The Invasion of Ukraine

This morning Russia invaded Ukraine. It’s a statement reminiscent of when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. It seems like a strange thing to say in 2022. It seems like a strange thought to have. Hundreds of Ukrainian lives have already sadly been lost. I do not see this as starting a third world war, but if Putin does not stop, and keeps marching across Europe, where will this end? It is impossible to tell.

What should be our response? It should not be to pontificate or focus on this, it should not be to bring out the end-time charts and squeeze this somehow into Daniel or Revelation. Our response should certainly not be to be afraid and let fear enter our hearts. We are in Christ, and we are secure, and this world is not our home. Our hearts should be full of joy in His love and our redemption, no matter what is going on around us. Jesus Himself was so clear – wars and rumours of wars are not the end-times. In fact, Jesus said:

And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. (Matthew 24.14 NLT)

If you really want to see the end to come and move into the new age, the millenium, stop looking at wars and panicking, and start getting the good news about the kingdom preached throughout the entire world! Preach the good news to your colleagues, family and neighbours. Give to those who are preaching good news across the world. Fund crusades, preach, share, be in church, be discipled, forgive others, love the church, pray in faith. Pray for the churches, pastors, missionaries in the Ukraine – one of the most Christian nations in that area.

Others may start a sermon series on wars, on end-times, others may panic, others may tell you that Christ is behind this rather than anti-Christ, others may turn their whole focus on this and be consumed with fear.

As for me and my househould, we will serve the Lord. We will continue to do everything we can to preach the good news about the kingdom throughout the whole world. Selah.

Principles for Local Church 02 – Be A Follower

The creep factor: Who's following you around the Internet?

Hebrews 6.12 encourages every Christian to be a follower.

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The truth is the whole New Testament is filled with instructions to follow other people, but most people are not good at following others. They are too crazy and spooky and unreliable.

Paul told the Corinthian church “FOLLOW ME, as I FOLLOW CHRIST” (1 Cor. 11.1). If you want to get the best out of church, you need to follow your pastor.

Now firstly find a pastor that follows God – don’t follow a pastor that is following politicians, millionaires, bizarre doctrine, following money, following a reputation, following a career. Find a pastor who follows Christ, who reads the Bible more than they read biographies of billionaires and businessmen.

When you find a pastor who actually wants to follow Christ, follow them!

Principles for Local Church 01 – Mind Your Manners!

I Will Build My Church" - Matthew 16:13-19

When you join a Facebook group, there are rules to that group, within nearly every group I am in, whether it is religious, for weight lifting or diet, or for science fiction, or whatever else, one of the very first rules is something about no promotion of your products.

It is considered both unethical and impolite to join a group that is established and slowly built and nurtured around something other than you, and then use that group as a platform to promote your own business, your talents, your name, your book, your course, your whatever.

Yet, people regularly turn up at churches – people who are supposed to be disciples of Jesus – and the very first week, start handing out pamphlets, manuscripts, inviting people to their church, their Bible College, selling their fibre, shampoo, their MLM insurance schemes! It’s just as unethical and just as impolite. It is a failure to respect why the people have come to church.

No-one came to church last weekend hoping to get a free copy of your book, an invite to your course or Bible College, a new insurance policy or a free sample of your amazing herbal shake.

They came to worship the Lord, fellowship with the saints, listen to the preacher (the one they came to hear, not your secret message in the car park) and have a nice cup of tea and coffee, and a biscuit. To interrupt that is to fail to understand that Jesus only has one mission on earth – to build His church, and it is a definite case of you thinking far, far, far, far, far more highly of yourself than you ought.

If you are somewhere as a guest, act like a guest. Selah.