Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Nancy Guthrie:

Our great hope is not just going to heaven when we die, though that is so wondrously good. But God has much grander plans. Our great hope is that Christ will come again, not as a helpless baby in a manger, but as a magnificent king on a throne—a king who will be close enough, and gentle enough, to wipe every tear from our eyes. He will personally put an end to everything that has brought his people pain. He will “raise the sons of earth” by transforming “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) to live with him forever on a gloriously renewed earth.

The wonder of it made the herald angels want to sing. And as the wonder of it begins to sink in, it makes us want to sing, too.

Read the rest here.

Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Nancy Guthrie:

Our great hope is not just going to heaven when we die, though that is so wondrously good. But God has much grander plans. Our great hope is that Christ will come again, not as a helpless baby in a manger, but as a magnificent king on a throne—a king who will be close enough, and gentle enough, to wipe every tear from our eyes. He will personally put an end to everything that has brought his people pain. He will “raise the sons of earth” by transforming “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) to live with him forever on a gloriously renewed earth.

The wonder of it made the herald angels want to sing. And as the wonder of it begins to sink in, it makes us want to sing, too.

Read the rest here.

Christmas video 4: What happened to the love?

ITN and the Jerusalem Productions have created two powerful videos reminding people about the Christian meaning of Christmas as an antidote to all the commercialisation, tinsel and drunken partying!

This is the second of the two clips.  It’s been a rough year for many of us. At Christmas we ask, where is the love? And where is the light and the hope?

Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Nancy Guthrie:

Our great hope is not just going to heaven when we die, though that is so wondrously good. But God has much grander plans. Our great hope is that Christ will come again, not as a helpless baby in a manger, but as a magnificent king on a throne—a king who will be close enough, and gentle enough, to wipe every tear from our eyes. He will personally put an end to everything that has brought his people pain. He will “raise the sons of earth” by transforming “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) to live with him forever on a gloriously renewed earth.

The wonder of it made the herald angels want to sing. And as the wonder of it begins to sink in, it makes us want to sing, too.

Read the rest here.

Church doesn’t welcome the working class

Church doesn’t welcome the working class

I’ve been chewing over an article that Chine McDonald,  the Director of Communications & Membership at the Evangelical Alliance, recently wrote on the way in which the church is overwhelmingly full of people from a middle class background:

Our society is vastly, scarily unequal. The opportunities that are assumed by some are beyond the realms of possibility for most others.

But sadly it seems fewer places are more unequal than the UK Church itself. Recent Talking Jesus research commissioned by the Evangelical Alliance, the Church of England and HOPE, shockingly revealed that 81 per cent of practising Christians have a university degree.

I found it a deeply concerning statistic when you take into account that most people in the UK do not go to university.

She goes on to write:

If we’re going to be a Church for all, we’ve got to rethink some of the church practices that are vestiges of culture rather than true expressions of our faith in Jesus. Encouragingly the Fresh Expressionsmovements springing up around the UK are doing just this.

We’ve got to be truly welcoming of people who are not like us. We’ve got to be prepared to be uncomfortable and not force people into the moulds that make them seem more palatable to us.

There’s a great quote in one of my favourite musicals My Fair Lady in which Professor Henry Higgins embarks on an experiment to turn “common flower girl” Eliza Dolittle into a lady fit for a king.

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl,” Eliza says, “is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.”

The thing that will ultimately draw people of all backgrounds to faith in Jesus is treating them with a profound love that comes not from ourselves, but from God. That’s love: not exclusivity or judgment about whether we’re wearing the right clothes or pronouncing the words correctly. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Let’s love people into the Church and pray they’ll realise that because of the cross, they’re already fit for the King.

The Queen’s Christian faith

 

HOPE - The QueenIn her 2014 Christmas broadcast the Queen said:

‘For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role-model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.’

It is the most recent of many public references the Queen has made to her Christian faith.

In 2016 people around the county and throughout the Commonwealth will gather in their communities to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Her actual birthday on 21 April will be celebrated with

  • four days of celebrations in Windsor 12-15 May;
  • a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 10 June;
  • the traditional trooping the colour ceremony – the Queen’s birthday parade – on Saturday 11 June in Horse Guards Parade, and
  • a massive street party for 10,000 people on The Mall on Sunday 12 June.

The whole country is invited to join the celebrations in our own villages, towns or cities. HOPE is working in partnership with Bible Society and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity to publish a very special book focusing on the Queen’s Christian faith.

The Servant Queen – and the King she serves: This beautifully illustrated short book uses the Queen’s own words to draw out the central role of her trust in Jesus Christ, offering us all an inspiring, multi-faceted insight into a life well-lived for others.

Find out more here.

Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Christmas hope

Nancy Guthrie:

Our great hope is not just going to heaven when we die, though that is so wondrously good. But God has much grander plans. Our great hope is that Christ will come again, not as a helpless baby in a manger, but as a magnificent king on a throne—a king who will be close enough, and gentle enough, to wipe every tear from our eyes. He will personally put an end to everything that has brought his people pain. He will “raise the sons of earth” by transforming “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) to live with him forever on a gloriously renewed earth.

The wonder of it made the herald angels want to sing. And as the wonder of it begins to sink in, it makes us want to sing, too.

Read the rest here.

Assembly: New Year: Hope, Success and Failure

Over the last week I’ve done several assemblies in different local schools on the theme of New Year resolutions:

Before the assembly begins, whilst students are still coming in, have a slideshow running with the question ‘did you make a new year’s resolution’ ‘have you already broken it?’ and various statistics and images linked to resolutions.

As the young people come in to the hall, ask the students in the front row to write whether they made any New Year resolutions, and if so have they failed already’ on some paper, while the rest of the year group are coming in.

Assembly

At the start of the assembly say that we asked your views on New Year resolutions, if you made any, and have you broken them already.  Here are some of your thoughts, and read their viewpoints out.  Here’s a Top 10 illustrated by cats:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtTKGe4SK7U&feature=youtu.be]

Lots of us will have made resolutions, and it is likely that most of us will break them. GMTV asked viewers to email in their new years resolutions. Here are the top 5 that came out of that poll:

  • To lose weight
  • Save money/spend less
  • Recycle/become greener
  • Get fit/exercise more
  • Stop smoking

CBBC on their website suggested that the top 5 new years resolutions would be:

  • To get fit
  • Stop biting my nails
  • Keep room tidy
  • Eat less junk food
  • Start a new hobby

Research suggests that around only 12-29% of us will be successful in keeping our resolution.  So this morning we wanted to share with you 3 people who made massive goals and targets, and how they coped with trying to reach them.

Thomas Edison: ‘father of the modern world’ (1847–1931)

Thomas Edison 

‘No one did more to share the physical character of our present day civilization … he was the most influential figure of the Millennium.’

One of Thomas Edison’s 1,093 inventions was the light bulb filament, but it took him over 3,000 attempts to invent it! That means 2,999 attempts at getting it to work, failed. He worked 18-hour days and only had five hours’ sleep a night. He said to his friends,

‘I don’t even need exercise, I don’t need to play golf because I have all the exercise I need going from one lab to another.’

Michael Jordan ‘The greatest sports star of all time?’

Michael Jordan

In a similar vein, in my opinion Michael Jordan may be the greatest sports star of all time. He won six NBA world titles – the most valuable player in all of them. He won the NBA slamdunk contest twice, changing it for ever. He scored 32,292 points in his career. He was, unlike many players these days, ‘the complete package’: he had the greatest offence, stifling defence and he was a media phenomenon, doing feature films through to cereal adverts. Yet he said this:

‘I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty- six times I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot and have missed; I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.’

Somehow, in this instant world of Pot Noodles, McDonald’s and quick boiling kettles, where the National Lottery promises us the ultimate get rich quick scheme and we respond to spam emails believing that someone has left us £2 million if we could only send them £100 for an administration fee(!), the concept that failure strengthens has been lost. Often, it is in failure that we learn to succeed.

Paul: The Greatest Christian

Paul says:

‘… I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate’ (Rom. 7:15, cev) but he also says, ‘My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done … But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed’ (Phil. 3:13-14, 16, CEV).

So next time you switch on a bulb in your house remember Thomas Edison and all his failures, the difficulties and the struggles that he had to overcome to become the man that he was to be. And next time you see a basketball, imagine Michael Jordan being gutted 26 times after missing his game-winning shot, when he was the best player in the world. That’s what hope is all about. Hope and failure are sometimes very close to each other, and we have to decide which one to go for… Christians believe God didn’t tell us that we would succeed easily and avoid suffering and failure; he just said that he would be there with us.

And that makes all the difference.

Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Nancy Guthrie:

Our great hope is not just going to heaven when we die, though that is so wondrously good. But God has much grander plans. Our great hope is that Christ will come again, not as a helpless baby in a manger, but as a magnificent king on a throne—a king who will be close enough, and gentle enough, to wipe every tear from our eyes. He will personally put an end to everything that has brought his people pain. He will “raise the sons of earth” by transforming “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) to live with him forever on a gloriously renewed earth.

The wonder of it made the herald angels want to sing. And as the wonder of it begins to sink in, it makes us want to sing, too.

Read the rest here.