Monday, 28 December 2009

It is OK to steal..... Message from the church!

The subject says it all really.

I was gob smacked to read about an Anglican priest from York, UK, who says it is OK to steal.

Father Tim Jones, parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda, broke off from the traditional Nativity story yesterday, and said stealing from large national chains was sometimes the best option many vulnerable people had.

His Bible must be different to other peoples, it says in Exodus 20:15 it says "You shall not steal" (NIV)

He says that people should steal from "big supermarkets" and not from small shops, that is OK. I thought that stealing was stealing whoever you stole from, there are no big sins and little sins, they are all sins.

Man has sinned, everyone has sinned, whether they have thought a bad thought or murdered someone, it is all the same to God. But God gave us a way to be free from our sins of the past, to come before Him and confess those sins and to ask forgiveness. He says if we do this then He will forgive our sins.

Churches today are soft and that is one reason why society is how it is today, churches have not stood up for the Bible truths, preachers have preached nice sermons that make the congregation feel good. Any preacher who preaches anything controversial won't be liked but they are not here to be liked, they are here to preach God's word and hopefully seek Him to see what God wants to say to the people today.

To find out more about the news story click here, and to see the full transcript of the sermon given by Father Tim Jones click here.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

What is church ?

We normally think of "Church" as the building.

We are all "The Church". Each one of us, when we become Christians we become part of “The Church”.

There is nothing wrong in having a church building, it is somewhere where we can come together and worship God. The early church in Bible times did not have church buildings and met in each others homes. I wonder if any church congregations today would be able to fit into one of our homes. I suppose we have grown too big to fit in a home. When we visit each other at home we are part of the church meeting in a home.

The church is also a family. The Family of God.

God is our father, our heavenly father, and we are all His children.

We have to love each other as a family, meeting each others needs lovingly as God meets our needs. The more God gives us the more we have to give away to people worse off than ourselves.

The early church in the Bible listened to God and the Holy Spirit and when prompted sold possessions to meet others needs, and gave away other items they had that other people needed.

The church is also formed not for ourselves to be an inward looking group of people, but looking at ways to help others outside of the church both materially and spiritually. God's great commission to all Christians is to "go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" Mark 16:15. (NIV)

Not all of us have to stand up and preach from a pulpit. There are many ways to preach the good news, sometimes without words but with good deeds.

Some people have been called to go to foreign lands to preach the good news, but others are called to stay at home and witness to their friends and neighbours and tell them the good news.

We have all been called to be witnesses and this is done by talking and doing good to others.

Part of being a witness is to show God's love to one another. People will be drawn to God's love by the way we act and react to each other both inside and outside of the church family.

Where ever we go and have come into contact with other Christians, we have found more family and we have found God's love. This can be sometimes visiting friends and friends of friends, visiting other churches and even meeting total strangers.

One time we were going back to the UK from one of our many trips to Romania and stopped at a restaurant in Hungary. There was only one other couple in the restaurant. They heard us talking about Romania and the visit and asked why we had been to Romania. It turned out they were on their way to Romania and worked there too.

They were French and we were English and we only knew a small amount of each others language. It ended up with us both, (English and French) having a conversation in Romanian, sharing a meal together and sitting at the same table in a Hungarian restaurant. We often wonder what the waitress thought.

There were no barriers between us because God brought us together through His love, we were all part of the same family.