Short Thoughts

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We have been in Pershore for 50 years!

The Christadelphians in Pershore are celebrating their 50th anniversary with an open day in July. Their hall in Paddock Close will be open for visitors to enjoy a cream tea, view their displays and, the following week, share presentations. The first meeting in June 1972 was held in Mission Hall (later St Agatha’s Hall) in Head Street, with a handful of members. As the membership grew, during the 1970s and 80s, a Sunday School was run to which many children from the local community were welcomed. Since 2002, the Christadelphians have met in their own hall in Paddock Close, and have subsequently grown to over 80 members. There’s an open invitation to come to the hall on Saturday 9 July between 11am and 4pm, when there will be displays about the regular worship and activities. A strawberry cream tea and drinks will be served throughout the day.

This is the latest in our posts "Why I became a Christadelphian.

" Watch this short video where David explains how the truth of the God's word was unlocked for him and why he was baptised. pershore-christadelphians.

There were piles of empty cardboard boxes under the rafters.

Old, discarded household items which ‘might come in handy again’, boxes of children’s toys ready for visitors or grandchildren… the piles seemed endless! Time for a good clear out. Having a big sort out allowed unwanted things to be passed onto new homes, forgotten items were rediscovered and some order and space were created in the loft. As the cobwebs were swept aside a story Jesus told in the Bible came to mind. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

“We need a world ruler with the wisdom and power to solve our world’s problems” Interested to read more? Click here: https://lifesbigquestions.

“Stop!” The store salesman yelled, raising his hand in alarm.

He was joking, surely. I was about to put up the brolly I’d bought from him earlier, to show a fault. “I’m flying this weekend, I don’t want to take risks,” he said seriously, and escorted me out of the store where I ‘safely’ raised the umbrella on the pavement. He was someone who believes an umbrella put up indoors brings ‘bad luck’. I suppressed the urge to ask what might happen if the aircraft’s captain, crew, or a passenger had raised their umbrella indoors before their flight. Would it have triggered an aviation disaster? It’s interesting to discover where some superstitions arose from. People who make a point of not walking under a ladder, for instance, follow the lead of the Ancient Egyptians who left a ladder against the tomb wall where they believed good and evil spirits lived. The ladder ‘aided’ the dead to climb to a higher realm. Mortals didn’t walk beneath it to avoid ‘disturbing the spirits’.

Busting Bible Myths 7: Baptism = Christening Jesus specifically instructed the apostles to make disciples by baptising them. The mainstream churches carry out this command by sprinkling water on the forehead of the person in question. The person is usually a baby. But is this what Jesus meant to happen? Firstly, it is instructive to note that the word “baptise” comes from a Greek word which meant to submerge something in water. It was a word used in relation to dyeing cloth: unless you were after a patchy change of colour you would need to “baptise” it! This seems an odd choice of word for Jesus to use if he meant simply sprinkling water on someone’s head. Rather, it is clear that Jesus expected the disciples to immerse people fully in water. We shall see why in a moment. Secondly, in Mark’s account of this same commission, he tells us that Jesus also said this: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Jesus is not God - a book review I couldn’t help noticing a fascinating review in The Times not so long ago. The book was called ‘Christian beginnings: from Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30-325’, and it was written by the respected Bible scholar, (the late) Geza Vermes. Focusing on Jesus, he shows how the Christian Church changed its beliefs after it became the religion of the Roman empire in the fourth century. The teaching that Jesus was God Himself, a doctrine known as the Trinity, only came into being after the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. The Bible shows that Jesus was not God Himself, but His son and subordinate to him. For example, Jesus said: ‘My Father is greater than I’ (John 14 v28, NKJV) The Apostle Paul wrote that when God’s purpose with the earth finally comes to an end: ‘..the son himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all’ (1 Corinthians 15 v28, NKJV). The book is reviewed by Prof.

Do you ever wonder if the Bible can be trusted?

Does it seem like a collection of far-fetched stories which might be an interesting read but can’t be based in reality? One way to verify whether the Bible is true is to investigate incidental information scattered throughout its pages to see if it aligns with historical evidence. Anyone can check historical facts when writing a work of fiction, but the mundane practices which anchor the text in its context may not be so easy to find out, often requiring some poetic licence. God’s word is not fiction, and He used no poetic licence. Archaeological evidence proves the incidental information is true, and we can trust the full account. One small piece of evidence has been discovered recently in Israel, reported by the Jerusalem Post on 2 September 2021: “Archaeologists have uncovered a weight used for trading in ancient Jerusalem that scholars believe was used to defraud traders.

Busting Bible Myths 6: The Old Testament is redundant Christianity is, of course, all about following the Lord Jesus Christ, who in terms of the storyline of the Bible, was only born at the beginning of the New Testament. The Old Testament follows the story of Creation, the inception of the Jewish nation of Israel and their rise and eventual demise. Threaded throughout are details of their Law (which was both religious and civic); the Psalms (the Jewish “hymn book”); books of wisdom and the books of the prophets (leaders who came to guide the ever-errant nation back to God). The New Testament tells us that all the Old was pointing forwards to Christ himself; it was a “shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10v1, NKJV). He fulfilled the Law as the ultimate sacrifice, ending the need for the animal sacrifices of the Old. So, arguably, we don’t need it anymore.

Why I am a Christadelphian I come from a Christadelphian family, and I grew up in an environment of belief in God and His purpose for the world. Despite this, it was not a foregone conclusion that I would follow that path myself. As a teenager I questioned everything I was taught, especially by parents, and I was in no rush to be baptised. Evolution and other “science questions” were never much of a sticking point for me. From an early age I’d been taught at school the typical Big Bang and evolutionary view of the origins of the earth and life. However, the Big Bang theory appeared to contravene some of the most basic laws of science we were also taught. Also, no matter how it was framed, the evolutionary view ultimately claimed that all human, animal and plant life started by chance.

I met an old friend on my canal walk recently: the heron.

I hadn’t seen him for weeks, but there he was, wading in the shallows on the far bank. He seemed comfortable with me around so I sat, watching as he stalked for fish. First, his head darted forward while his body remained still; then his head stayed motionless as one leg came forward. Then the head darted forward and stilled as the other leg progressed. His grace was breath-taking. Why, I wondered, would evolution produce something so beautiful? How the heron moves helps it catch fish, of course; but why does it need to look so magnificent to another species (me)? With my Bible as a guide, I thought how my friend glorified God, giving Him pleasure just by moving the way he did. Genesis says that God saw what He had made before He declared it good (Genesis 1v4). As I enjoyed the heron’s grace, I was struck with a surprising thought. The God who made the heron made me too – he and I had something in common.

Busting Bible Myths 5 “Once in royal David’s city stood a lowly cattle shed…” Carol services around the country traditionally begin with this hymn, describing the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second verse goes on to claim, “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.” But is this right? The idea that Jesus is God is a myth that we have already attempted to bust in a previous post. This time we’d like to look at the notion that Jesus existed in heaven before being born on earth. It is true that in John 6, Jesus describes himself as coming down from heaven. However, specifically, he said “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” (v41). Clearly this is not a literal statement, therefore. He goes on to talk about the manna – the bread – provided by God to the Israelites in the wilderness, which also came down from heaven. No-one would suggest that the manna actually existed in heaven in a big warehouse until God rained it down on the Israelite camp!

Busting Bible Myths 4 Common to many Christian denominations is the belief that the Earth is destined for destruction when God finally unleashes His judgements upon it. Those who hold that belief also usually think that they will be saved from it by being whisked away and up to heaven to live with God eternally there. It is an idea called “the Rapture”. However, the Bible says the following: “…thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited…” (Isaiah 45v18, NKJV) God has a plan and a purpose with the planet that He created. It is true that He did destroy almost every living thing on it at the time of the flood, and tells us in 2 Peter 3v7 that He will bring a judgement of fire on it in the future. However, this is to purge and cleanse it in preparation for its renewal and restoration.

Why I became a Christadelphian As I went through the teenage years, I had a good friend, David, who I had known since childhood. We did most things together, both at school and in our spare time. Our social life was fairly typical: we went to teenage parties, met with friends in coffee shops, occasionally tried the local theatre or a concert. And of course we started to sample the delights of beer and cider (wine wasn’t fashionable in those days!). I was aware that David was a Christadelphian but didn’t really give it much thought until one day, he told me things were going to change. He had decided to be baptised and that was going to affect his lifestyle. We would still remain good friends but he was going to be active in his church and would not have so much time for the social activities we had enjoyed together. I was blown away. I thought church was just a place you went to on Sundays when you couldn’t talk your parents out of making you go.

Busting Bible Myths 3 A fallen angel? A horned tempter with a pitchfork?

A powerful, deceitful creature constantly working to undermine God? The source of all evil? It is commonly thought that these are accurate, Biblical descriptions of “Satan” or “the devil”. They are not at all. It is interesting to note that despite all the evil that occurs throughout the story of the Old Testament, the terms “Satan” or “the devil” are barely used. When we do come across them, they mean “adversary” and “false accuser” respectively and are used to refer to either people who oppose God or the man-made idols of the pagan nations around Israel. In the New Testament the terms are used to personify any force that is opposed to God, and again, when we scratch below the surface, we find that those forces are human in origin, not supernatural. God Himself totally excludes the idea of there being a supernatural force in opposition to Him.

Seeing all the advent calendars in the shops got me thinking about the term ‘Advent’. Many may just see it as a means of counting down to Christmas day, but the name comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’ which means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’ and refers to the birth (or arrival) of Jesus into the world over 2000 years ago. Excitingly, the Bible teaches us that there will be a second advent (or coming) of Jesus back to the earth from heaven. When Jesus ascended to heaven after his death, his disciples were told by angels: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1v11, NIV) Jesus will return to set up an everlasting kingdom on the earth, over which he will reign in righteousness, and those who have faithfully prepared themselves, watching and waiting for his second advent, will be blessed with a place in that glorious kingdom.

Three and a half years ago I was baptised and joined the Christadelphians.

I have been so blessed to have had the upbringing I had; I have been able to go to youth events regularly from a young age and have grown up in an ecclesia (the term Christadelphians use for our congregation) with other young people my age as well as some incredible “aunties and uncles” who were and are such an example to me. I cannot imagine a happy life without the loving and caring community my family is a part of, and this encouraged me to look into the Bible and its message for myself. As I got older, I began to pay more attention to what was happening in the world around me, particularly in the Middle East. Seeing how current events fit so evidently and undeniably into Bible prophecy (foretelling the future often many years before it happens) was the main factor that made me recognise the proximity of Christ’s return and prompted me to get baptised.

What do we make of COP26?

Much media space has been taken up in assessing the achievements of COP26, the climate change summit. Whatever else is said, it is good to see such effort going into repairing the damage done by Humankind. People in low-lying lands are threatened by rising sea levels and the long-term impact on the natural world could be disastrous. So what was the result of the COP26 discussions? A lot was positive. Agreements and promises to make improvements were welcomed, but it has to be said most people have reservations as well. Some nations refused to make essential commitments and some of the agreements have get-out clauses making them potentially weaker. In the end we will just have to wait and see. Will the promises be kept? Will nations which are lagging behind finally get onboard? Only time will tell. But Bible believers have no doubt that the climate problem will be solved. Not by Humankind, but by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth.

Busting Bible Myths – 2 You may be very surprised to hear that the idea that people go to heaven when they die is not found in the Bible. The concept of an immortal soul – something spiritual within us that lives on after our body has died – is an ancient one. It pervades all major world religions in one form or another. Films, books, TV shows from all cultures consistently present the notion of living on after death. Yet the very phrase “immortal soul” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. What we ARE told is that in the beginning, God created man “from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2 v7, NKJV) It is like an equation: dust + breath of life = living being. Take away the “breath of life”, or destroy the “dust”, and there is no longer a living being. There is nothing. The breath of life is God’s life-giving power that sustains all living things; it is not unique to the person.

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