my home, the birds are feeding on the food we have laid out for them and the sky is overcast.   It has remained dark and grey almost all day.   I am now on holiday from work for 2 weeks and I hope to spend some it of doing absolutely nothing, or at least the nice kind of something that makes me ease up and relax a bit.

I have been contemplating Christmas a bit and one question that came to mind is ‘what is your favourite Christmas Carol’?  I love carols ans well organised carol singing.   The theology that exists in these simple yet insightful songs is quite remarkable.   One favourite line from ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ is ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight’.

Of course with snow at Christmas time then another carol springs to mind, one with equally sound theology and with words which call us to be like the one who came to reconcile us to God once again

See amid the winter’s snow, Born for us on earth below,

See the tender Lamb appears, Promised from eternal years.

Chorus

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn! Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!

Sing through all Jerusalem, Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies He who built the starry skies;
He who throned in height sublime Sits amid the cherubim.

Say, ye holy shepherds, say What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep On the lonely mountain steep?

“As we watched at dead of night, Lo, we saw a wondrous light; [1]
Angels singing peace on earth Told us of the Saviour’s birth”.

Sacred infant, all divine, What a tender love was thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss Down to such a world as this.

Teach, O teach us , Holy Child, By Thy Face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee, In Thy Sweet humility!

Wishing you the greatest gift ever to grace our Christmas time, the gift of a saviour whose prime purpose was to die for us and make us fit to be with Him in heaven.

Read Full Post »

Bring Salvation back:

The  Jackson five sang a song called I’ll be there in which there was a line “You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back”   This is a bit of a love song and a fantasy performed by a family none of whom seemed to live in the real world – in particular Michael Jackson, although extremely talented, seemed to me to be a broken spirit throughout his short life. However when this song came on the radio recently I was grabbed by the line “…we must bring salvation back…” And you have to ask if it needs brought back where has it been?  Well it hasn’t been anywhere, the church however has done a great job of hiding it.

Of course it may not be our place to “bring” salvation back but in some ways salvation is not going to come back unless we are ready and willing in our service and obedience to the Lord.   The Bible says in Rev 7:10 that “And they cried out in a loud voice:  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

I have many deep concerns about the state of our nation and I am also aware of my own contribution to our society’s fall from grace, that which we have seen and experienced in recent decades.

  • Where a young person can be maimed or even killed for their mobile phone.
  • Where very young children are assaulted by adults who are there to care for them due to the need for another fix, or as a result of broken parental relationships. Where a father can be kicked or stabbed to death as he challenges those who vandalise his car.
  • Where dangers of addictions and violence lurk on every corner of every street. The wicked will get worse but the Godly need to set an example: 2 Tim 3:12-13  “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it”,

I am aware that this blog cold turn into a rant about the state of the world today – I really don’t want to go there but suffice to say, we as human being have an uncanny knack at getting ourselves into problematic situations in particular when we edit God out of the equation.

1.We disrespect and devalue the scriptures rather than embrace and accept them as from the One who has the words of Life. (1 Tim 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness ) – forgive us Lord!

2.We philosophise about life, seeking in the wrong places – we mix our spiritualities to find a god that suits our needs instead of seeking God to know Him, to be granted forgiveness by Him and to allow Him to give us wisdom for the issues which confront our lives – “Lord – what do you have to say to me in this situation”. (1 Cor 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. )

3.We forget the commands of Christ in particular the Great Commission – instead we become fat, well fed and heartless. “Go into all the world…”

4.We involve ourselves in materialistic practices – worshipping the god of this world as we do so – our equivalent of Baal – where we should do whatever we can to serve and live for the living God. Love the Lord thy God and Him only.

5.We look to human resources to bring change and redemption from the disaster we call life. (Matt 4:4 – Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word hat proceeds from the mouth of God).

6.We submit to political correctness and expediency due to the fear of MAN when we need to submit to God and fear Him. People have been deceived, they are told by the world’s well oiled propaganda machine that ‘anything goes’, ‘do what you like there are no consequences’. We know that is not true, we know that consequences will follow (1Thes 4:9,10 – you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath).

7.We look for heroes and super heroes because there is a cry in our hearts that only human relationships and human power cannot meet – we need to know the one who can fix the unfixable – SIN, love the unlovable – US, teach the unteachable, give life to the dead, turn darkness into light, turn sorrow into joy, turn ashes into beauty…. (Heb 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God).   Also (1 Pet 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ) I could go on – but I think you get the picture…… the question is – Heb 2:3 – How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  This benefit to our dead souls is ours through Grace – the unmerited favour of God. There is no escape for those who ignore the warning……

The Cross:

The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our salvation, that salvation he has won for us on the cross and as a result of the cross we too are bound into the family of God if we accept Christ as Messiah and Saviour.   The work of the cross is perfectly perfect and completely complete! “IT IS FINISHED” – he sat down at God’s right hand…..

An interesting aside:

Acts 7:55 – Stephen saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God – Jesus only stands up when His people are in trouble – the Lion of the tribe of Judah is standing with us through our storms. Many will say “God is not interested”, “why does He do nothing”, but He stands up from His throne at the right hand of God and is with us as we pass through trials and difficulties.

Salvation:

What is it?

Salvation is the scriptural teaching that a loving, Holy God takes pity on sinful mankind by sending His only Son to save mankind from their sins and reconcile them, once again to God making them fit for heaven.

Why do we need it?

We need salvation because we cannot get rid of our sin by our own achievements, and we cannot be reconciled to God if we stay as we are.

Rom 3:23 “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Where can I find it?

Jesus Christ has won salvation for us by shedding his blood on the cross of Calvary and wants us to accept Him as our Saviour and Lord – in simple terms – at the cross. “At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away, it was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day” It’s the shed blood of Jesus that makes the difference – “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emanuel’s veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains”.

1 Pet 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved .

What do I have to do to get it?

Well I really can’t do anything since my attempts at fixing my broken relationship with God will only end in failure. Simply all I can do is come to Christ and repent (turn away) from my sin and ask for absolute forgiveness and receive the salvation won for me by Christ.

How do we play our part in God’s great plan of salvation?

We take seriously the Great Commission.  We listen to God’s Holy Spirit call us and direct us into His purpose for our lives: (A role in the Church is to allow us to fulfil our PURPOSE not to have a POSITION).

  • Priorty need – Children’s/Youth Ministry.   Quality teachers are required to make sure our kids know where its at.   Kids need people who will tell them the truth and answer their many questions.
  • Outreach to those in great need in our city – to those with addictions, families in crisis, parenting for young mothers/families.    
  • Get involved in the outreach planned for your congregation in the near future.
  • Go on a team to serve here in the UK or abroad – learn how to share the Gospel with people.
  • If nothing is happening, start something – with the permission of your church leadership of course.

People are hungry for the truth, they have been sold ‘a pig in a poke’ for two long, and the church at large has been party to that and it needs to stop.

  • Love one another – all men will see we are His disciples The world does not need a band of do-gooders but a people of power ready to serve the living God. (Not our own feeble power but the power of God’s Holy Spirit working through us). The insipid world of the do-gooder fails to measure up to what is required of the Christian Church.

 

  • The Government – no matter which colour or persuasion – can’t achieve what God wants achieved.
  • The education system can’t achieve it
  • The health service can’t achieve it
  • The police and the judiciary can’t achieve it

The CHURCH has been called to achieve it (Eph 3:10 and now through the church).

The problem is that the church has been led astray into:

  • Worldliness – unpopular word in the church today
  • Untruthfulness – fear of the truth as laid down in the scripture – the Spirit of TRUTH leads us into ALL TRUTH – which means that the spirit of un-truth (Lies – the Father of lies – the devil – will lead us into all un-truth.
  • Uncaring and carelessness – the church has missed the basics, the outgoing nature of her DNA and has become self seeking, producing bigger and more glorious buildings, hotter and more slick pastors, more culturally relevant sermons and programs and basically missing the point all together, and that is that Jesus called us to give in order to receive, love our enemies, lose our lives in order to gain the life He has won for us and so on.
  • Postmodernism – The post modernist movement in the church – where there may be some positives in asking the right questions, there is no good in giving the wrong answers.   Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!   Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater – yes I mean the baby! and the king of Kings.

If we remove the notion of ‘original’ sin from our vocabulary then the end result is that people are not given the opportunity to repent and God has no access to their lives in order that they can be reconciled to Him.

If we consider the cross as ‘cosmic child abuse’ as purported by some, then we remove the efficacy of the cross and the need for an eternal and perfect sacrifice.

If we remove to virgin birth we make the living Son of God a mere human and not in the least divine and useless in our quest for salvation.

If we remove the resurrection we lose the victory over the sting of death.

If we understand the scripture as being for a bygone age and unable to comment on our lives today and give the authority of God to our behaviour, then we are able to blindly follow a pagan/heathen pathway and in following such be open to the full judgement of God.

You can see why some might want to avoid the realities of scripture due to the fact that their own behaviour is less than open to scrutiny, but the one who navigates lives towards the rocks of destruction is the enemy of our soul – the devil himself.

Conclusion: We need to bring salvation back to our nation – we need to be available to God when He is ready to move. 2 Cor 6:2 – Now is the day of salvation – now is the accepted time! We are the bearers of the Good News about Jesus and his offer of salvation. Just give me a call when you have something organised – Call me when you are ready – Oh! Sorry I have something else on. No we need to be ready to drop everything like the disciples of Jesus did when He called them.

Read Full Post »

Being Good News!

When we turn on the TV, radio or open a newspaper we will find representations of the news.   News stories will bring to our homes many worthy and some less worthy stories from around the world.   War, politics, tragedy and famine amongst the many as reporters and camera personnel try to get a scoop or at least a different angle on the news as they see it.

There is an event that has been missed by the broadsheets, the tabloids or even documentaries and News at Ten.   It is a story which has changed the world and the lives of countless people, many more people have been affected by this news than by any other news which has crossed a reporters notepad.  

There is a story of Good News, in fact the best news ever to reach the ears of mankind.   The news on God’s Son, Jesus Christ who left heaven to become a New and Living Way, making it possible for Man to become the sons of God.  

Jesus said at the outset of His ministry here on earth that he came for the very purpose of declaring Good News!  Luke 4:18-19 “… The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour ….”

Once we have received the Good News and the one who has declared it, namely Jesus Christ, we can then ourselves become good news to many as we share the message of the great love of God experienced in our lives.

Saul, who became Paul the Apostle found that he, a killer of Christians and a destroyer of the church, when he one day met Christ as he travelled to Damascus, Acts 26.   His life was revolutionised and he was to become the greatest church planter and a prolific writer of the New Testament.   The Ethiopian Eunuch after hearing Philip the evangelist share the scriptures was baptised and is believed to have been instrumental in bringing the Gospel to Africa.

God, through Jesus Christ, can change the hardest heart and the most remote community when those who hear the Good News respond to it and receive Christ as their Saviour and Lord.   Many modern day believers have been transformed by God’s Holy Spirit to become bearers of the Good News to communities around the world.   The Good News declared by Jesus is still active even after more than 2000 years.

Read Full Post »

My Story:

The story of how I became a Christian:

I was born the identical twin son of a Scottish shepherd, we twins were the last born of our family, but the first boys and so we were loved and cared for by our parents and of course by our three elder sisters.   My parents were Church going Christians and so we were taken to church every Sunday, in fact we attended sometimes five services on a Sunday, the Sunday morning communion service, the afternoon service, Sunday school, bible class, the evening service and an after church rally in another church.   Far from being a day of rest, Sunday was the busiest day of the week.  We boys were full of energy and the time soon arrived that we would have preferred not to go to church at all; rather we would like to go and play with the other kids in the area.   Our parents were wise enough to persist with us and as a result we continued to go to church regularly on a Sunday and to mid week services as well.

 

The time came when I went off to college to study agriculture, a subject I loved.   My school years were not my happiest since I felt cooped up and was a bit of a day dreamer, maintaining my attention on the class work was a real problem for me and of course for my teachers.   The headmaster of the school told me on my last day (I had done so poorly in my education that I left at 15 years old with no formal qualifications) “you have done so poorly, I think you should leave school and not return, in fact with your level of education you are not even fit to sweep the streets”.  The problem was I believed him, and so when I started college I was less than confident, but I enjoyed the subject and did reasonably well.   I passed my course and began to look for a job.   I didn’t want to go home to find work there since I thought that if I could just make a new start on my own that I wouldn’t need to go to church so often.   I applied for a job on a farm nearby the city of Dundee in Scotland’s north east.   I loved the job and one Saturday I had a day off work; I went to the city to do some shopping.   In those days Dundee city centre was dominated by a concrete 70s built shopping centre called the Overgate Centre.   The different levels of the building had balconies which overlooked to the City Churches where street evangelists would preach on a Saturday afternoon.  

 

On my first visit to Dundee city centre in 1975 I was confronted by a group of people worshipping and preaching in the area between the City Churches and the Overgate Centre.   I was astounded, my first reaction was that if I was going to be a real Christian, this is the kind of Christian I wanted to be.   I stood and looked over the balcony above the group for a while and soon I was approached by a young man of similar age to myself, called Andrew.   He offered me a leaflet and I took it but told him I already was a Christian, he asked if I wanted to come back to the team base for a coffee, I declined and as I moved away, he said, “Well if you change your mind you will be welcome”.  I did some shopping and went back to my car, making ready to go home, however I wondered if I should take up the offer of coffee.   I wandered round to the centre where the team were unwinding and met the them.   Andrew was particularly pleased to see me and warmly welcomed me in and made sure I was comfortable.   I knew something special had happened to me that day, God had rescued me from my own foolishness and I committed mylife again to Him.

 

The more I got to know about these folks the more I liked the, I eventually got involved with them and began preaching in the streets in the same way as I had seen them preach.   Soon I was part of a growing youth church which grew from 6 people to 700+ over the next 20 years.   During the intervening years I was asked if I would like to go to help with an agricultural project in Uganda, Africa.   I jumped at the chance and eventually left my agricultural lecturers post to follow a new life serving in the church and in overseas missions.   During my first time in Africa in 1989, I was asked by a young man if I would become an ambassador for the poor, this request felt to me like God was calling me and is the reason I am now serving in Missions in the developing world.

 

The call of God on my life has been very strong, the call to preach the Good News about Jesus Christ, to teach discipleship and to serve the poor.  Jesus has helped me every step of the way, there have been times when life has been amazing, knowing God’s hand on my life and there have been very difficult and dark days too.   The day our son was killed in a motorcar accident is probably the darkest day of my life.   We loved him and he meant such a lot to us and to see him taken at 20 years of age was too much to bear, however God has helped us through this as well, we know that He is the most sure foundation for our lives and is the perfect judge of all mankind.  He will, I have no doubt, be the rock of our lives until our last breath.

Read Full Post »

Welcome!

The News!

Fishin4God is committed to sharing the Good News about Jesus Christ.   There are many around the world who have as yet not heard The News and so our task is to try to remedy this.   Those who do hear this incredible News have one of a number of responses, some they reject it immediately, others they dont understand it, they receive it joyfully but are not focused and so lose it due to the events of their busy lives, others accept it but dont fully understand it due to its contrary message to current thinking and the money orientated philosophy of this world, then there are those who alow the message to reach deep within them and they are changed by it and continue on to serve God with their lives.

Take time to read what God has to say to you in the Bible, a good place to start is in John’s Gospel.   If you would like to discuss God’s message in more detail please contact us on fishingforgod@googlemail.com

Fishin4God has a webiste with all sorts interesting and useful information, to view this site click here.

Read Full Post »