Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

For the Jewish prophets what we class as social reforms today were spiritual revival, because for them there is no dichotomy between the spiritual and natural. In fact the idea of Church and State would have been completely alien to them.

When Amos charged against poverty and social inequality in his era, he was dealing with a deeply spiritual issue. The solution however was not divine intervention, but a change of behaviour from their audiences.

In similar vein, Jesus called for a change of worldview or mindset (repentance), in order to bring about the 'acceptable year of the lord', in other words, The Jubilee. The rich were challenged to sell all they had, distribute the proceeds to the poor, and join the campaign for the emancipation of humanity. This vision was meant to continue to 'the ends of the earth', a global movement for spiritual reorientation. A reprioritising of our values.

Sadly, the vehicle designed for this mission – the Church, has been hijacked by agents of the same systems and structures Jesus was contending against. We now have bastions of greed and self-centredness leading others through the same path. So instead of healing the world, we are contributing to her woes.

In the words one of the finest New Testament theologians of our time, D B J Campbell:

"Righteousness is the state or condition of being right, especially morally. To hunger and thirst after righteousness is to long for it intensely, both for oneself and for society. The would-be righteous man desires to be in a state of rightness with God and his fellow men, he also desires to see society at large in a similar state" – (The Synoptic Gospels, p. 39)

Join us as we examine the place of the Church within Jesus' Ministry within my series: God was in Christ.

3pm – 4:30pm
The Parish Hall
St John's Sidcup,
Church Road,
Sidcup,
Kent DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover
http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

The Church is not the building, but the people. When Jesus spoke of a kingdom he was talking about people working together in bringing about God's reign here on earth. In fact when the church lost focus of this and became carried away with activities, Paul reminded them writing,

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" – (Rom. 14:17)

As well as others, the hallmark of the kingdom remains these three elements: righteousness, peace and joy that springs from the very presence of God to his people through Christ. This joy does not deny hardship, persecution or challenges, but it abides and flourishes in-spite of. This joy was what sustained the church through persecution, and empowered it to move from being a minority faith to becoming mainstream.

Following last week's teaching on the Jesus' Ministry, by way of interlude we will be discussing the church and our role in expanding it in our time.

Join us today as we explore the scriptures.

3pm – 4:30pm
The Parish Hall
St John's Sidcup,
Church Road,
Sidcup,
Kent DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover
http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

The writers and redactors of the story of The Fall of man which explains The Problem of Evil in Genesis present humankind's quest for knowledge as the chief reason behind disobedience, subsequent Fall, and alienation from the Garden of Eden, and fellowship with God.

This crosscutting theme – disobedience and alienation, we see embedded in the text in various forms. Examples includes the story of the Tower of Babel, the Exile from the Promised Land, and in the New Testament, the Parable of The Prodigal Son.

This theology or philosophy has a negative impact on Judeo – Christian thought. For instance, Jesus had to revise the story of the Prodigal Son to challenge this mindset. As such he concluded that the younger brother was accepted back into the community by a loving father who had in fact been longing for his son's return with open arms. Interestingly, the original story vindicated the older brother for his faithfulness and obedience.

Sadly, anyone who challenges 'mainstream' ideas is Exiled just like Adam and Eve from the community. This includes those who question doctrinal practices, rituals, or even the sociopolitical milieu. We see this with the prophets in the Old Testament.

I am inclined to believe that in a bid to move from a highly superstitious faith, the leaders after the Exile deviated from the notion of a God that does everything for his people, to one that works with them in fulfilling his purpose. One that uses the skills and talent he has given them to build and expand his kingdom on earth. Hence there are no accounts of supernatural interventions in their writing, rather, they demonstrated faith, discipline, focus and persistence.

I urge us to see knowledge as a force for good. Even evil ideas can be transformed with the light of God's love in us for good. I urge us to be bold, I urge us to stay hungry.

Reachout | Revive | Recover
http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

This Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship

The question: why is there evil in the World is one that has been with us for a very long time. Different cultures and traditions have their explanation, in fact some do not even see these problems as ‘evil’, but as part of a complex system of self-regulation of the Universe. 

For some of the Jewish prophets recorded in the Old Testament the Messiah will bring about God’s judgement on his enemies, and a just rule here on earth through Israel. For others, there will be new heavens and earth. 
In Judeo-Christian tradition everything hinges on the Genesis story, especially chapter 3. Paul’s formula for human salvation is centred around Christ. For Paul, Jesus is the Second Adam that brings the whole of humanity back to God. And his resurrection is the seal of our promise of eternal salvation (1 Cor. 15:12-19). Hence he argues that,

“in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” – (2 Cor. 5:19)

In light of this I will be crystallising my subtopic: Incarnation, Nativity and Second Adam.

Join us on as we continue with: God was in Christ.

3pm 

The Parish Hall 

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road, 

Sidcup, 

Kent DA14 6BX
Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

Where are the prophets?

The prophets were not hyper mystical individuals as Christian tradition evokes, rather, they were thinkers, academics, social critics, community organisers; pressing for socioeconomic reforms for the people. They tackled the issues of their time headlong by Speaking Truth to Power, hence they were unpopular with the elites of their time. 

When the Old Testament makes reference to the phrase: “Then the word of the Lord came to…”, or, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon…”; these were not some trancelike episodes, but the translation of their ideas to their audience. From their ideas of Yahweh and their vision of how their society should work, they spoke in the place of God. 

They were highly controversial within the circles of mainstream thinkers, and hugely unpopular among the elites; in fact they were marginalised. They were mostly on their own, they suffered poverty, violence and persecution. They did not speak for money, recognition or power, hence the story in Kings of the greedy disciple, and that of the Unknown Prophet. But they were filled with desire for social justice, so much so that Jeremiah chose a celibate life.

They drew insight from history, cultural trends, classical texts, wisdom texts, poetry, and geopolitical developments around their world. Once the seeds of their ideas were uttered they came alive – although invisible. These ideas will catch up with their times, often revisited decades or even centuries after they were born. Dear friends, their ideas outlived them and are now mainstream.

To this end Jesus spoke against those in authority in his time:

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” 

– Matthew 23:33-35

So, in response to the question: Where are the prophets? I say, they are with us. But can you see them?

This Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship

By the time of our Lord, the radical reforms by Ezra et al., had been fully assimilated into Jewish life. It had also sustained the Community through wars, natural disasters, famine and military various invasions. 

Yahweh was sovereign over all, even so much so that excellence in vocation was also part of their worship to him. When we arrive at the New Testament we see Jesus demonstrating lordship over material and immaterial realms.
Jesus will come on the scene centuries later to make further reforms to the existing framework, then commission his disciples to move it beyond the Community, and into the World. To this end Paul argues that,

“in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” – 2 Cor. 5:19


Join us on Sunday as we continue with my series: God was in Christ, when I will be speaking on: Incarnation, Nativity and Second Coming.
3pm 

The Parish Hall 

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road, 

Sidcup, 

Kent DA14 6BX

What is the point with the Old Testament?

With the understanding of our New Covenant in Christ, many people question the role of the Old Testament in Christianity. 
The answer to this pertinent question can be captured in Paul’s challenge to Timothy,

[do] your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)

At the time of writing, Christianity was still at its formative state, hence there was no text known as the New Testament. Clearly this admonition was for the study of the Torah, Mishnah, Midrash, and other classical Jewish writings. 
Paul himself had studied under Gamaliel, a known Rabbi with intellectual lineage to back his teaching and worldview. With a view to assert his authority, Paul gives us a preview of his credentials when he notes,

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia,but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” (Acts 22:3)

Paul, and by proxy Timothy, were both baptised or filled with the Holy Spirit; yet he exhorted Timothy to study these texts. 

Dear friends, Paul was passing on old Jewish culture or tradition, in this case: lineage of knowledge or philosophy, and excellence in vocation. For example, like Jesus, Paul’s studied the equivalent of a degree in Theology; while Gamaliel would have stood on platforms as a Professor of Theology. 
In fact when the gospel writer asserts that Jesus,  

“taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:29); 

they were highlighting the fact that he was doing something unique with the text; in other words, shifting from his lineage. The same is done about John the Baptist when the writer notes that ‘he shall be called John’, and that he was, ‘in the wilderness until the day of his showing to Israel’.

To this end the Old Testament serves the following primary purpose:
1. It provides us with materials to explore the rich history, culture, context and worldview of the Jews, for the purpose of understanding and teaching 

  1. It shows us the theological progression of the Jews, and the intersection by Christ, in his effort to Reconcile the ‘Gentiles’ into a New Covenant
  2. It gives us an understanding of what the New Testament writers were trying to achieve in their effort to bridge the gap between Judaism and what we know today as ‘Christianity’ 

  3. It gives a blue print for the Christian faith. Which can be best described as a universal form of Judaism whose vision is for a kingdom bound by a common faith and destiny that is centred around Christ, as to a kingdom bound by heritage.
    Father, enlarge our hearts. Give us a vision for humanity. We ask through you son Jesus Christ. 

To a blessed week!