Monthly Archives: August 2012

Hi guys,

I hope to start posting about sciencey stuff soon – especially biology (since that’s what my degree was). I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of stuff that I thought everyone knew because it was basic information for my degree and A-levels, but actually people don’t quite know. It’s not a clever-than-thou thing, it’s just that school doesn’t always teach you why water and oil don’t mix, or why genetics isn’t quite as scary as the movies (or the press, to be honest) make it – but can still be pretty cool, or why you can believe in God and think that evolution works, or why biology is awesome. You poor, deprived people.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a biology geek… and when I say ‘bit’ I mean “you are such a geek!” happens quite a lot. So a chance to rabbit on about one of my favourite subjects is going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully there’ll be some hilariously-badly-drawn pictures too.

So if you want me to find out anything for you, or post about anything sciencey, leave me a comment!

I wonder whether you’ve been in a situation where keeping going has been made easier by someone else helping you? When I was at school I used to do cross-country running. I’m not the fittest person in the world – my sprint is about the same speed as most people’s jog, so every week I would be swiftly left behind by the rest of the pack. At this point, it would have been very easy to give up and walk back to school, especially since it was only about 20 yards away, and if I were left on my own I probably would have thrown in the towel. But the PE teacher in charge stayed at the back with me. They encouraged me when I flagged and pushed me harder when I needed it; and because I had help, I managed to finish every week. It was because I knew that my teacher would help me round the course that I was able to persevere.

 Today we’re going to look at Colossians 1:15-23, and why it is that who Jesus is means that we can keep going in faith. Like my cross-county teacher at school who enabled me to finish my race, Jesus Christ enables us to persevere in our spiritual race. Let’s read:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the Church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in our minds because of your evil behaviour. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel. This is the Gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Paul is talking about three aspects of who our Saviour is: that Jesus Christ is supreme as Lord of all, that He is supreme as our Saviour, and that because of His supremacy we can continue in faith.

Verse 15 says that “He is the image of the invisible God”. In Jesus, the invisible God is revealed, because Jesus is exactly like the Father in every way. In verses 16 to 17 Paul describes how Christ is the creator and sustainer of everything. “By Him all things were created” (v16). Paul leaves nothing out here. He mentions things on heaven and on earth, things we can and can’t see, and any form of authority we know of. Not only is this true, but Jesus also sustains everything. From the smallest atom to the vast expanse of the cosmos, the laws of science, the power of reason, the very breath in our lungs and beat of our hearts is all sustained by Him! And since our God can sustain the entire universe, how much more can He sustain us in our perseverance!

Just as Christ is Lord of this world, He is Lord of the next. As Paul says in verse 18, “He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead, beginning a new creation that is acceptable to God because they are in Christ. If you notice, there is a parallel between what Paul says here in verse 18 and what he says in verse 15: Jesus is the firstborn of this world and heaven, “so that in everything He might have the supremacy”. And in confirmation of Christ’s supremacy as our Saviour, Paul says in verses 19 and 20 that God’s fullness lived in Christ – meaning that Jesus is truly God. His act on the cross reconciled everything to Himself by providing a just way of forgiving sin. Can you see what this means? God, the Authority over all authority, the sustainer of the universe Himself, saved us! He is the one who guarantees our salvation, and He is the one who will get us into heaven.

So, how does this mean that we can persevere in faith? Because our salvation is secure. Look at verse 21; can you see how bad our situation before salvation was? “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your sinful behaviour.” We were alienated from God, this supreme creator and sustainer of everything, the most important person in the universe. How insolent it was of us to reject the holy God in our sin! How great His anger against us was! And this is how we would stand before Him now, but for the most profound act in history. Verse 22 says: “But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation”. Jesus, God Himself, died on the cross for our sake –God Himself, the One whom we had offended, made a way for us to be acceptable to Him. And not borderline acceptable, either, but “holy in His sight”. What a turn-around! The complete, unshakeable salvation brought about by the incredible, Sovereign God Himself is the same salvation that we have. We are reconciled with God, because God Himself has reconciled us. We can keep going through all seasons of life, because how God sees us will not change, and the bad times won’t destroy our heavenly inheritance. It’s easy to remember how great it is to be Christians when life is easy, but life isn’t always a bed of roses. Health fails, friends come and go, and long-running passion can fade. Yet this we can always take heart from: Nothing that we go through in our lives will change our salvation – when life is rough, we know our Saviour stands alongside us; when we’re weary, we have reason to keep going; when we’re having an awful day and think God would be ashamed to call us His own, He loves us still!

So then, we should persevere because Jesus is supreme and our salvation is secure because of it. Christ is supreme! He is God, everything was made by Him, and He sustains everything. God used Him to reconcile the world’s broken relationship with Himself. Our salvation is rock solid because it was done by God Himself! THEREFORE we should persevere, because our prize is sure, and our God is with us, the God who cannot be beaten. Like me in my cross-country running, if reaching our final destination depended on ourselves, we would be tempted to give up because we cannot get ourselves there. But we can persevere because we have Christ with us, bringing us through life and promising our final reward in heaven. Christ, the maker of the whole universe, is running alongside us. We know that it’ll be OK in the end and He will bring us through.

This is, my friends, what I feel may be described as an EPIC. WIN.

NB – these write-ups aren’t always exactly how the original sermons were. They’ve been tweaked a leetle bit to make them more readable online.

I’ve just moved into a new house! Yaaaay! 😀 As you can see, I was so excited I made a rookie attempt to draw it on the computer 😛

New things are always very exciting to me. It’s why I like presents – something new to look at and discover and play with, and all the more fun if I have to rip off pretty paper before I can get to my prize. But this house is all the more exciting because: a) it has a garden; b) it has a conservatory (something I’ve never had before); c) it has a greenhouse; d) it’s in Lovely Suburbia rather than Grotty Studentland; and e) there was a time when I didn’t have a house. And THAT’s a whole saga! Basically, the System meant that it took more time to process everything than we had before the contract on the old house ran out, so I had almost a week of living out of a suitcase at a very kind friend’s house while I was waiting to move in.

But what I love the most about this house is that it feels like a home now; like somewhere more permanent and settled where I could enjoy living for more than just a year. OK, so I am by myself in it at the moment – Blondie and Smiff (not their real names) are away in various places of the world at the moment so it’s just been me for a few days. It’s quite nice being in the house by yourself for a bit, you can just do whatever without having to think about when dinner is/who’s watching the TV/whether housemates will be annoyed at you making noise; but it has its limits.

Aaanyway, back to the point – home is nice. Home is safe, permanent, and somewhere where you can relax. Much like my parents’ house. I loved visiting them last weekend. They’ve been living in that house since I was very young, so it’s always been home to me. One of a few constants in the ever-changing life of a young adult.

“Home is where the heart is,” as the saying goes. So where is a person’s heart focussed? Things made of bricks and mortar and glass, as nice as they are to live in, aren’t permanent. Everything in life can change. So do we focus our desires and hopes on buildings? Or on the things we want, but don’t have yet? Or on the people we love?

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) So where your desires, hopes, and what you most value are, that’s where the core of your being is centred. As a Christian, my heart is supposed to be set on heaven, and much more, on God, who is the whole point of heaven anyway. But I find it just so easy to not set my sights that high. After all, it’s probably going to be another 60 years or so before I drop dead. And heaven is after you die, right? So what about the meantime?

Being a Christian is not, and never has been, just about getting into heaven so that we have somewhere nice to go after we die. It’s a whole life thing. It’s about the everyday boring stuff like paying bills and getting the bus to work. The question is, how do I set my heart on heaven while I’m paying the water bill or going to the supermarket? Our attitude – not just what we let others see, but what we don’t expose to the outside world – is very important in this. It shows where our heart, our treasure, our home is.

I can’t wait till I move into the house that I will live in for the next 5/10/20 years. I’d love to settle in a place. But is the most important thing in my life a building? It might be home, but it’s not quite Home – that, my friends, is far, far better.

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