2019 blogs - all categories

God's Children
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-07-17 13:36:17
 
“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18)

This term our chapels will be focusing on children in the Bible. They are mostly written about people in the Old Testament. However, this morning at Whole School worship, Pastor Paul reminded us that when Jesus’ ministry began, he made it very clear that every person is a child of God. This was contrary to the usual thinking of the time when gods were to be feared and certainly not viewed as our parents. How blessed we are that we are called God’s children and that our heavenly Father wants to be in a close and loving relationship with us.
 

Take Time to Rest
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-06-27 11:08:59
 
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)

There are 2 phrases that I regularly hear around this time of year. The first is that things are busy and the second is that people are needing a rest. It’s not surprising, of course. We have end of financial year matters to deal with, it’s the end of a school term and it’s been about half a year since that Christmas holiday break. We’re also 6 months older than when we started the year – which, I’ve discovered, is a significant factor at my age.

Physical tiredness is easy to see and experience. Running a business, keeping everything on track in the family, and maintaining our careers, hobbies, interests and friendships all take their slice of the “time pie” that has to be managed. Jesus understands tiredness, as he had to escape the crowds from time to time and take a rest. It’s also helpful to remember that all that busyness is not what earns us God’s favour. It’s often admirable work, and often necessary, but God’s gift of salvation – our eternal rest, peace and joy – is a free gift from God. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Do not be afraid to take some rest over the coming school break. Spend valuable and precious time with family and friends, re-connecting and enjoying each other’s company. And give thanks to God for leading by example when he took a day of rest after his time of work.  

The Way, The Truth and The Life
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-06-20 15:42:53
 
I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Jesus shared this “I Am” statement with his disciples at the Passover meal. Although having seen Jesus’ miracles and heard his teachings firsthand, they still didn’t quite get that Jesus was God himself. That seed of doubt existed in some and others simply couldn’t get their heads around the idea that the Saviour would soon die. We’d likely be exactly the same today. So Jesus points things out one more time – very clearly – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the only pathway to heaven. Jesus is the ultimate truth about God and his plans for us. Jesus is the only pathway to eternal life. There is nothing else we need to know or can do to change that. 

The Vine and Branches
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-06-12 15:32:59
 
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

The picture of a grape vine was an easy one for Jesus to use, as they were reasonably prominent across the landscape in the time that he lived. Jesus used this image to share about who he is and how we are related to him. Grape vines grow up from the ground in all types of twisted forms and then separate into arms that continue the twisting shapes. From those arms, the smaller, softer branches emerge. However, it’s not always easy to tell where the vine ends and the branch starts. They’re blended together without a clear line of distinction. In the same way, Jesus wants us to be connected to him really closely, as if we are one.

It’s also the case that no branch can have life by itself. Only the vine can do this. The branches need to draw their energy and life from the vine. Without it, they will not survive.
At Easter we see Jesus as the vine, able to rise again to life. We, however, can’t do that. In order to gain eternal life, we need to stay connected to him, just like the branch needs to stay connected to the vine in order to live. Jesus wants us to be joined to him and he provides us with the life-giving energy that we need. If we choose to connect ourselves to Jesus and to remain in him, God promises that we will enjoy all that his heavenly vineyard has to offer us for eternity.

Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and God the Father is the Owner and Gardener. What a wonderful position for us to be in.
 

The Gate
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-06-5 14:36:12
 
I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; he will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness. (John 10:7-10)
This “I am” statement is made by Jesus after he shares the Parable of the Shepherd in which he explains that the sheep follow the voice of the shepherd who looks after them. The people don’t understand that it’s a story about following the right person to God, so he gives a more direct speech and to make it clear that he is the one they should be following. In the time of this story, shepherds would guide the sheep each night into a pen made with stone walls. The shepherd would sit in the narrow entranceway to ensure that no sheep got out and that no predators got in. Jesus explains that all who wish to enter heaven need to follow him, and that he will protect them. The final words are significant for our school, as they are our motto: Life in all its fullness. At Good News we seek for our students to not only learn and grow in order to have a full earthly life but to also understand the pathway to eternity with God – a life that is truly full of joy.
 

The Bread of Life
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-29 15:15:51
 
I am the bread of life; whomever comes to me shall not hunger, and whomever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
Jesus makes this statement after the feeding of the 5 000 with the loaves and fishes in Galilee. The crowds continue to follow him, seeking more to eat for free, and he spends time telling them not to chase after food that doesn’t last long, but instead to seek out the food that gives ever-lasting life. Jesus explains that the pursuit of earthly satisfaction without seeing the bigger picture of what he is teaching them about himself and his Father is foolish. All over the world, bread is seen as a basic part of everyone’s diet, so Jesus calling himself the bread of life is a clear message that he is essential for eternal life. It is through a hunger for him, a faith in him, that we gain the blessings of God when our time on earth comes to pass. Jesus is saying that he is the key to satisfying our inner desire for righteousness and that there is no other way that that hunger can be met. We cannot buy our way to heaven and we cannot earn our way there via good works. It is only through Jesus, the Bread of Life. 

I am the Light
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-23 15:13:20
 
Jesus is making several points with this “I Am” statement. At its simplest level, Jesus tells us that he will be our guide through life, showing us the way to greater fulfillment. He also reassures us that he is the way out of the darkness of despair and into the light of hope. Jesus also is telling us that he is the light at the gate to heaven. It is by following him, believing in him as our Saviour, that we gain eternity in heaven. He is the light that we should focus on and not be distracted by other things that take us away from God.
 

I am the Resurrection and the Life
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-15 15:35:15
 
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25)


Continuing our chapel theme of the “I Am” statements by Jesus, this week I’m focusing on “I am and the resurrection and the life”. Here Jesus is making a clear statement about being the Saviour. In a time when people had many rules about how to live a God-pleasing life, Jesus explains that it is through him, and only him, that we can gain eternal life. It is about a faith in Jesus as God, as the Saviour, that allows us to take up his free gift of life in heaven. No-one goes to our heavenly Father except through Jesus.
 

I Am
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-8 15:16:57
 
During chapels this term we are exploring the “I Am” statements of Jesus. As a scene setter at last week’s whole school worship, Pastor Paul shared the story of Moses asking God who he should say has sent him to speak to the people. God replies with, “I am who I am,” meaning “I am called God, because I am God”. Centuries later when Jesus is undertaking his ministry, he makes a number of ‘I Am’ statements that provide a link between him and his Father. People understand that Jesus is saying that he is God. Though, as we know, not everyone was entirely happy about that. This week’s chapel topic focused on when he said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” with the emphasis on the “good”, as shepherds were renowned for being somewhat careless about looking after their employer’s flocks. If one or 2 sheep went astray, the shepherds were relatively unconcerned. However, Jesus makes it clear that all in his flock (of people) are important and that he will search for anyone who becomes lost and will then seek to bring them back to his kingdom. 

It's All True
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-1 15:40:11
 
So how do we have confidence that Jesus really did rise from the dead? After all, it’s a 2000+ year old claim, so it’s perhaps not unreasonable to ask. The answer lies in examining who wrote the biographies and letters that make up the New Testament of the Bible as well as what their motivation was. Some of them were disbelievers and haters, such as James and Paul, who had transformative experiences that turned their anger and distrust into a faith that energized them to evangelise as far afield as they could. Some were followers who had lost all hope when Jesus died, such as the disciples and the women at the tomb, who were then filled again with unexpected joy when he rose again. Some were already hated by everyone else within the community, such as Matthew the tax collector, but he still wrote a biography about Jesus because of what he knew to be true. And there was Luke, a doctor and historian, who investigated all the facts, interviewing believers and haters alike. After doing so, his biography opens with the words, “Having carefully investigated, I have also decided to write an accurate account for you so that you can be certain of the truth about everything you have been taught.” None of these people would have bothered to write their letters and accounts if Jesus had clearly died and stayed dead. They are all actual letters that were preserved and gathered together so that we can have confidence that it’s all true. Jesus is Risen. He is risen indeed! 

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