Look no further than Jesus

In my readings today from the imitation of Christ by Thomas a kempis I am reading from the 7th chapter of the second book entitled of the love of Jesus above all things.

Thomas a kempis says these words

“Blessed is he that understandeth what it is to love Jesus and to despise himself for Jesus’s sake”.

He further says

“The love of things created is deceitful and inconsistent; the love of Jesus is faithful and persevering”.

“Thou shall quickly be deceived if thou only look at the outward appearance of men. For if in others thou seekest thy comfort and profit,thou shalf to often feel loss”.

“If thou seekest Jesus in all things’ thou shalt surely find him. But if thou only seekest thyself , thou shalt also find thyself, but to thine own destruction”.

I would urge all who say that they are a follower of Christ to read this book perhaps then again not because it may leave you thinking that you have fallen short.

I am reading it a chapter at a time and then I am spending time in prayer and considering in a very deep way what the author is trying to say.

In my reading of this book it is clear to me that many of us and I include myself are falling short of the pattern of Christian behaviour. We are not imitating Christ as we should . What we are doing I think is that we are trying to compromise in order to fit in with this secularistic society.

I think those in episcopal authority also need to read this book and anybody else in authority at that matter. It is a beautifully written book but the author does not shy away from sayng it as it is.

As Christians we need the challenge in order to be challenged I hope some of you can understand that. Let me repeat that we need the challenge in order to be challenged. In a very secular society it is difficult for Christians and Christian churches to be seen as relevant.

The church should not have any fear about being seen as relevant because it will always be relevant because the church must speak to those profound needs that there are in Society. If we do not do that we might as well shut the doors’ knock down the buildings and each go thine own way.

I see so many people with such profound needs that Society cannot answer. I see so many people living in what I call a spiritual vacuum. They are looking for something yet they know not what they are looking for. But the answer has always been there and it still is there you just have to see it.

And I want to Pray God’s blessings upon you all today

Repent whilst you can

I have noticed and it saddens me that far too many people suffer from hardness of the heart and a diseased soul. They are full of nothing but hatred and express themselves with anger. There can be no greater disease than a diseased soul because a diseased kills the human heart and I’m not talking about this in a biological sense in a spiritual sense. The human heart in a spiritual sense should be the place were all compassion resides.

Are we so incapable of loving our neighbour as well as the stranger. We have become diminished as a nation. Our Christian values of love, compassion, tolerance and understanding are becoming a distant shadow. Some have used their positions of authority to spread the evil of hatred and anger into every facet of society. For them there will be a reckoning and the fiery furnace at the end of times awaits.

Even those who profess to follow the path of Christ have become beguiled by evils allure. It is not too late to repent, if you repent a great transformation will take place you will not need to carry around hatred and anger but be filled with love and compassion for your neighbour, for yourself and for the stranger.

The day is coming when it will be too late to repent, the day is coming when the judgement of God will be brought down on us all. If you do not repent you will end up in a place where everyday is forever and no day is today.

May Almighty God bless you, father son and Holy Spirit this day and every day to come

Never judge a book by its cover

My dear friends I spoke to a man tonight who had been a millionaire three times and had lost it all to drink and drugs.

The grip that Satan had had over him was so powerful that if he had carried on trapped by the addictions he would not be with us right now.

But I tell you something truly amazing happened, he encountered the living God he encountered Jesus Christ and at the foot of the cross he poured out his sins and do you know what else happened he was forgiven, he found redemption at the foot of the cross.

It is true that we should never judge a book by its cover and that we should consider the person within not the person on the outside.

In my career I have often judged people by what I have seen of them but never what I have seen in them. Its is very difficult to do away with the prejudices that we may have but if we are followers of Jesus Christ we have to do that , I have had to do it that.

I believe that God puts us into certain positions so that we can witness things and learn from them. In my two chosen careers so far I have seen two forms of vulnerability first of the sick in hospital people waiting with trepidation for surgery a form of vulnerability and in my other career another form of vulnerability.

I guess that you do not think about it at the time you’re so busy doing your job. If I had known this man when he was trapped by the demons of destructive addiction I may have thought of him differently than what I do now.

God saved this man and now this man does the work that God has apportioned him to do. I praise God for his witness to the weak and the vulnerable to the lost to those whose lives are trapped by the demons of addiction.

I consider this man my friend and I do not give my friendship lightly he’s my brother in Christ Jesus and will be till life on this earth is no more and beyond that. My brother I truly believe that we are refined in the fire and that we go through the struggle in order that we can be better witnesses to those who are going through the struggle now.

God puts us where he wants us and right now he wants you where you are and doing what you do.

May the blessings of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with all of you tonight and everyday henceforth.

One in Christ

This is a bag of blood and I’m sure you would agree with me that it is a precious thing. Indeed without blood circulating around our bodies would die. But look at it again and ask yourself who has it come from.

Has it come from someone who is English, has it come from someone who is Scottish, has it come from someone who is Welsh, has it come from someone who is Irish, has it come from someone who is French, has it came from someone who is German ,has it come from someone who is Italian has it come from someone who is Spanish, has it come from someone who is from Belgium, has it come from someone who is from Holland. The thing is that none of us know.

What I am trying to say here is that we are far less different that some would have us made out to be. Some people for whatever reason like to play upon our differences in order to divide us but the truth is we all bleed and one day we will all die to this life.

The differences that we seem to have are far less important than what we have in common. The things that unite us makes us stronger the things that divide us makes us weaker and able to be picked off by those who would do us harm.

We know that there are many who would divide us, brother from brother, sister from sister, father from son, daughter from mother. They have done that over the last few years but I tell you God doesn’t do that and I tell you why that is so it is because we are one in Christ.

A strange day

Well I’ve had a strange day today challenging the established church. And gently chastising the atheists.

This is a story which really happened and it’s how I can prove that God exists and it’s how I can prove that God works through ordinary people because I experienced it.

Last year after I had attended an interview at the nazarene theological college I was on the bus coming back to Stockport train station. I was minding my own business when a man whom I have not met before in my life started to strike up a conversation with me. As the conversation progressed I learnt that he went to church in Wythenshawe which is South Manchester.

Now I don’t live in Manchester I live down in Kent and I did not know this man from Adam. Yet there was something strangely warming and comforting about this man. He spoke with compassion and understanding. His knowledge of me was more than I ever admit to anybody else.

He knew that I grew up in a Roman Catholic household, he knew that I had rebelled and became a Salvationist, he knew that when I move from South Wales to Kent I started attending an Anglican church All Saints and was on the Parochial Church Council he knew that when I moved from Chatham to Gillingham I went to another Anglican church and again was on the parochial Church Council,

He knew that I left the anglicans to join the methodists and was studying to be a local preacher, knew about my marital breakdown and he knew that I had become a Nazarene. And as I was getting off the bus his final words to me was God has work for you to do.

I found that experience so amazing that someone who I had never met who had no involvement with the college knew all about me. I truly believe that God uses other people to search other people out.

When I recount that story to anybody I am often met with disbelief. If I had not experienced it I would have probably disbelieved it myself but how can you disbelieve that which has occurred that which is fact. God was working through that individual it is the only way that he could have known all about me because God knows about all of us.

God knows us when we are up and when we’re down. When we are happy or when we are sad. There are two paths laid before us God gives us the choice which one to follow, one path leads to the Kingdom the other path leads to another place that is somewhere which we should avoid for grim death.

The imitation of Christ

By Thomas a Kempis

Many of you are no doubt watching a bit of television tonight but I wanted to get away from the square box and devote my mind to matters spiritual so I’m reading from the book written by Thomas a kempis “the imitation of Christ” first published in 1470 in Latin and translated into English. John Wesley the founder of the methodist movement was heavily influenced by this book and said that it taught him”that true religion was seated in the heart, and that Gods law extended to all our thoughts as well as words and actions. In 1735 John Wesley published a widely read edition of this book under the title “The Christian Pattern”

It is a beautiful book to read and so spiritually uplifting. The opening line in the first chapter is a direct quotation from our Lord Jesus Christ ” he that followeth me, walketh not In darkness” the first chapter is concerned with how we live our lives as an imitation of Christ and show contempt of all the vanities of the world. I love the language of this book in its use of old English.

In the third chapter titled “of the doctrine of truth” it says these words and I think it has so much meaning

” The more a man is United within himself, and becometh inwardly simple and pure, so much the more and higher things doth he understands without labour; for that he receiveth intellectual light from above.

This book should be a compulsory read for all students of theology and for anyone feeling the call to ministry. As I am reading this book so I am feeling challenged perhaps in a way that I have not been in the past. It has made me reflect on how I have been shrouded in my own conceit and vanity. The Lord is speaking to my heart tonight. For when the grace of God cometh unto a man, then he is made able for all things. And when it goeth away , then he is poor and weak, and as it will left only for the lash and scourge. In this case thou oughest not be distracted, nor to despair; but at God’s will to stand steadily, and whatever comes upon thee, to endure it for the glory of Jesus Christ; for after winter followeth summer, after night the day returneth, and after a tempest a great calm.

There are many who deny God and his son Jesus Christ but I can tell you this evening that the Holy Spirit is working up on my heart it is transformative. Each and all of us who profess a belief in Jesus Christ ought to open our hearts to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and be ye transformed

And may Almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bless you all this evening.

Be like the poor widow

It seems to me that in relative terms those with the least seem to give the most and those with the most seem to give the least because they are more frightened of losing what they have.

It’s like the parable of the rich young ruler and the parable of the poor widow.

Mark 12:41-44 New International Versions

The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

I cannot articulate this any better it speaks for itself, a poor widow who gave everything to the glory of God why can we not do likewise.