For unto us, a Child is born, unto us a Son is given

Just before I am out to town for the last bits of shopping with Imo, I am enjoying a bit of classical music to the Messiah by Handel. This takes me back years ago when I used to live in Hastings where I was part of a choir. We prepared that piece of music.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In those days, I was unaware of the link between the lyrics and Isaiah's prophecy, Isaiah 9-6.

I wish you all a blessed time at Christmas. May the Lord protect you, guide you and shine his face upon you during the festive time. In Jesus's name. Nicky


Talk to God regularly, include him in everything -...

God1meover: Talk to God regularly, include him in everything -...:
In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)  With all this beauty in place God created man in his own image. (Gen 1:...


Stop modern slavery and trafficking!

Call to end modern day slavery
Stop human trafficking
An anti-slavery coalition is calling on the government to add strong measures to the draft Modern Slavery Bill so it is effective and reduces trafficking and slavery.
The Evangelical Alliance and 14 other organisations make up the coalition, including A21 Campaign, CARE, The Salvation Army, Hope for Justice, Love 146, International Justice Mission and Stop the Traffik.
The coalition briefing calls for an end to modern slavery once and for all: "The transatlantic slave trade was banned in 1807 and slavery was abolished across the British Empire in 1834, yet it is still with us today. Children are sold into slavery to pay family debts; people pay for passage, only to be trafficked over borders and find forced labour conditions rather than freedom ... this must end."
Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, said: "For evangelicals this is unfinished business. We've been fighting slavery for hundreds of years, and we are still at it today. This bill needs to live up to its promise. It has the potential to tackle modern slavery but needs to listen to the campaign groups in order to achieve that aim. Together as organisations motivated by our Christian faith we call on the government to act and strengthen the bill so it can bring freedom to many caught in slavery."
The call comes today, as the government issues their draft of the Modern Slavery Bill and Frank Field MP publishes his evidence review
Following the publication of the Centre for Social Justice's report It Happens Here in March 2013, pressure has built for the government to introduce a new law. The proposals increase the maximum sentences and bring together offences currently dealt with under different strands of the legal system.
Churches are urged to meet with their MPs and encourage them to take a strong and uncompromising stance against all shades and forms of modern-day slavery when the bill comes up for debate at Westminster in 2014.


There is a way out!

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.(1 Cor. 10:13). 


Who is this Jesus?

Jesus called God ‘Father’, but that was not unusual in itself.  All Jews rejoiced to see themselves as God’s children.  But Jesus talked about a unique relationship with God.  On one occasion in Jerusalem he declared, ‘I and the Father are one.’  The Jews were incensed by this apparent blasphemy, and would have killed him on the spot had he not been a quick thinker and a quick runner.

Jesus did not announce to people, ‘I am God.’ Instead he roused their curiosity until the point at which they were forced to think about whether he might be divine. It was contrary to Jewish thinking even to entertain that possibility. So when Jesus’ followers came to believe that Jesus was God they were thinking the unthinkable. But the evidence so overwhelmed them that they had no choice. Worshipping the risen Jesus was the only way they could make sense of what they had witnessed.

One of the accounts of Jesus’ life tells the story of a paralysed man being lowered through a ceiling to come to rest at his feet. The house was so packed with people who wanted to hear Jesus speak that it was the only way to attract his attention. The expectation was that Jesus would heal the man. Instead Jesus said to him, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

The Jews were shocked because their belief was that only God could forgive sins. Jesus pointed out that to say those words was easy. It was working miracles that was difficult. He was implying that if he was able to heal the man in front of their eyes, they should have no difficulty believing that he was able to forgive him. At Jesus’ command, the man stood up and walked. Without saying as much, Jesus had challenged those who saw the event to believe that he was God, the only forgiver of sins.

Jesus never shied away from provocative statements. He called for absolute loyalty to him – the kind of loyalty that God demanded. ‘I am the way, the truth and the life,’ he declared. ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’ But his call was not burdensome. He invited people to come to him for rest, and to go through their lives with him as a companion – not only in life but throughout eternity.

The claims of Jesus repeatedly pushed people to a point of decision. The Jewish leaders responded by seeking to stamp out his ideas. The followers of Jesus responded by rethinking everything they knew about the Jewish religion. When his resurrection put their beliefs beyond doubt, they became the first leaders of Christianity.
Do you want to find out more? visit this website, click here. Blessings.

Christmas starts with Christ


3 best Christmas cards

Here is a selection of Christmas cards that I would consider the best. What about you, which cards did you buy this Christmas?
1 Tearfund Journeyingon. They have a message printed inside, Isaiah 9:6, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Awesome!
Tearfund - Journeying On (Pack of 10)2
2 Tearfund, a pack of 20 Color in Christmas cards, ideal for families with children, 
Tearfund - Colour-In Christmas Cards (Pack of 20)
3 Share the story,  
Cover: Sharing the Story
Inside: May the miracle of Christmas shine in your heart all year.
Scripture: "When they saw the star they rejoiced." - Matthew 2:10
Sharing the Story Boxed Christmas CardsWhat about you, which cards did you buy this Christmas?What are your favorite?
Tonight, I went to the college MFL party and had a great time, met new people. Students and staff were sampling foods from Europe and China. Being entertained by traditional Christmas carols. Have a blessed end of week. N.

Have a blessed end of week. N.


The best kept secret..the Lord delights in you...

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Who can reach our soul?

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Power is the special and distinctive prerogative of God, and God alone. Power belongs to God. God is God: and power belongs to him. If he delegates a portion of it to his creatures, yet it still is his power. The sun in the heavens, although it is “…like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course” [Psalm 19:5], yet it has no power to move through the universe except as God directs it. The stars, although they travel in their orbits and no one can stop them, yet they have neither power nor force except that which God daily infuses into them. The tall archangel, near God’s throne, who outshines a comet in its brilliance, and who excels in strength and listens to the voice of the commands of God, still has no strength except that which his Creator gives to him... And when we think of man if he has might or power, it is so small and insignificant, that we can scarcely call it such; yes, when it is at its greatest-when he waves his scepter, when he commands vast armies, when he rules nations-still the power belongs to God.
This exclusive prerogative of God is to be found in each of the three persons of the glorious Trinity. The Father has power: for at his word the heavens were made, and by his strength all things continue, and through him they fulfill their destiny. The Son has power: for like his Father, he is the Creator of all things; “Without him nothing was made that has been made” [John 1:3], and “in him all things hold together” [Colossians 1:17]. And the Holy Spirit has power.

It is concerning the power of the Holy Spirit that I will speak this morning; and may you gain a practical example of that attribute in your own hearts, when you sense that the influence of the Holy Spirit is being poured out on me, so that I am speaking the words of the living God to your souls, and the power bestowed on you when you feel the effects of it in your own souls.
1. First, we note that the inner spiritual power of the Holy Spirit has power over the hearts of men and women.
Normally, it is very hard to affect a person’s heart. However, if you want to get at them for any worldly purpose you can do it. A cheating world can win the hearts of men and women, a little gold can win their hearts, a bit of fame and a little applause can win their hearts. But there is not a minister alive, who by himself, can win the hearts of men and women. He can win their ears and make them listen; he can win their eyes, and cause those eyes to look at him; he can win their attention, but their hearts are very slippery. Yes, the heart is like a fish that all gospel fishermen find difficult to hold on to. You may sometimes almost pull it out of the water; but slippery as an eel, it slips between your fingers, and evades capture. Many a minister has imagined that he has caught the heart but has been disappointed. It would need a strong hunter to overtake the deer on the mountains. It is too fast for a human on foot to approach.

Only the Holy Spirit has power over the hearts of men and women. Did you ever try your power on a heart? If any person thinks that a minister can convert the soul, I wish they would try. Let them go and become a Sunday-school teacher. They will take their class, they will have the best books that can be obtained, they will have the best rules, they will draw their lines of defenses around their fortified spiritual city, they will take the best child in their class, and if they are not tired in a week I will be very much surprised. Let them spend four or five Sundays in trying, and in the end they will say, “The young person is incorrigible.” Let them try another. And they will have to try another, and another, and another, before they will manage to convert one. They will soon find it is “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.” [Zechariah 4:6] 
Can a minister convert anyone? Can he touch the heart? David said, your “…hearts are callous and unfeeling.” [Psalm 119:70] Yes, that is very true; and we cannot break through such a hard heart...Many pieces of the true steel that God has put into the hands of his servants has had the edge dulled by being used against the sinner’s heart. We cannot reach the soul; but the Holy Spirit can. He can give a sense of blood-bought pardon that will dissolve a heart of stone. He can,
“Speak with that voice which wakes the dead,
And commands the sinner to rise:
And makes the guilty conscience dread
The death that never dies.”
He can make Sinai’s thunders audible; yes, and he can make the sweet whisperings of Calvary enter into the soul. He has power over the hearts of men and women. And here is a glorious proof of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit that he has rule over the heart.
2. But if there is one thing more stubborn than the heart it is the will.
Some believe in freewill. Many dream of freewill. Freewill! Where is that to be found? Once there was freewill in Paradise, and freewill made a terrible mess there, for it spoiled all of Paradise and turned Adam and Eve out of the garden. Freewill once existed in heaven, but it turned the glorious archangel out and a third part of the angels of heaven fell into the abyss. I want nothing to do with freewill, but I will try to see whether I have a free will within me. And I find that I have. I have a very free will to commit evil, but a very poor will to do that which is good.
 I demonstrate my freewill when I sin, but when I want to do good evil is present with me, and I cannot carry it out. Yet some boast of freewill. I wonder whether those who believe in freewill have any more power over other person’s wills than I have. I know I have no power. I find the old proverb is very true, “One man can bring a horse to the water, but a hundred cannot make him drink.” I find that I can bring all of you to the water, and a great many more than can fit into this church; but I cannot make you drink; and I don’t think a hundred ministers could make you drink. I have read all about the great preachers, Rowland Hill, and George Whitfield, and several others to see what their secret was; but I cannot discover from them any plan that would work in turning your wills. I cannot coax you; and you will not yield by any other means. I don’t think any man has power over his fellow creature’s will, but the Spirit of God has. “I will make them willing in the day of my power.” He makes the unwilling sinner so willing that he is eager for the gospel; he who was obstinate, now runs to the cross. He, who laughed at Jesus, now begs for his mercy; and he who would not believe, is now made by the Holy Spirit to do it, not only willingly, but eagerly; he is happy, he is glad to do it, rejoices in the sound of Jesus’ name, and delights to obey God’s commands. The Holy Spirit has power over the will.

Source:  The Power of the Holy Spirit
June 17, 1855
by C. H. Spurgeon  (1834-1892).


When do you say no?

21 On that day I will answer, says the Lord.
I will answer the heavens
and they will answer the earth.
22 The earth will answer the corn, the new wine, and the fresh oil,
and they will answer Jezreel;
23 I will sow him for myself in the land;
and I will have compassion on No Compassion,
and I will say to Not My People, “You are my people”;
and he will say, “You are my God.”
Hosea 2:21-23

In my bible reading of yesterday, Roger Pooley said something that touched me, I quote, 
Grace is free, outrageously so and it's a mistake to think that we can earn it but it's equally misleading to think that we can treat it lightly and avoid living the way God wants us to. Our attitudes to sex, money, time: they all need to be transformed and disciplined, by the love of God. In a highly sexualised culture, it's all too easy to become just a bit self-indulgent, and then..


Walk by the Spirit..

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Before this passage, Paul says:

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit,and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.(AE)

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Have a blessed week-end. Nicky

A cycle in discipleship.

A cycle in discipleship.
Being Christ's disciples can be tough. If you want other people to know about Christ, there will be problems, attacks, crisis, worries o...


This man has done nothing wrong!

Tissot, The Title on the CrossThe Crucifixion of Jesus
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”  
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Source: Luke 23 

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.
21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."
22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Source: John 19:19-22


I was an atheist and now I am a Christian

E. A. Rowell describes himself as the Atheist of atheists. He says:
My parents and other immediate relatives were proud of their unbelief. I was nourished on the vaunting skeptics of the ages.

But I observed the futile amazement with which every skeptic from Celsus to Wells stood around the cradle of the Christ. I wondered why this helpless Babe was thrust into the world at a time when Roman greed, Jewish hate, and Greek subtlety would combine to crush Him. And yet this most powerful, devastating combination ever known in history served only to advance the cause of the Infant who was born in a stable—the purest human being in the world born in the filthiest place in the world.

No unbeliever could tell me why His words are as charged with power today as they were nineteen hundred years ago. Nor could scoffers explain how those pierced hands pulled human monsters with gnarled souls out of a hell of iniquity and overnight transformed them into steadfast, glorious heroes who died in torturing flames, that others might know the love and mighty power of the Christ who had given peace to their souls.
No agnostic could make clear why seemingly immortal empires pass into oblivion, while the glory and power of the murdered Galilean are gathering beauty and momentum with every attack and every age.

Nor could any scoffer explain, as Jesus Himself so daringly foretold, why by telephone, airplane, and radio, by rail, horse, and foot, His words are piercing the densest forest, scaling the highest mountains, crossing the deepest seas and the widest deserts, making converts in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people on earth.

No doubter could tell me how this isolated Jew could utter words at once so simple that a child could understand them and so deep that the greatest thinkers cannot plumb their shining depths...

But I learned that the paradox was plain and the mystery solved when I accepted Him for what He claimed to be—the Son of God, come from heaven a Saviour of men, but above all, my own Saviour. I learned to thrill at the angel’s words: “Behold.... unto you is born this day... a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Are you an unbeliever who does not quite know why he/she does not believe? or you used to believe when you were a child but now as a grown-up you think this is rubbish. So, why don't you ask Jesus-Christ himself  ? In Matthew 7, Jesus-Christ says: 

7 ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


Salvation, peace, hope, purpose, love, Kingdom of Heaven

The Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Rt Rev Robert Paterson, speaking at the General Synod today said potential members were put off by the Church of England's "internalising" tendency.
He said the Church of England was failing to capitalise on a widespread "residual faith" in English society.
"There is a great deal of residual faith around in this country, you only have to meet people in hospital, people who are sad from the death of those they love, people who don't turn up on Sundays to church but who ask us to pray with them," he said.
He added: "The trouble is that what is on the label of the Church tin is still not what is in the tin.
"On the label, the church tin says 'open here for salvation, peace, hope, purpose, love, Kingdom.. but when it is open inside the tin we so often find humbug, or if we are Anglicans, fudge.
"People outside the church have noticed that internalising tendency and they don't want to belong to an apparently useless and self-orientated organisation.
"The symptoms of this can be seen in the general decline of the self- preserving parts of the institutional church and in contrast, growth among the more visionary and less defensive."


Jesus-Christ: the fulfilment of prophecy

How can we know that the Bible is the Word of God ? What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other religious books? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word?
These types of questions must be seriously examined if we are to determine the validity of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God, divinely inspired, and totally sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. The apostle Paul has not doubt that the Bible is the very Word of God. He says:' All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word. The internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.

Another of the internal evidences that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is the prophecies it contains. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations including Israel, certain cities, and mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of One who would be the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. Biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. 
Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no rational way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin. There is no other religious book with the extent or type of predictive prophecy that the Bible contains.
I have attached a document written by D. James Kennedy who sums up all the prophecies writtent about Jesus-Christ. Just click the link below.

'They pierced my hands and my feet' Psalm 22:16
Have a blessed evening. Yours in Christ. Nicky


Tory Minister Baroness Warsi warns persecution threatens the Christian way of life

Lady Warsi advocates for Christian s rights

Baroness Warsi, the Minister for Faith and Communities, said Christians were being driven out of countries such as Syria and Iraq where the religion first took root.The peer, Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet minister, raised her concerns in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington DC.Earlier, she said countries such as Pakistan should do more to “set the tone” for tolerance of minorities.Lady Warsi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m concerned that the birthplace of Christianity, the parts of the world where Christianity first spread, is now seeing large sections of the community leaving and those remaining feeling persecuted.“There are huge advantages to having pluralistic societies – everything from the economy to the way people develop educationally, and therefore we all have an interest in making sure that Christian communities do continue to feel that they belong and are not persecuted.”
She said she had already had “very frank conversations” with ministers in Pakistan, telling them that senior politicians have a “duty” to speak out against persecution.


A bible-shaped church

“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47

It's quite a regular thing for people to say, and not least to clergy, 'You don't have to go to church to be a Christian'. My only comment, and I could pass quite a few, is that they are missing the point. As I have said on many occasions and no doubt others have too, 'the church is people not a building - take away the people and what are you left with?!' The church is a meeting of people – Christian people and when they meet they do various things - and there I pause for it bring us to the reading I want to look at today: Acts 2:42-47.

Before that I want to put that reading in its setting and then bring it to ours. Acts chapter 2 the real and visible start of the life of the Christian Church - almost its birthday. It was the festival of Pentecost and was the day God poured out the Holy Spirit on believers and Peter preached the first sermon to the crowds in Jerusalem who were there for this festival and v 41 records that 3000 people became Christians that day. The verses we have had read, vv 42-47, are a kind of footnote from Luke, the author of Acts, which tells us of the sort of activities that marked the life of the emerging church as it came into being. What we see is a people (church) full of life, activity, excitement and I guess anticipation. If you want to know more of how this church grew then you have to read the book of Acts.

They were devoted - verse 42 - It mentions specifically: the apostles teaching - learning about Jesus; fellowship - we hear more about that later; communion - but not as we know it; prayer - the powerhouse of the church. People wanted to know about Christianity and how to live it. Understanding faith, exercising faith through prayer and learning from each other.
Filled with awe - verse 43 - People were being healed and set free from all sorts - no details given but the 'action' was making a real impact on the people.
They were together and shared and cared - verses 44-45 - There was a great deal of closeness and commitment to each other. People weren't being selfish but looking to the needs of all those who were believers. Strength comes when people stand together in and for a cause and there is no better cause than that of Jesus and the gospel.
They were worshipping regularly - verses 46-47 - This is in addition to what is mentioned earlier, and altogether, these activities became the driving force and life giving force to this church. The outcome:
They were growing - verse 47b - It says new people were becoming believers each day because 'the Lord was adding to their number those who were being saved. It was them at work but the Lord through them.
In his ministry Jesus called people to follow him and belong. After the Ascension and the giving of the Spirit his first followers took on that role with direct down to earth preaching and things were happening. Christianity was alive and well and growing. In many ways the church in the western world has become formalised and staid. We need to get back to our roots with a bit more life and commitment because otherwise, at the rate things are going, there will be little or no church before long. We as a Team are committing ourselves to that and I hope we continue to do so and thus give the Lord the opportunity to do his work in changing lives, transforming outlooks and developing a people in this area that are continually reaching out for him, seeing growth and more lives changed.

Thanks to Steven Abram of the Mid Trent Churches Team. See their website at www.midtrentchurches.org.uk, or Steven's site at www.abram.org.uk for information and more articles. This was published also on this site Squeaky Jesus


TobyMac - Me Without You

Me Without You

Raindrops rollin' off my brim
Streetlights got the pavement glistenin'
Touchdown, I fall into Your arms
Right where I belong
Your everlasting arms

And where would I be
Without You...

I'd be packin' my bags when I need to stay
I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way
I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It's true
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
Don't know where I'd be without You
(Wooooah, without you)

Flashback, step into the scene
There's You and there's a very different me
Touchdown, You had me at believe
You had me at believe, You did

And where would I be
Without You, without You...

I'd be packin' my bags when I need to stay
I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way
I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It's true
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
Don't know where I'd be without You

(Where would I be...)

(I was so deep,
So incomplete
Til' You rescued me
Yeah, You rescued me)

You rescued me
You are mine, I am Yours
You rescued me
And I am Yours forever
You saved me, remade me

And where would I be

I'd be packin' my bags when I need to stay
I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way
I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It's true
That I'd be packin' my bags when I need to stay
I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way
I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
So true
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
Don't know where I'd be without You

That's me without You-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou
That's me without You-ou-ou-ou
Don't know where I'd be without You


God's dream

God’s Dream
A Sermon delivered by Desmond Tutu at the Chapel of King's College, London (Sunday 22 February 2004):
In St. John's Gospel our Lord says the highest title he can give his disciples is to call them friends. Therefore what he says to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection stands out prominently. And he's talking about people, one of whom betrayed him, another denied him not once but twice, and they all deserted him, like craven cowards and were now skulking behind closed doors.
We would have understood perfectly had he been thoroughly miffed with them and spoken dismissively and even derisively of them. Well, what happens? It would have been startling to have called them his disciples after what they had done. And quite mind-boggling even to have called them friends. Well, he decided to knock us over with a feather.
Just listen to what he says to Mary Magdalene: "Go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father. To my God and your God."
Now that really is quite unbelievable. This craven despicable lot - my brothers indeed! But clearly Jesus meant this to be taken seriously. That we, his followers, belong in one family - God's family. Is there anything else in the bible that seems to support this assertion?
This Jesus came - not to an ideal world - but came to a world that was polarised, fractured, divided. Divided into hostile and often alienated groupings. There were the much hated occupying Romans, resented by the subject natives, and Jews did not share a cup with the Samaritans. The Jewish community of His day was stratified, fragmented. There were the Sadducees and Pharisees, the zealots and the collaborating tax collectors. There were the rich, the poor, male, female, young, old - and there was a sharp divide between Jew and Gentile, represented by a wall of partition in the temple precincts to go beyond which spelt death for the Gentile unbeliever.
And people saw a veritable miracle happening before their very eyes with the advent of the new community of the followers of Jesus. They saw those who were formerly alienated and hostile flocking into this new fellowship. And they marvelled and remarked "How these Christians love one another."
It would have been revolutionary for a slave to have been accepted as the equal of his former master. But no, they were not just equals - no, they were brothers. They were sisters in one family. An equal you can acknowledge once and forever after ignore. You can't do that with your sister or brother.
You don't choose who your relative will be. Sometimes we wish we could, given just how difficult some of them can be. Well, we don't always know what they think of us! No - we don't choose our family members. They are God's gift to us, as we are to them.
Do you recall when Saul went to Damascus to arrest Christians there and was blinded? And the Lord asked Ananias to go to Saul's lodgings to pray for him to have his sight restored. Do you recall Ananias quite flabbergasted telling the omniscient Lord "Lord, do you know this man? He has been harassing your people and came here to arrest us. No, Lord, you can't be serious." Well Ananias went, and when he arrived said about this persecutor of the Christian community "Brother Saul".
Yes, I believe the words of the Lord to Mary Magdalene to be his most radical utterance. We are family - all of us. We belong in God's family. There are no outsiders. All are insiders.
When Jesus spoke of being lifted up on the cross he said "I, if I be lifted up will draw.." - he didn't say "I will draw some" - he said "I, if I be lifted up will draw ALL - draw all to me to hold them" all of us drawn into the divine embrace that excludes no-one - black, yellow, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, male, female, young, old, gay, lesbian, so-called straight - yes it IS radical. All, all, ALL belong - Arafat, Sharon, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, Tony Blair, Palestinian, Israeli, Jew, Arab, Protestant, Catholic - all, ALL, all belong in this family.
And in a healthy family the rule is from each according to their ability, for each according to their need. And so if we are serious about being family we would not spend obscene amounts on budgets of death and destruction, when we know a small fraction of those budgets would enable our sisters and brothers - members of our family - God's family, God's children - EVERYWHERE - they would have enough to eat, clean water to drink, adequate health care, education.
Go and tell my brothers. Go and tell my family. We are all, all family God's family. The human family.