Where do you find your hope?

As the nights draw in around the close of the year and the darkness seems as though it might last forever it can be easy to lose our sense of hope. The cold and the rain only serve to exacerbate our misery and can lead to many people feeling tired and alone. That’s one of the reasons why the tree in our house goes up very early in Advent. Tucked up in a warm house watching the gentle glow of twinkling Christmas tree lights with my family around me I am always reminded of the impending arrival of Christ as Light Of the World. In those moments whatever darkness which lies within me bred from any feeling of hopelessness seems to disappear. I remember that winter is just a fleeting season, the sun will rise again.

Where do you find your hope?


The Hope of going Home

Isaiah 2:1-5


‘Driving Home for Christmas’, ‘Please come home for Christmas’, ‘I’ll be home this Christmastime’ and ‘I’ll be home for the holidays’, just a few of the many Christmas songs that you’ll no doubt of all ready heard as we begin our journey of Advent.

Each year for many people there will be a real desire to make their way ‘home’ to be around family and friends this Christmas. Of course the theme of ‘going home’ or at least going to the right home could be said to be central to the message of the Bible. However this is not the nostalgic, cosy homecoming represented by hugging your parents, eating Mum’s best Yorkshire’s and watching ‘Home Alone’ together.

The homecoming that is talked about in this passage from Isaiah is a whole world event where all of us are invited to be part of a new creation. This new creation has, at it’s very centre, the insistence that God is Sovereign, that his temple will be exalted over everything in creation.

The passage also suggests, I feel, that this new home is not something that is a long way off. Verse 2 in the NIV says that this vision occurs ‘In the last days’ but this could just as easily be translated, as the NRSV chooses to, as ‘days to come’.

We are called not to wait for our arrival at this new home but rather to change our way of thinking and looking at the world so that, like the prophet, we too may ‘see’ the vision of a world re-created by God.

So as we begin our journey of advent we do so seeking the hope of a home where we may truly ‘walk in the light of the Lord’

When to say yes

Read more about this film here

I’ve decided that we’re going to show this film at our regular film and faith service at Moortown on Sunday.

I hope that those watching it view it in a more positive light than Thaisha Geiger did!

I thought the idea of covenant asked some great questions for us as Christians.

 What are we covenanted to? The next self help fad? the latest charismatic leader? the most recent minority movement?

Or do we take seriously that call to be in covenant only with our God?

That then leads into questions about how we make decisions in our life. How does our relationship with God change the things we say yes and no to?

For me it also talks about what offers we make as a church. In the film Jim Carrey can only say yes to the invitations that he is given. As a church are we quick enough to make the offer of Jesus, knowing that a life with Jesus is a life lived in all it’s fullness?

Has anyone else seen it yet? what did you think? do you think it deserved the ‘Very Offensive’ moral rating it was given in the review?

Act like Men!

Sometimes it seems, it can be quite hard being a bloke in church.

It seems like when you say you’re a Christian, to some people that suggests that you are somehow less of a man. I think this may be due to the way in which we, as men, evaluate ourselves through other mens opinions . Or maybe it’s even more complicated than that. Maybe we evaluate ourselves through our opinions of what we think other mens opinions are of us!

If you’re still with me at this point……well done!

It’s prehaps a lot to do with courage and the suggestion that somehow if we engage in Christian community we are somehow hiding from the world.

So it’s not that we men are scared of religion or talking about our feelings. It seemingly has more to do with being scared about what other men may think when they hear of our involvement in church.

I was reading Corinthians again this week and decided to read 2 particular verses in a few different versions including the King James version and the English standard version.

the passage in question was 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

here it is from the King James……

‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.’

and from the English Standard version……

‘Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love’

In the King James version it’s important to note that ‘quit you like men’ means act like men.

So here we have a clear directive to ‘act like men’. It seems fairly clear here that Paul expects his readers to understand what he means when he says that. There is also a directive that everything we do is ‘done in love’. These two instructions are clearly not seperated, it is not a call for those of us who are macho to be manly and those of us who are tender to loving. It’s an understanding that our Christian faith requires both.

Paul challenges us to retain the identity that we have as men and bring that manliness into the way we serve God and love one another. It’s a call to show the courage to other men that we will stand for love, and the courage to show the church that when we do that we still stand as men.

Alleged Legends – A rap star goes to the Holy Land

I found this video fascinating. It’s a clip from one of Mike Skinners video blogs. Two ‘normal’ guys who love to find inspiration for their music take a journey to try and find religion. Some of the stuff they talk about is really quite revealing and pretty deep. I was certainly very interested with their comparisons between the Christian ‘attractions’ and the Jewish ones.

Have a look for yourself but please do be advised that the language is pretty ’real’ in places

and this is the song inspired by the visit……

As in the video blog I get the impression that Mike can’t really make his mind up about ‘Religion’. Obviously there’s a few things in his potted description of Christianity that i would argue are much more to do with his assumed understanding of organised religion than any basis of a living faith.

There’s some big questions for those of us who are part of Christian communities but maybe some of this can provide us with good starting points when we’re trying to talk about our faith?