How do we grow as Christians?

Part of me says that we always babies in our walk with God. Just when we think we have God in our pockets the great mystery of God strikes us. I don’t want a faith that has all the answers to everything. What I have is a great hope and sense of God with me and a thirst to know more and be shaped by what He has for us in this community.

But just as God is not a celestial slot machine – offering favours on demand – I am more and more aware of questions and enjoy not knowing exactly where this great adventure of faith is leading. If God is in charge then I can enjoy that greatly.

I am very much enjoying reading Richard Rohr’s daily meditations and encourage you all to have a look. Just look him up on Google and sign up for the daily meditations.  I love Tim Keller’s pungent writing. I love C S Lewis. There is some good stuff out there.

We are setting up Cuthbert’s Bookworm Club. We’ll read a chapter a week of a book – we start with What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. Yancey has ruffled feathers, but that’s no bad thing. We’ll meet at the vicarage every Thursday from May 14 for a cuppa and a read and talk at 7.30.

Happy reading.

A great Easter Day

Thank you to everyone who came to the service today. And a special mention to the army of helpers. The worship band rocked and it was a really good day. It was great to see more than one hundred people in church as well.

I came away from the service with a profound feeling of hope. It seems that hope is in short supply. But the challenge is to be filled with resurrection power. The power that raised Jesus from the grave speaks to me that what we fear is dead and finished in our own lives and communities and families can be touched with God’s grace and love. I was struck by the thought that I won’t call dead anything that God has not called dead.

So it is time for a rest for a couple of days. Time to get over the cold I have been struggling with this week. And time to recharge the old batteries.

Jesus is risen…he is risen indeed.

Easter people

It is a real pleasure to share Easter with St Cuthbert’s, North Wembley. Our new Morning Prayer has taken off well and praying each day with folk is a real joy. And I know that God really works in churches where people pray together.

It was going through an Easter at Every Nation London that really cemented my faith. The Cross and Resurrection had a powerful impact on me. I am a writer and have always enjoyed stories. I studied English at University. I know something of the power of narrative. After all we all live out the stories of our own lives. Fiction helps us with a sense of an ending.

But the Easter story is an even better story because it helps with a sense of a new beginning. Easter tells of a mission that looked like a failure (the hero gets killed and dies an ignominious death) but actually results in the nature of the world changing (death gets its comeuppance). It tells that violence and hopelessness cannot win. It tells us that God can, and did, redeem all that is wrong and all that hurts and all that seems hopeless.

I remain very moved by Easter and the challenge for us is to be genuine Easter people. People of hope through suffering, because Jesus allows us always to start again.

Have a great Easter friends.

From Pastor Wolfi’s blog

It starts with an invitation…

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Discipleship, Every Nation London, Making Disciples, purpose
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A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the “induction” of my friend Steve Morris as Vicar of Saint Cuthbert’s church in London’s North Wembley. It all started about 11 years ago, when Cath, a member of our congregation who was working for the Morris’ was having a conversation about spiritual things with Steve’s wife Christine, and invited her to a church service at Every Nation London.  Christine came and when she got home said to Steve “you should come”. Steve famously replied:“I’ll come, but only if nothing changes!” 

Well he did come, and encountered something / Someone who grabbed all his attention. After a season of seeking through the services, Connect Groups, and one-on-one’s, Steve surrendered his life to Christ as Lord and Saviour! IMG_8624

Along the journey of growing as a disciple, one day Steve asked me for suggestions for further study, and I pointed him to a summer apologetics course run by RZIM in Oxford. Soon Steve made a commitment to leave his lucrative business career and had signed up for the whole year course, which then turned into a full commitment towards ordination in the Anglican church, and now he is vicar at St Cuthbert’s!

Of course so much more has changed than just his vocation, and as I stood in the service seeing the whole Morris family involved – Christine and the girls leading passionate worship, and Steve being inducted – I could help but thank God for Cath being sensitive and bold to simply say: “Come to church and see…”

Thanks Cath for starting a spiritual conversation, and for inviting Christine. Jesus still changes everything! 

The return of the King

I wonder if you watched the funeral of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral.  I found it very moving. I think it was seeing the way his body had been dumped in the ground and then contrasting this with the simple respect paid to this lost King by people of all races , nationalities and beliefs. The warrior King had come home.

His life was amazing. He was rarely free from conflict, and yet he instigated many social and legal reforms. He had the chance to not be on the battlefield, but he wanted to lead from the front.

What struck me was the simplicity of the coffin and the service. The priest referred to him as our brother Richard. This brought home how death is the great leveller, whether you are an earthly King or a humble carpet fitter. In the service we heard a lot about Richard’s baptism. It was a wonderful reminder of the new life that comes with baptism and the way it makes us brothers and sisters.

Richard fought his last battle because he wanted to prove that God blessed his kingship. I am struck by the contrast with the only real King, Jesus. His battle was against the forces of evil and death and he won. He never carried a sword. The battle took place on a Cross. He stood in for us, so we could live, while he died.

But this truth is very confronting. Polly Toynbee writing in the Guardian said.

Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?

No, the wonder is that we did not ask Him. But God did it anyway. Hallelujah.

The return of the last Plantagenet King moved me. It moved me because we honoured him but it didn’t have all the pomp and circumstance of “Royalty.”  It made me reflect on Jesus. A good thing as we approach Easter.

Mirth and God

I was preaching this Sunday on Jesus’ first miracle. And it is a really surprising one. If you were God among us you might want to start your ministry with a big bang miracle – something spectacular. However, Jesus begins in a very low key way, by helping a poor couple who are getting married. It is so beautifully tender.

But the question that kept coming to me was why did they invite Jesus to the wedding in the first place? They were poor. They didn’t have much wine and extra guests would put a real strain on proceedings.

The only reason that I can think is that he was someone who was great to be around, who loved a party and would make the whole day better, just by being there.

It is so easy to paint Jesus as super-spiritual – the grey Galilean. But he must have had something that attracted people. Jesus made people smile as well as think.

However, we don’t see the mirth in the Gospels. Or is that true? My Jewish friends tell me that many of things he said and did would have been seen as very funny in a Jewish context and at the time. After all, the camel passing through the eye of a needle is a very strange and funny image.

I think that G K Chesterton is really onto something in his wonderful book Orthodoxy.

“And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy