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

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

There is no dispute that Jesus was a figure in history. In fact, apart from the New Testament accounts, we also have sources from non-Christians like Pliny and Josephus.

Within Christianity some have challenged his divinity. But even if we do not agree on the Trinity, the traditional formula for Salvation (The Fall, Incarnation, Atonement and Redemption); and we fail to agree on the virgin birth, miracles, death, and resurrection; I believe that the teachings of Jesus still attests to his uniqueness.

Interestingly, while people might have issues with the church or Christianity as a religion, most people still have varying degrees of reverence for Jesus. They see him as a social reformer, political activist, kind man, community organiser, humanist, philosopher, thinker, or teacher. His life has inspired many to greater works.

For me Jesus is all of these and even more. His non-violent position against the oppression from the Roman authorities and Jewish rulers of his era, his position as the spokesperson for sinners, his outreach to the ostracised and those at the fringes of society, his vision for equality and World Unity, and his selfless nature; are things to be greatly admired.

I say this to illustrate that we do not need the formula for salvation, understanding of the Trinity and even the resurrection to believe in his saving power. His ideas and philosophy are divine enough to bring about lasting peace, harmony and prosperity for humanity.

Dear friends, even that is sufficient reason for me to believe in him, and attest him as The Son of God.

Join us as we continue with: God was in Christ. Today, we focus on Jesus' ministry.

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

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

This Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship

Like other nations of that era the Exile from The Promised Land, the destruction of The Temple; the captivity of the people was meant to be the end of the Jewish people. However it turned out to be their defining moment owing to the efforts of visionary leaders like Ezra, Nehemiah, and the company of faithfuls that bought into their vision, making that hard long journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. 

In similar vein, the movie Hidden Figures demonstrates the influence of leaders within Black Churches in that era. Their vision and hope for Social Justice will inspire women to work for NASA and IBM, and to be the best in their fields. In-spite of segregation, and other racial challenges these women excelled and made their mark in history.
This Sunday as part of my series God Was In Christ, I will be showing Hidden Figures with a view to demonstrate the church’s vital work of Reconciliation
Our role as Salt and Light. Our role in harmonising planet earth to God through our hunger and thirst for Social Justice.
Join us @ 3pm, light refreshments afterwards
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?

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!

This Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship

The destruction, collapse, and eventual Exile of the Northern and Southern kingdoms posed major challenges for the elites and people of Israel and Judah.

Faced with defeat, destruction of infrastructures and institutions, how do you sustain and rebuild a nation? How do you create new narratives when the prevailing one fails to hold water?
In a strange way instead of wallowing in defeat, The Exile afforded them the opportunity to debate, challenge old paradigms, and to come up with a roadmap for nation building. 
When the opportunity came, they seized it! Some returned to Palestine, started capturing and documenting their oral history and culture, addressing loose ends in theological understanding, and providing new narratives to old and new challenges, some based on what they gleaned from other cultures. 
Perhaps most importantly they realised that they lacked military might (By strength shall no man prevail, 1 Sam. 2:9), so they invested in knowledge acquisition. This also meant moving away from the central authorities of the monarchy and priesthood, and making the people sustainers of the Nation. No need for kings, prophets or oracles. Rather, the people were to be educated, and the Text made accessible to them. So the synagogues became the centre of knowledge transfer and community life, the home a hub for reinforcing such knowledge. 
They designed a curriculum, and embarked on an educational system which many argue is the blue print for Western education. The Community was bound to One God and Covenant; hence the term ‘gentiles’. This curriculum is what we know today as the Old Testament. Scribes and Rabbis will be trained to maintain this system, commentaries will be added to the original Text, and the Text will be revised and edited a few times; leading to the version we have today. 
By the time of our Lord, these radical reforms would have sustained the Community through wars, natural disasters, famine and various military invasions. 
Jesus will come on the scene, make further reforms, 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
Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk