From our Minister

From our Minister

I’m writing this before we have concluded the bible marathon, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who took part. Early on, the web page showing the separate reading slots looked rather bare, with only a third filled on the day we started to read. But having started, more joined us, it was a great experience.

I subscribe to Christianity magazine; I have done so for several years and find it a useful resource for understanding what is happening in the wider church. April’s edition arrived this morning. One article, titled, ‘Apocalypse Now?’ starts with the following.  “In January, the ‘Doomsday clock’ so-called because it reflects the likelihood of a human-made global catastrophe – was set to ’90 seconds before midnight’, the closest it has ever been to annihilation since this metaphorical countdown began in 1947”

I’m very relieved about this. Some years ago, I was given a book which claimed to explain how the world would end in nuclear Armageddon; it was called ‘One minute to midnight.’
The good news is we are 30 seconds further away from Armageddon now, than when I was in my early twenties. I have some questions I would like to ask the proponents of this ‘Doomsday Clock.’ What criteria do they use to come up with the figure 90 seconds? What do the 90 seconds refer to? What are they looking at to determine the end is near? How close were we to Armageddon in 1962, and the Cuban missile crisis? Ukraine, global climate change, famine, drought, floods, earthquakes, tornados are all seen as indications of a rapid acceleration to the end. They might be right. Jesus said:
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Matthew 24:7

When people choose to stop believing in God, the Living God, what do they believe in? What do they put in His place; as they think about life, it’s purpose, its future? G.K. Chesterton wrote:
“When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

Take God out of it and the world is a dark and terrifying place. Could there have been anywhere more horrible, violent, bloody, dreadful than Calvary; for those first believers as they watched the man they loved hanging, crucified? But what they did not realise, as they stood and watched their Lord dying:
Calvary is a message from God to a dark and fearful world. ‘I care about my world and those who live on it, I don’t want it to be this way, I’m going to do something about it.’ Calvary was the place where a holy, loving God and sinful broken humanity met. Calvary is where God’s amazing grace is available to all who will receive Jesus Christ as Lord.

Calvary was the place where Satan and death were defeated.

Calvary was the place where: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians .5:21

THEN THE RESURRECTION

So awesome was the resurrection: the disciples didn’t / couldn’t believe it. But as God raised Jesus from the dead he confirmed:
Everything Jesus said was true
He is the Son of God
He is the way, the truth, the life
Scripture is God’s word to a fallen world
Believers really are adopted into the family of God

‘But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.’ Romans 4:23-25

Another article in the same magazine has a very different story; it begins: ‘It all started at an ordinary Wednesday chapel service in February, at a tiny Christian college called Asbury University. After the usual service ended, a small number of students decided to carry on praying and worshipping.’

It goes on to what was described in the international media as, “The Asbury revival.” For two weeks thousands flocked to experience a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit, as many came to faith and lives were changed. Was it truly a revival? I don’t know; but one thing is clear, God is still working in His world.

Whatever the world looks like today, whatever the latest disaster might be, however miserable and full of woe the news might be; God is still sovereign, still involved, still faithful, still working in the lives of any who will receive the Lord Jesus Christ.

‘The Lord is risen’
John