John Newton

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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THE ‘TOO-HARD’ BASKET

(March 10, 2021) Geri B shares from her heart…

‘Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God … Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me … Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’

Psalm 42 excerpts – cries from the heart of David, calling on God during despair. We can picture his state of depression.

Depression! Means to be lowered in spirit, dejected, weakened, despondent, having feelings of low value, sadness and pessimism, carrying delusions of inadequacy and hopelessness. Comes from Latin words meaning ‘pressed down.’

Too-hard basket for some Christians
Why is depression such a taboo subject in many congregations today? Because it doesn’t fit in with ‘kingdom-now’ mentality? One of those ‘problems’ that fits the ‘too-hard’ basket – too many grey areas? (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G6) AMAZING GRACE – CHARIS (Part 2)

(October 15, 2017) Dr Jim McClure respected theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

In Part 1 of this study we questioned the definition of ‘grace’ as ‘the unmerited favour of God’ as the phrase inadequately expresses the depth of meaning and significance of charis.

Some other inadequate definitions of ‘grace’ are as follows:

  • Grace is the empowering presence of God enabling me to be what God created me to be and to do what God has called me to do.’

There is much that is true in this definition but it is limited in its reach.

  • ‘Grace is the unlimited life, power, gifts, abilities, and nature of God imparted to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the complete righteousness and the finished sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, because of his love for us and his mercy toward us, to enable us to do all the will of God on earth here and now, with a victorious spirit of excellence, praise, worship, and thanksgiving unto God, thereby overcoming all things in order to go and make disciples of all nations.

This definition is essentially a more elaborate description of the previous one.

  • God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’ Despite its appeal as an acronym, it fails as a definition.

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WORDS OF LIFE (#G5) AMAZING GRACE – CHARIS (Part 1)

(August 29, 2017) Dr Jim McClure noted theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words… 

‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.’

These are familiar and well-loved words from the hymn written by John Newton.  What else did Newton say about grace in that hymn?  He wrote,

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.  …
Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.’

A transforming life-changing experience
Newton knew what he was talking about.  As a young man he was the ruthless and brutal captain of a slave ship.  But one night he discovered the reality of God, experienced his grace and was transformed from a cruel slave-ship captain into a preacher of the good news about Jesus Christ. Grace had made a dynamic impact on his life.

I believe that Newton understood something about the grace of God that we today largely fail to grasp.  We are confused about the meanings of the words love, mercy and grace in relation to the gospel.  We tend to think they all mean the same basic thing; but love leads to our acceptance by God,  mercy leads to our forgiveness by God, and grace, I believe, leads to a life-changing experience through God. (more…)