Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Friday’s Podcast … the weekend arrives tomorrow! In this week’s reflections we have been asking the question ‘Is it possible to change?’ On Monday we saw clearly the answer is yes – it begins with Jesus with the invitation ‘Will you receive Christ this day?’ Tuesday, the fruit of Godly change is thankfulness. Wednesday, a God changed life is a better life because Jesus is Lord. Yesterday, lasting change comes from healthy spiritual growth. Today’s bible passage is Col2:20 – 3:4 from the MSG and our focus verse is 3:1 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.
As we end this week’s reflections let’s consider again this place Colossae, this small church who are hearing these words of Paul. In its day it had been one of the leading cities in Asia Minor (Turkey) but was now just a small market town as other surrounding cities had grown in prominence – it had undergone great change; not unlike many of our cities in the UK, including Sheffield, which have also seen change as historic industries and business have moved elsewhere.
But Jesus had other plans for Colossae! Paul’s friend Epaphras starts a new church; people joined him and together they began building a Jesus community, initially no bigger than one of our cells then perhaps growing to cluster size. This community would have a profound effect on the city, the region and ultimately the world and even us today as were still talking about it! Is it possible to change? Yes it is, as we live out the Better Life of Jesus!
We live in a world overflowing with beauty and blessing but also so much brokenness – just watch the news – a brokenness that seems touch all areas of life today. Two areas needing radical change now stand out for me as we begin 2020 and proclaim the Better Life of Jesus.
Firstly, Godly change for our young people. We see daily on out TV screens, children suffering across our world; in our own nation children living in poverty; used as drug couriers by evil men and women; young people trafficked and exploited and then the despair of knife crime on our streets. Now, as they say on ‘Crimewatch’ don’t have nightmares about this! … but we cannot ignore it either because it’s happening on our watch!
As Christians, we have a particular high calling from God to nurture and invest in our young people. That’s why at STC we helped pioneer a schools initiative called SHINE which looks to bring real gospel hope to teenagers in our schools through Christian artists and evangelists speaking of the Better Life Jesus brings. It’s why as a church, we invested prayer, time and considerable money in the HIGHER TOUR last year where thousands of teenagers in secondary schools in our region heard and experienced the gospel. So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.
Secondly, Godly change in our city. I live in the city of Sheffield, one of the largest cities in the UK. I was born in this city as was Tricia my wife. Our children were born here as were four of our five grandchildren. We love this amazing city! Over the years Sheffield has changed as its industrial base has changed – it’s seen really tough times. However, in the same way Jesus had a plan for Colossae all those years ago, I believe he has a plan for Sheffield! It is being redeveloped in so many ways; it is still a world leader in specialised steels, two world class universities, research and teaching hospitals, new centres for creative arts, music, IT etc. and now a Premier League football team! But what of the spiritual life of our city?
As in Colossae then so in Sheffield today or wherever you live – when Jesus Christ is honoured and followed it’s not just people who change but whole communities and cities can change because Jesus puts broken things back together! I believe, people like you and me, followers of Jesus keeping spiritually healthy, believing that the power of Jesus can change things as we live out his Better Life every day in serving our city in the jobs, careers and callings he gives us. But we have to stand up and play our part by putting our faith into action in all kinds of ways ranging from simple acts of kindness each day to those around us to playing our part in the Godly renewal of the social, political, educational and financial fabric of our city.
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. What is my part? Ask Jesus and he will show you.
Thank you for journeying through this week with me as we have asked the question ‘Is it possible to change?’ The bible clearly says yes and our reflections this week show us how. It starts with personal change in me but never stops there. Jesus can change the future of our young people as we show them his Better Life and invite them to receive it. Jesus can change the future of Sheffield as we all work for the good of the city. It’s time for the church to wake up and rise up; to have confidence again in its Lord and overflow with his good news. Now that’s worth getting up for in the morning!
Lord Jesus, thank you that through your Holy Spirit you are changing me every day to be more like you. Let me bring your goodness and kindness to those I meet today and every day, especially our young people, that I might play my small part in the Godly transformation this great city of Sheffield. Amen
BIBLE READING: Colossians 2:20-3:4
So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.