Teaching

IT’S A PAGAN WORLD OUT THERE!

July 4, 2022) Richard Winter encourages standing strong for our faith in today’s pagan society…

I like options. But what do you do when the option seems to fly in the face of reality? Can we really ‘have it our way, anyway, and anytime’? If you can, it makes life seem that we’re buying from the like of Burger King – because this is how they sell the Whopper.

Now I like the term Whopper, but I also feel that in a country once termed as Christian, we are being told some whoppers! You know – untruths, inaccurate assessments, actual lies. Examples: Today we have gone from Father God to Mother Earth. In public schools, we cannot celebrate Easter, but we can celebrate Earth Day!

Pluralism and paganism
As a nation we have moved away from our Christian centredness. Although we have many Christians, no longer do people claim America a Christian country! Increasingly, many Americans believe that Jesus is only one option among many.

This is pluralism… and we are expected to accept that –

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UNITY IN THE CHURCH

(June 21, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, challenges all Christians to be unified in these uncertain times…

In Jesus’ prayer just before His arrest in Gethsemane, as He fervently poured out His heart to God the Father, passionately interceded for Himself, His disciples and then for the church.

A particularly striking and challenging emphasis in His prayer for the church was expressed in the following words  ‘May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’ (John 17:23).  

This clearly demonstrates that the unity of Christians was a central yearning of Jesus.   He understood that persuasive gospel outreach in a  much-divided world would be significantly more effective if the church expressed its inherent oneness in Him.

Jesus prayed for unity
Notice that Jesus prayed for unity and not for uniformityin the church.

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DEADEND, DETOUR, DRYHOLE DILEMMAS

(June 9, 2022) Richard Winter reminds us that God has purposes for such dilemmas…

Do you identify with the following? You believe God is in charge of everything and that He’s leading you to heaven. But… just when you think life is going to be easy, it seems as though you’ve hit a dead end, or you seem to be taking a detour when you wanted to go right from your problem to your blessing!

You hit a dryhole, a dilemma.

Ring a bell? If so, remember that the Israelites had this problem too and they came through.

Israel was captive in Egypt and God was going to deliver them to the promised land. Oh they had the promise… but God’s deliverance was not the way they expected things to happen (Exodus 14:8-12)! They hit a dead end, encountered a detour! The reality is that God’s dead ends, detours and dryholes are not mistakes but –

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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A SIGN

(May 21, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, reminds us a great truth regarding our almighty God…

There are almost 40 miracles of Jesus recorded in the four gospels and John mentions seven of them. The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 is so significant that all four gospel writers mention it… but there are some notable differences between John’s account and that of the others.

What a crowd gathered on the hillside that day. In John 6:10 we read that there about 5000 men. In his account, Matthew’s adds that there were also women and children present (Matthew 14:21).

Jesus and His disciples had gone there initially to relax and enjoy some privacy. Can you imagine, therefore, the stress the disciples would have felt when this great crowd arrived? Despite this ‘inconvenience’, we are told by Luke that Jesus preached to the crowds and healed those who were sick (Luke 9:11).

That day an amazing thing happened. With five small loaves and two small fish Jesus fed the hungry crowd and when they had eaten their fill, there was a surplus of twelve baskets of pieces of the five loaves. John wrote, ‘The people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did’ (6:14).

When Matthew, Mark and Luke referred to  miracles, they used the Greek word dunamis whichrefers to an act of power and force and it is the root of our English word ‘dynamite.’  

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FIVE BURDENS YOU DON’T NEED TO CARRY

(May 15, 2022) Richard Winter reminds us that…

It’s often been said that it’s been a hard life and there have been many tough times. Well, l guess most of us can resonate with that… after all, who hasn’t lost a little sleep through worrying?

We’ve all carried burdens real and unreal… and, if we are honest, we have worried most about some things that never materialised. So here is the word of God that applies to our worries –

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you… and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ (Matthew 11:28–30).

A yoke is something Jesus would have made in a carpenter’s shop. It’s a wooden frame joining two animals (usually oxen) at the neck, enabling them to pull a plough or wagon together. The function of the yoke is to make the burden easier to carry.

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FAMOUS LAST WORDS FROM THE CROSS

(April 04, 2022) Richard Winter challenges…

We’ve all been in a discussion when we wanted to get the last word… but sometimes that’s the wrong thing to aim at.

For example… Guys, you may say when asked: ‘Yes, Honey, those jeans do make you look fat.’ But they may be your famous last words!

Let’s look at Jesus’ last words.

The context is that Jesus is on a cross and Luke 23: 32-33 tell us that ‘Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on His right, the other on His left.’ 

What had led Jesus to this point?

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THE CHALLENGE OF EASTER

(April 02, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares great Easter truths…

Many years ago when I was ministering in the north-east England, I received a phone call from my brother to tell me that our father had died. In deep grief my wife, Jean, and children got in the car and drove overnight to Stranraer in Scotland to catch the ferry to Northern Ireland. During the drive in the dark of night I was consumed with sadness.

As dawn arrived and the sun began to rise and dispel the darkness, I remembered that in a few days Christians throughout the world would be celebrating Easter with is message of Jesus’ resurrection – death had been defeated and its darkness had been overcome! 

That glorious message penetrated my despair as I realised that the sting of death had been forever removed when Jesus rose triumphantly from the tomb. Of course the sadness remained but the bleak darkness had been defeated, and I was comforted by the knowledge that because of Jesus’ victory over the death, I would see my father again.

I love Easter!  I love its glorious affirmation of the triumph of God over Satan, the triumph of life over death, the triumph of good over evil.

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YOUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL

(March 08, 2022) Richard Winter challenges…

Martin Luther King wrote a speech that has stood the test of time: I will quote just a few selected lines…

‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!’

We know that words like these are powerful. They change lives and they change nations!

In WW2, Winston Churchill became prime minister of England and delivered a series of rousing speeches by radio which rallied the spirits of the people. His words have become legendary:

‘We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be… We shall never surrender. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”’

For all of us, words are powerful. Our words are powerful and when we speak each day we have the opportunity to change and shape destinies.

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JUDGING OTHERS

(March 05, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares a concern about Christians’ attitudes …

These are certainly very difficult days for Christians as we seek to comply with political requirements and changing social and moral values which, at times, may appear to violate our Christian convictions.

And how Satan can use this confusion to His advantage!

Difficult decisions
During these past two years this has been brought into focus as we have considered our response to some of the political requirements and medical recommendations relating to the coronavirus.

Church leaders frequently have been faced the task of trying to determine the right course of action to take. Concerning attending worship services at church they had three main choices…

(1) Close their churches until the pandemic is over,

(2) Keep their churches open to all and possibly spread the virus, or

(3) Compromise by having a service for the vaccinated and another for the unvaccinated. 

I don’t believe that the solution to this problem is easy. Church leaders, with a good conscience, have often chosen different routes. 

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THE ‘MINISTRY’ OF SICKNESS

(February 11, 2022) Brian Bell shares realistically about sickness and divine healing…

This may seem a strange title to choose. I have been a believer for more than 50 years. During those years one of the most constant scriptural issues about which much debate and questions have been considered has been sickness in the life of a believer.

I don’t say I will bring any new ‘revelation’ – however, having had a cancer diagnosis in 2020 and with my wife, Eveline, who has also been under treatment for a few years and knowing many others with a diagnosis including those who recently have as we would say ‘lost’ their battle with cancer and more recently covid-19 and such, it has been a topic I prayerfully revisited.

And, as always, I share my own views based on how I see scripture and without disrespect to others.

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Origin of sickness
From a scriptural perspective, I believe sickness is a condition inherited by the entire human race as a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Genesis 3). As a result of their disobedience we live in mortal and corruptible bodies and without exception we will one day reach the end of our life’s journey.

Although the temptation to disobey was brought by Satan, sickness of itself is not I believe ‘caused’ by Satan – remember the Lord allowed Satan to ‘test’ Job and among other things Job experienced sickness on his body.

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