Barriers to justice

God loves righteousness and justice. This means that he prioritises it over religiosity.

“The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.”[1]

So, God puts rulers and governments in place to make sure that justice happens.  Continue reading

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Planning, Integrity and true Purity (Proverbs 16)

Anyone been for a health check-up recently?  Eyes, teeth, heart … maybe the full MOT.  How did you get on?

Have you ever done one of those life check-ups? How’s your overall well-being? This isn’t just your physical health but how are you doing emotionally, is your life a success, what’s your status -financial prosperity etc?

One of the things that God’s Word does for us as we gather each Sunday is it provides a life check-up. Earlier this year we did a “whole church health-check when we looked at Revelation 2-3. This one is a bit more about each of us as individuals. So how are we doing against the following markers of a “healthy life.” Continue reading

Seeking the Good of the City (Proverbs 11)

Why does it matter how our politicians, celebrities and business leaders behave? Why the tabloid obsession with their misdemeanours? Partly it’s just gossip. But a big part of it links to a sense of justice – that good people should do well and when they do, we all do well.

It’s why we get behind the underdog -especially if they have a compelling back story. If an X-Factor’s singing ability is in doubt do a VT about how they love their nan!

It’s why we care about seeing the right people elected for the right reasons. It’s what made the referendum so hard for many – on the one hand a perception of rulers who were remote, unaccountable, self-interested but on the other hand people stirring up hatred for their own ends.

And there was a time when the simple thing for Christians was to simply go to church, enjoy their faith in private and not to connect those things up -privatised.  However, there’s been a renewal of the idea that our faith should influence our engagement with public life. Some people talk about our responsibility to seek the welfare of the City. Continue reading

Wisdom’s True Identity (Proverbs 8)

Do you like a good riddle? Remember in the Lord of the Rings when Bilbo first meets Gollum. They get into a riddle contest. Each gives the other a clue and they have to work out who or what the other is talking about. Finally, Bilbo stumps Gollum with an accidental riddle “What have I got in my pockets?” Continue reading

Trouble Maker (Proverbs 6:1-19)

“I am a high ranking government official in [select country of choice] I have access to $5 million of funds that don’t really belong to anyone and our government does not deserve.  I want to get the money out of the county.  I just need a secure bank account to transfer the money into.  If you can provide me with your details, I’ll also provide you with a percentage of the funds in return for your help.”

Have you ever had one of those emails? The answer is probably “Yes!” Have you ever replied and given your details? The answer is probably “No!” So why on earth do people keep sending those sorts of emails out? Why do I get phone calls promising me all sorts of deals that are good to be true (when I’m not being told that the person can fix my computer virus?) Continue reading

Lent Serving suggestions

Did you have pancakes last Tuesday (9th February)?  Pancake Tuesday is a big British tradition.  It marks the start of something called “Lent.” The period running up to Easter.  Lent was a period of fasting in the traditional church calendar. Some people still like to follow a calendar of fasting followed by feast days (Advent leading to Christmas functions in the same way) and find it helpful. That’s great so long as it does not become something legalistic or ritualistic.

However, for many of us, Lent, if it means something at all is about giving up something such as chocolate, a favourite activity, spending on luxuries etc.  The problem then is that it becomes either: Continue reading