Sunday, 30 August 2009

It's all about You, Jesus...

It was great to have Adam Bradley with us at Kings today – and not just Adam, but his wife Lorna and their delightful girls including latest addition Zoe, born just a few weeks ago! Adam has led Christ’s Community Church in Attleborough for about 4 years, and under his leadership the church has flourished and God has given significant growth.
And it wasn’t just because he’s a nice guy that I enjoyed his visit, but because of what he had to say. He preached on the question: ‘Who is this man?’, meaning Jesus Christ, and based it on that rich passage from Colossians 1:15

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

As the song says, it really is all about You, Jesus! You can download Adam’s preaching from this website, I just want to say here how vital it is that we always preach Jesus. He is the only Saviour. He is the only way to know the Father. John Piper puts it like this:

there is no spiritual life – no eternal life – apart from connection with Jesus and belief in Jesus…. In the new birth, the Holy Spirit supernaturally gives us new spiritual life by connecting us with Jesus Christ. For Jesus is life. (quoted from Finally Alive)

Let me take it further; it’s not just that Jesus makes us alive, in fact, everything we need, every blessing received comes to us ‘in Christ’. In an earlier generation, Thomas Watson wrote it like this:

Jesus Christ is the sum & quintessence of the gospel; the wonder of the angels; the joy & triumph of the saints. The name of Christ is sweet, it is as music in the ear, honey in the mouth, and a cordial at the heart… Jesus Christ, our Mediator, has perfection in every grace. Col 1v19 He is a panopy, magazine and storehouse of all heavenly treasure, all fullness… There is a never-failing fullness of grace in Christ. (Quoted from A Body of Divinity)

As I say, it really is all about Jesus, about knowing him, about being In Him, living our lives in a dynamic relationship with him – being ‘in Christ’.

Think on Him!



Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Stay close!

Tragically, the statistics of war, the casualties, are on our screens every day. It is something that cannot and should not be ignored. We are fighting a war.
Every soldier would, I’m sure, tell you that it is fundamental for survival that you know when you are in a battle zone. Everything changes. No more casual or careless moments. No sauntering off on your own. Senses are alerted. Everything changes. There are mines, hidden bombs, snipers to contend with, and so constant watchfulness is the order of the day – and the night.

I think I have become more aware lately of the warfare that we are engaged in as Christians. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is advancing – and we are called to be a part of that advance. The outcome is certain, but there is an enemy to contend with who seeks to deter, discourage, depress and do us damage.
Psalm 18:34 says: He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. God wants us to not only use the protective shield of faith, but also to steal a march on our enemy and take ground!

I read the following recently, written by Amy Carmichael: The fight to which we have been called is not an easy fight. We are touching on the very centre of the devil’s power and kingdom, and he hates us intensely and fights hard against us.
Then she says something surprising. Instead of urging us to great action & exploits, she says… So first, give much time to quietness. For the most part we have to get our help directly from our God… we must each learn to walk with God alone and feed on his word so as to be nourished.

What a great arrangement – walk in close fellowship with God, be conscious of your life being in Christ, and not only do you stay safe, you get to enjoy his delightful, empowering presence!
One more great line from Amy C. Fill up the crevices of time with the things that matter most.

Stay close!


Sunday, 16 August 2009

Winning the Test...

Confidence plays an important part of any sports person’s success.

Dial that up with a bit of healthy aggression and competitive determination and you have a winning formula. I don’t normally use illustrations from the world of cricket as I know little about it but I did feel God prod me this week about the way we pray and handle the deliveries that our adversary hurls at us, and lessons to be learned from cricket

I think I read somewhere the English middle batting order pretty much caved in and collapsed in the last innings. I guess that once a batsman’s head goes down and he becomes intimidated by what is coming his way and uncertain what to do with it, then his performance is unlikely to be great and victory is going to be most unlikely.

Same for the Christian with the challenges and assaults that our adversary hurls at us – if we stand there overwhelmed and passive then we won’t make the progress that our heavenly father intends for us.

Here’s my point: I believe with all my heart that God wants His people, whom He has redeemed, to stand with greater confidence, and in prayer boldly face those things that come against us. I believe that Jesus teaches us to pray strongly, and to decisively deal with those missiles, dispatching them aggressively to the boundary and beyond. We have been given the right through what Jesus has accomplished for us on the Cross and we are invited to pray big prayers!