Sunday, October 24, 2021
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Nick Parker

Is the Cross Just Another Cool Logo?

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The cross has been given the title “most recognizable symbol in the world”, beating the likes of global giants McDonalds, Apple and Coca Cola.

If you had to ask the average person on the street what they think the cross symbolizes, the most common answer would be Christianity. And to most of us, that is the correct answer. Christians use the cross as a symbol to differentiate themselves from other religions.

Why a cross? What does this simple symbol really represent? Surely there must be more to the world’s most recognized symbol.

There is way more to the cross than most of us could ever imagine. I came across this video, and I think that after watching it, you will agree with me that the cross is not just another “cool” logo.

The cross doesn’t just represent Christianity, it is Christianity. Jesus dying on the cross is the only reason we can call ourselves Christians. He chose to die for us, even though we didn’t deserve it. When Jesus died he was thinking about you.

What I love the most is that for the Christian, the cross is more a symbol of life than death. Jesus died so we could have life, and not just life on earth but life in eternity. The cross gives us hope, freedom, love, courage and power, I truly believe that this is the reason the cross is the most recognized symbol in the world. Because unlike other symbols, the cross has the power to genuinely change your life.

So next time you see a cross, remember what it really stands for.

The cross is a gift given to us freely, so choose to accept it and all that it stands for. I promise your life will never be the same.

The Ultimate Rap Battle

If you had to choose a topic for two rappers to battle it out over, what would it be? I know for me, one of my first choices would be whether God is real or not. Most rappers find it easy to rap about how tough they are, or how much money they have. But what happens when they battle it out over one of the most debated topics in the history of man?  And more to the point, who do you think would win?

Every battle has a winner and a loser, but what makes this battle different is that both end up as winners. They both walk away with a lot more than pride and money, they walk away with life. Life is the greatest gift we have, and the only way to experience true life is to have a relationship with the one who gave us life, Jesus.

Once we know who God is, we no longer have to live our lives in fear, or be forced to wear a mask in order to hide who we really are. Jesus has come to give us life, a full and abundant life. So take a risk, put your trust in him. I promise you, you won’t regret it. God is not your enemy.

Can Technology Answer All of Our Questions?

I have a confession, I am addicted to technology. There you go, I said it.

I literally can’t go a day without it. If I’m not behind my computer, I’m checking out the apps on my phone. I’ve become so dependent on technology that I use it for everything, but most importantly I use it to answer all my questions. Whenever I’m unsure about something all I have to do is type the question into Google, and there you go, instant answers. I no longer need to read a book, or ask someone a question, all the answers I’ll ever need are right there.

It’s awesome!

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that there are questions that even the most advanced technology can’t help me with. There will always be theories and facts available, but I’m talking about real answers, answers that wont just change the way you think, but have the potential to change who you are.

This video reminds me that often the questions we have regarding who we are, our purpose on earth and those really tough questions about God can’t simply be answered with facts and figures.

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No matter how much information you have available to you, you will never know who God is until you have a personal revelation of who He is through Jesus. And you will never know what your true purpose is, until God reveals it to you.

I love how in the video STELLA has all the answers to his questions, yet none of her responses truly give the reply he is after. It’s only once he has a revelation of what God has done, that he then knows who God is. Jesus isn’t so interested in the facts and figures, he is interested in having a personal relationship with you.

So instead of trying to have all the answers, know that no matter how much we want to know God, the only way to truly experience Him and His love is to get to know Him personally.

So take a step of faith, choose to trust in Jesus, even without all the answers.   Follow your heart in this – it’s something technology can never replace!

The Dance of Grace

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Have you ever sat and watched a dancer and been in complete awe of their ability to move so perfectly to the rhythm of the music? Their movements seem effortless and their timing perfect. They look poised, yet you know they are giving it everything they have. There is such harmony that it’s almost as if the composer wrote the music with the dancer in mind.

Dancing in many ways is a lot like life. There are times of joy and energy, but there are also times of sadness and emotion. Just like dancing, life requires us to give everything in order to succeed. We have to put time and effort into everything we do. At all times we are walking a tightrope, hoping not to lose our timing or our step.

For a dancer nothing can be worse than getting out of sync with the music. Not only will it distract the dancer but it will also have a direct effect on the dance itself. No matter how hard you try, once you have lost your step it is almost impossible to get it back.

What if we have never been ‘in sync’ in life? What if we have missed a beat and have no way of getting back? Is it possible for us to have been living a life completely out of sync?

A life within which we have never experienced true happiness or freedom, no matter what we’ve done?

Surely there must be something we can do?

Well, the answer is actually no, there is really nothing we can do. Well, that is, there is nothing that we can do that God hasn’t already done! You see, the reason we are out of sync is because we have forgotten who God is. We have decided to live a life for ourselves, focused on what we can achieve on our own, but it’s those very things that have led us to this place. Luckily for us that’s where grace comes in. Grace brings us back into sync with God Himself, whereby He not only forgives us for what we have done, but He accepts us for who we are!

Grace is a gift given freely, even though we don’t deserve it. All that is required is that we accept it. No matter who you are or what you have done, there is grace for you. God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to put your life back together and unlike the dancer out of time, you’ll no longer need to chase the beat. God is the composer of the music and if you choose to live in his grace, your life will always be in His perfect time.

If you would like to find out more about God and his grace, please send us a message. We would love to hear from you

Homeward Bound

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I’m not sure how many of you were like this, but as a child at the shops I was constantly running off and getting lost. I think my mom dreaded taking me, because she knew it would always end with her having to come and find me. What should have only been a quick trip to the shops would inevitably end in an hour-long ordeal of panic and emotion.

I didn’t run off to be spiteful or because I wanted to get back at my mom for something. I was just really inquisitive, I wanted to see and experience new things. For me, being at the shops was all about the adventure!

The problem with the adventure was that it nearly always seemed to end in tears. I would run off, happily doing my thing when all of a sudden I would realize that I was alone. I had run so far that I could no longer see my mom, and what made it worse was that I was in unfamiliar surroundings. I didn’t even know where to go to find help. I would start to panic, thoughts would creep into my mind like “What if I never find my mom?”  “What if I never see my sister again?”, “What if I never go home?”

Not knowing what to do, I would eventually just end up standing still and crying until someone asked me what was wrong, to which I would reply “I’ve lost my mommy”. The crazy thing is that even though I was no longer alone, I still felt lost; the only person who could save me was my mom.

Eventually they would send out a message on the intercom and my mom would come and get me. As soon as she saw me she would always give me a hug and tell me how much she loved me. She wasn’t angry, but rather relieved that she had found me and that we could now go home together.

You see what I know now is that as soon as I had run off, my mom would immediately drop everything she was doing and come to look for me. She wouldn’t rest until she had found me and knew that I was safe.

The reason that a lot of us can still relate to this common experience today is because we find ourselves in a similar situation.  In life we have chosen to run off and do our own thing, have our own adventures. We feel that no matter what people say, we are going to do things our own way. We try almost anything and everything in order to have a good time, yet at the end of the day, just like that little child in us, we end up alone and scared.

The good news is that there is a God out there who is always looking for you.  You are his child, and just like any good parent he won’t rest until he finds you and brings you back home. No matter what you have done or where you have been, He is always there for you and his love is unconditional.

Your life is not without hope! All you have to do is call out to the one who is searching for you. His hame is Jesus, and it’s only in him that you will you find your true home.

You once were lost but now you are found.

Your God-given Ability

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In a room full of people no two people are the same.

I always find that so interesting because we are all human, all alive… yet all so different.

But what makes us different?

Besides physical appearance what else could there be? The answer is, our gifts and passions. Your gifts and passions make you who you are, they are skills and abilities that are unique to you alone.

But how did you get these?

Now I know people can teach themselves certain skills, but there are always a few things that we find we are naturally good at.  God hand-picked all of our gifts and talents, He is the reason we are good at what we do. He knows the true potential that is within us all.

It may be hard to believe, but the reason that Jay Z is such a good rapper isn’t just because he has practised, its because he was born with a God-given ability. Another example is Michael Jordan, he is rated as one of the best basketball players of all time, but if God had not given him the skill and ability to play basketball, would we have even heard about him?

So don’t take for granted your gifts, instead be grateful for them because God has entrusted them to you.  Be faithful with them and make sure that you work hard and always strive to better yourself.

In the words of Paul the Apostle in Romans 12:6, “We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us.”  If God has given you an ability, maximise it.

This is Sam showing us what is possible if you maximise your own personal abilities.

If you would like to know more about the God who has given you all these skills and talents, send us a message. We would love to hear from you

What is Your Story?

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We all have a story to tell,  things that have happened to us in life,  both positive and negative. Stories are one of the best ways to communicate; we use them to tell people about aspects of our life or experiences we have had.  Stories are universal to us all.

What is your story?  What has happened to you in your life, where have you been, what have you done? Have these “stories” defined who you are now?

For many young people out there, this kind of story is familiar:  parents divorced, failing at school and the beginnings of a drug problem.  Low self worth and not much hope.   Frustration, even sadness.  The truth is, most of us don’t have a fairy tale to tell when it comes to our story.   There is often desperation and regret as we think back on our lives.  But is that it? Does that have to be how the story continues, and ends?

No! A new chapter is ready to be written, one filled with freedom, purpose and joy.

Your story isn’t over.   It could be just beginning.  God has an amazing story planned for your life, no matter who you are or what you have done. He loves you unconditionally and desires to have a relationship with you.  God says he will never leave us nor forsake us.  And he knows us so well.  He even knows how many hairs we have on our head. Nothing is impossible for him!

Don’t allow your current negative situation be your “story”, instead choose to trust God and allow him to start something new in your life. You can be the next Jonathan; you can have your life changed forever!

GAEL BIGIRIMANA – THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

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I love that sport has the power to bring a nation together; it gives people an opportunity to put their differences aside and stand in unity. One sport perhaps does this more so than others. The sport I’m referring to is soccer, or football as some call it, has the largest following globally, estimated at a massive 3.5 billion supporters. That means that there are more soccer fans worldwide than there are people in Africa!

What I’ve come to realise though, is that soccer is a lot like how Christianity should be. I know that might seem like a bit of a wayward statement, but let me explain myself a bit. Soccer brings nations together, people unite behind their favourite team, and they lift their voices, sing praises and fight for their team. Have you ever come in-between a soccer fan in the middle of his team’s game?  If not, let’s just say you might end up seeing the inside of a hospital for a while. People are so passionate about soccer that they would do anything for their team.

This makes me think, if people can be so passionate about a sport that is purely there for entertainment, why can’t they be just as passionate about the God that made them?

I am by no means knocking soccer or saying that it is bad or evil, what I am trying to say is that as Christians we could learn a few things about having passion for what we believe in.

The crazy thing is that soccer is a sport played by, you guessed it, humans. And as humans we were all created by and for God. So it’s amazing that we can have so much passion and support for something, yet we can’t seem to have the same passion for the God that made it.

Jesus places passions, gifts and desires in all of us, we all have things we enjoy doing, but it’s important to never lose your passion for the One who has given us these gifts.

So here’s my challenge, make an effort to get to know more about God. As you learn more about him and his character, you will find that your passion for him will grow. Let’s become the type of people who aren’t embarrassed or ashamed by what we believe, but rather seek to find more opportunities to share our passion for him.

Let’s show God the passion that he deserves. Soccer players and teams will come and go, but God is everlasting and unchangeable.

If you still don’t get the connection between soccer and christianity, check this video out.

GAEL BIGIRIMANA – THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

 

Disqualified Before You’ve Even Started

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Imagine training your whole life for a race, and on the day of the event as you walk up to the starting line you decide not to run.  All those years of hard work and training have come to nothing. You’ve put in so much effort, but instead of even trying, you decide that dropping out is better than the embarrassment of losing.

Whether you know it or not, a lot of us can relate to this story.

We have all at one point in time sat daydreaming about our future, thinking of what it would be like to have our dream job or how we could go about changing the world. But more often that not we never end up pursuing these dreams because we don’t believe that they are achievable. We give up before even trying!

People will always have excuses as to why their dreams are unachievable: “I don’t have the money”, “I come from a rough background”,  “it’s impossible”, “no one has ever done that before” and so on. But I honestly believe that the main reason that we seldom end up achieving our goals is because we don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t believe that we have the gifts, skills and abilities to make this “impossible” dream a reality.

We have disqualified ourselves before we have even started!

I think what we often fail to fully grasp is that these dreams, gifts and passions were given to us by God. He has placed them in us and has given us all we need to achieve them.  Have we forgotten that God is the God of the impossible, that nothing is too hard for him?

 

So don’t stop dreaming and put your trust in God. Find your inner strength and believe in your God-given abilities.  Instead of doubting, choose to have faith. Don’t live in regret, make a choice today to work hard and go for your dreams. Show people that it is possible to achieve the seemingly impossible when you put God first.

God believes in you – believe in you too!

BREAKING NEWS: Hollywood No Longer Has Highest Paid Actors

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No, you didn’t read wrong. Hollywood has officially lost the title of having the highest paid actors! The new title holders are really at the top of their game – no one can come close to matching their skill and apparent gift for drama.That’s right, the highest paid actors in the world aren’t found on a stage but rather on the soccer field.

If you have been following the world cup, you would have noticed on many occasions a player being harmlessly tackled, and immediately dropping to the floor in excruciating pain.  This injuries don’t usually seem to last very long though, as the player is back on the field and running around within seconds of being attended to by the miracle-working medical staff.

We should probably give credit where credit is due.  These players have made being injured an art form and it’s hard to tell who’s acting and who isn’t.

 

 

All jokes aside, I think there is a life lesson that can be learnt here.  Often in life we find ourselves putting on a show to try and impress someone or we act a certain way because we know that that’s what all the “cool” kids are doing.  Just as soccer players fake an injury to get a penalty, we often find ourselves faking who we are in order to achieve greater success, whether it been at school, in a work environment or at Church.  Never fake who you really are.

The problem with being fake is that it eventually catches up with us. It’s impossible to consistently be something we are not. Eventually something has to give, and often the consequence of “faking” far outweigh the reward. All the pressure we put on ourselves eventually leads to low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and a loss of hope.

But with all the expectations the world puts on us, is it even possible not to be fake?

Yes.  But it is not easy until you start seeing yourself a bit more like God sees you.  Read Psalm 139 to get an idea of how crazy He is about you – just as you are..  We are all individually made by Him, all unique, all original. None of us are the same.  If you are so wonderfully made by a perfect Creator, why would you want to be someone else? No one will ever be a better version of you, than you.

Jesus died to save you, not the person he wants you to be or the person others think you should be. He doesn’t need you to be something else, something fake. All he wants is you to have a relationship with him, just as you are.  We are all made in his image (Genesis 1:27).

So make a choice not to live your life like the worst kind of soccer player, constantly faking your way though life. Rather live out your life knowing who you are and whose you are.

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