Tagged: justification by faith

Together everyone achieves more!


Acts 16.16-34; John 17.20-end

Now, I know there may be a few of you who missed it, but last night was the Champions League final. Liverpool and Real Madrid battled it out to see who could win the premier club title in European football.

Okay, I’m guessing most of you missed it. Football isn’t everybody’s thing. But I think we all know enough about team sports to know that if the players in a team don’t work together they will lose. If the team goes on to the pitch and then each player just does their own thing, then the other side will simply walk all over them! A team has to be united. To coin a phrase – There is no I in TEAM because TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. Teams, in order to win, must be united.

I think it’s fairly safe to assume, given the teaching in the gospels and the rest of the New Testament, that Jesus wanted his church to be united. I think it’s also fairly safe to assume that for Jesus this wasn’t an optional extra, only to happen if the situation at any particular time demanded it.

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It’s not fair!


37519192 - man is working in a vineyard

Matthew 20.1-16

If you’ve had anything to do with children you’ve heard them say it. Whether as a parent or as a teacher, you know that one of their most frequently uttered phrases is, ‘It’s not fair!’

The issue may be the amount of food on plates, or turns with the ball, or bedtime, or possession of the best crayons, or any number of things, but the cry is still the same: ‘It’s not fair!’

And you find yourself dealing with it by either giving in, or by gritting your teeth and saying such ridiculous things like: Life’s not fair – get used to it!

Parents will be aware that the incidence of the phrase “It’s not fair” increases proportionally to the number of children in the family. At least, with three children, we seemed to get a lot of it. Let me give you an example. Continue reading

The answer is blowin’ in the wind


The gospel last Sunday was the story of Nicodemus visiting Jesus at night in order to ask some questions. Here’s what I said.

Genesis 12.1-4a; Romans 4.1-5, 13-17; John 3.1-17

Questions. Today’s gospel is about questions. Or rather, it’s about someone seeking answers but not really knowing the right questions to ask.

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. So said the great French philosopher Voltaire.

But how do we know what the right questions are? Some of history’s greatest thinkers have pondered: What are the questions we should be asking? And they’ve come up with some interesting answers to that question. They’ve come up with questions like these – posed by in my opinion probably the greatest ever winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature:

How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
Or how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Or how many times must the cannon balls fly before they’re forever banned?

What are the answers to those questions? Well, some of you will have recognized those words, so you will know: Continue reading