Fair Trade Bible Study: God is concerned about how we conduct business

When I was growing up I used to help my Mum taking fair trade products to various locations to sell and I heard her talk about it quite a bit. The Bible verse she often quoted was Proverbs chapter 14, verse 31:

“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.”

I’m pretty sure none of us set out to oppress the poor, do we? We don’t wake up thinking ‘Today I’m going to oppress the poor.’ No. And yet we benefit from an unfair trading system that does oppress many people. (more…)


The Parable of the Mustard Seed Part 3

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew chapter 13, verses 31-32)

Listen to the full sermon here

Seeds are a common theme in Jesus’ teaching. There are several parables about them. There’s another side to it as well. (more…)


The Parable of the Mustard Seed Part 2

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew chapter 13, verses 31-32)

Listen to the full sermon here

The bit that strikes me with the parable is the idea of birds coming and finding shelter in the branches. The Kingdom of God is something that grows as we sow it and birds come and find shelter there. (more…)


The Parable of the Mustard Seed Part 1

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew chapter 13, verses 31-32)

Listen to the full sermon here

This story appears in a sequence of stories that are all about the Kingdom of God. The person who wrote the gospel collected these stories together and they are all interlinked. In order they are the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of Wheat and the Weeds, the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Yeast.

The first three parables are all about seeds and sowing them and the results of sowing those seeds. (more…)


Light in the Darkness – something to think about at Christmas-time

This is adapted from a talk given to some teenagers in December 2011. The setting was the main room in the church with all the lights off and one tea-light candle lit on a table in the very centre of the room.

One of the people who wrote about Jesus in the Bible said this:

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

We have a candle. In a very big, dark room. But there is nothing the darkness can do to put out the candle. (more…)


A review of ‘Signs in the Heavens: Blood moons are coming to Israel’ – a DVD by Mark Biltz

Reviewed by request from Ken, United Kingdom

This presentation by Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries was filmed at the Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit, 2013. ‘Blood moons’ have been in the news of late, even making the front pages of the newspapers in the UK, and Biltz’s ideas have been used by well-known end times author John Hagee to link observations of near-space phenomena with political upheaval of eschatological significance.

A ‘blood moon’ is caused when the earth passes between the moon and the sun. Unable to reflect the usual amount of sunlight, the moon turns red. They are fairly common, but what Mark Biltz highlights is that in 2014-15 there will be four blood moons in close succession, including one that will be seen in Israel. (more…)


Seven Biblical tips for living a joy-filled life

This is adapted from a Sunday talk at Glenwood Church – listen to the talk here

Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed by the Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 5, verses 22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

The fruits of the Spirit are the things that grow in our lives as we live in step with the Holy Spirit as disciples of Jesus Christ.

We need to grow this fruit called joy, because generally speaking the perception is that Christians are the opposite of joyful. Christians seem to be thought of as serious and judgemental and frowning at everything. (more…)


Noah – the new action blockbuster movie from Paramount Pictures

Recently on UCB Radio, Paul Hammond the presenter asked Jon the freelance theologian this question: “Does it matter if the new Noah film is faithful to the Biblical story or not?”

Broadly speaking, if we are going to limit any versions of Noah to ones that are Biblically authentic then we are going to have to clear the shelves of our Christian bookshops of any children’s books about Noah, and probably quite a few of the adult books will need to go too. (more…)


Why serving others is an important part of Christian faith

This talk gave the context to the idea of why, as Christians, serving others is so important. You can listen to this talk on the Glenwood Church website.

It looked at the importance of serving, our attitudes when serving, and why we should take the opportunity to serve because actually it underpins our understanding of who Jesus is and who we are. (more…)


A brief introduction to baptism

This is based on a short youth talk, and is about Baptist-style baptism, i.e. of a professing Christian by full immersion.

Baptism is a symbol of change and that you want to live differently; the death of the old life, and the resurrection into new life. (more…)