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.


Colours of day

This is one of my favorite hymns not just because of the tune but also for the powerful lyrics, and we sang it at our local pub the Bank House for a special Harvest celebration.  Oups. It was a fantastic evening as the event was well-attended, the music was outstanding and you felt relaxed and joyful. Hearts and ears open to something new, a glimpse of heaven maybe who knows! Regular customers, parishioners from Mid-trent churches and outside the village such as Great Haywood. We were privileged to have John at the mandoline, Maureen at the violin, Helga at the keyboard and Steve at the guitar. At the interval, I was going to say the entr'acte, we were offered a selection of tasty food bites, courtesy of Carol and Tom Brannon. I may be biased but the other attractive feature of this event was the opportunity given to everybody to request their favorite songs. So we can't wait for another evening of worship there. If you live nearby and have never been, why don't you join us next time! 

Colours of day dawn into the mind,
The sun has come up, the night is behind.
Go down in the city, into the street,
And let's give the message to the people we meet

So light up the fire and let the flame burn,
Open the door, let Jesus return,
Take seeds of His Spirit, let the fruit grow,
Tell the people of Jesus, let His love show.

Go through the park, on into the town;
The sun still shines on, it never goes down.
The light of the world is risen again;
The people of darkness are needing a friend.


Open your eyes, look into the sky,
The darkness has come, the sun came to die,
The evening draws on, the sun disappears,
But Jesus is living, His Spirit is near.

Even though I had more free time in my hands than now, I'm sharing this with you a month later.Have a blessed evening!