Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Monday’s Podcast at STC. As a church family, our Vision 2020 is ‘Join Us for the Better Life’ – to become people who actively seek this Better Life that Jesus came to bring us and become his committed people who can bring Godly change to our society one kindness, one generous act at a time.
Last week, my colleague Tom began our reflections in Paul’s letter to the Colossians and I do so hope they encouraged you as much as they did me. This week’s reflections pose this question ‘Is it possible to change?’ Our reading today is Col 1:24 – 29 and the focus verse is v27 ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’
Here at STC we often ask the question ‘How is life’ on a scale 1 – 10? It’s a good check and balance test and a way to take stock where we are with God.
John Lennon said: ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ What are we looking for in life? Many people are looking for more than just acquiring more stuff! Perhaps best described by the word ‘hope’?
The word ‘hope’ in the New Testament means ‘trust’ or ‘confidence’ – being absolutely certain that something promised will take place. Christians believe our ‘hope’ is found in Jesus Christ; he gives real meaning to our lives. The former Chief Cashier of the Bank of England, Graham Kentfield once said, ‘I am clear that the meaning of life can only be properly understood in the context of our relationship with God.’
Many years ago, when I was exploring Christianity, friends took Tricia and I to their church. I heard the preacher say this in his sermon ‘There is a Christ shaped hole within us; there will always be an emptiness in your life until it is filled by Christ living within you – will you receive Christ this day?’.
This was the invitation always given after he’d preached by the great evangelist Billy Graham who died two years ago aged 99′. ‘Will you receive Christ this day?’ When we do, he fills that hole in the soul and brings you hope, peace, joy and faith. In that moment you know ‘Christ in you the hope of glory’ and you experience ‘the glorious riches of this mystery’ (v.27).
Paul is in prison writing this letter (1:24). He has a clear calling, to speak of the mystery that was kept hidden but is now revealed (v.26). This passage highlights how Paul’s thinking and preaching, indeed his whole life are focussed on Jesus Christ and making him known. Is mine?
So, Is it possible to change? As Christians we believe the answer is yes; we change when we personally receive Jesus Christ into our lives – in that moment, life transformation begins.
‘Will you receive Christ this day’? I answered that preacher’s call all those years ago and became a Christian. However, I have to answer that call every day of my life – every day I receive Jesus Christ afresh. I am now becoming more like him as every day I receive him afresh – it’s a lifetime journey, one small step at a time.
This evening at STC we will be hosting the largest Alpha course our church has ever done – indeed, it may be the largest Alpha course any single Northern church has hosted. We are praying for 500 on this course; we are praying that many will receive Jesus into their lives for the first time and many others will find their faith powerfully renewed.
So, how is life today, on a scale of 1 – 10? Some days I feel so ill equipped to face the challenges of life but then God reminds me ‘Mick, remember, Christ in you, the hope of glory’ – I am then reminded of this great truth (v29) that I face the challenges of life with ‘all his energy, which so powerfully works in me’.
Lord Jesus, thank you for you invitation to live your life every day. Thank you that it is possible because you live in me. I receive you into my life this day. Whatever this day brings I know I face it with you. Amen
BIBLE READING: Colossians 1:24-29
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.