December 26, 2015
The Readings for today (1 Samuel 2.18-26; Colossians 3.12-17; Luke 2.41-52) teach us how to prepare to have a rich spiritual life of love and service as God’s chosen people. This new life begins with a rediscovery of our identity as children of God which has been stolen from us by a secular culture. Jesus was fully human so the Readings show us how he grew spiritually by reading the Scriptures, seeking out wise teachers and spending time with them. It was only after He had spent 30 years growing in wisdom and stature that He was able to step out in ministry as a teacher and healer. These readings explain why many churches are not thriving in our time – they have lost their spiritual identity and are not in favour with God and man.
1. Our identity as “God’s chosen people” has been stolen
December 23, 2015
The Good News of Christmas is that God intervened in history to come and live among His creation as a man and make a New Covenant. Covenant of Moses and the Law had been broken several times by the Hebrew People and they were crying out for a Saviour who would free them from Roman occupation and religious corruption. God did much more. He showed His love and trust by coming as a helpless baby who would grow up and give His life as a ransom to establish a New Covenant of forgiveness. This New Covenant broke the power of Satan and freed believers from the spiritual yoke of human sin-guilt that separated them from God and led to spiritual death. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to come and live inside believers – giving them the spiritual gifts of love, joy and peace as a sign of relationship.
1. Jesus birth shows us God’s love as relationship, community & belonging
December 11, 2015
During the four weeks of Advent we are getting ready for the coming of Jesus both at Christmas as a specific date and at the End Time which is an unknown date. We live in a culture of unhappy people focussed on shopping for material gifts to make them feel good. This distracts us from preparing to receive the spiritual gifts that Jesus gives us through the Holy Spirit. These gifts – Love, Joy and Peace cannot be bought in a store; they are free gifts given to anyone who goes through the work of preparing their heart to receive them:
· Love – being in emotional relationship, community, belonging
· Joy – having meaning in our life, happiness, thankfulness
· Peace – overcoming our fear of death, failure, guilt, shame
These are the real gifts that everyone wants but only people in serious Christian community have.
1. John is teaching why we need to prepare to receive these gifts