Posted on: 30th April 2018
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
1 John 3:1
The Bible tells us that God is love. So, when we’re in God’s presence, we’re in the presence of love. His love for us is unchanging, never failing, unconditional. We’re told that God lavishes His love on us. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1). And His love shapes who we are, and how we act. It helps us to love others, just as we’re called to do. ‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’ (1 John 4:8).
In 1 Corinthians 13, we’re called to ‘love extravagantly’, and that can seem like a big challenge. Some people seem to be hard to love at all, let alone extravagantly. We can feel like we don’t want to go above and beyond in our love for others. We don’t want to make sacrifices and put others first. We struggle to forgive, and we struggle to be patient. We lack grace and gentleness in our relationships. But we’re called to love everyone. And when we experience and begin to understand God’s incredible, unchanging love for us, we can’t help but share that love with others.
When we think about it, God’s love is extravagant. It doesn’t change, no matter what we do. It’s always there. But it goes beyond that. God’s shown us the ultimate act of extravagant love.
This week consider, how do you demonstrate love? Have you ever been impacted by God’s love? What did/does it feel like?
Posted on: 8th January 2018
“For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
2 Corinthians 2:11
Each of us look, act and express ourselves in different ways yet we are all made up of similar parts just like different mobile phone makes and models. We all have a shell, our outer appearance. We all have an operating system, our mind that controls what we do. Yet it’s our spirit which is the hardest to explain. Without our spirit we would be like our phone without a sim card, we would be able to function but not be able to fully connect with what takes place around us. It’s who we are beneath our shell and how we act. It’s who we really are.
The bible says it like this:
For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (2 Corinthians 2:11).
This verse is a part of the Apostle Paul trying to explain how we as humans can connect with God as our thoughts from our mind cannot comprehend Him, our bodies cannot encapsulate him but our spirit is the thing that can connect with him. It’s how we communicate with him, through our spirit.
This week consider how you connect with your spirit. Consider how you can use this thought of everyone having a mind a body and a spirit could impact how you relate to others around you.
Posted on: 16th October 2017
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18
Not being able to see one step ahead of us can be a hard thing to comprehend, both in the physical and metaphorical sense. For our eyes may work but there may be obstructions in the way, it may be dark or foggy, we may have to turn a corner or avoid a blockage on our path. Sometimes we have to learn to navigate situations without having all the information in front of us.
Take the titanic for example. A ginormous ship that had the capacity to make it from England to America with 2208 people on it, the most extravagant of its time. Yet, the choices that the captain made where purely based on what he could see and not what he couldn’t. He could see the tip of the iceberg but not the extent of it below the surface of the water.
The bible helps us understand and appreciate the ‘behind the scenes’ of our lives, it unpacks why we can see some things now and why other things we cannot. In 1 Corinthians 13 v 12 (MSG) it says:
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”
For Christians that passage is helpful knowing that one day we will understand fully what God is doing our lives but for many it poses the question well what am I supposed to be doing now while I’m stood in the fog? The passage goes on to say:
“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” (1 Corinthians 13 v 13 MSG).
What can we continue to do while we are in the invisible?
We can trust steadily.
This week, you may not be able to see what’s ahead but don’t let it stop you from trusting, hoping and loving with all your might.
Posted on: 4th September 2017
“25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part shares in its joy.”
1 Corinthians 12:25-26
It’s September, which means NEW! New academic year; for some a new place of education, new jobs, new friends, there is lots going on here at St Wilfrid’s. However, there are some things that remain the same. The key one in the Academy being our worship.
At the outset of this term, we want to bring the focus back to what it means to be a part of an Academy that shares a Christian Education where all can thrive. Over the next two weeks we will spend time looking at how we come together in worship as a collective group of people and also why we as individuals are a significant part of that group. In the Academy, we are all needed to play our part and there is a passage in the New Testament of the Bible that suggests the same when it comes to our worship. We can read it in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 but here is just a few key sections of it:
12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ…14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts. 15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honour…25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part shares in its joy.
27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
It can’t be said much better than that! We are each an essential part of the body that builds the worshipful community of St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy. If we all remember that over this coming year, what a year it’s going to be!
It’s week two of our new year and our new term, how are we finding it? Are we running at a sprint? Are we struggling to keep up? Wherever we are at this week we are going to pause, take a moment and think about our everyday ordinary lives. There may be somethings we do that are second nature to us, eating, drinking, getting dressed. There are many things we do that we don’t really remember doing because in the moment they don’t feel significant or special. Yet, here is what the bible says about these things:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
This letter from Paul (the guy who wrote a lot of the New Testament books and whole lot of letters) was writing to the Christians in Rome, a group of people most likely to have converted from Jewish ways to Christianity though it isn’t certain how the church in Rome began. All Paul is doing here is teaching these people the basics. When we put our lives, every little bit of our everyday ordinary lives, we are transformed and changed from the inside out. It may be a process but our offering can gain reward.
So what does this mean for us? Simply, be open to what God might do in the big and the small. Really give thanks for the things that are insignificant. Raise the level of maturity in our lives and encourage those around us.
It’s week two, let’s consider our worship and how that looks with our everyday ordinary lives.