Jesus in the Wilderness

Jesus began his ministry following his encounter with John the Baptist. The four Gospels are unanimous about that, and it’s an easy story to understand. But the next story, whilst familiar, is much harder to comprehend. We are presented with a picture of God incarnate in a head-to-head debate with the Devil. What’s happening here?

Jesus exhausted

Jesus stilled the storm. It’s a well-known story that's usually told to show how powerful Jesus was. But the story starts from a quite different perspective. As he boards the boat, there’s a little phrase in the story that we can easily miss. It says that the disciples took Jesus “as he was”.

Aberfan Day

The Aberfan tragedy was a result of corporate negligence. But it’s not enough to blame that corporation and ignore our own failings. We each have freedom of choice – freedom to drop a bottle on the ground and leave it there to cause a deadly wildfire – freedom to discard a plastic bag that will end up as a sea-borne hazard to wildlife – freedom to live just for ourselves and overlook the needs of others.

Silence Speaks

I like music, especially when it’s worship with real passion. I don’t mind if its loud. It’s OK if it has a beat, because I enjoy a charismatic knees-up! Music has been a major part of my life and still matters to me. In the 60s I was in the popular Christian rock band, The Pilgrims [i] , who were once introduced at a big concert in central London as “not only the best but also the LOUDEST Christian group”. So, I know how to be loud for God. But the best thing I’ve learned since those days is to value silence – but now I’m talking about prayer.

Glory to Glory

Most of us mess up occasionally, and it’s natural to feel embarrassed about it. We may chide ourselves for our mistakes, but it’s not those fleeting moments of self criticism that worry me. My concern is for people who continually put themselves down – and especially those who think that’s what God expects of them. It does no honour to the Gospel to declare ourselves “miserable sinners” after we have received salvation – and it’s bad for our mental and spiritual health.

Doubting and Believing

Don’t be afraid of doubt. OK, it may feel like a threat, but you can also treat it as a tool to help you dig down to the solid ground of your real faith. I'm avoiding the adjective “true”, because it’s so often used in a negative way. “True Faith” (note the capitals) implies a set of beliefs that we have and they don’t. My real faith consists of the things I believe deep down, and those beliefs have been tested again and again – by doubt.