On the TV

If you want to know more about what this church teaches, but aren’t yet comfortable to meet face-to-face, you now have an additional option! We record some of our teaching sessions and they air on the TV. By the kindness of the Wightman Community channel (#6) they are made available free to subscribers.

So why not tune in? Currently our slot is 8:00pm on Saturday nights. If you want to sample what is broadcast, but don’t yet have access to the channel, click HERE to watch an episode on your computer screen (or other device). This originally aired on August 1st.

We hope you enjoy, and benefit from, this new community service. By all means let us know if you have questions or comments to make about what you watch in our broadcasts.

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

For some clear explanations of Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray, please listen to this recording; just click on the following link:

“Pharisee”

If you thought you knew this parable inside out, you’ll most likely find these insights and challenges different and very helpful

This is healthy!

Just to pass on the following impressions after reading a report by a Harvard professor of epidemiology. The findings showed Chris­tian church attendance is enormously valuable. For instance, it contributes positively to physical health, as well as substantially improving mental health. Other positive impacts include making people more optimistic, reducing depression, helping protect against suicide, increasing the likelihood of stable marriage, and generally improving a personal sense of meaning. It also favourably impacts levels of charitable giving and volunteer­ing. And, unsurprisingly, it helps provide a good social network. (Don’t just accept that, be ready to fact-check it, and please contact us for a reading list)

It just goes to show we are right to be concerned about the current necessity to “shelter in”, stay at home, and keep at least 6 feet from everyone else. Those are currently essential, and contribute benefits to health, personally and for everyone around; we strongly endorse public compliance with such advice. But inevitably these temporary constraints can have negative effects too, so by all means count the days until you can get back to a good, uplifting church Bible study! And in the meantime compensate as much as possible for the lack of getting together by using virtual meetings to share your Christian faith with others. We can help with that too.

I’m NOT like that!

Ever had to come to your own defence using words like that? Many have. We are naturally concerned when people get a wrong impression about us. They mistakenly think we have done things that we have not, or that we have acted in a manner quite different from the person we really are. That’s life, as they say!

But would God not have the right to correct the record if people had mistaken perceptions about Him? He does, and He has. In the Bible there are at least seven places where God has to clarify that He is NOT like people think He is.

Check out the video talk at this link: https://bit.ly/2yuR1SR You can download it from there and watch at the best time for you. It’s subject is what God is NOT like, even though in the minds of some people they have developed a wrong perception about God. So He corrects the record.

Check out the video, and by all means comment! Especially if you have some correct things to say about God. He doesn’t need us to defend Him, but it is right for us to speak accurately about the God in whom we “live, and move, and have our being”. Worth getting it right!

Solved!

Geoff writes:

“Don’t know what the probability is that you could solve a 5×5 Rubik cube by chance moves, but even when I used some carefully thought out moves I still couldn’t do it. My grandson did it in minutes! He knows that you have to make some very disruptive moves that at first make all the faces seem wrong before it all comes together. Finished!

Perhaps that’s a very simplified analogy for Rom.8:28, the famous “all things work together for good” verse. Certainly everything is not good; bad things happen too. Some people think “all things” in that verse means all things in my life, but it’s actually bigger than that and “all” is defined by the context of verses 18-39 (extract below). It is a truly universal statement: God’s plan for absolutely everything, stretching from eternity to eternity. And if God is God, no better plan could ever be devised.

Remember, you can’t complete the cube by just trying to make all of it right for one face. And in life we may go through very disruptive things without any possibility individually of seeing their positive outcome, the good that comes from this. If we lose grip with the bigger picture it is the road to greater disappointments. Present pain can only be considered reasonable if we have real hope in a God who is permitting it for a much, much, much bigger purpose. Not an easy concept at all. But the alternatives are hopeless.”

Check out Rom.8:18-27 then read on:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Blame Game

No surprise! We are now seeing political leaders attempt to lay the blame for economic woes at the feet of foreigners. At the forefront is the bumptious leader of the world’s largest free-market economy (that is now in tatters). Rightly or wrongly, he sees China as the culprit, suggesting a germ warfare scenario. And the Chinese bureaucracy is hitting back. Meantime, in contrast, we are told by the World Health Organization that the virus likely started in bats, then transferred to another live animal, which then passed the virus on to humans. When , where and Why? These are still open questions as far as the scientific community is concerned. In France, scientists appear to have detected the novel coronavirus was present there at about the same time it was discovered in China. More facts may change convenient current assumptions.

Why is the developing argumentation no surprise? You and I have the answer. “They” are just like “Us”! Which one of us can say we have never blamed someone or something else for problems for which we ourselves may even have been primarily responsible. Geo-political posturing starts right here; this is where the germ resides. It is perhaps also evidenced by the willingness of so many to line up behind their chosen leader’s statements, whether in the USA or Russia or China, etc. It is scary, but it should not be unexpected. The cause of feuds is to be found in the Bible’s statements in Gal.5:19,20. We are all like that, naturally. Is it hopeless, then?

Spiritually, the picture can change. We can look for reliable information. We can place current events in a much longer term context. We can identify endemic problems that have plagued mankind since Eden. In short, we can read our Bible, and accept what is read by faith. Faith, of course, must be placed in facts. God is not a convenient entity merely invented to fill gaps in information, nor a crutch to help us to accept unwelcome circumstances. The Bible is God’s message to His creation, and is self-confirming, by documenting outcomes it predicted (and which are shown to be true by both historians and our own personal experience). The most important outcome the Bible predicts is that a person believing Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who came to earth to live a perfect life and then to die as our substitute, will be forgiven by God and be given eternal life. As icing on that cake, the Bible also predicted God, as the Holy Spirit, would then live in us, and teach us truth we need to know. This is the source of hope.

In contrast to the “he did it; she did it” that might typify our natural response when problems arrive, the Bible presents a remarkable alternative. Here it is: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil.2:3,4) and it challenges us: “…with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” (Matt.7:2-4). Let us be very careful before engaging in the blame game. Go for the “same aim” instead, just like the Bible says in 1 Cor.1:9,10.

The Church of God in action