Pastor’s Thoughts – May 2014

Confidence

Dear friends,

Do you ever feel ill-equipped to deal with people that have questions about your faith? What makes Jesus so special? How can we trust the Bible? Aren’t all religions the same? Why should your idea of the truth make any difference to me? Science has given us all the answers to the mysteries of life so we don’t need religion any more. Now your friends may not ask those exact questions but most questions that they ask will fall into one of those kinds of categories. So our morning series is called Confidence. There are four sessions which will help us feel – well moreconfident in dealing with these things.

Confidence in the message will explore the Gospel itself. We’ve just celebrated Easter, but what did Easter achieve? Why did Jesus have to die? Does the resurrection matter? How can we trust that it all happened as we read it in the New Testament?

Confidence in the Bible will look at why we can trust the Old and New Testament texts. How did the Bible come to be put together? Can we trust it with our lives?

Confidence in the face of opposition will look at the typical arguments that we get from people who are not seeking to know what we believe but seeking to destroy what we believe. Typically these will be the kinds of arguments that people make who believe in science as the highest religion of all. We will also look at similar arguments that have argued that religion is a force for evil rather than good.

Finally Confidence in the uniqueness of Christ will look at what Jesus achieved that no one else could. People hate the idea that as Christians we make claims about Jesus that are exclusive; that we argue that He is above all things, all ideologies and all other religious figures. So is this just arrogance on our part or is there a reason believing that Jesus is unlike any other person in history; and that He has achieved what no one else has?

My hope and prayer is that we will all feel that we can deal with people’s basic questions. It’s worth noting that when people ask us things they are not necessarily being argumentative – often they genuinely want to know what we think.

Peter said: ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’ – 1 Peter 3:15

These questions were amongst the topics that we looked at in Deeper last year and this series is picking up from there. We are starting a new series of Deeper looking at the way that we care for people that are going through challenging and difficult times. I’m very grateful to Neil Roques for organising this as before and for all those that will be leading sessions. A card is available to let you know which topics we will be covering.

In a way this is the other side of the coin from the morning series. If that is about how we argue for our faith, then this is about demonstrating our faith in action. Both are actually arguments for the truth of Jesus Christ.

Finally, following on from our week of prayer, the Leadership Team believe that it is right for us to seek to acquire the rest of the site here. This obviously involves another large expense so we would like to get a clear picture about where we stand for resources. Sunday 18th May is our Mission Sunday and on that day we would like to invite you to make a pledge towards the purchase of the site. Pledge forms will be available shortly but you can also pledge via email to Geoff or me. These will be treated in strictest confidence.

Yours in Christ
John