Archive for September, 2013

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mental health has yet again been dragged kicking and screaming to the fore by Asda and Tesco’s silly costume. Most people actually do suffer from mental health issues, wether depression, stress or anything else. This, in the LGBT community is surprisingly high, especially amongst the young people.  A recent survey said that 40% of young people believe they have mental health problems.

The problem with being different, is that people find it difficult to deal with you and when you take on their views of who you are, you can end up with all kinds of problems. Having condemned myself for a lot of my life, I understand this from a personal perspective, having suffered from depression, I can understand this as well. But so many young people struggling with these issues is terrible.

Here is a space for the church, Jesus was complained about because he spent all his time with “tax collectors and sinners”, his critics, the Pharisees (leadership of the church?), thoroughly enjoyed taking him to pieces for doing what he knew should. LGBT people are seen by some churches as the worst of sinners, which, oddly, seems to me to alienate them from the Jesus that sits with us, in the back of the gay bar, laughing and sharing his stories about the real Kingdom of God, not demanding, just giving.

How can we, Christ’s church, built on a foundation of sacrificial love have got to the place where, dare I say it, we have been part of the problem for this group of people? It is time for the redemption of Christianity and the gospel from the hatred towards anyone who does not fit, to the love of those special people, love can really help with a lot of these kind of issues. Instead of “love the sinner, hate the sin”, we should just love everyone. The more needy the more love should be given, because when this person finds Jesus, they find the ultimate love and their redemption is even greater.

What have we done?

If you are in the Hillingdon UK area, my friend Lukasz and his team run Hillingdon Mind for LGBT people http://www.hillingdonmind.org.uk/index.php/projects/lgbt . If you need help please get in touch.

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I have been thinking a lot recently about the Kingdom of God, the one described by Jesus in the Bible, a Kingdom that is not of this world. I am challenged that, in fact, this Kingdom is NOT the church as we know it.

His Kingdom is open to anyone who pushes the door, it is not closed by “you’re not good enough, you’re gay, you don’t meet our standards”, it is held open by Jesus and by letting his Kingdom in, the other Kingdom’s in our lives have to give way. There can be only one Kingdom.

His Kingdom is not the Church of England or any other denomination of “Christianity” or any other faith system, in his Kingdom, the top people are the greatest servants, in his Kingdom, the first is last and the last is first. Your value is not on how much money you have, or if the word Rev’d is used when your name is spoken. In his Kingdom, the smallest child with an open heart to God is greater than the miracle preacher who is furnishing his earthly Kingdom, even if it is in Christ’s name.

His Kingdom, is not run on the money of the poor. Instead, the poor are rich.

His Kingdom, is an everlasting Kingdom, it will never end, it does not need you, but if you want it, it will take you over and set you free. (Although the Kingdom’s you allow to rule you may fight to keep you, they have no power over him).

The people in his Kingdom do not dress in a certain way, say special words or observe religious festivals, none of these are a requirement of his Kingdom, only freedom, love and forgiveness.

Unfortunately the people that think they preach his Kingdom, may not, have, actually, experienced it.

Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (NIV)

John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (NIV)

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 And when he was demanded by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with outward observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. 22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that flashing out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

31In that day, he who shall be upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two *men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wherever the body is, there will the vultures be gathered together. King James Version.

*Incidentally a lot of other translations remove the word MEN and use people or just leave it out.