The shame myth

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There’s a little myth that has gained currency over the last 30 years to the point where it is generally held as unchallengeable truth.  The theory goes like this: Western cultures are all about guilt and retribution, Eastern cultures are all about honour and shame.  Reformed/Evangelical Theology has paid too much attention to the former… Continue reading The shame myth

How can we keep hope in God’s mercy?

It’s not just us Christians that are out and about around the Commonwealth Games stadiums.  There’s a whole range of religions and other campaigns seeking to promote their message – understandably giving the large crowds attending. Today as I headed down towards Perry Barr Stadium to welcome visitors to the Games I saw a large… Continue reading How can we keep hope in God’s mercy?

Can I make sure that I don’t commit the unforgivable sin?

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I recently wrote about the question “Have I committed the unforgivable sin.”   We’ve been working through Mark’s Gospel at our church and I preached on chapter 3 where the topic comes up when Jesus talks about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  In that section, Jesus says: 28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be… Continue reading Can I make sure that I don’t commit the unforgivable sin?

Authority to forgive (Mark 2:1-12)

Jesus is drawing a lot of attention.  We saw in Mark 1 that he had urged the healed leper not to go out and about telling people about him but he does, as presumably do others that are healed.  This starts to cause challenges for Jesus, restricting his movement. An example is seen here when… Continue reading Authority to forgive (Mark 2:1-12)

The transforming kingdom (Mark 1:16-2:13-17)

We now begin to see what it means for Jesus to preach about the Kingdom and call people to repentance with a series of examples. It means calling people to follow him and leave behind other priorities (1:16-20 and 2:13-17) It means calling evil spirits out of people.  Captives are set free (1:21-28) It means… Continue reading The transforming kingdom (Mark 1:16-2:13-17)

Why is the Resurrection Good News?

The Resurrection is good News because it tells us that we are not alone Most of us find ourselves faced with two competing alternatives  Superstition This is driven by fear of the unknown and the unexplained. It leads to attempts to control the unknown through ritual. We might believe in spiritual forces but these are… Continue reading Why is the Resurrection Good News?

The sinner’s friend

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I love contemporary worship songs but also have quite a soft spot for older hymns. I particularly associate this one with my childhood, sat at home listening to songs played on my mum and dad’s record collection. I am particularly struck by the lyrics of the second verse Thou art the sinner’s friend,So I Thy… Continue reading The sinner’s friend

Alone?

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I saw this quote and image shared on Facebook the other day. I wonder what you made of it? “From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you… Continue reading Alone?

First Look 4: The end … or is it?

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Discussion Starters What do you fear the most? If you knew that you had six months left to live, would you change anything about your plans and your daily routine? A look at the Bible Today we arrive at the part of the story which Luke gives most attention to. A biographer usually spends most… Continue reading First Look 4: The end … or is it?