The State we are in

We are thinking about the different worldviews and ideologies that underpin different political approaches and how Christians should engage with them.  One important factor to consider is our attitude to the State. Continue reading

The Enemy of God’s people (Revelation 17-18)

If the world at times seems cruel, unjust and ungodly, it’s not a new phenomenon.   If Governments seem to legislate against God’s Law and the markets encourage greed and selfishness then there is nothing new under The Sun. If our culture encourages sexual immorality, the objectification of women and the sexualisation of youngsters then its only following age old traditions. Continue reading

The Big Question- Why Does God allow suffering?

This is probably the biggest and the most challenging of our “Big Questions.” It’s big because it raises philosophical questions about God’s goodness (love, wisdom etc.) and his greatness (sovereignty, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence).

–          Why do good things happen to bad people?

–          How can a God of love tolerate suffering?

–          God is sovereign -can’t stop the suffering

If God is a God of love and a sovereign God then why doesn’t he stop the suffering now?

But it’s also challenging because it’s pastoral.  We are not just asking hypothetical questions. It’s personal: “Why me?” or “Why those I care about?” Continue reading

God’s Rescue Plan (Genesis 14)

Do you feel trapped?  What is it that traps you? Circumstances, the pressure of life, addiction? Maybe you are ashamed to acknowledge that you are trapped. You got yourself into the mess. You want to try and sort things out yourself. Maybe you hope you can do that without anyone noticing. Even as you try, you realise you are just getting into a bigger mess.

This talk is all about being rescued. Continue reading

Singing in the midst of suffering (2) How do I stop from seeking revenge?

So, Revelation 15-16 means I can sing now instead of seeking revenge. How do I do this?  Here are a few suggestions I hope you will find helpful. Continue reading

Singing in the midst of suffering – the reality for urban churches

On Sunday, we looked at Revelation 15-16 and we saw that God’s people are seen here singing, even though they have been suffering terrible persecution and living in a world under judgement. Our main application was that we could “sing even when suffering.”  By this we did not merely mean the ability to join in on a Sunday but singing as representing an expression of joy, trust and hope in the Lord throughout the work demonstrated by how we act and what we say, particularly about the gospel.

We noted two challenges to this:

1.       It may seem easier for those who have already come through the other side to “sing” than for those of us still in the midst of life’s troubles

2.       It is hard to have that sense of joy and hope when what we want to do is seek vengeance for what others have done.

Now, let’s be blunt, the second item is not trivial or light. I realise that when I preach a message of this kind there are people who will have experienced deep and painful suffering and abuse. A congregation may include: Continue reading

The Stiff Upper Lip?

This week, Prince Harry has spoken movingly about his emotional struggle following the sudden and tragic death of his mum, Princess Diana in  1997. Following on from  that, today, Prince William has called for an end to the “stiff upper lip” culture so that people will learn to talk about their emotional and mental health struggles a bit more. Continue reading