Monday, 26 February 2018


On February 10th I flew out to Mississippi with my wife Georgie, daughter Gemma and a church member Jess.

We went to spend time with a partner church, Cleary Baptist Church and to encourage them and network. The Pastor and his wife, plus two teams have visited us and helped us with mission and a bit of local community social action. We went to serve them and came back overwhelmed by their grace to us.

I learned a lot from there Pastor Kevin, more than anything from his faithfulness to God's word, and his humility and servant-heartedness. It was humbling to hear church members speak so highly of him in terms of their appreciation. With reference to our church, their church members often used the phrase, "we wanna love on y'all". I could tell that this is what Kevin has done in that church along with his wife and family.

During my time there I preached five times, two on a Sunday morning and the rest in the midweek evenings. Here I was again humbled by the turnout. Almost all the church turned out. Couples with children took turns to come along and from conversations I had it was clear the half that came relayed with the other half the messages I'd preached the night before.

We (the team from New Life) were also humbled to learn the church had effectively saved for our visit, so that they covered all the costs of our stay with them.

We visited a local school where my wife George spoke to about eighty 6-11 year olds about Jesus while I addressed a gymnasium of about one hundred 12-18 yr olds, speaking to them about Paul's mission in Lystra.

I met with Mike Ray the Southern Baptist Missions Director for Mississippi. He listened with keen interest to the vision for Brighton I shared, and was very supportive. He encouraged Kevin to send long term workers and assured him of the support of the BU where possible.

I met with a handful of like minded Pastors from the region. We talked about church membership, its importance and some of the challenges they face. We prayed together and they again took keen interest in the work here in Brighton. I was again struck by their warm welcome ad hospitality.

We visited a couple of Day Care centres for children where we shared testimonies and they asked many questions about the life in the UK and why we were visiting.

We spent some time with one young woman - Erin - and her family. Erin (22) is considering working with us long term as a missionary. She is a conscientious and godly young woman, clearly gifted and able with a heart to give her life to serve Jesus. Please ask the Lord to guide her in this, and that we will be able, between us to raise all the necessary funds should she come.

We also had free time, on one occasion they took us to New Orleans and introduced us to Bubba-Gump restaurant, the home of the shrimp 'Bubba' fisherman from Forest Gump. There I also got to taste alligator sausage! We visited the Civil Rights and the Agricultural Museums in Jackson. Kevin took us on a tour of some of the most dangerous places in Jackson where he dreams of doing mission in the future. The highlight in terms of experiencing their culture was a day shooting targets and eating crawfish.

However, the best part of the whole experience was the sense of love and acceptance, the feeling that we really are family. We did some great things, had a lot of fun together, but at the end of the day it was the people who made it great. Precious people who love the Lord Jesus.

Our mission I believe was fully accomplished in laying down a foundation, built on God's word and a commitment to love and support one another for the sake of the gospel.

I look forward to seeing how the Lord continues to use this partnership for their good and ours!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Truth about Halloween - A Christian perspective

What is Halloween really all  about?

Halloween Brightens up the long dark winter
To many people Halloween is just a bit of fun. The winter is a long, dark and cold season. Imagine there was no Guy Fawkes night with bonfire and fireworks, no Halloween with parties, dressing up, trick or treat, no Christmas with family get-togethers, feasts and celebration - imagine how dull and dreary winter would be. It would be horrible!

Halloween is one of the three main winter celebrations that brightens our winter and makes it far more bearable. 

But isn’t it evil?
For most people, probably for you it really is just a fun time. There is nothing sinister about it at all. Maybe a few kids go too far with their 'tricks', maybe some people wake up the next morning hung over, but that is usually as bad as it gets.

Halloween tends to caricature evil
Evil is made out to be little red devils with goat feet and pitched forks, or witches with green faces, crooked noses and pointed hats or monstrous ghouls. These are all like cartoon characters, and cartoon characters do not exist in real life do they? So by making evil into cartoon characters (caricatures) evil becomes trivialised, a bit of fun, not real. Right? Wrong!

We would be naive to imagine there is nothing sinister about it at all. The truth is, many people have morbid inclinations. A fascination with death and real evil. Halloween feeds that morbidity with horror movies. Horror movies are sinister, they entertain using the most horrible, sick, disgusting and evil ideas and images they can concoct, and the more evil and graphic - the better!  Why do people find it entertaining seeing others getting torn to pieces and horrifically tortured or eaten alive etc? Without pressing the point too hard, I think it is fair to say, there is at least something sinister about that.

Real Evil Exists
As we will see, real Evil really does exist, but rather than face up to the real evil, we trivialise it, caricature it as something it is not and then fail to recognise it's true face - even when we look it in the face, as we all do.

The truth is, whatever terrible, sick and evil act you can possibly imagine - if it is possible to do, then you can be sure, somebody somewhere is probably doing it - right? Remember Fred West? Surely an embodiment of real evil - and he was far worse than the movies! Fred West still exists, he has different names, we might even know one and not realise it - just as many people knew Fred West but had no idea what he and his wife were doing. Maybe your next door neighbour is a Fred West - probably not - but there are Fred Wests out there - of that you can be sure. Sooner or later one of them will be found out again and we will all be truly horrified. There are Fred Wests out there who do not do what he did - but only because they are afraid of the consequences - but if they knew they could get away with it - they'd do it. There is real evil in the world. Consider the following as expressions of real evil ... 

- A act of suicide bomber who blows himself and others up!  EVIL.
- A act of a nation that rises up against another in war. Pressing a button and sending a missile, dropping a bomb on people and blowing them up. This is evil - legal mass Evil! (I know that sometimes it is necessary - but that just proves the reality of evil, that such terrible measures become necessary). 
- The evil of the calloused husband who rips out the heart of his wife by cheating on her (and visa-versa) with all the devastation it brings. 
- The evil of people left to live and die on the streets.
- The evil of the drugs trade. The evil act of the smart looking young man who sells heroin to the young lad and sets him on a path of total misery that ends in tragic death.
- The act of pedophilia
- The act of an acid attack
- The act of rape. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men were raped last year in the uk, that's an average of 11 rapes per hour, and that is just adults! ( )

These things are truly wicked, sinister, they are evil. We live in a broken, messed up, dark and mad world that is crying out for salvation from the tyranny of evil that we have all become far too accustomed to.

Not all is evil
It may sound like I am saying the whole world is just an evil place. Certainly not. There is also, so much good in the world. So many acts of kindness. It would be very easy to do a list of acts of kindness - but that would make this even longer. The point I am making is just that real evil exists, and notwithstanding the good in the world, evil is still rampant, that's the point.

Now for the Surprise
Having said all that, the surprising thing is that Halloween is in fact a Christian Celebration, like Guy Fawkes and Christmas.

Now there may be a few druids out there who would argue: “Actually Halloween was originally an ancient celtic festival Samhain”. But the truth is nobody today celebrates Samhain (maybe a few tree-huggers in Lewes), we celebrate HALLOWEEN'.

Halloween comes from ‘Hallows Eve’. You can easily see the similarity. Hallows Eve was celebrated by Christians long, long before Samhain. So what is “Hallows Eve”? Well we know what ‘Eve’ means. Think ‘Christmas Eve’. Christmas Eve is the evening before Christmas Day. Eve means ‘The evening before’. So Hallows Eve is ‘The Evening before Hallows Day”.

So what is ‘Hallows Day?’ Hallows means ‘Saints’. Hallows Eve, or Halloween is the night before ‘Hallows Day’ or ‘All Saints Day’. Many churches around the country, especially Anglican churches still celebrate ‘All Saints Day’. 

So what are 'saints'? ‘Saints’ are simply Christians. All Saints Day is the day that Christians celebrate their champion Jesus’s victory over all the powers of hell, darkness and evil. 

So the Bible tells us concerning Jesus …

15 And having disarmed the [evil] powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2). 

Christians used to celebrate this event by dressing their children up to make a mockery of the devil and His demons. It was a way of saying, “We have no fear of you at all, you are powerless”. It was a time to mock and scorn the powers of darkness and celebrate the victory of Jesus, it was not a celebration of evil. It was an expression of faith that, no matter how dark the world gets, the day will drive the night away, one day, forever, all evil will cease, and all because of Jesus.

Can you imagine a world without evil? Where you never need to worry about your children? Where you don't need locks on your doors? Where nobody ever hurts anyone else physically, emotionally etc. That is what All Hallows Day is all about. The celebration of Good over Evil, of Jesus Victory over all the powers of darkness at work in our world and all our relationships etc. It was a celebration that anticipates the coming final victory of Christ.

Hallows Eve is the night before that celebration. It was believed that the night before All Saints Day, the powers of evil would do their worst knowing that the coming day would drive them and their darkness away.

Darkness must always give way to light!

Sadly, Christianity is as real to people today as Halloween. However, just as there is real evil in the world, so there is real christianity and the real Jesus who really has defeated the powers of evil. Jesus really does set people free and brings true light to their dark world. In the darkness - without Jesus people are lost in life, many people feel this ‘lostness’, not knowing who they really are or why they exist or what is the point of it all. But nobody needs to be lost. This Halloween could become not only a time for fun and parties, but a time when Jesus the Light of the world comes into your life to bring light to your world. 

Wanna know more? Inbox me.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Trump - the current epicentre of the world?

The blast of the Trump is being felt everywhere - or is it? 

It seems to me that whatever Trump says or does is trumpeted by others as fodder for hatred. He is hated even more than Thatcher. But whereas Thatcher had her supporters, it seems Trump has none. But that is an illusion created by the media and the noisy minority joined by the mob with their mob mentality.

The media and elite are in control of the public voice and are distorting and construing reality for their own ends. The propaganda is obvious.

A word about the elite in America (The political establishment, Media, Hollywood etc). 
I think a big part of the problem is they were so high on arrogance that they never took seriously the possibility that Trump could actually be elected. And it really was the height of utter arrogance. They laughed and chortled at him, mocked him and refused to take him seriously - they thought they were in control. The idea of ‘President Trump’ was unthinkable - that they could be beaten by him was impossible - but beat they have been, the unthinkable and impossible has happened and along with the establishment, the media and Hollywood and the Liberal left have all been displaced in some way - and they feel it, and are desperately trying to claw their way back to ‘the world as it should be’, that is, with them and theirs in control.

Trump is Disqualified
I agree with most, it really is quite unbelievable that Trump is now the President of the United States - I remember seeing how he acted in wrestling - he really does not strike me as ‘president material.’ Trump is, to quote John Piper, disqualified as a leader. He is disqualified on a number of grounds … by his morals, eg, consider what he has said (and done) concerning women. I can understand people’s distaste. But it is a double standard when compared to, say, Bill Clinton the womaniser. Or consider Trumps plan to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out - and the temporary ban on Muslims from particular countries - these measured could suggest xenophobia - and if that is the case, it has rightly outraged millions. But it does not necessarily follow that Trump is a xenophobe. It may be that there really is a problem of Mexicans illegally crossing the border, and it may be that Trump genuinely thinks there needs to be a vetting system in place for Muslims from certain countries. These measures are extreme and certainly seem draconian, but that means they are bad solutions, not evidence of xenophobia. However damaging these policies - he is not breaking any laws. Unlike the illegal ward against Iraq - with utterly catastrophic and devastating consequences to millions of lives and the infrastructure of a whole nation leading to its descent into utter chaos and misery - Blair and Bush seem to have acted with total impunity.

So, since I believe he is disqualified, I have no desire to defend Trump or his policies - but I do want to question the outrage against him. I don’t believe it is about his policies, his womanising, his anti-Islamism. I just don’t buy it at all.

But before I am berated for slamming the anti-trumpets, let put on record a word to the silent supporting majority - particularly in the US - you are walking on dangerous ground. Particularly the Church in the US. It seems many see Trump as a kind of Christian Champion. He may identify himself as a Christian and profess faith, but that does not make him a Christian any more than if I call myself a pumpkin makes me a pumpkin. I’ve seen no reason at all to believe Trump is a Christian and I have seen many reasons to believe he is not a Christian - even if he really thinks he is. That is not to say he is not a Christian - the Lord knows - but I am not at all persuaded. Hailing Trump as a Champion of the faith could be the biggest mistake the church has made this century so far. He may end up being impeached - or put out of office in four years time - and if the church is seen as being pro-trump the man, it too will be put further out of society.

Here is what I do know … 

It is the God of the universe who has seen fit to appoint Trump to the presidency of the USA. 

That does not make Trump a Christian or a good man - but God does not make mistakes - ever. God will use Trump to accomplish His sovereign will in the world. It may be to bring judgment, or favour, or both - that is to be seen.

For those of us throwing up our hands up in shock and dismay and who seem terrified by Trump - my question is, where is your faith? Were you relying on Hilary Clinton to maintain world stability and promote good Christian ethics? Really? What if God intends to disrupt world stability and with it our cosy lifestyles for the sake of the gospel? Trump, Clinton & Clinton, Bush, May, Blair, Cameron et al are splintered staffs - all of them - none to be relied upon. But Jesus is in control of world affairs - we must look beyond Trump and the current, divisive, manipulative hysteria to the God who reigns.

I am worried about Trump, and what he is doing and will do. I feel great uncertainty about him. But still, let us all climb down from the sheer arrogance of disbelief and refusal to accept the democratically elected and divinely appointed President. 

Rather, it would be better to pray … 

  • Against division
  • Against hatred of both the minority of far right haters who are pleased about Trump, and the hatred of the anti-trump brigade.
  • Against the obvious attempt to demonise Trump and anyone who voted for him, so as to make them feel ashamed.
  • Against the self-righteousness of people who actually think they are better than Trump
  • For Trump to repent, become genuinely penitent and find forgiveness and faith in Jesus
  • For the American political system to temper the policies that will be bad for the US and the world.
  • For Trump to defy all expectations and actually do amazing good under the sovereign hand of God
  • For God to work for the sake of the Gospel in our world.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Renewed Energy and Joy in Service

A positive, intriguing, convicting, challenging, encouraging and liberating perspective … I hope!

The Church gathers to worship God, hear His word and hang out together as a family. But all that requires behind the scenes work.

There is the tidying up of the hall, often the floor has to be swept and sometimes even mopped. Equipment dragged out of the Hall Store, speakers lugged, gear set-up, songs practised, Projector and computer set up with songs added for everyone to sing. Tables to be put in place, chairs set out, Refreshements set up, Sunday School prepared, Sermon prepared, creche set up, etc, etc, etc. Hours upon hours in total go into each Sunday gathering.

Serving for the Sake of Christ

So why do we do it? The answer is, we do it to serve one another. An important aspect of Christian identity is that of a humble servant. As Servants, we are called to be servants of one another. 

That does not mean that everyone else is your boss because you are their servant. But as Jesus' servants, with Him as our Lord, for Him, to please Him, because it is His will we serve one another. This is what the Apostle Paul means when he writes ... 

2 Corinthians 4
 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 

'For Jesus' sake' means, for His purposes, for His benefit, to accomplish His will and agenda for us.

Sometimes it's a struggle.
Serving can be hard, wearisome, tiring and even become a crushing burden. But this is usually not the weight of the burden itself, but symptomatic of other things. Consider this … 

Apart from the preacher (who has usually been released from normal work to prepare to preach), nobody in the church spends more than about 120 minutes per month serving the Church out of the 44,640 minutes per month the Lord has given to each one of us. That is less than 1% of our time given up to serve the Church for the sake of Christ - in fact for most it is less than 0.333r % of your time per month.

If you teach Sunday School or lead worship it may be as much as about 0.666r% of your time per month.

If you want the math: 60 mins x 24hrs per day, x 31 days per month = 44,640.
Serving on Sunday = Total max in Sunday school, leading worship, serving tea, doing creche etc - about 60 mins. Most people do two acts of service per month = max 120 mins. 

This is arguably, a tiny amount of service, yet somehow it becomes so hard and draining at times. Why?

Not so many minutes?

44,640 sounds like a lot - but in fact, those minutes get filled with an enormous amount of responsibilities and demands, many of which we have no choice about.

We might be time poor.

The poor soul in the picture below illustrates the point for us. We can be like him. Imagine our life is made up of books. Now imagine, on the spine of each book is a word representing our various responsibilities and necessary activities such as 'Work', 'School runs' etc. Now imagine the size of each book corresponds with the size of the task and amount of minutes and energy it consumes. So the book called 'WORK'  uses a lot of energy and time and so is a very big book compared to say 'cleaning the car', which for me is a flier at most!

By the time all the various books of life have been stacked upon us - we feel just like the man below! We're already carrying so much right? We just don't need more books! I think that is how it is for all of us at least sometimes.

So now, you get the church rota, it is like we are giving you, 'yet another book!'. It's not the size of the book - it's just you really don't want anymore. You instinctively know you really ought to carry it - everyone else does, but you really don't want to - but it's just one of those things you have to do because you're a Christian, and it's only fair.

Think About it

But the truth is, it really is all a matter of perspective. Think about each point below, and if you agree, put a mental 'check' next to the point - see how far we track together. 

1) We are all carrying some really big, hefty tomes. Check?
2) Sleep is an odd one, it is a big book simply because it takes up a lot of our precious minutes. Not only is it big, but it is non-negotiable - so it also comes first in the stack of life - or at least it is near the bottom of the stack - it goes on before a lot of other books. Check?
3) Then there is Work - this is a hefty tome and it is essential to most of us and so also comes before most other things - that means it too is somewhere near the bottom of the pile. Check?
4) Other 'first things' near the bottom of the stack are a daily shower / personal hygiene routine, for ladies - make-up and personal appearance. These vary in size but being essential, go near the bottom. Check?
5) The next books likely to come on top of that stuff are cleaning the children, changing nappies, shopping, maintenance around the home, family time, school runs, hoovering, housework, social time, me time, it's a bit difficult to decide exactly where in the pile they come - but they certainly do. Check?
6) Perhaps you'd order the stack differently, but whatever, by now the pile is getting very high, we're probably already carrying more than we would like. Check?
7) So now a church responsibility is placed right at the top of the pile - teetering! And so we easily see this as the thing that is too much. Check?

The problem with the above perspective.

That is a real perspective - if we choose to see it that way. I believe we see it that way because we are all, naturally and fundamentally selfish. Pretty much everything else we do is primarily for our 'self', and by 'self' I include our immediate family too as they are a kind of extension of our 'self'.

Serving in the church is an act of service for others - and that we find difficult. Selfishness is our fundamental problem. That is why we would like a situation where we could go to church and not have to serve - just sit back and lap it up, and then go, encouraged and inspired to go out to live our largely selfish lives.

To feel a bit offended at this is understandable, it is a truth of the gospel which is offensive to all human pride. Selfishness is what we do easily, naturally and best. The problem is, you don't have to put selfishness to death in order to serve the church. We might reason, "If I want a church service, I have to take my turn." Although that is true - it is not a good motivation as it is selfish. And if at heart we are serving out of selfishness, it will be reluctant, joyless, too much, perhaps with a bit of moaning, murmuring, complaining. Worst of all, we will do it but get no reward for it from the Lord at all. 

An Alternative Perspective

Imagine you throw the whole pile of books down, you open your arms, but this time the Lord Jesus places each book upon you. 

Matthew 11
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The first book he places on you is your 'serving the church for His sake', and it is not heavy at all! It never was!

Then he places other books on you, one at a time. If you're a mum, perhaps he'll put the Book 'Sleep' on next, and maybe it is bigger than the last sleep book. But how? Well maybe he will give you a smaller 'Soap opera' book, or a smaller 'House-work' book - "you don't need to polish everything every day" - he says. so that is where he wants you to catch some zzz's. He places the next book, 'Work', for some of you, it might be bigger - because you've been a bit lazy, for others it might be smaller, "you don't need all that money", or "you are a workaholic". 

The point is, Jesus will probably put many of the same books on you, but different sizes. He certainly wouldn't give you more than you can carry, and he certainly doesn't see church service as coming last - teetering on the top of the pile. Serving Jesus is the number #1 priority for every believer when it comes to 'serving'.

With 'serving the church for Christ sake' at the bottom of the stack, and a lighter load on top from the Lord, we will still likely find we take on more and more, things that Jesus has not given us, until the stack gets so high it will grind us down again. 

But because 'serving the church for Christ sake' is at the bottom of the stack, and not teetering on the top, it is not the thing we have a desire to rid ourselves of to ease our load - given the chance. It is other things. We just won't see 'serving the church' the way we once did. We will see other things as unneccessary burdens - and rightly so.

So, let us give that tiny percentage of our time, which is ’serving the Church (one another) for Christ’s sake’, willingly, joyfully, energetically, and let’s give that tiny little bit of time the best we can, let it never be the last priority that gets the dregs of our energy etc. If serving tea and coffee - as if for the King! If serving in Sunday School - as if for the King etc, etc, because, in fact it is for the King! To do it willingly and joyfully for the King carries a reward and brings joy to the King - he is very easy to please.

Monday, 16 January 2017

"Sir, we would like to see Jesus" ... Jesus Replied (4)

John 12
23 ... “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

In our last blog we considered Jesus power in weakness and wisdom in folly. Here we apply that to ourselves and the church.

Reigning in Glory - but veiled
If in His own death Jesus defeated the unholy trinity of sin, evil and death, what now? Now that He is risen and clothed with immortality? What now that He reigns in power and glory?  There is no stopping King Jesus now. Nothing can stand in His way. 

But not only that, in his death he demonstrated the perfect Justice of God, he took all the punishment for sin, he drank every last drop from the bowl of God’s fury.

Perhaps, most important to us personally, as individuals, in His death he demonstrated His love for us. As my old Pastor from years ago once said, “Some say it with chocolates, some say it with flowers, but Jesus said it with nails in His hands!” 

But we must not forget, it was not just for us as individuals that he died and rose again, but it was for His precious Church.

Ephesians 5
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

As we press on into 2017, we, both as individuals, but also together as the Church, have many, many great challenges. But as we fix our eyes on Jesus, crucified, and behold His limitless glory, we will constantly see His jaw-dropping, breath-taking, confounding love for us. Love that overcomes fear and doubt. Love that wins our trust and stirs our affection. We can be absolutely certain of His love for His Church - and that includes New Life! We will see His matchless power in weakness, but know, now He reigns in glory! We will see His justice as we look on at this wicked world. We will see His wisdom - wisdom that He promises to give to us … 

James 1
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

The more we focus on Him, the more confident we will be.

With all the work that needs to be done - it would be easy to lose our focus. The moment we take our eyes from Him, we begin to rely on our self, on other people, on money and on all manner of splintered staffs. Then we will lose energy, motivation, fire, passion, and joy. Our love for Him and one another will grow cold and our love for every other unworthy contender will increase - dishonouring the one who is worthy. 

Brothers and sisters, we must fix our eyes on Christ Crucified. Wise people know that in life, we must choose our battles carefully. There are some battles that should take priority over others. We cannot win all battles, we don't even have to fight them all - that is foolish. So let's choose battles carefully. In choosing our battles, let us be clear, the battle to keep our eyes fixed on Christ Crucified, of all battles, is the one we must never give up on - and we can be sure, in that battle, we have the might of heaven to help us.

1 Corinthians 2

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Sir, we would like to see Jesus" ... Jesus Replied ... (3)

23 ... “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Perhaps click this link and get this song going in the background as you read ...

Gospel Rediscovered (Part 3)

As we continue considering the second point of our New Years Message, we think today of the power of God in Jesus in His weakness. We think of the wisdom of God in what appears to be great foolishness.

In Weakness and folly ... 
So we considered yesterday that Jesus was handed over to Satan and all evil without restriction.  He was stripped naked, mocked, spat upon, a crown of thorns rammed upon his head, he was beaten, flogged and nailed to the cross which was lifted p and dropped in its stand, thereby dislocating his bones. Then began the slow, tortrous death, until he breathed his last. Even then they were not finished - a spear driven up under his rib cage. Jesus was dead! How weak is that?

Then, when He was as weak as could be, (for when are we weaker than in death?) it was then, that all the power of the evil one was broken. It was then that sin was rendered powerless. It was then that death itself was defeated. 

Satan doubtless thought he hit the jackpot when God the Father handed Jesus over to him with no restrictions at all. “Very well Satan, take Him, my precious Son, and do your worst”.  Satan must have thought, "at last, God is having a senior moment! A moment of weakness and folly".

Satan must have rubbed His hands in glee as he watched Jesus utterly humiliated and ultimately tortured to death in the most shameful way possible.  But three days later when the earth quaked and the stone rolled away - Satan realized - his worst was no match for Jesus weakest! In that moment He knew he had nothing! He was utterly defeated by God’s great wisdom!

Such is the greatness of God! In weakness - he is strong beyond imagination!  In foolishness, He is wise beyond comprehension.

Having accomplished everything in His utter weakness, He burst forth from the grave in power! He ascended to rule and reign.

He is our King, He is the one in whom we trust right? Often we lose faith and trust in this and that - hoping other things will meet our need - whatever that may be. How foolish we are. In His death he has proven His great love for us. In His resurrection victory He has proven, absolutely nothing is impossible with Him.

If in His weakness and foolishness He could accomplish so much, how foolish and irrational of us to trust in other things.

But often we are confused because we feel abandoned. We feel God is not doing anything! We perhaps think perhaps we need to try harder to win His favour, that we need to be holier etc, or that, in spite of all our talk of faith, really we are on our own - it is up to us.

I wonder if this state of affairs is because of one simple, fundamental mistake we easily make. Now that we are believers, loved by Jesus, forgiven, we think it means Jesus should be on our side. 

Brothers and sisters, this is not so. He is not on our side, it is us who are to be on His side!

Let's pray, not that He help us do our will, but that He help us do His will.

Jesus be the center
Be my source be my light Jesus
Jesus be the center
Be my song Jesus

Be the fire in my heart

Be the wind in my sails
Be the reason that I live

Jesus Jesus

Jesus be my vision
Be my help

Be my guide Jesus 

"Sir, we would like to see Jesus." ... Jesus replied .... (2)

23 ... 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

It is what Jesus did on the cross that sets Jesus apart.

Gospel Rediscovered (Part 2) 

Everything else Jesus did - others have done … 

As Jesus raided the dead, so did others, Elijah, Elisha the Apostle Peter and Paul to name four. 
As Jesus multiplied bread in feeding the five thousand, so, Elijah multiplied the oil and flour for the widow at Zarephath.
As Jesus exercised power of the elements, so Moses parted the waters and Elijah prayed for rain and it rained. And so we could go on.

There are many great men and women through history, but however great they all are, they all had feet of clay, and in the end, all sinned and were defeated by the great enemy - death. The greatest of all God’s warriors, Samson, David and all his fighting men, Gideon - were all, to a man, sinners defeated by death.

Jesus is greater than Moses, Elijah, David or anyone else that can be named.

In His life and death, Jesus accomplished (for me and for you and for all believe, for all the church and for New Life Church), what no-one else could ever accomplish. He has done for us that which no-one else could or would.

Jesus was willingly Handed Over to Satan, Evil and Darkness

He did not retaliate when they spat upon him, punched Him, stripped Him naked, rammed a crown of thorns on His brow, whipped Him so that His naked body was completely lacerated, he never lifted a muscle when they spread Him naked, bleeding, humiliated upon the cross and drove the nails through, when they lifted the cross and dropped it in its stand so that all His bones dislocated.

At His arrest, He made it clear that He was voluntarily laying down His life.

Matthew 26
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 

At any time Jesus could have vanquished all His foes with a great army of celestial angels. Jesus gave up His life willingly - he was never defeated. 

John 10
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.

God the Father handed Jesus over to Satan on a plate - and Jesus willingly submitted to the Father's will. This was the hour when darkness had its way … 

Luke 22
53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

Remember Job? (excuse the paraphrase) Satan said, “let me at him”. God said, “very well, you can touch all he has and loves - but you must not touch him.” After doing his worst, Satan told God that Job would deny God if Satan is allowed to touch Job’s flesh. Again God gave Job over to Satan, but with the restriction, that Satan cannot take Job’s life. Thus far Satan was granted - no further dare he step.

But Jesus was handed over to darkness without restrictions …. 

“This is your hour, when darkness reigns!”

Jesus knew it was the will of His father to be given over to Satan and darkness. And so, he was led like a lamb to the slaughter!

Philippians 2:8
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”

It is hard for us to imagine the faith required by Jesus to go through with the cross. To allow Himself to be given over to evil, darkness and Satan. To the apostles, everything had gone wrong. It seemed utterly hopeless. But we are talking about Jesus! The kernel of wheat must fall to the ground and be buried in order to produce many seeds.

Let us meditate on the wonder of the cross. That Jesus gave Himself up to Satan! Let Him do His worst - no restrictions at all. And let us praise God, that He will never hand us over to Satan without restriction! Only Jesus - in our place.