Tuesday 29 March 2022



THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER.   Matthew 13 v 1/23

This is a major parable of the twenty three recorded in Matthew’s gospel, and it is recorded by Luke and Mark, The parables of Jesus make up a crucial part of the Bible, to convey spiritual truth.

 Here is a picture which people present with Jesus would understand. He had just left His house and got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people gathered on the shore in a sort of amphitheatre on the shore. It was common practice for a Rabbi to sit as he taught. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one.

A farmer went out to his field to scatter some seeds. The field would be divided into long narrows trips, and between the strips was a walking path of  way, and with constant walking would become hard by the feet of passers-by. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on the footpath, and the birds came and ate them.

 Other seeds fell on shallow soil only a few inches deep with underlying limestone rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 

 Other seeds it is told, fell on ground which was deceptive in that it might have looked good, but underneath lay roots of fibrous plants, and the seeds would mix with the weeds that grew up and choked out the tender plants, but the weeds flourished.

More seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.

 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

Jesus told them,, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not.  To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 

Jesus was bearing in mind a prophecy of Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, who said  ‘for they look, but they don’t really see.  They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.  He was meaning they listened and saw him preaching, but would not turn to him.  This is so indicative of so many people now, they are prejudiced and don’t want to consider anything different to what they believe.

This is so prevalent in political circles, and among intolerant activists who want to criticise all who hold different views and beliefs to them, but resent any alternative opinion.  What individual people do and think is a personal matter for  them, but others have equal entitlement to differ.  The followers of Jesus were thought to be worthy of listening to him.

Jesus explained the parable. He stated there are those who hear the message and are like the seed sown on hard ground, it doesn’t have any effect on them. They don’t let it penetrate their mind or affect the way they choose to live. It can be a matter of pride causing a person to think there is no need to change their way of life, or there is a barrier to hear  something different to what they are used to.

The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, and they fail to think things out properly and quickly reject. We have minds and hearts, and we have an obligation to intelligently reason out the demands of Christianity, which is not only a privilege, but also a responsibility.

There are the hearers who have lives full of other interests in life, and let the important matters be crowded out. Just like the seed which falls on the ground and gets choked  by underlying thorns. The business man for whom all life beyond the end of the Sunday service is concentrated on business issues. Or be like a man who once told me how he loved coming to Church, but it was difficult on some Sundays as he had golf to play. They hear a message, but fall away to temptations.

But there are the people who are like good ground.  The seed falls and takes root in an open mind, willing to listen and react.  He listens to the Word of God instead of other people. Such people are like the seed which produces a rich harvest, who trust and obey.

The doors of Synagogues were closing on Jesus, and He was not having a  lot of success for they were trying to destroy Him. Some people were going to Jesus for what He could do to heal them, but then went away and forgot Him. How human nature never improves through the generations. The Apostles saved and believed implicitly in Jesus, but must have felt frustrated and even disappointed that people didn’t loyally follow Him.

This parable teaches that there is also the good seed and good people to produce a harvest, and we see proof of that in the fact that while some  Churches pretend to preach the gospel, there are those that really do so. This is a parable of encouragement.  Just as a Sower cannot foretell the results of his sowing, neither can a preacher know the immediate result of preaching, in fact may never know.

 I was on holiday at a place within reasonable distance from my home, and went into a shop where the owner stated he knew me.  He had once attended a service I had taken some time before, and heard things from the Bible which he had not previously understood. This helped him to believe and attend Church. We should never be proud, but it is good and acceptable to be encouraged to know one caused growth.

Jesus had to explain to His Apostles why He spoke in parables. He said to him who has much more would be given, but from the one who has not, what he  has will be taken away from him. It might have been expected to be the other way round, but what Jesus was referring to was truth,  We may hear and believe, but never act up to it.  Jesus was meaning that giving more will be given to those who  can produce results.

In the parable, Jesus referred to different soils and the corresponding reactions by different ways to the gospel. Some people can be deeply changed by something they heard, and there is a change in their life, whilst others whose minds are shallow and are never touched.

We who live here in Bedford are home to one of the great names in Christian history, John Bunyan. He wrote a a Christian book named Pilgrim’s Progress which attained world attention, and assisted millions of people.  He was a man of much Christian faith and integrity, who served twelve years imprisonment because he conducted services which were more forceful than the Church of England form, and refused to follow those the Church laid down.  His memory is as strong now as when he lived between 1628 and 1688.

Jesus said the only thing that has power to change the human heart is the Word of God. The parable teaches that this must be supported by people getting to see and hear we are an active Church ministry. There is need for us to try and invite unconverted people to services, and try to create an interest for Children, but without some of the gimmickry of some past ideas, where the emphasis has been on trivialities..

One essential necessity for any organisation, be it Church, Army, or business is strong leadership. A leader who is committed to the task with firm belief in what he is leading, solid discipline within the organisation to faithfully keep to the purpose stated, and have a clear plan of what is aimed for.  Such is very much lacking within main denominations where there is no clear indication of the purpose for which the Church exists, what it believes, what is unique and which only the Church can offer,

In fairness, the Articles of a a denomination are clearly stated at the time of its foundation, but people regularly read of senior Ministers not accepting the Word of God, and even trying to make an unholy alliance with the culture of society, and even opposition activists.

How God must weep when He sees the wonderful Church He created, and the final commission of our Lord to take the gospel to ALL nations, making disciples and obeying the commands He had given.  

This parable is itinually relevant wherever and whenever the gospel is preached; it described what happens within congregations.  The work of a preacher resembles that of the Sower;  good seed must be sown based on the Word of God (the Bible).  Sadly, despite having made vows before being authorized to preach only sound doctrine, such has not been adhered to.

The teaching of the Bible, which is God’s command, is being blatantly ignored by the highest Offices of the Church to the lowest ranking lay preachers.  We see the consequences in the number of empty seats in Churches.  Rather than spreading His commands, the ways of the world are being communicated.

The parable tells that there are different ways of hearing  the Word without any benefit.  I have heard people think it amusing to say all the things they think of during a sermon.  Such nonsense is not amusing, and just shows how much intelligence they haven’t got, and is shameful when it is borne in mind that they are present in Church to worship the God who gave His Son to die on a Cross for their forgiveness.  Anyone who has lost a son (or daughter) will know how painful such a loss is.  Truth has no more effect on such people than water poured over a stone.

Like the Sower, the preacher should use every opportunity to make the gospel prosper, as Paul stated at every opportunity. The preacher should not be discouraged  or give way, for to do so is to betray and dishonour one’s commission.  We can sow, but we cannot make it grow, only God can do that, and He would not bless some of the talk being given.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

 Mothering Sunday

We are celebrating Mothering Sunday which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent this having been decreed in the 17th century when most people went to Church. People would walk to Church, often to the one where they had been baptised, and some would carry flags and banners. Girls in domestic service would be given time off by their employers to visit their mothers, and some would bake simnel cakes as presents.

In the United States President Woodrow Wilson passed an Act of Congress in May 1914 that the 2nd Sunday in May would be known as Mothers Day for the public expression of love and reverence for mothers. This term has been claimed in the United Kingdom rather than our understanding, which emphasises the religious significance.

Let us turn to the Bible as we acknowledge the love for our mothers and as you sit here you will have fond memories of your own dear mother however many years may have passed. However many years have passed since we were in their arms, we will not forget as we acknowledge the love for our mothers, and all they meant to us.

To bear a child is a costly and sometimes very painful act, calling for endurance sometimes beyond the mother herself. Mothering Sunday calls on us to remember it is the giving of oneself. Never should men fail to recognise the courage and dedication women endure to have babies.

God intended women to be mothers, and motherhood to be of the highest calling and endowed them with special gifts. Motherhood is a special privilege and a sacred duty. Abraham Lincoln once remarked that no nation is greater than its mothers, for they are the makers of men. The Rabbis have a saying, ‘God can’t be everywhere so He made mothers.’

The traditional family now is under sustained attack from politicians, socialites, and secularists. We face the ridiculous situation where it is decreed two men can raise children after some unknown woman provides the child by some sordid way. 

A mother's love is special and unique, and God gave woman a special and caring nature for His purpose. An American psychologist stated a child will never come to full development psychologically, without a mother in the home.

The Bible is full of stories of prominent mothers,
Eve who was the first mother

Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, all who waited for a miracle.

Hagar driven away and disowned.

Rebecca had two sons in a broken family

Rachel wept for her children,

Naomi and Ruth who rose above all the trials of life and turned hard situations into good.

Lois and Eunice, ready to share the love of Christ with their children

Hannah who hurt deeply because she desperately wanted to be a mother, and in her agony she cried out to God. He answered Hannah’s prayer and she literally lent her son back to God, and she made a commitment. Hannah trusted God, and taught Samuel to worship God, rejoicing in the Lord and His salvation. We dearly need mothers to day to teach their children to worship God, preferably by bringing them to Church.

Our most famous mother is of course Mary, a young Jewish girl from whom the emancipation of women began when there appeared to Mary a vision from heaven and she heard the angel’s annunciation of the news that of all the women on earth she was to be the mother of our Lord, the one woman ever to wear entwined the red rose of maternity with the white rose of virginity.

Mary was ready and willing to be looked down upon by all who knew her, for it was shameful for an unmarried woman to have a child in those religious times. Jesus became a baby and grew up, and accorded women with a new dignity so that women like Mary have been loved and respected.

God intended them to be mothers and motherhood to be of the highest calling and endowed them with special gifts. It took the 2oth century in the so-called name of progress and equality, to pull women down to make them like men, and some to be of the coarsest of men.

A mother’s presence in the home is essential, and there has never been a more urgent time when good mothers are needed. I have worked in every social class of society, but have never known a Jewish child get involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal activities. I once asked a Rabbi why he thought this was so, and he told me it was due to the control the Jewish mama has over her family.

When my two sons were growing up my then occupation required me to be away from the home for many long hours, and so much care fell upon my wife. It is to her credit that they both entered the Christian ministry after being youth leaders at their local Church.  Today they are successful Vicars at Churches of their own, where they have been a powerful influence in the Churches they have served.

Spiritual matters should be of concern to mothers. Promises are made at baptism services that children will be brought up in the fellowship of the Church, although few have ever any intention of honouring the promises made.

We need women who will lead their families back to more old style morality, decency and purity. Children are being brought up without any religious knowledge, knowing nothing about Jesus or Biblical characters, even in the homes of whatever class of society.

Salome the mother of James and John sought favour for them from Jesus, to whom she prayed that Jesus would show favour on her sons.  How we need to have mothers praying for their children today.

Mothers continue to care and worry for their children even when they reach adulthood, and stand by them no matter what they do, and even when that is not deserved.

The Bible calls on older women who have an honoured place in society, to play a major part in guiding younger women in the bringing up of children from their years of experience.

We must have concern for women bringing up children in a world where all moral values are being eroded. Theirs is a big responsibility, especially when the nation’s broadcasting system gives out such foul talk and explicit scenes that cause weaker minds to think that is the natural way of life.

Sometimes women are asked on television or radio what their occupation is, and often the reply comes, ‘only a housewife and mother’. There is nothing only, such is an honourable occupation.

At this point we ought to remember all those women who do not have children, and may be feeling distress today when presents of chocolates and etc are being passed. Some have chosen not to be mothers, rather preferring to follow a career and contribute much to society. Other women through physical or medical reasons cannot be mothers, and our prayers must be for them. We also grieve for mothers who have lost a child. Whilst we may cherish memories of our mothers, some will not have such pleasant thoughts.

May God bless all mothers and those longing to be mothers.

I close my words to you by asking you join in mind with me in this prayer.

Loving God, we thank you for our mothers, for all they meant, for the love they showed and care given; for their patience understanding and kindness We thank you for the part they played in our lives and we ask that the Biblical mothers who we have thought of may be an encouragement for women everywhere.

We pray for those for whom this is a difficult time, one of heartache other than celebration; for those who long to be a mother, yet have no children of their own’; for those whose children have failed or abandoned them.

Saturday 19 March 2022



27  God created human beings[a] in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.

Marriage, Home and Family. Today I want to preach on those words, which make for such happiness for all who fully and truly apply them in their lives..

These three subjects have a massive influence on life, and can have an important effect on society.  This is why activists from a left-wing basis, seek to discredit and destroy them in order to further their cause; such was the practice in Communist countries.

The first marriage was performed by God. It was the first institution established -before the church, before the schools, before the government. The first miracle of Jesus was performed at a wedding.  Marriage is a holy sacrament.

The first home was instituted by God before Church, schools, or government.  It was meant to be more than just a place to shelter from the weather. God made man, and then woman to be his wife, to live together and have children. It was meant to be where father, mother and children lived as a family, where you first heard about God, most often I suspect from the mother.  Home was a place where joy and sorrow were shared, where you go for comfort and help

There are indeed powerful forces within the government and liberal establishment, who are determined to destroy the traditional and biblical image of the home, marriage, and family.  God has laid down clearly what He expects, and we ignore to our peril

To so many people, the idea of two people being married as the ideal, is old fashioned and rather stupid.  .  Marriage was built on the foundations of the Bible.  It has been said that in 100 years from now, marriage will have ceased to exist, and if some members of the government had their way, it would be in a lot less time.

Those who claim that just living together without a piece of paper to prove, is just as good. The decision is one people are free to make if they wish, but they are fooling themselves to think it is as good as marriage.  There are numerous legal issues which give protection, especially to the women.

There are many husbands and wives for whom love has gone dead for each other, Where there was true once true affection and care, there is now jealousy in the home, irritation, anger, even bitterness. Some people hold grudges, not realizing that before God can forgive you, you must forgive too. That is the reason we pray, "Forgive us our wrongs  as we forgive others’

God never meant that we were to break up. Only death can part us. It is for life, It is for keeps.   So often today couples marry without truly knowing each other, and have no reluctance, as divorce carries no stigma and is easy to access.  Until death do us part, in the marriage vow, has been supplanted by till we get fed up with each other. Apart from breaking vows, I can’t imagine or understand how anyone could cast off the one you loved, and had children with. Love and devotion just doesn’t happen on its own and last for ever, you have to work for it and never give up. Remember how you felt when first met.

The Bible teaches absolute fidelity on the part of both husband and wife, and the Bible recognizes no lower standards.

The Bible teaches that marriage is holy and sacred in the sight of God. I'm afraid that some enter into it like it's all a big joke. Some go into marriage for spite. Others go into marriage for excitement , then they break up, and there's trouble and there's disappointment, There is sin.  Marriage should be preceded by the most careful thought, by the most careful searching of the Scriptures, and  prayer.

Marriage too often ends in disillusionment, because during the courtship each puts the best foot forward; but after the honeymoon the true personality comes to light, virtues are minimised and defects are magnified. If the marriage is based on physical attractiveness only, “love” dissolves away.

Every man and woman should remember that in most cases children are involved, and they are the main losers. Survey after survey reveals children of divorced parents are invariably less successful in schools, as their whole life has been affected. Children do not like to see and hear their mothers and fathers fighting, often accompanied by bad language.  And it is a wicked betrayal of the child(ren) to have to grow up unnecessarily without both a father and a mother, unless caused by illness. Children reflect what they see parents doing.

The Bible says only adultery is a reason for divorce,  which only justifies the innocent party.  One of the nation’s favourite television programmes has been featuring two people, who are neighbours, conniving at having an affair as a major story line.  People who are so fickle these days and unable to separate reality from fiction,  are so captivated by television stories they think they have to emulate them in real life.  I dread seeing weddings or funerals on television, as I know some of the ridiculous actions will be asked for in the following weeks.

The Courts favour those who challenge Christian expression in every case taken before them, and it reflects no credit on the judiciary, who seem determined to eradicate Christian faith from public life.   

An indication of how our judiciary thinks and views the Christian faith, was displayed in the High Court when it was said, ‘marriage is not generally regarded as a sacrament and divorce is a statistical commonplace’.

You can’t have a relationship with God and be in an adulterous relationship. In the Old Testament it was considered so serious it was a capital offence punishable by death.  God wanted to show the world how serious was the marriage vow.

Marriage was built on the foundations of the Bible, but our government forced through the legislation which re-defined marriage to include people of the same sex.  As time has progressed, so has further departure from the order of God’s creation, and we have ‘so-called’ transgenderisms, where people can claim to define themselves of either gender to suit themselves, and engage in marriage contrary to their biological gender.

The Bible teaches that God performed the first marriage in the garden of Eden. Before the church, before the government, before the school, the home was founded. It is the basic unit of society.

The home was instituted by God. Home should mean everything to us, but  now doesn’t mean as much today as it used to do. What is a home? A roof to keep out the rain, four walls to keep out the wind, floors to keep out the cold? Yes, but home is more than that, it is where people live together, hopefully in love with family where possible.  

We have so much unhappiness and trouble in the home today because we've got away from God's laws, rules, and regulations governing marriage, When God performed the first marriage, He laid down the rules, and He said if you want to have a happy home, obey these rules. If you want to have trouble, disobey them.


Abraham Lincoln once stated  state a nation is only as strong as its homes. But there's something wrong in the home today. When people lived in an adult age with adult characters, they realized the value of a home, which for many had meant denying themselves of many pleasures of life, in order to acquire the money to buy, or even rent.

In this modern age, when self-denial has so often been  beyond acceptance, and everything has to be instant, money has been more obtainable from societies which advance funds.  When you have to strive to get something, it immediately becomes more precious.

In the spirit of the times, the home doesn't mean quite today what it once meant.

Christian standards have gone from many homes, Everywhere, people search for happiness from the wrong things and wrong places.  Many criminals have come from homes where there has been no peace, no discipline nor Christian values or teaching. The biggest cause of young criminals is due to marital breakdown and separation.

The Bible says we have to have discipline in the home. It is a sign of the times that discipline has become non-existent in many homes, schools, and society in general. Children have a natural bias to do wrong; you never have to teach a child to say no. it finds the word for self.  

If any country is to defend its values successfully, it must rediscover the Christian faith in which those values are ultimately rooted.  Marriage and the home are firmly part of those roots. When the founding principles are eroded, and the morality and biblical fundamentals are taken away, there is no foundation for society, which is a dangerous thing and we are seeing some of the consequences developing.

The Bible says ‘when the foundations are destroyed what shall the righteous do’. Homes are the foundation and bedrock of society, and they are being destroyed.  If evil forces win the battle for the home, there is nothing left worth fighting for.  We have to restore the home as the basic unit of society..

If the home is lost, all is lost.” Thoughtful people the world over agree that if society’s health in the world is to be maintained, the home must be preserved.

When will we learn that houses are not homes, money is not security, gadgets cannot bring happiness, and there are no substitutes in our home life for faith, hope and love?

The average person sees the Church as out of date and the Christian message as irrelevant, even though they never go near a Church to establish that, which is why they live as they do without reference to God or eternity. This is just sardonic self-

 justification. Our message then needs to be positive with no uncertain sound. 

God speaks to us from the past, to show us the sins His people committed in order to help us decide.  God is still speaking.  We can either listen or ignore. 

It is a matter of great regret that government is forcing councils, some of which don’t need that much encouragement, to foster and send for adoption children to two people of the same sex.  A child needs a father and a mother, both of whom are essential to a child’s moral and social development and welfare.  It is therefore irresponsible to make such enactment and reveals contempt for God’s decree.

Is it not ironic that an equality Minister stated two men cannot be trusted to run anything and need a woman, yet she considers two men are capable of bringing up children.

Making a promise to God is a serious matter. Each year a Covenant is re-made by Methodists, which many other Churches have adopted. In this covenant members pledge to yield themselves freely and wholeheartedly to God and declare themselves not their own, but His. How faithfully is it kept?  It means obeying, fearing and faithfully following His Word.  God is a jealous God who wants a complete loyalty.  We have to take away from our lives all that is unworthy and against His teaching.  He gave us guidance in Holy Scripture. 

Each generation claims things are worse than in their time, but I can never recall a time when children were allowed to terrorise whole neighbourhoods and cause such fear vandalising, abusing and stealing knowing they are virtually immune from any punishment.  They are fully aware of the law which protects them, and little help is offered in most cases by police.  It is hard to comprehend how the police allow such behaviour to develop, they certainly wouldn’t when it was known as ‘the Police Force’ rather than what is now little more than a social service.   Society must decide what sort of a future we want as far as children are concerned.

Some feminist thinkers have said that motherhood will have to go in a new social order, and find a new way of raising children.  You may have seen women being asked on television what their occupation was, and sometimes you hear the reply, ‘just a housewife’   No apology is needed .  A housewife and mother is as great a calling as any in the world.  Like God they are a very present help in times of trouble.  My sons have all held their mother in the highest esteem, and my son who died called Mum as his last word.

Children take up home values. When a father dodges working, a son will invariably copy.  God ordered us to work and there would be less poverty if more people were working.

God said, ‘O that thou wouldst keep my commandments that all may be well with them and their children and have happy homes for ever’.

Having children means more than conceiving and bearing them. Raising children is a vitally responsible and important task.  It is more than being a novelty for some celebrity, or as a passport to the top of the housing list for a young woman.  A whole future life is in the hands of parents, yet we hear of multiple children of a woman from multiple fathers who have no interest in the poor children.

It is reckoned that in the majority of homes no biblical knowledge or teaching is being given to children, probably as much due to the fact the parents have none.  Children brought up in a Christian home have a solid foundation to build upon. Read from a modern language version of the Bible, such as Living Bible, Good News Bible, New Living Translation. Guidance for life is so clearly put in these versions, children can easily follow.

The word discipline means “to teach.” The job of teaching has been too long left to the schoolteacher .As a parent, your job is to teach your children by precept and example to be good members of the household, good citizens of the community, good members of the church and followers of Jesus Christ. It takes time, patience, resourcefulness and skill to set your house in order, but God has said that it is an essential we cannot shun.

The Bible says that we are to teach our children to be good citizens as well as good members of the family. The responsibility for teaching them lies with the parents, usually the mother.  In a Jewish family the father teaches the children the Ten Commandments using the ten fingers.

The Bible says listen to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.   We can learn so much from Jewish parenthood.  Father’s teaching to his children of the Ten Commandments, one for each of the ten fingers, and the history of the Jewish people from the Old Testament, and the mother controlling behaviour.  I have never known nor heard of a Jewish child being involved in violent disorder or crime.  When I have sought an answer, I have been told it is because of the Jewish Mama in the home.

If a child is to grow into a responsible person, he or she must learn to obey rules. Whether we like it or not, life is filled with rules and laws. Mostly for our benefit and protection. Children need to be taught how to behave, and once upon a time schools  maintained a code of discipline. Children were made to respect teachers, and we were made to stand up when a teacher entered the room. From what teachers tell me now, they have to obey the children.  I can just imagine telling one of my masters I insisted on having my mobile phone on my desk.  I would hurt for a week, yet a teacher was recently badly hurt by a boy in his class who objected to the teacher taking his phone away during class.

You do your children a great injustice when you do not discipline them, and when you fail to teach them to discipline themselves.

Of course, in disciplinary action, whatever sort it may be, you must always let the child know that you love him or her, that you are only doing things for their good. Never show favouritism to one child above another, it hurts children terribly.  If you promise to do something for them, do it.

Another thing, as a parent you ought to praise your children for the good things they do. Admiration and approval are very important elements in good discipline, and if we fail to recognise them, our children may get discouraged and not try as hard next time.

If your children love you and admire you, they will try to be like you. Girls have always seemed to me to try and copy their mothers ways, but some mothers are reluctant to have their daughters get to be a little better at things than them.  The young boy wants to be as good as his dad, if his dad is willing to each him. Whether son or daughter, both need to be taught good manners.

On so many occasions, broken homes have been a cause of such behaviour, with a mother unable to control or showing an utterly irresponsible line.  One 12 years old boy terrified an estate and his mother said he was ‘her little satan, but wasn’t really evil’. An unwitting contradiction in terms, but added he just needs understanding.  He certainly needs something, but more severe than understanding. Yet again an absent father.

We constantly read and hear reports of young people between the ages of 7 and teenage years terrifying whole neighbourhoods.  They abuse, assault, vandalise and rob at will, and if anyone should remonstrate with them that person runs the risk of stabbing or serious injury. On several occasions men with families have been killed whilst defending their property.  Whole gangs roam the streets seeking confrontation with other gangs and their members, which have cost the lives of substantial number of young men, sometimes innocent victims. 

Far too many children are left to their own devices.  How can teenagers roam the streets, drunk and threatening people, stabbing other teenagers, and forming life threatening to other gangs, without the parents knowing of it.  So why don’t they do something about it.

If any country is to defend its values successfully, it must rediscover the Christian faith in which those values are ultimately rooted.  Marriage and the home are firmly part of those roots. When the founding principles are eroded, and the morality and biblical fundamentals are taken away, there is no foundation for society, which is a dangerous thing and we are seeing some of the consequences developing.

  Joshua was a great military leader who had served under Moses for forty years, and when Moses died he became leader for a further twenty five years. As peoples throughout time have behaved, once the hard times were over, they began to fall away from and forget God.  Joshua was nearing the end of his life, so one day he called the leaders of the people together at Shechem to deliver a final message.  ‘As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’.                      (Joshua 24 v.15)

We all have to make a choice in this life.  Joshua was quite clear he had made one, and for Him it was quite definite he and his family would serve the Lord.  The choice we make will decide our eternal future, so we should think deeply.

We are facing a time of ungodliness.  On every front there is an anti-Christian bias. Discord and discouragement is being sown in the lives of Christian people.  We have to resist on every front so as to maintain a Christian faith and presence.

  As Christians, we have a commitment to serve God. Just as Joshua reminded the Jews of all God had done for them, so must we reflect on all that which God has done for us, and respond accordingly. God speaks to us from the past, to show us the sins His people committed in order to help us decide.  God is still speaking.  We can either listen or ignore. 

     P R A Y E R

Father God, we come before You today to ask for your protection over our families. Let no trouble fall on them today. Keep them away from accidents. Allow no evil to influence their hearts. Cover them with the precious blood of Christ.


Guide our way, Lord, as we go on with our lives today. May you always preserve the bond that we have as a family. May it be a sanctuary of blessing, comfort, and love for each of us


Dear God, we commit to you those in our families who have fallen sick. We believe that you are our Healer, our Great Physician. Touch them with Your Healing Hands, Lord. Send forth your Word and heal their diseases.


Loving Father, we also ask that you heal the members of our families who are hurting emotionally. Their affliction is not physical, but we know that they are also in pain. Give them comfort as well, God. Give them the peace that transcends understanding. Heal their hearts, Lord, which may be full of anger, hatred, strife, bitterness, and unforgiveness


In our times of trials and troubles, God, we look to You. Life can hand us many different challenges that we know we cannot face on our own. But with You, Father God, we believe that nothing is impossible. We believe that You will always grant us the endurance to overcome any obstacle that may come our way. 


In the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we pray

Tuesday 15 March 2022


Luke 13 v 5 to  9.  NLT: New Living Translation

No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

Much of the profound teaching which Jesus gave was in the form of parables in which he took normal life scenes which people could understand, and convey messages to all His followers. We too can benefit and learn much from studying that teaching.

I would like to turn to some of those parables in the coming weeks, and start with one which is the declared reading for this Sunday’s gospel.

Whilst I was reflecting on this parable of the fig tree, and all Jesus was meaning, it seems as if we have drifted so far away from all that God gave us, to live in a wonderful world, full of beauty and goodness, with the opportunity of being able to live a fruitful life.  As we look at how a minority of people have forced a standard of behaviour that is contrary to all decency and respect, we realize the task before us.  

We live in what was once a Christian country, and many people want it still to become, rather than the godless nation it has become where all absolutes have been abandoned.  The spiritual and natural way of life God created, is being turned over and discarded.

We belong to Churches which have set aside the guidance God, set out in His Word, and His means of grace, and ignored the call for repentance and failed to ask for forgiveness.

The parable should make every Christian feel sorry and ashamed, as they consider how the teaching of the Christian faith with sound doctrine, has been abandoned with Churches openly adopting services contrary to the Bible, and calls to disregard Scripture are led by the leaders of the Church.

God gives spiritual privileges and expects returns.

Jesus compared the Jewish Church of His time to a fig tree planted in a vineyard.  This was likened to Israel, separated from other nations of the world by the law of Moses, and the position of the land.  Things were done for them favoured by God, which were not given to other countries. It was right and proper for them to produce fruit to God’s praise.  It was expected there would be faith, penitence, holiness and godliness.  That is what God looked for, the owner of the tree bearing fruit.

We should see the Christian Churches showing light, truth, doctrines and precepts, with God expecting fruit.  We have Bibles with the liberty for the gospel to be preached, although we have a government at present debating whether we will be allowed to give sound doctrine. The country which at one time took the gospel to the world, has to rely on preachers from mission lands to come and convert us.

 We must never forget the countries in the world where other faiths operate in opposition to the Christian gospel, and the Christian people who face such challenges. They suffer mentally, spiritually and physically in places. We tolerate other faiths, and accept their right to hold different beliefs, but this tolerance is not always reciprocated.

These are solemn truths. Few things are so forgotten as the close connection between privilege and responsibility.  We bask in a peaceful land, and we need always to have in mind our brothers and sisters in other places. We are accountable to God for all we enjoy, but to whom much is given, from them much will be expected. We are a blessed nation with a fig tree planted in a vineyard, and the Master expects some fruit.

Jesus telling the parable, speaks of the owner having no fruit, and describes the owner ordering the destruction of the tree.  He brings in a plea for the tree to be given another year, and the parable ends with the command, if it bears fruit well, if not cut it down.

This is a warning to Christian Churches. If sound doctrine is not being taught, if people do not live holy lives, they are in peril of destruction.  God is always observing and taking notice of our ways.  Some Churches have much ceremonial practices, to which they give much attention to the cost of  Bible teaching. This puts in line for destruction. This happened to the Jewish Church, forty years after the ascension of Jesus.

If anyone doubts this could happen to us in dear old England, just consider how many Anglican and Methodist Churches have closed in recent years, when all the liberal influences took over. 

The Bible states, there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one BAPTISM.  So why has the Church of England created a second baptism for the benefit of those who have changed their gender from how God made them?  Why has the Methodist Church taken up same sex marriage without seeking approval from ALL members before doing so?  The fig tree in such circumstances has withered without producing fruit.  The axe is ready to fall the tree.

The parable has a warning for all who are partly Christians, and there are many in the Church who are, to let it be impressed on them that they go, and are meant to give attention.

I preached at a Methodist Church last year on the theme ‘all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness’.  After the service a lady came to me and referred to the American President at that time, calling for capital punishment for men who had gunned down Jewish worshippers. She asked me if I agreed with him, and I replied I did fully and told her the Bible authorized it should be so.  She said but that was in the Old Testament. I had to remind her the verse I preached upon said ALL Scripture, and the Old testament was included.   Yet another example of part reference to the Bible, and hearing what one wanted to hear.  Remaining in the vineyard without fruit.  Hearing the gospel being preached without embracing it.

People may not commit open sin, but do nothing for God’s glory, there is nothing positive about their faith. Well may the Lord say, I come seeking fruit from the tree, but find none so cut it down.  Never be content to attend Church and just sit in the congregation, hearing sermons without applying the message is an affront to God.

We learn finally what a debt we owe to God’s mercy and the intercession of Jesus.  The lesson from the pleading Lord shows God’s loving kindness, and the mediation of Jesus.

Mercy has been called the attribute of God.  Power, purity, justice and holiness, wisdom unchangeableness, are all part of God’s character, and have all been made known in His Word.  But of all His  perfections which he is pleased to show, is mercy.  This is founded on the mediation of a coming Saviour.  Mercy is how God has put up with a sinful world without giving judgement.  People have no conception of what we all owe to God’s mercy.


May God bless His Word to us, and His Holy Name be praised.

Saturday 12 March 2022


1 Thessalonians 1

This Letter of Paul which we are looking at is thought to be the first of his thirteen New Testament Letters, and one which is very relevant to us to-day.  We can learn from this Letter what the Bible teaches us is a successful Church, and what it means to be a Christian in the purest sense

In our modern age, success matters. One of the main aims of people is ‘success’.  The attainment of it is eagerly sought at work, in politics, in sport, to the extent that it ceases to be sport and becomes a highly fought battle. But today we are concentrating on what success is in relation to the Church. We often speak enviously of a particular Church as being a successful one, but on a false premise. 

Most people consider a Church to be successful when it has a large congregation, is well financed, in a big building preferably with car park; but such is a misconception and reveals mankind’s ideals as compared with that of God.  This letter from Paul gives practical illustration of a successful Church.

Paul had been on a mission with Silas and Timothy and chose to visit Thessalonica.  This was a proud capital city of Macedonia with a large population, a fine harbour, and was a busy trade centre, strategically situated on the main highway between East and West across Europe.  What happened there, tended to happen along the way. 

1 Thessalonians is one of the oldest books in the New Testament, and I am coming to be quite fond of it. Scholars date it at approximately 50-51 A.D., meaning that it was written only 18 years after Jesus’ life and death. As such it is one of the earliest pictures we have of the Christian church in the very beginning.  This, together with other Scripture, tells us why Christianity spread so far and fast, without all the modern means of communication we have, and why the Church was so successful.

     Paul begins this Letter in a different manner from others in that he writes, to show he recognises they are truly Christians, who have fully accepted God and Jesus Christ. They had listened to Paul, their minds were engaged. They were the church in God. They knew the Lord Jesus Christ. They had experienced the grace and peace of God. Paul prayed for them. He thanked God for them always.

Most of the believers at Thessalonica had come to Christ from idol-worshiping.   Paul’s brief ministry resulted in a congregation made up mostly of converted Greeks, along with a few believing Jews, and some leading women of the city.   These former idol-worshipers had a huge impact as brand-new Christ-followers.     

Here was a Church which started off with people new into the faith, but such was their commitment and enthusiasm, it made others want to join them, and that way it became to have a large attendance.

Such was the vibrancy of their faith that it had spread widely, and people were speaking of their devotion, their past practices were behind them.  The result here was that the believers shared the good news widely through the area, telling what God had done for them.   The friends of those believers began to ask questions, about what had happened to make such a change in those believers’ lives.

This is something overlooked, the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the congregation. If you look at the big mega Churches in the United States, the enthusiasm and partaking by the people is inspiring even to fellow Christians.  Consider similar growing Churches in this country, and the black Churches, you see the people really enjoy the worship , which cause people outside the Church to notice and talk about.

Research has shown that the most successful form of evangelism is that of ordinary men and women Christians, telling others of how Christianity has changed their lives, perhaps just mentioning they attend Church, and we are as proud of our faith, just as much as the other faiths are.

Paul commended them for the main element of a Christian life, faith love and hope. For a faith that works, a love which labours and a hope which endures. Faith is not merely belief, it is something that changes you, making you turn from what is wrong to that which is right; love which causes you to work for the gospel; and hope which makes you steadfast in the faith and enable to endure. This is the whole Christian life, which begins in faith, continues in love, and culminates in the hope of eternal life.

There is a story of a farming village which was desperate for rain to fall. They decided to have a prayer meeting to pray for rain, and one young woman went to the meeting on a sunny day, carrying an umbrella.  That is faith. 

 So we may think of a successful Church as one where there is commitment, enthusiasm, and the teaching is that of that given by the Apostles, passed down to us in the New Testament, all of which leads to growth.  This is vital.

Remember in Acts we are told how the Church grew as the people listened to the teaching of the Apostles. This is Christianity in its purest and rawest form, stripped of centuries of man influenced additions and ritual, which transformed the ancient world.  This is how it was in the beginning. This is what makes a successful Church.  It is not a religious club united by common interest; it is a people chosen by God, receiving power through Jesus Christ, who demonstrate this in faith. We all have to consider how deep our commitment is to Jesus Christ. 

God does not choose large Cathedrals to perform His plans, nor pick rich influential people.  Abraham Lincoln stated  that God must have loved ordinary people, he made so many of them.  He chose a humble Jewish village girl to bear the Saviour of the world.  None of the Apostles had a degree between them, they were ordinary working men.  They would never have passed a selection board here today, their strong Bible teaching would have disqualified them right off.

God acts when people respond to His Son.  It can be in the smallest of Churches; God acts when people turn to Him  

 For most people a Christian is someone who is not of another faith, or is an atheist; that is not the Bible’s definition. A Christian is someone who is a fully devoted follower of Jesus. You are not born a Christian, nor are you a Christian simply because you were born into a Christian family, or in a Christian country.  The heart itself must be changed so that you become a follower of the Lord.

Paul tells the believers they had been chosen by God.   The Bible tells us that God knows the secret working of our hearts, and when He knows we are ready to acknowledge Him through Christ, by whom alone we can come to God, He by His amazing grace chooses and calls us into His family.  God finds us before we find Him.

In order for a person to be converted two things must happen first—something from God’s side and then something from the human side; but God’s side must always come first.

Paul wrote, ‘our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction’. The Word was preached with the power of the Holy Spirit.

People come to know Jesus by various means when the Holy Spirit touches them.  The most effective way is through preaching, although there are other ways such as someone close telling them of their own faith, or by a message on a poster, the London City Mission touched many by their message posters on the London underground, but the majority come to know the Lord by preaching

This why preachers should always endeavour to preach a gospel message, for more people are converted through listening to preachers than any other way. The Billy Graham meetings were evidence of this, as so many millions over his forty years of preaching became committed Christians.  He spelled out plainly the consequences of rejecting Christ.  Sadly now, too many preachers are afraid of upsetting congregations, but if people are upset, perhaps they should search their conscience, for the Lord may be telling them something they need to hear.

Preaching should not be on human opinion, or be a re-interpretation of the gospel to suit the time. That’s why we ought to pray for the preaching of the Word, that it might be accompanied with the power of the Spirit. For without that power, even the best preaching is useless to change the human heart. 

I read in the ‘New Yorker’ magazine, that they carried out research in 50, 000 churches, with 6000 congregations, and  75% of people consulted stated the sermon was the core of worship, which should be based on the Scriptures.  I cannot imagine any British magazine carrying out such a survey, but how it inspires to read at least in the United States, there are so many people devoted to the Bible

The survey showed in median churches a sermon lasted 37 mins; in Black Churches 54 mins; and in Roman Catholic 14 mins. This reminded me of a visit I made to lead a service here in the United Kingdom, and I asked how long I should preach for, and the Vicar replied, not more than 10minutes or they will get restless!   Those American pastors sure have it made.

When the Word is based on Bible preaching, in the power of the Holy Spirit, it produces deep conviction in the hearts of the hearers, and people become convicted of their sin and their need for a Saviour, and accept Jesus as that Saviour who died on the Cross, that they be forgiven of all sin.

Have you ever wondered why two people can hear the same message yet respond in opposite ways? It happens because one man hears words, while the other man hears the message. It is the Holy Spirit who takes human words in preaching, and makes them  alive inside the human heart. I never know in advance who my sermons will touch.  Sometimes I am told right away, but in other cases I have been told quite some time later of how I helped.

A sermon must be based on Scripture, the direct Word of God, and always be relevant, and whilst some preachers are dramatic in delivery, such is not essential. Much does depend on the pastor. I saw a Church in the United States 15 years back when it had a very large congregation, with a famous leader, now deceased, but although the same formula is followed, it is noticeably less well attended.

I had a lady who attended my Church infrequently, and one day she said to me I always feel you are getting at me when I come.  I told her that as I could never foretell when she would come, and as I prepared my sermons in advance, it may be someone higher than me was getting to her.  God does use men to speak on his behalf.

It is quite interesting to watch the Billy Graham Crusades where you see the different reactions.  Most people are listening intently, whilst others look as if they wished it was all over.  At the end of the meeting, thousands respond to the call to make a commitment, many do but others do not; this does not mean they disagreed .  The reason is that some are willing to have an open heart and let God speak to them, which He does through the preacher.  This explains why some members of a family are Christians and others are not.

Jesus always warned that following Him would be costly and involve suffering. Such may be the mild kind of mockery, or losing friends.  It may lead to suspension from work, or similar penalty, when there is a government which does not want any opposition to its legislation, as we have seen in our own country. On the other had it may mean violence, imprisonment or even murder, in non Christian lands as we read of in Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt or other Middle Eastern lands.

These Thessalonian believers faced suffering, having come to Christ from idol worship in a culture which did not appreciate Christianity, but such was their faith and devotion that they triumphed, and the Christian faith spread far and wide around them.

Paul who had suffered much in the gospel cause, called on them to follow his example and be imitators of him, which they did.  Many of us are inspired by people who leave a great impression upon us, and whilst we may not match up to their brilliance, we can benefit by following a similar path, and it is good to do so. A lot of young people imitate footballers or pop stars, with dreams of becoming the X factor, neither of which materialise or do them any good.

We all owe it as a duty and a privilege, to be able to do something in the cause of evangelism in however small a way.  This can be done by simply letting friends know you attend Church, ordering your life in a way which clearly demonstrates you are a Christian, and you don’t have to go to the other end of the earth to do so. 

Remember Jesus told one man to go to his own town, and tell what the Lord had done for him.  We just start living for Christ in our daily lives, to show others what a difference he makes.  Having responded to Gods’ Word, you live it on a daily basis and others will notice.  Robert Louis Stevenson once said he lived opposite two Salvation Army people and it changed his life.

A Christian is a person whose changed life changes others, because of a commitment to be like Jesus and to follow him wherever he heads. 

It is possible for people to come for Church for years, listening to the Bible being read, listening to preaching, singing devotional hymns, yet never opening hearts to God. You have to come with ears and mind open so God can enter your heart, and strive for the fruits of the Spirit, namely love, joy kindness peace and gentleness, faithfulness and self control.  I have seen too many who have the opposite characters, and do not reflect any credit on the Church.

Let us pray that we will always hear sound doctrine preached, and pray for the Holy Spirit to be upon us, and then we must depend on the Lord to give people the grace to respond with saving faith, and so that we may be true Christians worshipping in a successful Church.

May the Lord bless you as you study his Holy Word.