Johns Jottings

December 2015

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The events in Paris, the shootings and suicide bombers, have really shook people to the core. The language of the politicians tends to add fuel to people`s fear. How should we as Christians react? Do we, ‘pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men’, (2 Thess 3:2). Or act in a different way? Peter wrote, ‘Do not repay evil with evil’ (1 Pet 3:9), but does this only apply to our dealings with Christians? Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matt 5:44), but it is hard to love those who dish out murder and mayhem. Read the rest of this entry »

November 2015

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When we were on holiday in the Lake District we visited the home of John Ruskin (1819 –1900) on the shore of Coniston. Someone who I didn`t know much about except what I`d read. ‘John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist.’ He wrote various books but I was interested to read this quote by him, “Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart.” I know he met with people like Darwin round his table to discuss various theories. We came away with the impression that we may have misjudged him. Read the rest of this entry »

October 2015

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A man met God and asked, “What is a million years to you?” “Like a second,” God answered. “What is ten million dollars to you?” was the next question. “Like a dime,” came the answer. “Well then,” the man continued, “Can I borrow a dime?” God responded, “Just a second.” My Bible study for October is the book of James. Today we were considering chapter 1:9-12 and the way James turns what we perceive as wealth on its head. “The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position,” (vs 9-10a). Read the rest of this entry »

September 2015

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Andy wondered if it would be possible to rent St John Fisher to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and would Celebration Church like to be involved. My first thought was: ‘This is a bit Jewish and what will people think?’ Having spoken to Andy, prayed and looked at what the Bible says, I see no reason why we shouldn`t be involved. In fact, if it teaches us what it meant to them and its relevance to us then, it will be good for us. Here are a few thoughts that I gleaned (no pun intended) from looking at the Feast of Tabernacles.

This feast was held at harvest time, so it was a celebration, but it was far more than Harvest Festivals of today. It not only celebrated how God had provided for his people but the fact that God dwelt among them. “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people”. (Lev 26:11-12). They were a people always going astray and yet their God had covenanted Himself to dwell with them. Amazing!

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August 2015

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As I was preparing the series of sermons on the Ten Commandments I came across this poem by Elton Trueblood:

    Above all else love God alone; Bow down to neither wood or stone.

    God`s name refuse to take in vain; The Sabbath rest with care maintain.

    Respect your parents all your days; Hold sacred human life always.

     Be loyal to your chosen mate; Steal nothing, neither small nor great.

     Report, with truth, your neighbours deed; And rid your mind of selfish greed.

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July 2015

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I have been reading “The Way of the Master”, by Ray Comfort, which is the basis for the course which Steve is putting together, starting August. The first chapter is entitled, ‘A Dereliction of duty’. It speaks of what we know we should be doing but let other things take its place. He finishes the chapter by asking if we are praying for revival, but goes on to say if we are not sharing our faith it is though we are saying: ’Lord, I know that you have commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. But we will stay here and pray. We know that you have chosen the  “foolishness” of preaching to save those who believe. But we will stay here and pray. And we know that the Bible asks us, “How will they hear without a preacher?” But  we will stay here and pray, because it is easier to talk to God about people than it is to talk to people about God’. Read the rest of this entry »

June 2015

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I was challenged by Dr. Annang`s sermon (see next page) on Paul`s prayer life. I knew that Paul always prayed for the churches that he ministered to, even those he hadn`t met, but what struck me particularly was the effort he put into it. I try to go regularly through everybody at church, lifting each one up to the Lord in prayer, asking that He might be with you in whatever situation your facing. But I have to ask myself, ‘Do I struggle in prayer? Do I wrestle in prayer?’ Prayer doesn`t come easily to anyone, especially pastors who are expected to pray about every aspect of church. I am no different. If I go into the inner room, as Jesus said, I struggle to keep awake. If I`m praying about some particular situation, my mind tends to wander to all sorts of irrelevancies, I have a wrestle to keep my focus on it. I suppose the question we must ask ourselves is, ’Do I put as much effort into prayer as I do into everything else?’ Spurgeon said, “He who prays without fervency does not pray at all.” We know what a great evangelist and church planter Paul was. He put as much effort into prayer as he did evangelism, We should be no different. Read the rest of this entry »