One of our members, Rachel Otter, posted a blog this week: 'Bad times and Church present', which we thought we'd share. The post is interesting and thought-provoking, making the point that a church isn't an entity that can, of its own accord, hand out spiritual presents - it is made from human bricks, that rely on each other to hold one another up! Bad times are essential to develop and grow as a Christian, and whilst it can be easy to blame the Church when things are not going so well, we need to persevere: '...keep being a brick, even if you're a miserable brick, otherwise all the other bricks fall down.'Read More
We are told to walk in the light (Eph5:8). The closer we are to the light, the more we will reflect it and the brighter our walk will be. But if we start to move away from the light, the laws of physics dictate that our reflection of the light fades quicker than we may expect. Our lives will be darker, too, if we put barriers between ourselves and God. Also, a small amount of light can overcome a great deal of darkness. So, let’s stay close to God and remove the barriers between us and him so that our lives will shine the gospel to everybody we come into contact with!Read More
We chose a lighthouse as our logo because we are a group whose lives have been illuminated by the light of the gospel, collectively we are a beacon for the gospel, and a lighthouse is a symbol of calm water and safe harbour after a dangerous journey, and this is what Jesus offers. These reasons are neatly captured in a catchy song by Rend Collective: My Lighthouse. Take it away Rend Collective...
There’s a lot of teaching in the New Testament about how Christians become adopted children of God (e.g. Rom 8:15, Eph 1:5). Adoption in Roman society at the time of the New Testament was different to adoption these days. It served a social function, in a similar way to an arranged marriage. ‘Suitable’ children were adopted into another family, which resulted in advancement for both the child and their birth family. And it’s the same with us and God. God has offered to adopt us as his children, so that we can benefit from his parenthood and receive an inheritance.Read More
I heard a talk recently by Richard Palmer, who is a God-believing scientist (he’s a Professor of Experimental Physics at Birmingham University), on whether there is a conflict between science and the Bible. I enjoyed the talk a great deal, so thought I’d share some of the key arguments…most of which I agree with! It’s important to recognise that a conventional understanding of science does create conflict with a simple reading of the Bible. However, the areas where science and the Bible seem to contradict can be narrowed greatly with some reasonable thought!Read More
Are you interested in reading the Bible but don't know where to start? Or already read the Bible, but would like some tips about how you could understand it better? Then our Autumn seminars are for you! The seminars, starting on 15 September (next week!) at Park House School, Newbury, are designed to give tips on how to read the Bible for yourself.Read More
As the Olympics in Brazil come to an end, it is worth reflecting on what a Christian can learn from an Olympian. In many ways, they're not so different! Being a successful Olympian takes time, dedication, good coaching, teamwork, and the ability to pick yourself up when things don't go so well. These same characteristics are required to be a 'successful' Christian too. But, the key difference is that the root of an Olympian's success is their own endeavour and hard work, whereas a Christian's 'success' comes from God!Read More
There is plenty of internal and external evidence that the Bible is true, and contains a message from God that is important to us. But it’s also important to remember that the Bible doesn’t claim to be a history or a science book, and there are uncertainties in translation and interpretation. For example, how do we disentangle literal from figurative, which translation should we use, and does the Bible contain any errors? None of this should detract from the key messages that God communicates to us through his word, the Bible.Read More
Sometimes a lie is a lot easier than the truth: when you have done something wrong, or when the truth will hurt somebody’s feelings. But we teach children to tell the truth and not lie, so why should adults be allowed to tell a ‘white lie’ every now and then? Jesus instructs us to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and this means that lying is never ok!Read More
I was asked today why I believe in a God that I cannot see. It’s a very good question! I’d like to think that I have an ‘evidence-based faith’, using what I can see (both within and without the Bible) to support the existence of God, who I cannot see. However, God has asked us to believe in him, even though the evidence of his existence is not enough to convince everybody. In this way, those who believe in God bring him pleasure (Heb 11:6).Read More
I have a tendency to compartmentalise God’s holiness to the Old Testament, as a job for the Levitical priests. But we are called to be holy, like God is holy, and to be modern-day ‘priests’. It’s difficult to pin down exactly what this means, but I think it has to do with living our lives in a way that will both separate us from sin and also bring people to God.Read More
Although Bible prophecy can be difficult to interpret, some predictions seem clear – for example, the return of Israel to their own land (fulfilled in 1948). The Brexit vote on Thursday, where Britain has decided to leave the EU following a referendum, is consistent with prophecies traditionally interpreted to mean that Britain will collaborate with nations other than the EU at the time of Jesus’ return. However, there are other plausible interpretations of these prophecies. So, whist I think it's good to get excited when world events seem to fulfill Bible prophecies, it is probably better to reflect on the fact that God is in control of world events, Jesus will return at some point, and we should be ever-ready for this!Read More
Q: Who is the worst sinner you know?
How different life would be if we all believed this! Recognising our sin-prone-ness – and our inability to ‘cure’ ourselves from this condition – is perhaps the fundamental Christian virtue. God offers us as many second chances as we need, provided we are trying to serve him.Read More
Today’s modern communications make it so much easier to make connections with each other, for sharing fellowship and for preaching.Read More
Jesus’ message to the Laodicean church in Revelation is stark: ‘So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’ (Rev3:16). But how do we judge whether we are lukewarm Christians? This post presents a caricature of a lukewarm Christian, with the idea that you judge yourselves against this standard as a bit of a Christian health check. I hope you find it challenging and useful.Read More
We recently enjoyed our Fellowship day, themed around lessons from Daniel. I led a few introductory thoughts on Daniel, and as I read through the early chapters, I was struck by how fundamentally Daniel influenced those around him: a succession of Kings, one notable Queen, senior government officials, and prison guards. All were moved to accept Daniel’s God as their God. The real challenge for me is how much those who come into contact with me but don’t share my beliefs and values are influenced by me (and the answer is not much)! We spent the rest of the day thinking about how we can focus on ‘glowing and sowing’ both individually and as a group in prayer, praise, and profession of our faith (in writing, drawing and eating…).Read More
A small group of singers and musicians meet once or twice a month at Newbury to just enjoy singing and prepare the odd performance piece. Our latest endeavour was to sing ‘God so loved the world’ from Stainer’s Crucifixion at the Easter Service. We didn’t record it, but here’s a well-performed version for you (by Walled Lake Western High School):
I’d like to say our performance matched this one…
The group has a range of abilities from very talented leaders and singers, to, well, others (and I include myself in the ‘other’ category). But we are drawn together by a love of God and a love of music!
If you like to sing religious music (from Handel to gospel) and you live locally to our hall, then please do contact us to find out more and perhaps come along and join us?
“In many ways, I am a very boring man. I dress badly, I really like science. And I am partial to watching football. However, in other ways, I am an interesting man. I have a unique sense of dress. I really like science. And I am partial to watching football.” My point is that whether you think I am boring or not is really a matter of perspective. A christian life should be many things: selfless, challenging, transformative, stimulating intellectually, busy, and bring a sense of emotional stability, meaning and peace. But it should not be boring. In fact, if it is boring, you have a problem that you need to address! Jesus came to give us a full and fulfilling life now, and a hope for the future.Read More
Cleopas listened to what they all had to say. He found it hard to believe. The Passover was over and it was time they made their way home to Emmaus. It was a seven mile walk and he did not want to delay setting out. They could discuss the matter on the way. As Cleopas and his companion walked they considered text after text to see if the scriptures supported this turn of events. Did they explain what this rising was? Was He going to be King or not? How could He be if He was dead? Had the plan gone wrong? They conversed earnestly as they walked along the dusty road.Read More
The soldiers outside the tomb kept vigilant watch, half of them on watch while the other half slept, turn and turn about, every three hours. As darkness fell, they remained on extra high alert for any Galilean gang creeping up. If anything untoward happened or anyone sneaked by them, they would be executed, either as a squad or by one picked out by lot to answer the crime of all. There was no chance they would doze off.Read More