We often talk about how Jesus has changed an individual’s life. But changed lives change families and change neighbourhoods and change cities … and even change the world!
Think about it: 2000 years ago, women and children were pretty much treated as disposable property. What changed that? Jesus’ teaching about the radical worth and equality of every individual. That same teaching has eventually filtered through to create democracies where every person’s vote is equal.
2000 years ago, humility wasn’t seen as a good virtue, but as a sign of weakness. But then along came Jesus.
What about forgiveness? Jesus taught us to love even our enemies and forgive those who hurt us. Without such teaching, South Africa would never have had leaders like Nelson Mandela and a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ to bring a relatively peaceful end to apartheid.
On and on the list goes: the impact Jesus has had on our world is quite remarkable. He modelled these things, and as his followers put them into practice too, culture and society was slowly changed.
Yet most people don’t realise so much of these changes for good stem from Jesus.
In early February, we’ll start a new course called “Jesus the game changer”. Like Alpha, it will run in a home with DVDs, discussion and food. But this is designed for people who might find Alpha a step too far: people who want to investigate Jesus more closely, but don’t want to be pressured into following Jesus.
Have you got friends who enjoyed the Christmas services or who admire your Christian faith, but have said ‘no’ to Alpha in the past? This will be the ideal thing to invite them to! Starts Wednesday 6th Feb. See www.stjamesbythepark.org/gamechanger for details.
Pauline Turner writes …
Our God is ‘the Lord who heals you’ (Ex 15:26). A large part of Jesus’ ministry was healing people and restoring them back into society – he came to ‘preach good tidings to the poor, heal the broken hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives’ (Lk 4:18-19). His ministry was about restoration of the whole person, not just physical healing.
In John 10, Jesus speaks about Satan who comes to rob, kill and destroy - but then Jesus declares ‘I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow!’
Jesus demonstrated what the kingdom of God looks like – recovering ground that the enemy has had in peoples’ lives, restoring them back to health and reconnecting them with the God of love and his purposes for their lives.
Scripture also speaks of God as a Restorer. Many people, due to life’s experiences and living in a fallen world, need restoration and healing. It may be that some of us need healing and restoration in our relationship with God – dealing with things like disappointments, life events, seemingly unanswered prayer, unforgiveness and resentment – which make us lose our first love for Jesus.
The church is called to the same mission that Jesus had – bringing God’s rule and reign into people’s lives.
In 2019, let’s seek to know the Healer more and more, to experience his healing love in our own lives, and to be a bridge for people to meet with the God who loves to restore and heal.
The prayer ministry team are always happy to pray with people after our services or at other times of the week – please ask.
“Jesus’ ministry was about restoration of the whole person, not just physical healing”
A few months ago, I put a post on facebook asking my friends what reasons they had for not believing in Jesus.
Not surprisingly, there were lots of good answers!
In our upcoming sermon series, we're going to tackle some of these objections.
January 20th - I could never be a Christian because ... there are no gods
January 27th - I could never be a Christian because ... you don't need religion to be moral
February 3rd - I could never be a Christian because ... Christians are hypocrites
February 10th - I could never be a Christian because ... I believe in science instead
All are welcome to come along, with no obligation to take part or agree with what's said!
9am service - a quieter, more traditional service
10.30am service (except on February 10th) - a busier, more informal service, with groups for children