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

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

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

The World of Work 

When Jesus asserted that we cannot serve God and money (Luke 16), he was advancing an argument against the world of commerce. His ideas were centred around the early forms of capitalism.

By way of context, with centralised governments the burden of taxation had increased significantly. For instance, colonial masters charged their subjects for central and local administration, and a percentage of this revenue is returned to the State’s treasury. The impact of this policy is a massive economic gulf between the rich and poor. Most of the elites will offer their services to their colonial masters in one capacity or another. They serve as tax collectors, magistrates, administrators etc. The funds they made might be used to acquire lands, which the poor cultivated. 
There was always competition among these poor farmers as a result of pressure from landowners for yield, thereby creating a toxic environment within their social class. Community spirit is broken, cooperation eroded, and social capital diminishes. People are left behind. The sick, disabled, and vulnerable ones are seen as liabilities. 

We fast forward to the 21st century, and Jesus’ indictment still holds. We have a broken system. The world of work is competitive, aggressive, selfish and very tribal. Marx argues that the reason we are largely unhappy with work is because we no longer do what we enjoy, but rather, we are producing things which gives us little or no benefit directly. As such work becomes a burden. 

So, many argue that our world of work is responsible for much of our social ills today. Workers are stressed, people are fearful about going to work, people are living on pain killers and stimulants. Relationships suffer and our communities collapse. Even worse, as we are slowly loosing what is left of work to machines, the rate of suicide is rising fast. 
Added to this is the fact that without being involved in these dehumanising activities one can hardly survive in this world. Our basic needs like food, shelter, clothing; depends on this system. But in every sector: government, charities (sadly even churches), social enterprise, private; the world of work offers little or no value to our general well being. It is either heavily bureaucratic, dangerous, or serving the interest of a few. 
Therefore, it is not the configuration, but the overarching idea. What Marx calls the Superstructure.

This system enslaves humanity, and it stops us from harnessing our true potentials. Jesus saw it, hence he called for reordering. In similar vein David Platt argues:

“A materialistic world will not be won to Christ by a materialistic church.” 

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

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

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

Foundations.

Over the course of history Jewish leaders (priests, prophets, rabbis) have seen Scriptures as their foundation and most valuable asset. For instance, the study of the text was the only reason for a man to forego marriage once he has reached the age of responsibility.
With this in mind, we can understand the continuos reference to words like: “and God said…” in the creation story in Genesis, the power of the God’s word bringing to an abrupt halt the construction of the Tower of Babel, the admonition in Deuteronomy 8: “man shall not leave by bread alone, but by God’s decree”, etc. This cross cutting theme is also reflected in different guises in every book in the Old and New Testament. 
So, dear friends if words are powerful, then Divine Words are super powerful. Destinies can be shaped by right teaching, and derailed by misguided or short sighted teaching, more or less what Jesus termed “old wine, in new wine skin”
Since God spoke through people, to be an oracle of God’s was the most noble of vocation. As such Priests, Prophets, and much later Rabbis were held in very high esteem, as they laid and sustained the foundations on which all that lasts are nurtured and established.
The destiny of the people and the nation at large rested on the shoulders of these people, therefore in return their welfare was the responsibility of the people.
Join us as I set the foundations for 2017
We march in the light of Nahum’s assertions: 
(For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob, as well as the majesty of Israel, though ravagers have ravaged them and ruined their branches.) – Nahum 2:2
3pm 

The Parish Hall 

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road, 

Sidcup, 

Kent DA14 6BX