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Showing posts from February, 2019

How the Spirit helps us to discern the truth

Acts 15.28-29 The Baptist missionary David Kerrigan writes, ‘While the core of the [Christian] faith [always remains] unchanged, God’s Spirit… [constantly reveals] new truths.’ At least that’s what St Luke believed.[1]
‘In Acts 15 we’re told that the mission of the church [had] reached a boundary place. Gentiles [were] becoming believers and the church leaders [were] trying to work out whether the Jewish laws’ they had hitherto obeyed were ‘mandatory for’ everyone or a matter of culture and tradition which the Gentiles were free to ignore. 
At an historic Council in Jerusalem, 'a renewed theology [emerged] in which the church leaders declared, “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials…”’
‘Here,’ says David Kerrigan,'We see… theology sparking mission, and mission demanding a courageous re-examination of theology’ through ‘wise leadership, scriptural reflection and, above all, the com­munal discernment of [what] the Hol…

I'm too young

Jeremiah 1.4-8; 1 Corinthians 13.4-8 Have you ever been asked to do something and thought to yourself, ‘I don’t think I‘m really old enough, or clever enough, or experienced enough to do that!’
When I was seven my grandfather took me for a walk. On the way back we passed a sweet shop and he pressed some money into my hand and said, ‘Go and buy yourself something.’ I had never bought anything on my own in a shop before, but I didn’t like to tell him that - at seven - I didn’t feel old enough to buy myself some sweets. So I went in, presented the money, and asked for something off the shelf.
The shopkeeper took advantage of me. Instead of saying, ‘How many packets do you want?’ he just took my money and gave me two packets of sweets because I’d given him exactly the right money to pay for two.
Outside my grandfather said, ‘Oh! You’ve bought two packets. I thought you would just get one.’ Well, I was old enough to think on my feet. Quick as a flash I said, ‘One of the packets is for Granny,’ a…

Locusts, drought and wildfires

Joel 1.1-20, Colossians 1.15-19 The book of Joel doesn't seem the obvious place to look for a passage positively crackling with contemporary relevance. At first sight it's a prophecy from long ago and far away, about locusts, drought and wildfires. But just a minute, drought and wildfires certainly sound relevant to modern 21st Century living, and wasn't there something on the news recently about locusts - and I don't just mean about people eating them on ‘I'm a Celebrity…’?
Well, yes and no. A few years ago a large locust swarm devastated sub-saharan Africa. It was a disaster of truly Biblical proportions. But hang on a minute. Is Joel really thinking about locusts? 
Some commentators think he is. After all, he gives a very comprehensive description of locust behaviour - or so I'm told, not having been up close and personal with very many locusts. ‘What the cutting locust left,’ says Joel, 'The swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hop…