Features

THE STING!

(August 12, 2017) Stuart Reynolds challenges today’s spiritual deception…

Some of us may remember the classic 1973 film set in 1930s Chicago and starring the strong acting trio of Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw. It tells the story of an elaborate con of a much feared criminal banker in retribution for a murdered friend.

The phrase – The Sting – refers to the moment a ‘play’ is completed, taking a target’s money. If successful, the ‘victim’ of the con does not realise what has happened and who has cheated him, until all are long gone.

Paul wrote about a particular ‘sting’ in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’

Ground of our deception!
‘Do not be deceived’ – If ever a warning text for our day, this is it! Among others, there is a two-fold implication to this command of counsel:

  1. The possibility that we can be deceived
  2. The protection that we need not be deceived.

(more…)

SO – BE QUIET!

(August  6, 2017) Tim Edwards brings a timely word based on 2 Kings 2: 1-8…

Sometimes life is tough. Sometimes in all our lives there are moments, days, weeks or even lengthy seasons where we struggle to understand what is going on, what to do about it.

As a pastor I have many conversations every week with a variety of people (and not only from my own church) – guess what I am seeing at the moment? Some tough times. I’m very aware that there are large numbers of people who are currently walking through difficult times.

Yes, life can be tough!
The reality is that that life can be tough, is tough, even for great Christians! And I am more and more convinced every day that we as humans, on our own and in our own limited capacity, have no answers at all to help us through the messiness of life.

Our search for purpose, meaning, security, stability, relationships and love is just not found in the things we as humans tend to value and count and attempt to accumulate – money, possessions, power, position, politics, business or anything else for that matter. None of it helps. (more…)

PENTECOST POWER FOR SERVICE

(July 23, 2017) Charles Gardner shares how an Arabic message in tongues confirmed calling for Jewish vicar…

A Jewish follower of Jesus was having second thoughts about being ordained into the Church of England ministry when he got the surprise of his life.

A message in tongues ( A New Testament phenomenon foretold in the Tenach  [Old Testament] – see Isaiah 28.11, Acts 2.4, 1 Corinthians 14.21) was given during a home meeting which Ralph Goldenberg immediately recognised as Sudanese Arabic.

Challenged by that message in tongues
Having grown up in Sudan with the ability to speak several languages, he knew exactly what it meant. And it could not have been a clearer confirmation of his calling –

Allah be’hebak – Inta min al dam beta Ibrahiem – Al Angiel fi fomak’ translates as: ‘God loves you. You are from the blood of Abraham. The gospel is in your mouth.’ (more…)

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ALICE!

(July 16, 2017) Stuart Reynolds challenges some ‘Alice’ type notions…

‘Let’s consider your age to begin with — how old are you?’
‘I’m seven and a half, exactly.’
‘You needn’t say “exactly”’, the queen remarked. ‘I can believe it without that. Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’
‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’
‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’

What strange mis-realities declarations indeed … ‘Wonderland jam’ notions by the queen to Alice, in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. And aren’t they just ridiculous notions?

Ridiculous ‘Gospel According to Alice’ notions in today’s church
Yet how often in some churches today have many encountered ridiculous notions… mis-realities of a gospel misrepresented?

Such is The Gospel According To Alice, where suggestions are accepted and accommodated without question and nothing is rejected because, like the queen’s ‘wonderland jam,’ what was true yesterday and may still be tomorrow, somehow isn’t today! (more…)

‘THE PENTECOSTAL BAPTIST’!

(June 1, 2017) Stuart Reynolds shares a revelation…

From the presumed monopoly by denominations to the limits of our clever labelling, the Holy Spirit has been hijacked and sabotaged!

The sharp-sighted evangelist Vance Havner described the result of this misunderstanding, mishandling and misapplication: ‘Satan has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the Holy Spirit…that we may miss the true in our fear of the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we never go up the tree!’

We need to let the Holy Spirit be himself, and that we may become and do all we were intended to.

May I introduce you to ‘The Pentecostal Baptist’ – someone the Bible records having these Holy Spirit credentials: ‘Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.’  And in that place many believed in Jesus’ (John 10:41-42, NIV).

1) An inviting clarification
We believe in ‘full salvation.’ The reality of God in the gospel of Christ is radical – God’s book teaches it…truly knowing Jesus Christ demands it…the presence of the Holy Spirit enables it. (more…)

PENTECOSTAL PETER

(June 1, 2017) Brian Bell shares a meaningful meditation on the apostle Peter…

When you consider the experiences of Peter’s life from the day Jesus called Peter to follow him, then those experiences – which include presumptuous behaviour and speech rebuke by Jesus, and his denial of the Lord – they would not have pointed to him being the carrier of the powerful Acts 2 Day of Pentecost message for which he is best known.

Personally I draw great encouragement from Peter, for I know I am – at least – as imperfect as Peter, yet the Lord is prepared to use even me!

So, while it is true that aspects of Peter’s life before Pentecost may be less than impressive, it did not prevent the Lord from recommissioning and enabling Peter through the Holy Spirit – what an encouragement is that for every Christian!

Peter – an encouragement for every follower
Luke who penned the book of Acts makes specific reference to Peter’s ‘Pentecost’ message and writes of several of his ministry experiences that flowed on from that day. And while we don’t read of a repetition of the ‘Pentecost day’ experience, we can however see how the Lord clearly led Peter and he became an outstanding preacher, a leader with a pastoral heart in the early church. It is very clear that Peter was a changed follower of Jesus from that day! (more…)

‘MAN IN WHITE’ APPEARED IN VISION, BRINGING HEALING TO A MUSLIM

(May 15, 2017) GodReports’ Mark Ellis reports a great testimony

Nabil* and his family were refugees and had recently settled in a small apartment that happened to be near a Christian named Greg. Nabil found work at the lowest rung of the income ladder, as a manual labourer.

One day Nabil suffered a severe ankle injury that kept him off the job. Greg began visiting Nabil’s apartment regularly to help him rehabilitate, according to a report by Frontiers.

After months of therapy and rest, Nabil’s ankle was still so swollen that he could only take a few tentative steps across the apartment. It seemed it would take several more months before he would be pain-free and able to return to his demanding physical work.

Mysterious man in white
But one day Greg called Nabil and was surprised by an urgency in Nabil’s voice. ‘Greg, I need to see you immediately! Come over now and bring your Bible.’ (more…)

WAKEUP CALL TO RESPONSIBILITY

(May 2, 2017) Charles Schwab shares from his heart…

Last month the bad news from Singapore travelled quickly over the internethttp://www.charismanews.com/world/64407-megachurch-pastor-kong-hee-heads-to-prison.

In brief, a pastor and four of his church co-workers began gaol sentences on April 21 for illegal financial activities, following on from being convicted in 2015.  A fifth co-worker, who also received a jail sentence, is awaiting a Court of Appeals decision before his sentence will commence.

I’m referring to media reports of Kong Hee, who was the pastor of a megachurch in Singapore – City Harvest Church. Hee and five of his leaders were sentenced to imprisonment for the illegal misuse of around 50 million Singapore dollars. Their revised sentencing is for about half the time originally specified as a consequence of an appeals process.

A wakeup call
I must state that there was no joy in hearing that report – Kong Hee, the other leaders and the shaken City Harvest Church in Singapore need the prayers of caring people. (more…)

THE TEST OF TRUTH

(April 8, 2017) Stuart Reynolds brings Easter challenge …

Last month as I listened to BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show my interest was piqued by one of Chris Evans’ guests – Israeli historian Dr Yuval Noah Harari, talking about his book, Sapiens.

Harari contends that Homo sapiens (‘the only extant human species’) rule the world as the dominant species because of our unique ability to believe in things which exists only in the imagination: nations, money, human rights, and, of course, religion. Evans concluded the interview by asking Harari what is the most important piece of advice he could give for the future well-being of the human race.

His response? That our paramount need is to do our best to differentiate between what is fiction and reality:  ‘Humans find it very difficult to know what is real and what is just a fictional story in their own minds, and this causes a lot of disasters, wars and problems… The best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering. A nation cannot suffer, it cannot feel pain, it cannot feel fear, it has no consciousness. Even if it loses a war, the soldier suffers, the civilians suffer, but the nation cannot suffer. Similarly, a corporation cannot suffer, the pound sterling, when it loses its value, it doesn’t suffer. All these things, they’re fictions…’

I immediately said to my wife, Helen, ‘He has just defeated his own argument!’ If it be so – ‘the best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering,’ then the greatest undisputed statement of truth in the whole universe, never mind in human history, must the person of God in his only Son Jesus Christ, of whom the Bible says is ‘The Suffering Servant.’ (more…)

LIVING IN FAITH

(April 6, 2017) Tim Edwards brings another timely kingdom word…

When we hear from God to move ahead in something new and we obey, we take a step forward and we become more conscious of our personal growth and development in the Lord.

And guess what?

At that exact time we can be assured that many of us will start to face trials and tests in our lives. Why? Because it is often at times of growth in our lives that we find ourselves being stretched!

Anyone in that category right now?
As we stretch and grow – which is ultimately fantastic by the way – and as we are tested and find ourselves in new and strange situations we need to know what is holding us together; what is sitting in our foundations. We need to look more closely at what is happening in our heads and hearts and ask ourselves what we believe and what exactly we hold to be true. (more…)