Do we talk about Justice?

On Sunday, we opened up the theme of justice as we looked at Proverbs 21.  I’d like to follow up on that with a few articles on faithroots.net exploring the question “What is justice and what is our responsibility as Christians in promoting it?”

With that in mind, I was fascinated to find a little appendix at the back of a new book, “Coming Home”[1]  It’s the transcript of a panel discussion with some notable heavyweights of the Reformed Evangelical world[2] and they are looking at “Biblical Foundations for Seeking God’s justice in a sinful world.” Continue reading

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Justice (Proverbs 21)

In November 1974, the IRA detonated three bombs in Birmingham, two in pubs at the Rotunda and on New Street, one Image result for the birmingham pub bombings
in a bank on the Hagley Road.  21 people were killed. Six men were arrested, charged, convicted and put in prison.  In 1990 they were finally released, new evidence showed that they had been wrongly convicted.  They had suffered injustice. So too had the victims of the original bombing because the true culprits had not been punished.

What is your experience of justice? Some of us as parents, managers, union reps, church leaders etc  have a responsibility for seeing that justice is done.

Most of us will at some point seek justice:  a fair wage, a decent home to live in, an insurance claim, our immigration case. What is your experience of justice? Sadly, many people experience injustice Continue reading

Putting Down Roots (Genesis 23)

When Sarah and I came to Bearwood, I had been offered a 3 year contract (in fact when I signed they were able to extend this to 5 years)  Sarah was still waiting to see if she would find a job.  We were grateful to the church for its willingness to sacrificially support us for 3 years. The wise thing to do at that stage would have been to rent a house or flat as we might have had to move again in 3 years’ time.

However, we felt it right to buy a house. We wanted to show that we were ready to put down roots here and to live among the people God had called us to work with.

Genesis 23 may in some ways feel a bit like a strange anti-climax to the life of Abraham, an odd way to finish the story but actually it is a vital lesson in putting down roots.

So, let’s take a look.  First of all some minor side applications and then our main application. Continue reading

Why God’s Grace is always more loving than our attempts at mercy – another reminder

Thursday 27th July 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexual behaviour. To mark the anniversary, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York released a statement.[1]

In the Statement, they made the following key points

  1. They and the majority of Anglican primates were in favour of decriminalisation
  2. It is right that the Church condemns sin and evil (they give the example of abuse against the poor and marginalised.
  3. That the church is too often seen in terms of what it is for rather than what it is against.
  4. That we all have our burdens to bear and sin is an especially heavy burden.  Jesus offers his yoke which is light.

Continue reading

How might a pioneer church plant happen?

One of our #PlantBC aims is to support and encourage pioneer church plants.  A pioneer church plant happens when just one or two people start to reach a community with the Gospel. Over time as people respond to the good news they start to gather together for prayer, Bible teaching and praise.  This is different to a mother-daughter church plant where you send maybe 30-40 people from an existing congregation to start a church.  Continue reading

Can I be a faithful follower of Jesus without attending church? (5 Reasons why the answer is “No”)

This is a question that @PremierRadio asked on twitter today. At last count 38% voted yes, 52% voted “no” and 10 % not sure.

How would you answer?

I voted “No.” Here are my reasons.

1.       It is actually the wrong question to start with. Church is not a venue or an event that you attend. Church is the people of God. You don’t attend a church, you are part of the church. If you belong to Jesus then you belong to his family meaning that you are a member of the world wide and historic church. Your membership of The Church is reflected in and demonstrated by your membership of a local church. Continue reading

What does the fox say? – and the hedgehog know

“The fox is a cunning creature able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the hedgehog. Day in and day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Fast, sleek and beautiful, fleet of foot and crafty p-the fox looks like the sure winner. The hedgehog on the other hand, is a dowdier creature, looking like a genetic mix up between a porcupine and a small armadillo. He waddles along, going about his simple day, searching for lunch ad taking care of his home.”[1]

But every time the Fox shows up with a clever strategy to get the hedgehog, the hedgehog simply rolls up into a ball.  It is safe.  The world is divided into foxes and hedgehogs argues Jim Collins in Good to Great. Foxes are those who look at the world and see lots of complexity and have lots of ideas and strategies. Hedgehogs are those who simplify the complexity. [2] Or to quote Isaiah Berlin, “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” [3]

From this, Collins developed his Hedgehog principle. This is the idea that great leaders keep the main thing the main thing. They focus on one important thing and don’t get distracted. For Collins this is based on three factors Continue reading