2 March 2018

Hi everyone and welcome to Friday’s Podcast here at STC – the weekend approaches!

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 – Jesus Christ is THE change agent in our lives and in our society. Tuesday, that all change starts with me but doesn’t end with me, it is passed on as we asked the question ‘Will you receive Christ this day?’ Wednesday, the fruit of Godly change is thankfulness. Yesterday, a God changed life is a better life. Today, lasting change comes from healthy growth.

REFLECTION

Today’s Bible passage is Colossians 2:13-19 from The Message, and our focus verse is v19: “we can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.”

Paul ends the week as he began it, by saying it’s all about Jesus – it’s Jesus plus nothing else. Jesus has done it all. You don’t need to add anything, says Paul. ‘So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services or holy days’ (v.16, MSG). He goes on to say all you need is Christ … ‘He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us’ (v.19 MSG).

We change through God’s nourishment. The word ‘nourish’ means to provide resources that allow health and growth. How does God nourish/feed us so we might be spiritually healthy and grow in body, mind and spirit? Here are six marks of healthy growth for us as disciples; Bible, prayer (STC Podcast is a great resource!), Sunday worship, midweek community, financial giving to your church, serving in the world.

Can this Godly change go beyond just me? 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 three of our four grandchildren. We love this city! Over the years Sheffield has changed as its industrial base has changed – it’s seen 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! The city 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. The real key to this change are people investing in the city – and particularly, I believe, people like you and me, followers of Jesus keeping spiritually healthy and living out his life every day in serving our city.

Sounds like the kind of thing that church leaders like me say to busy people like you! Mick, how can I help change Sheffield when I have all on trying to change my socks! Every day I have all on just dealing with stuff. If that’s you, here’s a word from the prophet Boris Johnson: “My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters only opportunities. And indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters!”

The good news is that it’s in the disasters of life that God moves powerfully – it’s in the challenges that we find God inspired solutions; Jesus says ‘without me you can do nothing’. So we need more of him every day, we receive him afresh every day. As we do this we slowly grow healthy in body, mind and spirit. ‘We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us’ .

I have a dream – that Jesus wants to raise up tens of thousands of followers in Sheffield who by living their everyday, ordinary, Jesus inspired lives became part of his Godly transformation for our city. Not just praying for Sheffield but doing something about it! Prayer is vital but not enough on its own; Jesus is calling us to put 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.

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 have shown us how. It starts with personal change in me but never stops there – the gospel can change cities. Sheffield will see real change when Jesus’ disciples, us, work for the good of the city and the city knows the church is for it! Now that’s exciting!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, thank you for your many blessings to me and to those I love. Thank you that you provide all I need for health and growth in body, mind and spirit. Thank you our faith is so practical as you not only bring change to me but through me Godly change to this city you have called us to. Amen.

READING: COLOSSIANS 2:13-19 (The Message)

When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets. So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.