Cameron backs lowering time limit on Abortion
I got this today from CCFON - I'm going to write to Gordon Brown on this one in relation to the forthcoming Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill going through the House of Commons.
David Cameron has announced that he would vote for reducing the upper time limit for abortion if the matter is raised in the upcoming debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
Mr Cameron told the Daily Mail: "I would like to see a reduction in the current limit, as it is clear that, due to medical advancement, many babies are surviving at 24 weeks. If there is an opportunity in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, I will be voting to bring this limit down from 24 weeks.”
Mr Cameron stressed that votes on abortion should be free votes as it is an issue of conscience.
In contrast, Gordon Brown has refused to join Mr Cameron in taking this stand for the unborn; his official spokesman has stated that the Government has no plans to change the law on abortion, arguing that “At the moment, the key organisations in the medical profession are not pressing for a review in this area.”
In contrast, many are talking about the growing evidence that premature babies can survive earlier and below 24 weeks, and that foetuses can feel pain at an earlier stage than previously thought. Public opinion has also been affected by the high quality scans of foetuses showing unborn babies apparently smiling, frowning, ‘dancing’, sucking their thumb etc while in the womb.
If you want to email, fax or write to the Prime Minister to state your support for the stance Mr Cameron has taken, and urge Mr Brown to also commit to lowering the time limit for abortion in the UK.
Labels: abortion, conservatives, david cameron
Reign in Life through Christ
"How much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ"
Romans 5:17 (NIV)
I’ve been really inspired and challenged by the relevant, practical and anointed teaching we’ve been receiving on ‘Discipleship’ in recent weeks as a church
here in Manchester. Following Jesus Christ is not some sort of academic exercise or hobby that you dip in and out of – it’s about living real life, and living that life to the full following Jesus Christ (John 10:10)
If you are a Christian today, you have received the abundant provision of God’s grace. He’s not held anything back in the way he has lavished this grace upon us. Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, we have by grace, through faith received the wonderful gift of salvation. Every Day is such a ‘Happy Day’ when you know that Jesus has washed your sins away!
We have also received the amazing gift of righteousness through the saving work of Jesus. We have ‘right-standing’ before God the Father. We can stand in freedom; no guilt, no shame, no regret because of all that Jesus has done for us.
This abundant provision of grace and wonderful gift of righteousness means we can reign in life. It means we can know the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our redeemed habits. It means we can know success in our studies and work, health in our homes, blessing in our marriages, prosperity in our finances and peace with our children. Because of Jesus, we can truly reign in life. We can win. We can have the ‘winning habit of life’, no matter what the circumstance or situation. Not because of us, but all because of Jesus!
Have a great weekend.
Labels: Discipleship, Jesus Christ, Life
The new England football Manager, Fabio Capello, has started in his new role this week with a somewhat 'sketchy' win over Switzerland. He's made quite a big deal of creating a 'winning mentality' or a 'winning habit'
in the England team. Only time will tell whether he can have an impact on the team and it's success in the future.
The Apostle Paul wanted to inspire the same 'winning habit' in the church in Rome. In Romans 5:17 he said this to them:
"How much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ"
Paul knew the truth that through the abundant provision of grace and righteousness in Jesus Christ, we can 'reign in life' or have a 'winning habit' in all that we do. The grace of Christ is sufficient for all that we face and see in our everyday lives. God wants us to win. He wants us to reign in life. In our finances, work and relationships, he has destined us to reign, he has called us to win.
As disciples and followers of Jesus, we can reign in life. Yes, we face challenges and pressure, but in it all - God is Good, and He has given us all that we need for life (1 Peter 1:3). Through the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, we too can have a 'winning habit'!
Labels: Discipleship, Faith, Sport
Discipleship: Habits & Influence
Second Saturday, February 9th 2008
Transformed Habits: Train as Jesus trained
Sainsbury’s illustration – ‘Our Values Make us Different’
What do our values and habits speak of? – Do they show the radical change & divine exchange that we have experienced as we have moved from death to life, darkness to light, sin to righteousness – Our lives should be distinctive & different and point people to the person and power of Jesus – The life of a disciple of Christ should point people on earth to the realities of heaven, e.g. Health, Healing, Peace, Righteousness, Joy, Worship, Justice etc.
Greek for Habit is ethos, Ethos is defined as:
“The disposition, character, or fundamental values peculiar to a specific person, people, culture, or movement”
Disciples of Christ follow the character of Christ, the values of heaven, the ethos of the Kingdom – it is all worked in the radical pursuit and following after Jesus.
This Greek word ethos is translated in Luke 22:39 as ‘usual’:
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him”
Jesus had the habit of praying at the Mount of Olives – He had the habit of ascending into the presence of His Father – it’s interesting to note that Luke records that the disciples followed him – that’s what disciples do – they follow Jesus into the place of prayer, into the presence of God, into the place of encounter and meeting with the power & person of the Holy Spirit. – Do our habits follow the life of Jesus? – Does our allocation of time reflect the priorities and agenda of heaven? – The habits of a disciple are the habits of heaven.
What are the ‘usual habits’ of our lives? – Luke 22:39 – Do they follow Jesus?
Jesus had the following habits of:
· Prayer in his life on earth Do we pray like Jesus?
Luke 11:1: “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place”
· Spending time in the presence of God Do we long for this in our lives?
John 5:19: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does”
· Ministering to the poor and needy Do we follow this example?
Luke 4:18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed”
· Praying for the sick & seeing them healed - Do we pray for the sick?
Matthew 15:30: “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them”
· Eating & sharing life with his disciples - Do we meet & fellowship like this?
Acts 1:8: “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Transformation of Habits
‘We are creatures of transformed habits’ – It’s they way God made us – However, he wants our renewed minds and hearts to make sure that our habits are focussed on the life of the Kingdom – God wants healthy habits that lead to life! Fabio Capello, New England Manager, wants to develop a ‘Winning Habit’ in the new England team – Do we have winning habits that help us to win in life as we chase and follow after God with all our passion and hearts.
Winning Habits in our time, finances and priorities:
· Time: Self Discipline, Punctuality, & Time with God
· Finances: Tithes, Offerings and Budgets
· Priorities: Kingdom Habits of excellence, integrity & faith etc
Habit of throwing clothes onto bunk bed when I was a kid – fire! – ‘Kingdom of God starts in how you tidy your bedroom’ – Mum. Habits start in the small things of life, but in reality there are no ‘small’ things because our lives are seen as whole in the purposes and destiny of God for our lives as his children. The BIG things are always made up of the small things!
'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'- Matthew 25:21
“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of" - Anon
"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits” - Mark Twain"Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters."
– Nathaniel Emmons
When the F.A sacked Steve McClaren as England they promised a ‘Root and Branch' Review and Transformation, There is continuing demands in the media for Transformation of the NHS……but what does it mean to be transformed in our own lives? – It’s not just a surface level, superficial thing – it can’t be solved by just throwing money at it – Transformation is about a radical change in our hearts and minds.
Transform your habits?, follow the realities of heaven where Jesus is now seated in glory.“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”
– Colossians 1:1-3
Transformation of Habits is not an external thing where you work harder and harder to be abetter person – it’s a work of the Holy Spirit as he sanctifies our hearts and minds and transforms us to be more like Jesus.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” - 2 Corinthians 3:18
True Kingdom Transformation and Discipleship is totally a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It’s so important that we are continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18), Keep in step with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:25) and Sow to the Holy Spirit (Gal 6:8) – Word and Spirit.
Roger’s Book: Healthy Habits of Faith: Hear, Believe, Speak and Do God’s Word
Sow to the Spirit, Reap Eternal Life, Reap the Harvest of the Holy Spirit = Christ Like Living
‘Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a destiny’
Habits of Jesus and Our Life as Disciples:
Prayer & Reading the Bible the fuel of discipleship Mark 1:35
Community & Fellowship the forum of discipleship Hebrews 10:25
Signs, Wonders & Miracles the fruit of discipleship John 6:1-3
Greek word for training (fully trained) : Katartizo, Luke 6:40:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” – We are called to go into full training to be more like Jesus!
to render, i.e. to fit, sound, complete
to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair
to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust
to fit or frame for one's self, prepare
ethically: to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be
Successful sports coaches always talk about practice like you want to play. ‘You play like you practice’ – the transformational power of the life and words of Jesus was down to his practice in the presence. We are called to practice the presence of God. Our private times with God in the secret place and our public witness are inextricably linked – Our Faith is NO private matter.
Transformed Influence: lead the way Jesus led
We are called to be the light of the world. Our following of Christ has an impact and an influence on those around us. We are called to be an influence for the gospel of the Kingdom wherever we are and wherever we go.
‘You are always relevant wherever you are because Christ is there’ – Colossians 1:27
The influence of a disciple is seen in the context of community. Whether that be the church community or the community of our street, university or workplace – discipleship is truly a community project!
Discipleship in the Kingdom is never fully worked out in isolation and seclusion. True Discipleship is not in isolation, it is worked out in a community. You can see that so well in the calling of the first disciples. Jesus called them and then they walked, talked, ate and truly shared their lives – along the way there was plenty going on – healings, miracles, correction, faith, rebuke, love, fellowship, serving, vision, work, parties, signs, wonders, transfigurations to name a few things! – Discipleship in Community is no mundane activity – it’s an adventure – When you gave yourself wholeheartedly to disciple, you live a whole life – nothing empty, wasted or meaningless.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" - Philippians 2:8-9
As we follow Jesus, as we put his words into practice and practical action in our daily lives, we will have Kingdom Influence in the world around us. The apostle Paul was also calling the church to look at his life as a leader. He was so confident that he could set an excellent example for them to follow in their pursuit and devotion to Jesus. Paul also states: 'Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ' to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:1). He wanted them to see things in his life, hear his speech, watch his actions, receive from his heart as he followed after Christ with all his heart and passion. He wanted them to put the things they saw in his life that reflected Christ and his Kingdom into practice.
That's one of the true joys of Christian leadership; to see people catch your heart and passion for Jesus, and then to watch them put it into action and practice in their own lives. That is so rewarding to see!
Today, I want to challenge you about being a leader. God calls us all to be leaders. Leadership is not just being a preacher in a church on a Sunday Morning – you can lead your children, as Christ leads his people. You can lead people to Christ as they come to know him as Lord and Saviour. You can take a lead in your finances, and lead them into blessing and prosperity. You can lead your own mind and heart into the purposes and plans of God as you submit to the leadership and prompting of God the Holy Spirit.
How do we lead? – What is our blueprint for leadership? – Jesus Christ.
1. Jesus leads from a character of Holiness & Integrity
They came to him (Jesus Christ) and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity" Mark 12:14
Jesus lived a sinless life. He did all things well. Holiness was fertile ground in his life for the daily life of living in the miraculous, with signs & wonders. Holiness roots us in heaven, in who we are and what we truly called to. The holiness of Christ gave his message authenticity, integrity, credibility – our lives as disciples should lead people from a place of Holiness & Integrity – ‘Politicians declaring donations’ – We need to raise the standard in society.
In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us - Titus 2:7
2. Jesus leads from a heart of Hope & Faith
Isaiah prophesied that the nations would put their hope in the name of Jesus – Isaiah 42:1-4. Jesus leads from a place of hope, but he also brings hope into other peoples lives. The quality of heart that we lead in is the seed that is sown into those we seek to influence and see transformed by Jesus. Lead in Hope and faith and those around you will come into hope and faith. Lead from a place of negativity and those around you will become negative etc.
"Have faith in God," – Mark 11:22
Jesus leads from a place of faith – that is the call upon our lives to be a people of faith in all that we do to lead and influence others in that as we lives as disciples of faith.
“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" – Luke 18:8
3. Jesus leads from a place of Healing & Miracles
Jesus leads in healing and miracle working power – he is still at it today! – He commanded and commissioned the disciples at the end of Mark and Matthew to lead in the way he had shown them to lead. The ongoing command and urge from Christ to his followers is ‘GO’:
– Matthew 28:18-20
As we follow Jesus, do we hear his call to us to ‘GO’ – Go and make disciples, Go and heal the sick, Go and minister to the poor, Go and serve, Go and be Christ to the world etc….
"Go into all the world & preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes & is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; & when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, & they will get well." - Mark 16:15-18
4. Jesus leads from the Realities of Heaven
Even when he walked on the earth, Jesus was totally heavenly minded. There is no sickness, sin or lack in heaven – let’s live our lives from that reality. We are citizens of heaven – Let’s live as disciples of heaven, in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, following Jesus Christ as we lead many others into salvation & the fullness of knowing Christ, Let’s lead many others into health, wealth & blessing. Let’s lead those on earth into the realities of heaven. Let’s lead them to Jesus himself – that’s the goal of discipleship – to lead many to Jesus, eternally changed, wonderfully transformed and totally healed and restored.
“Those most conscious of another world have made the most effective Christians in this one” - C.S. Lewis
Labels: Discipleship, Second Saturday, Teaching Notes
Discipleship: Putting it into Practice - 03
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you"
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
This is last in a mini-series I've being doing on the whole theme of Discipleship: Putting it into Practice. Click here
for the first two articles in the series.
In this passage, we see the Apostle Paul bringing a word of encouragement and exaltation to the church in Philippi. He calls them to think about things that are 'excellent & praiseworthy'
. That's one of the first crucial stages in being a disciple and follower of Christ - thinking correctly
. Proverbs 23:7 (NASB) states that as a man 'thinks within himself, so he is' -
what we think is so important. It's foundational to our lives in God. Paul knew this, he was always reminding the people of God about their identity in Christ and who they were and what they were called to be and do.
Paul was also calling the church to look at his life as a leader. He was so confident that he could set an excellent example for them to follow in their pursuit and devotion to Jesus. Paul also states: 'Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ' to the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 11:1). He wanted them to see things in his life, hear his speech, watch his actions, receive from his heart as he followed after Christ with all his heart and passion. He wanted them to put the things they saw in his life that reflected Christ and his Kingdom into practice. That's one of the true joys of christian leadership; to see people catch your heart and passion for Jesus, and then to watch them put it into action and practice in their own lives. That is so rewarding to see!
It's like when your kids start to do something great on their own without any help from Mum & Dad - they see something, they learn something and then they do it. That's the goal of discipleship - 'See Jesus, learn from Jesus and then do all the things that Jesus did' - e.g miracles, healings, moving with compassion, mercy & grace, ministry to the poor, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom etc.
The ultimate goal of discipleship is to put into practice & action what we see in the words, life and ministry of Jesus - Praise God that he is with us as we live out this exciting journey!
Have a great weekend!
Labels: Discipleship, Vision, Word of God