Tuesday 24 November 2015

The British Broadcasting Corporation is the State’s broadcasting network in this country and has a well established reputation for being biased in a left wing political sense, against Israel and Christianity. This was so blatantly displayed in a recent broadcast radio interview with a man named Barry Trayhorn and Libby from the Christian defence legal team of ‘Christian Concern.’

Barry was employed as a gardener for the Prison Service in Cambridge, and as he is a Pentecostal Church Minister, was allowed to take services in the Prison Chapel.

At one of the services he chose to speak on a verse in 1 Corinthians Chapter 9, which states among other words that a man should not sleep with another man. He must have been either naïve or seeking to be dismissed by speaking on this in a state institution, which of course he was. There was no way that quoting the Bible would be reckoned to be acceptable by a State institution in this country. (perhaps the Koran but not the Bible)

He agreed to be interviewed by a man named Iain Lee of Three Counties Radio, and similarly was Libby. I had never heard anyone being so rude, and aggressively rude. He would not allow either to answer properly; calling them bigoted, repulsive, obnoxious, and mocked the Bible as man written. Barry was totally out of his depth with such a man, and should never have gone near.

In the rarest action, the BBC responded to complaints, stating that the interview was totally unreasonable in manner and tone and apologised. For the BBC to utter an apology of this nature, shows how bad it was, and Lee had to do the same. I read he has since been removed from his breakfast show.

David Cameron is ever anxious to speak of his Christian belief, which causes it to be asked why he allows massive foreign aid to be given to countries which discriminate against people because of their religious (Christian) beliefs contrary to the Universal Human Rights Charter. He is being asked by Lord Alton and Fiona Bruce MP to take action to stop giving aid to those countries.

News reports regularly are telling that militant Islamic fighters are infiltrating the refugee influx into Europe, indeed ISIS have openly claimed their agents are being smuggled in.

News reports also tell that Christians are being slaughtered in such numbers in the Middle Eastern countries, apart from Israel that is, that soon Christianity will have been removed from the area.

We are used to hearing President Obama discrediting his Office and the great nation he represents, but one of his latest pronouncements reveals how much out of touch with feeling in his country. Referring to the admission of migrants from Syria into the United States,after other politicians had claimed priority for Christians,he is quoted in Britain’s leading liberal newspaper as saying, ‘when you see individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are, it has to stop'.

He seems blind to the obvious in that if his country can only take so many people, Christians should have priority. Whilst no one should suffer for their faith, the situation in the Middle East is that Islamic terrorists are not killing Muslim people, but are killing Christians, in which case this alone determines priority. I seriously doubt that Obama is a Christian.

Despite Obama’s passion for same sex marriage and abortion, the United States is still a Christian country.

Nissar Hussein, a father of six children,was set upon by hooded men armed with pickaxes when he went to move his car which he is forced to leave outside a police station in Bradford. He does that because his car was damaged severely more than six times, all because he converted to Christianity from Islam. He is now detained in hospital.

The Christian Legal Centre is representing a street preacher who was convicted for a public order offence because he was preaching the gospel. At a previous Court hearing the judge convicted him because he referred to a verse in the Bible which the judge said he should not have done but use another verse instead. Effectively, the judge is trying to decide which verses can be quoted from the Bible. The appeal is tobe heard in December.

The European Union is displaying its bias against Israel in a recent edict which requires good made in Israeli factories to bear the words, ‘made in the disputed territories’ rather than just ‘made in Israel’. What these blinkered bureaucrats do not either know or alternatively choose to ignore, is that such factories employ Palestinian workers who earn more than they would otherwise do so.

Sunday 15 November 2015


As members of a human family we like to meet with brothers and sisters in our parents’ home and as members of a Church family we should welcome the chance to meet with our Christian brothers and sisters.

A Church family is unique in that it consists of different ages, backgrounds, experiences and sexes. It is where God provides for us to be come equipped to carry out His message to the world. We sing praise together, pray for each other and for the worlds needs share bread and wine in Holy Communion and remember what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

We live in two worlds. We live in the earthly world but we also live in the world of the Spirit, and there is always the danger we can forget about God and become so involved in earthly activities.

The Bible says, ‘let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another’. We need to meet with others to have fellowship, to gain and give encouragement. Each of us has to make an effort. Most people believe in God and many have a respect for the Church, but that is as far as it goes. They don’t want God or the Church to intrude into their lives, unless of course they want a baptism or wedding and then both can become useful.

But just believing in God’s existence is not enough we have to draw near to Him and the only way is through Jesus Christ. There is one way, one Saviour, one way to eternal life.

Jesus is described in the Bible as the great High priest of God. The function of a priest is to be a bridge between God and man so that we can come into God’s presence and Jesus makes that possible. Jesus can take us into the very presence of His Father.

Some people treat Church like a petrol station. They go to refill their spiritual tanks, and although there are lots of people on the forecourt, don’t wan t to get involved with them, but just drive in fill up and shoot off.

There are many, far too many people in recent times, who have forsaken Church and it can be so very easy to give up, go with the flow and fall away. Once this is done it is often hard to get back into the practice of coming to Church. This is why the Bible urges the need for Christians to be with each other.

There are numerous reasons for people giving up worship. There are the cynical voices pouring scorn making people feel doubtful. There are forces of secularisation, now given so much attention and credence. There are pressures from within families where some members are anti-church, notably husbands regarding their wives. The worry about taking a public stand, and indeed, from within the Church itself.

I know a lady who was a wonderful practising Christian, as practical as one might be. Always the first to offer help when any member was unwell, or in difficulty. Very active in the Church, taking a leading role in all activities, social and religious. PCC Secretary, trained to be a Lay Reader, and then a new Vicar came to the Church with a wife who was one of the most unpleasant women I have ever met. She was intensely jealous of anyone likely to overshadow herself or husband, and made the other lady’s life so difficult she gave up attending a Church she had attended for many years. Perhaps the lady was wrong in not moving to another Church, but when you have been attending a Church for which you have become so attached, it can on a human scale be quite demoralising.

So we should not be tempted to separate ourselves from those who are joined to us by a common faith. Meeting and following Christ can be costly but mostly well rewarded. We must always be aware of the fact that in many parts of the world Churches cannot exist, nor can Christians meet with other Christians for fear of imprisonment or even death. Increasing hostility is being displayed in countries like Egypt, Pakistan, and Nigeria, where Churches are burned down and bombed. Here we still have freedom to worship, but if not cherished and valued and fought for will be lost.

We are living in an increasing anti-Christian environment with so called Equality and Diversity laws making it hard for Christians to express themselves, as public servants strive to find ways of excluding Christian expression.

Coming to Church should be like sons and daughters coming to meet with their (heavenly) Father in complete harmony. My sons regularly visit my wife and self, and I would be very concerned if they did not. Our heavenly Father is also upset when His children neglect Him.

But there is one thing I feel needs to be stressed. We should ensure the Church we attend is one faithful to God’s Word and seeks to build each other up through the Scriptures, and where the true gospel is preached.

We have to acknowledge however sadly this is not always the case, so it serves no purpose going to a Church which fails to do these things. Too many preachers have their own agenda, which is created around a morality not supported by Scripture, and where the teaching is given to subscribe to the culture of the day.

You must find a Bible based Church. Research in America has shown that going to Church and meeting with fellow believers is good for your health. A survey in North America of 4,000 people, found that older people especially who attended Church, were less depressed and far healthier that their non religious counterparts.

There are few people who can say with hand on heart I have no worries, problems, everything in my life is sunshine and roses. We all need spiritual fulfilment.. To all who are worried Jesus says, ‘come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ He is saying He is waiting for you and has got the help if you only will go to Him.

Jesus added, ‘take my yoke upon you’. A yoke was a wooden frame placed on a persons shoulder in order to make a load easier to carry. So Jesus is saying let me help you carry your burden. In John’s gospel we have the promise of Jesus that He will never turn anyone away.

Let us therefore draw near to God. holding firmly to your belief, and never give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us always give each other encouragement. Don’t let unpleasant people, secularists, or anyone else hold you back. Remember too, Jesus said if anyone rejected Him, He will one day reject them. Such a fate is too horrible to consider.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Sunday is Remembrance Day and services will be held to remember those men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom, and others who were badly wounded and disabled for life.

As the years roll by, the number of those who were alive during the last World war grows ever smaller reducing by the year. The memories however do not fade as we recall how this nation stood alone on the brink when all seemed lost and there was talk of surrender. But God raised up a man (Winston Churchill) who would rally the nation to perform such heroic deeds.

Sadly so many young people do not and will not learn of this glorious chapter of our history, never having to endure the horrors and hardship of war. Such has been the parlous direction of education for so many years in (state) schools under a government which seemed to have no pride in our past, that children have little if any knowledge of what was achieved in order that they have all the privileges they now enjoy.

We think of those shot down over German skies; who perished on the beaches on D-Day; drowned on Atlantic convoys, or were brutally tortured under Japanese prison guards.

Now we have to add those who perished or have been injured, blown up on dusty Afghan roads; or Iraqi ones. This has been the most wasteful loss of life, as young men were sacrificed for a mission which never had any realistic hope of success. Iraq was once a secular nation in which Christians could worship freely, now this ancient Christian territory is being rid of Christians mercilessly. Like virtually everything Tony Blair touched, it has ended up disastrously. Too late, most people now realise the extent of the damage he has caused to this nation, as well as the Middle East.

In fact the only place where Christians can be safe in that area now is Israel, yet there are those who would have us isolate Israel and boycott all their goods. We share a common Judea=Christian heritage with Israel, a true democracy.

If a nation like Russia with all its might, and without being held to account for its actions, could not win in that country, we certainly could not when our army is answerable to strict human rights law, with greedy lawyers searching for cases to launch compensation claims on any grounds. Successive Prime Ministers have acted as if they had to have a war to fight, and if David Cameron had not been restrained by Parliament, we would have been engaged in Syria.

The present government got over excited about the so called ‘Arab Spring, lauding their progress and Cameron even went to celebrate in Libya with the rebels. We may have got rid of some tyrannical dictators along the way, but we have only succeeded in replacing them with even more tyrannical regimes who are hostile to the Western nations.
This should make us reflect of the sacrifices made with the hope that what they died for would be practised and honoured.

The world has largely rejected Christianity, without having anything to put in its place to combat the evils of the world. Yet in all walks of public life, even to the highest level of government; we have flagrant lying, deceit, corruption and unrestricted immorality, conduct which can only destroy. Anyone who speaks out is branded as being narrow minded. There has to be concern when so many in high public office cannot be relied upon to speak truth, and not make false expenses claims, and are now revealed to have destroyed all evidence against them

This nation was built on the solid foundation of God’s law, and its moral standard and values were based on Christian principles this was the basis of our legal system. Now, in the midst of the most serious economic and financial crisis a country can face, we have a Prime Minister whose most urgent priority was to oppose God’s law with a ‘passion’ to legalise same sex marriage. This violates God’s law and destroys centuries of tradition. We must look forward to having men and women holding high office who have a set of principles for the good of all rather than their own private ambitions. We need leaders who will accept the standards laid down in God’s Holy Word.

That is what men fought and died for, and what men and women are doing now in our Army, Navy and Air Force. Our prayers must be for them and also reach out to their families in what must be anxious times. We should not subject them to scrutiny by those living in legal ivory towers in their every action, realising the tensions under which they live.

I spoke at a Veterans Day service, after the service I received a letter from a lady who wrote, ‘I grew up in the 20s and 30s in a free country with principles. We joined the forces because we thought we were fighting to preserve a way of life which other countries envied. We grew up in God fearing families. For a long time I have felt like a lonely voice crying in the wilderness. The only answer I have had is we have moved on. I feel as though I am losing my faith.’ I don’t believe she is a lone voice crying in the wilderness. I think there are many people in sympathy with her. I am sure there are many who would agree with her and such sentiments

Those veterans knew what counted in life as they fought for a safer world. The men on the fighting lines knew things had to get better. Many suffered great hardship in enemy prison camps; others were maimed for life; what would they say if they knew what things were going on this country now? Would they wonder if their great sacrifices were worthwhile as they looked at us?

Those making compensation claims for minor injuries? How would they feel to hear some jumped up public official refusing to let the flag they fought under be displayed lest it upset people not even born here, people who in fairness would not think of complaining or objecting.

We read of Soldiers refused service because they were in uniform; of Air Force men asked to leave a hospital waiting area as the sight of their uniform may ‘upset’ immigrants. Compare this with the United States where their military are honoured and feted wherever they go.

Those men and women had a faith and belief for which they fought, and now we as Christians have to take over that fight. Legislation is being made, and has been made, with laws so distinctly contradictory to Christian teaching, with public officials so ready to try and erase Christianity from public life. It is therefore intensely important, that we should positively let people know the true message, according to God’s Holy Word.

There will be people in all our Churches who would not normally be there, thus revealing a spiritual content in their lives. Indeed, almost all people have some spiritual longing. There are so many of these people who would be of enormous value to the Church, and who in turn could add so much to their lives. Let us pray that those leading services will boldly proclaim the faithful gospel, casting aside all acknowledgement of political correctness, so that others may to come to know the Lord Jesus.

Many people are like the two British soldiers who found themselves lost in the deserts of Iraq. They eventually came across a two star American General in his jeep. As they approached him they didn’t even bother to salute and simply blurted out ‘excuse me mate, can you tell us where we are?’ The General took umbrage at their casual attitude and sternly replied, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ at which one of the soldiers turned to the other and said, ‘Now we are in real trouble, we don’t know where we are and he doesn’t know who he is!’

We need a daring programme of revival, which God is challenging us to make. We within the Church need to ensure our services are always meaningful and encouraging. However, there is reluctance within some Churches to preach a vibrant Biblical message for fear of being criticised as being offensive to other faiths. Such reluctance is not reciprocated. People, I believe, are longing for and wanting spiritual leadership. All who treasure the Christian faith, and the memory of those who gave their lives to preserve a Christian heritage, must work and pray for a spiritual revival of the Christian Church.

May we always remember the sacrifices others made that we might be here. We must never ever forget the lives of so many gallant young men and women given that we may have peace in our lives.

Sunday 1 November 2015

I want to speak to you this morning on the subject of ‘the Church’, and by that I mean the Church at large in this country irrespective of denomination.
]It is generally accepted that we have become a godless nation, where most people see no relevance to God or Church to be necessary in their lives. Both are treated like a convenience store which they can turn to when they want something they can’t get anywhere else.

Whilst it is not all about numbers, we must concede that without people attending, the Church could not exist. God wants the church to grow.

The church was established by God to teach biblical doctrine so we can be grounded in our faith. The bible states, ‘Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.’

The church is to be a place of fellowship, where Christians can be devoted to one another and honour one another, instruct one another; be compassionate to one another, encourage one another, and love one another.

The heart of the Christian faith is to know God. Jesus said, ‘this is eternal life that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ who you sent’. Jesus meant that you know God as your personal God, not just know about Him, and to achieve that you need teaching and doctrine.

The Church exists to spread the gospel which tells of Jesus; that He died on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we might be acceptable to God and have eternal life with Him.

Whilst we live in a different age and conditions, there is much we can learn from how the first Church began and became so successful.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave his sermon and spoke of a corrupt generation who had rejected God and so they were under God’s judgement and needed to be saved. Such a situation could be said to exist today and is a reality for us, and this is the reason Church congregations are so small.

Peter’s words had such an immediate effect that 3,000 responded as they were ‘cut to the heart’; in other words they were deeply convicted. They began to realize that life was not what it appeared to be, and that behind all the normal events of everyday life was the power of God. This is always what happens when the Spirit of God is at work. He makes us aware of the Lordship of Jesus, the fact that Jesus is Lord.

As we compare ourselves today to that early church, we need to ask ourselves if we are an accurate representation of the kind of church that God would have us be.

We read that the church was devoted to the apostles teaching; they were doing so eagerly, they were not coerced, they did it out of desire to learn. Secondly, it was not something that was a passing mood, there was perseverance.

The Bible states, ‘they were filled with awe; it was attractive worship as people went with wonder and excitement anticipating what God would do; unbelievers were amazed at what they saw and heard and made them want to know more.

Does the worship you attend always fill you with awe and excitement? Do you hear inspiring sermons which want you to hear more? Really?

From the very beginning God is seen as a speaking God. He spoke to men right through the Bible, so all teaching should be firmly based on the Bible. God appointed prophets to record His thoughts and how He expected His people to live. In the New Testament He chose the Apostles to record His Word.

God in His grace has enabled us to have that same teaching of the Apostles; it is called the New Testament. If a Church is to have any credibility it must have the Bible at the heart of its ministry, the supreme authority of the Church. We have turned away from the Apostles teaching which is why we are losing so many people, for without such teaching we have nothing special to offer and have become little more than a social institution with a religious flavour.

When people come to Church they have a right to expect to hear a sermon based on Scripture; not someone’s ideas or opinion; nor on a political issue.

Christians have had many disagreements and arguments, Methodism itself was the result of one such argument, but at the heart of all Christian worship has always been the Bible. This is because the Bible uniquely tells the story of God’s dealings with human beings culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Bible is the Word of God. There was a time when the meaning of that statement would have been absolutely clear and incapable of being misunderstood, but in these days words are being twisted and interpreted to mean almost anything.

Christians are meant to enjoy the Bible. It is meant to be a constant means of enlightenment, enrichment and encouragement, its dynamic influence bringing a deepening joy into our daily lives. Sadly, many Christians seem to fall short of that experience.

We now have preaching of the Bible by people who are living contrary to biblical teaching, and which is total hypocrisy and indefensible.

The problem is too many in the Church do not truly believe in the Bible, and don’t want to. Charles Wesley who did so much for Methodism taught that salvation was through Christ alone; the value of a person’s life was measured by their faith; and the doctrine of heaven and hell. How often have you heard a sermon on these subjects, which enable us to properly determine the various moral issues which are so prevalent in today’s society?

There is a very significant sentence at the end of the passage; and the Lord added to their number day by day. Every day, there would be new converts to the faith. That should not really be surprising. The apostles were getting the gospel of Jesus Christ out to the people around them by their teaching. They told of Christ coming to this earth in a unique way; of the miracles Jesus performed; how He gave up His life for us by dying on the Cross so that our sins could be forgiven by God, so assuring us of eternal with Him.

The Apostles taught that Jesus had said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ If words mean anything, this is an utterly exclusive claim by our Lord. Without him, and apart from him, there is no way to the Father in heaven. If you decide Jesus is not for you, God doesn’t have a Plan B.
‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’
‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ These are the actual words of the Apostles.

In addition, unbelievers were seeing the grace of God being displayed in the lives of the believers and were impressed with what was happening and were attracted. God was using these things to draw people to himself and the church grew. This tells us that it is God who builds up a Church, for He alone can move a person’s heart to repentance and faith. Jesus said on one occasion, ‘No man can come unto me except my Father draw him’. God is drawing people to himself all over the world.

It is in God’s plan that His Church will grow. In that first Church it was growing all the time; from that little band of men, the Christian gospel spread across the world. It may reasonably be asked when all the empty Churches are seen, why isn’t God adding to His Church now? He is in Africa, South Korea, China and South America. I suggest it is because in Britain and other Western nations we are not teaching, and certainly not practising, the teaching of the Apostles.

These men were speaking in the name of and on behalf of the Lord Himself, who told them what to say. If we choose to teach and preach in a manner to align ourselves with society’s culture and ways rather than with what God has lain down, we cannot expect God to bless our ministry.

Paul commanded Timothy to preach the word, and by the word he meant the Scriptures, which is still the primary task for all preachers. He gave a clear instruction for all Christian pastors and teachers that they were commissioned to teach the truth and to refute error.

Jesus emphasised His mission was to preach the gospel and wanted His Church to do the same. Paul also gave the command to ‘preach the Word’ and warned that a time would come when people would not want to hear sound doctrine preached, but rather hear what the false preachers were telling them, and we have plenty of them in to-day’s Church. We have embraced, encouraged and even applauded ways of life that are in direct conflict with the Bible.

There is a reluctance by some clergy to speak out for fear of being labelled as a bigot or being discriminatory. This always likely to occur when someone wants to join the politically correct crowd and tell you sanctimoniously you shouldn’t say that, so there is the tendency to re-interpret the Bible to make it acceptable.

Obviously if we are faithful to Scripture we are going to upset many people, not out of a desire to do so, but simply because we will strike at their conscience. The Bible clearly states all people, even those who have never heard the gospel, have a sense of right and wrong. We have to tell of the consequences for them when this life is over.

If you were walking down a road and you saw a house on fire and also saw someone in side trapped, you wouldn’t just wave to them, you would seek to save them; so we have a Christian duty to try and save them spiritually.

A great fault in the Church today is we don’t let people know exactly what the Church truly stands for. There is an image of ancient language and solemn music. It need not be any of that. We have wonderful music to choose from, and the most vibrant message that can be offered. We just need to proclaim it.

The Bible states ‘I urge you to strongly contend for the truth once given to the saints.’ That truth was that which is now written down in Scripture, which so many people want to amend.

The messengers of Islam and other faiths are not ashamed or reluctant to boldly proclaim their message, nor will they allow their faiths to be abused, neither should we.

So what kind of Church would you really like to belong to? There is so much scope for innovation, but what I submit is essential is, music hymns (or songs) which are tuneful and so easy to sing; and a Bible based sermon, using a simple message devoid of all theological terms. Without those two key elements we will not reach out to the unsaved.

If you are old enough like me to have attended the great Billy Graham Crusades, or perhaps watch them on the religious television channels, you will appreciate these points. We cannot of course emulate what they produced in terms of either music or preaching, but we can see the effect and response such a format produced from those present.

People love to sing, and Methodists have a long tradition of being worthy singers, we must pray for worthy preachers.

It is a fact of life we live in a free and easy country where virtually no behaviour is considered to be morally wrong, and the moment anyone dares to criticise or suggest something is wrong, they are labelled as phobic or bigots. Unfortunately many people within the Church have adopted the way of the world, it has somewhat been accepted, and even applauded. This is so wrong; the Church should be setting an example and making its voice heard instead of secularists setting out their agenda.

A Danish philosopher once stated, whereas Jesus came and turned water into wine, the modern Church has managed to do something altogether more difficult, to change wine into water. Many will agree with him as we have watered down the gospel of our Lord so that people are confused as to what they exactly should believe.

There is a false Christianity around today. There are people who put on a Christian front. They act like Christians, they read the Book, and sing the hymns, but they have no reality of Christ in their lives. That kind of Christianity is worthless. If we want to be men and women of God, we are to follow the teaching God has provided for us. This clearly set out in the Bible and readily available for all to follow.

I want to close with words of John Wesley who once stated “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!

May God bless your Church, and by His grace add to your numbers.