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God Speaks

James Grayston

At TCF over the last two years all of the young people have been challenged to read our bibles more.  Last year the guys and girls started two separate Facebook group chats to challenge each other.  The idea was that we would all share in the same plan and that we would challenge each other as to how well we were doing.  Share verses and new things we were seeing.  This worked quite well until around the end of February.  We all sort of slowed down, falling behind. And then we posted less and less as we were guilty others were ahead of us.  Eventually by the end of March we weren’t posting in the group at all. The girls did better than the boys as usual but they too started to fade away.  I wonder if you can relate.  So many years we start off with great ideas.  But we rarely finish that way.

Well that was last year.  This year we thought we would start again.  Trying to encourage each other in what we are reading.  It’s not been as exciting as last year and didn’t boost off with the same enthusiasm.  But it seems to be lasting longer.  There is a wonderful sense of discovering new things when we just sit down and read our bibles for ourselves.  There is a joy in sharing one to one with our brothers and sisters things we have never seen before.  Now of course the bible is 3500-2000 years old.  These things have always been there.  But there is nothing like discovering them for yourself for the first time.  We believe that in fact the bible is a living book, like no other and that God can take things that have been there for thousands of years and speak directly to us today in 2018.  This is Gods book and things happen when we simply read it for ourselves.

So I thought that for the TCF blog that we as young people could share some new things we’ve seen in our readings over the next few weeks.  Hopefully these will encourage us to read the bible for ourselves.  When we do exciting things will happen because God begins to speak

Alive!

Scott Rollo

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins."
1 Corinthians 15:17

At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. And at Easter we celebrate the reason for His birth: His atoning sacrificial death on the cross, and His triumphant resurrection from the dead. In rising from the dead, he defeated sin, death and hell. As the scripture says, if He hadn't been raised then we would have no salvation, no redemption, no forgiveness of sins.


And because He is alive today, we worship Him as Lord.


Do you know Jesus?
Do you believe in Him?
Is He your saviour?

"Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is alive."

At the Cross

James Grayston

'Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.’

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?

Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature's sin.

Thus, might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of tears can ne'er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
'tis all that I can do.

Are you thankful? Do you really appreciate what Jesus did for you?

As we approach Easter weekend, I am ever so thankful for the cross. The cross represents God’s love in sacrificing His Own Son and also, Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

If you are reading this and you don’t have Christ in your heart then I strongly urge you to consider what Easter is all about and what Jesus did for you. If you do, then celebrate Easter by telling everyone of God’s love for them and be ever so thankful that you are saved from sin and death.

In the words of the hymn above, 'dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.’

I don't believe it

James Grayston

There was a lot of press comment to the recent survey conducted by the BBC about Easter and in particular the question whether you believed in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The stat which caused most concern or potentially delight amongst those commenting was that seemingly 25% of Christians did not believe the Biblical account of the resurrection.

I am not alone in people being cynical about surveys but I am a bit surprised by the stat. I'm surprised it's not a lot higher to be honest. We live in a country where people will describe themselves as Christians but if you have a conversation with them - they will know nothing about the person they say they follow and even more concerning - they don't actually know him. Their christianity is about family tradition, church association or the fact that they were christened as a child.

Just a short time after The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead Paul was preaching in Athens and he spoke about the resurrection. Look at the response from those listening.

Acts 17:32-34

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed.

Almost two thousand years on. People are no different.

I think I would be on safe ground in saying there is probably no event in history from this time around Jesus death, burial and resurrection where there is so much 1st person testimony. If the resurrection had gone to court to prove its validity it would have been accepted with so many witnesses. Some of whom by the way, are from 3rd party writings outside of the Bible. Please note, I'm not saying they are more credible in terms of accepting what happened. My faith and trust are based on what the bible says and my own personal knowledge of my Saviour and Lord.

Back to those who would describe themselves as "Christians". The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a life-changing event. It validates all that Jesus said and did. It means all He said was true. In fact, He would describe himself as Truth. This being the case those who are Christians will be living lives that reflect they are followers of Him. You cannot be a Christian and say you don't believe in the resurrection. I am a Christian today because He was the first to be raised from the dead.

As I said earlier. People saying they did not believe in the resurrection are not new. Look at what Paul writes to the church in Corinth about this very subject.

1 Corinthians 15:12-22

The Resurrection of the Dead

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

It is a matter of faith. Faith based on what God has said and the evidence that exists around what took place in Jerusalem.

Don't accept the view from a 3rd party or someone with an agenda. Look into the resurrection of Jesus for yourself.  Make up your own mind.

I leave you with a song about the resurrection. It depicts Peter's experience when he first discovered Jesus was alive. Peter was never the same again. Later on in the bible it says about him and his 11 other colleagues that they turned the world upside down because of the message they preached.

Incidentally this is another proof of the resurrection. We celebrate Easter this weekend. Celebrating a commoner who lived a life of poverty until He Died......and then arose!

Resurrection

James Grayston

It’s a word that you don’t hear very often in everyday conversation.

In fact, the concept of resurrection is something that has really just been confined to the realm of fantasy. The very idea of someone who is dead (really dead – not just passed out or comatose) being raised to life again is so absurd that it is really only reserved for the most outlandish of stories. Resurrection has become little more to the average person than a plot device that is only really taken up and used in the most unbelievable of fictional universes; universes where the dead rise again with a hunger for human flesh or where strange powers are at work and are causing those who died long ago to be reunited with their families. It is a concept so incredibly beyond the scope of believability that even Hollywood steers clear of it as far as they possibly can.

And yet, over the next week, millions of people all over the world will be gathering to specifically remember and celebrate the brutal murder and reported resurrection of a young carpenter from Galilee. Millions of people will come together to remember this young man who was called Jesus – Yeshua in his mother tongue – whom they believe to be the Son of God who died and rose from the grave 3 days later.

Isn’t it absurd?

As a Christian, the only reason I can rejoice in the death of Jesus is because I believe in that obscure and absurd concept – resurrection. When a Christian looks at the cross we are faced with a very strange situation: we are reminded of one who died but who is not dead. My remembrance of the suffering of Christ on the cross is a remembrance not only of the substitutionary work of Jesus and how he bore the penalty for my sin, but also of that Sunday morning where the tomb that he had been laid was found empty.

The Apostle Paul said this to the Corinthians:

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17

Resurrection may indeed seem to be a very odd and very peculiar thing – that’s because it is. It is by the supernatural raising of Christ from the dead that we can be sure that we can place our hope and trust in Him.

When Jesus uttered His dying words “It is Finished”, he was not talking about His life but rather His earthly mission – the salvation of sinners and reconciling them to God. If Jesus had remained dead in the grave, we would only have those three words to hope in, hoping that Jesus was who He claimed to be and that His sacrifice had been acceptable to God. If we had only those three words to go on, there would be a lot of room or doubt.

But because Jesus rose again on the third day and appeared to many of His followers, we can have absolute hope that His sacrifice was accepted by a Holy God and that Jesus did complete His work of salvation and reconciliation. The bible tells us that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”

Resurrection is absolutely a strange and an absurd concept. But it is also the foundation of the greatest reality – that Jesus Christ is the Son Of God with power to take away sin.