Well, well! Will, will!

How big is your faith?
In our Celebrate Recovery programme, we have been talking quite a bit about faith and, to help people get a grasp of what Jesus said about faith (Matthew 17:20), we gave everyone a mustard seed. If we have faith that big, we can move a mountain. It has quite an impact when you do this – but I strongly recommend that you sellotape the mustard seed to a piece of paper – the last thing you want to happen is that they lose the mustard seed, because that is just a powerful anti-message that faith can be easily lost!

Stormy whether

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm. (Matt 8:23-26, NLT)
I am very aware of the fact that the Bible is a living word that speaks into the situation that you find yourself in. So often I read a passage and it means something different or something more than it ever did before.
Sometimes, though, I think this is often the case because I don’t think deeply enough about it – I just scan read, just as I have always skimmed the passage in the past, and I miss something, or put something in that was never there. This passage in Matthew is one such story.

Does a Pharisee see far?

The Pharisees get a roasting in the New Testament. They first pop up in Matthew 3 and John the Baptist lays into them immediately.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? (Matt 3:7, NLT)
He doesn’t see their fine robes or their importance – he just sees a brood of snakes. From there on it doesn’t get any better for them. They just don’t seem to be able to see what is happening in front of them. Many people see the miracles of Christ; they only see the works of Satan. Many see a Saviour; they see a threat to peace.

A present for the present

The Lord has gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability to perform any task involved in building the sanctuary. Let them construct and furnish the Tabernacle, just as the Lord has commanded. (Ex 36:1, NLT)
It’s always great to watch an artist at work. With just a few lines, a blank page can be brought to life, a story can reveal itself. But it isn’t just artists that can amaze – I am stunned at how quickly a carpet fitter can transform a great sheet of stiff carpet into a perfect fit for a room; or how an author can grab our attention with that book you just can’t put down; or how a surgeon can mend a broken face. There are so many skills out there, so many abilities.

A sign of things to come

For most of my life IT has been a very prominent feature. Information Technology has improved exponentially during the last few years, and we can get the information we are looking for at the touch of a few buttons. But we get loads of information without pressing buttons. Just look around you – it’s everywhere! I don’t know how many signs there are in the UK. It must be a huge number. Everywhere you look there is one in front of you, probably more than one.
During World War 2, the UK Government removed all the road signs so that if the Germans invaded they would get lost – or it would at the least slow down their advance. Can you imagine the chaos that would happen if they did that now? If every sign suddenly disappeared, there would be total disaster. Think about it – all the road signs, street signs gone in an instant! It would be OK for the locals, but others would get lost in no time. There would be jams as cars go the wrong way up one-way streets, accidents as drivers go straight across without giving way. Just imagine the house numbers being removed from people’s homes – how would you find anyone?