I wonder how much thought you put into your Christmas presents? Is it something you spend all year thinking about? Carefully crafting the best purchase so you get the most effective present; something that brings tears of joy to the recipient and earns you the title of ‘Greatest gift-giver ever’? Or do you simply walk into Asda, grab a trolley, fill it with a random selection of Celebrations, Roses and Quality Street, grab some wrapping paper, sellotape and off you go... job done?!
Recently my attention was drawn to the number of protests taking place around the world. In London, climate protesters had brought parts of the capital to a standstill. In Hong King, increasing clashes between protestors and the police with Pro-EU protestors and anti-EU protestors.
I often wonder if the reason Christianity grows in areas of the world where there is greater persecution is because the daily reality for those Christians is one where they know that following Jesus involves living very much on the front line.
There are moments when you recognise that something has changed. Not always easy to identify an exact moment but you recognise that things are different. For example, when a child becomes an adult. When we look at the current political landscape in the UK things have changed. The old left and right preferences have been pushed aside by leave and remain.
Have you ever felt something is too broken to fix? It may be a thing, an item, but equally it may be a relationship, a part of your life which has been damaged and now you see no way back. What do we do with such things – dump them, run away from them, hide them and forget about them?
I don’t know about you but I can sometimes be quite intimidated by really confident people. When I was younger I was incredibly nervous and shy. The idea of meeting new people would send me into a cold sweat and anything requiring up front speaking was my worst nightmare.
I watched online a rocket launch into space. There is something that excites me about seeing a vehicle blast off into the beyond; new things to discover, the joy of exploration, fresh insights. Our recent Easter children’s holiday club entitled ‘Space Academy’ picked up on this theme.
Easter: the most important day for Christians, more so than Christmas! I’ve heard it argued that Christmas is to Christianity what:
• Mawlid is to Islam (birthday of Muhammed)
• Janmashtami is to Hinduism (birthday of Krishna)
• Hanamatsuri is to Buddhism (birthday of Buddha)
• Teacher’s Day is to Confucianism (birthday of Confucius)
I was talking with a friend about how the most important thing to discuss with people is what they believe about Jesus. To push this thought further, the most important thing to discuss about Jesus has to be whether people believe in His resurrection.
In Stretch, our weekly Bible study, we have been going through the book of Hebrews. This is an incredible letter and one where you find yourself needing to take your time in order to process all that you're reading. In studying for these Bible studies, I've read ahead a little as we are currently only in the middle of chapter 4, and as I was doing so I came across some incredibly encouraging words.