Jesus was Salt & Light

untitled-001-001Last week I wrote about Jesus moving in, being one of a kind, being generous and how he led with grace while never compromising truth.

Matthew 5:13-16 are some of the most famous verses in scripture. The words of Jesus, part of his ‘Sermon on the Mount’

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 14″Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

As a preacher I have included these two attributes many times for all Christians in the room to be ready, willing and able to do.

Be salt. Have flavour. Give life some flavour. Bring out the flavour. Be a great preservative. And all other salt-centred type analogies.

Be light. Shine out for Jesus. Be seen. Don’t hide. Be a light that leads. Be a light for safety. The list of light uses is possibly endless. I think you get the feel of what I am going for here.

Be salt & light. Easy to say. Harder possibly to actually do. What does it really mean anyway?

Jesus spoke these words so maybe the best person to look at for answers when it comes to being salt and light then is probably Jesus. He never asked us to do anything which He wasn’t already doing or going to do.

To be salt and light is to live like Jesus. It is to be Kingdom people. It is to preach the word. To bring a message with a different flavour that is distinct from all the others the world throws out every day. It is to reflect the love of Jesus and thereby bring glory to God through good deeds, acts of kindness and a counter-culture, Kingdom-based way of life.

Jesus is the ‘true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world’. It was a light that needed to shine then through Jesus and now through us as His followers  as ‘people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil’.

Jesus is our role model, our example. For a Christian there is nothing more obvious than to say that. Yet so many Christians are not being salt and light. They are not standing out and being in distinct, at least not in the way Jesus was calling us to. They maybe shining but not necessarily bringing out the best of shines for the one they say they follow.

Let’s choose to begin to be the kind of salt and light Jesus is instructing us to be. Why not begin this Christmas. Don’t compromise on the central message of Jesus this Christmas. While others dismiss or ignore it, we should speak about it. In doing so we will be distinct and stand out for the One we love, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

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7 Reasons to be in Church Tomorrow

Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on [Hebrews 10:24-25 Message]

Wow, it’s Sunday tomorrow. Some weeks it seems to come round really quick. I pray you have/have had a fantastic Saturday, whatever you are putting your hand to today.

Let me encourage you to be in church tomorrow. What a great way to launch yourself into another 7 days by deliberately choosing to spend time in the House of God. Why?

7 quick reasons why being in Church is so good….

There is no substitute for the presence of God.

We can spur one another one.

We can pray for another.

We can celebrate with one another.

Our faith can be built up.

We can be equipped.

As believers, it’s just something we should do.

Plus, it’s just not the same without you there. In reality there are just too many reasons to list. 

I recognise that life may be difficult right now and being in church might seem like the last place you want to be, yet that is when it becomes the most important place to be. 

Let’s gather together. Let’s worship together. Let’s honour our God together. Let’s keep connecting and making a difference together. Let’s keep being inventive in how we do all of these. 

And whether you make it or not, have a blessed Sunday. Can I just ask that if you love God you give Him a moment, grab 5 minutes if that’s all you have to tell Him thank you and to give Him permissions to be involved in your stuff. 

Be in the House of God

“We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:9‬ ‭ESV

It’s by being in Gods House where some things often happen. 

As we gather together as a body of believers, with our focus not on ourselves but on the one who created us, some things often happen.  

Making the decision to be planted in a healthy, thriving local church is the cause for some things to happen in our lives. 

In Gods House we remember, we praise, we worship, we lift up our eyes, we focus on God. 

In Gods House we place our thoughts on His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His loving kindness and who we are becoming because of all He has done for us. 

In Gods House, in those moments I am reminded to keep making it less about me and more about God.

Today in Your presence I think on Your steadfast love and I smile to myself and I am happy, thankful and energised by the knowing all that You are to me. 

Clap & Shout

“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭47:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This is no mild suggestion but more of an instruction. Something we should do because it is good to do. 

Clap your hands ~ everyone!!

To clap is to appreciate, to encourage, to celebrate, to honour. To clap hands to God is to therefore do all of those for Him. 

As our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the good and great things He has accomplished for us, we clap. 

Not a polite clap, instead an excited, energetic clap that demonstrates the full of our thankfulness. 

Shout to God ~ with loud songs!!

We just recorded a new live praise and worship album at Xcel Church. We sang our hearts out and yes, it was loud too. 

To shout is to exclaim, to make a point, to be overwhelmed in a moment of joy or a moment of anger & frustration. 

To shout to God is to make know His greatness so others will hear and my want to join in. It is to be unashamed of the good news of Jesus and what He means to us every day. 

So today lets take some time – let’s clap our hands and shout God. Spend time appreciating all God has done, is doing and will do IN you and THROUGH you. 

By the way ~ what’s your favourite song to clap and shout to God to?

A New Song

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:1-3‬ ‭ESV

What great verses. They capture the heart of God toward us. 

He hears our cry. He then rescues us from destruction. He then sets us on a new path. Which mean He has put the new song in our mouth.

When you realise all that God has done for you then why wouldn’t you sing?

Every morning I do my best to take a moment to thank Him. To say thank You for saving me. I take a moment to give Him the honour He deserves for all the good things He has done for me. For setting me free. For the victory He won for me. For the opportunities that lay ahead because of Him.  

I sing my new song. 

What would your new song say today?

Soldier of the King

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Check this out ~ my daughter has a blog called Soldier of the King and she has set us all a challenge. A movement actually.

It’s simple really ~ we need to be an encourager of someone else and give a specific reason as to why we think they are amazing, to lift them up. And w
e need to do it for 10 days.

Let’s all get involved. Share it on social media. Invite your friends. Use the hashtag #werisebyliftingothers and let’s put some smiles on people’s faces.

I Appreciate You

Just so you know, (put on best Southern drawl American accent), ‘I appreciate you’. 

I jest, but these three small words can seem hard for some people to say despite how powerful they are when spoken and received by the hearer.

It’s easy to make comments, find fault, defend your corner and have an opinion. Maybe we need to learn to say ‘Well done’, ‘Good job’, and ‘I appreciate what you have done’ more often. 

So let me be first to say to all the teams who serve across all our locations at Xcel, ‘I appreciate you’. Your effort, your sacrifice and your willingness to do whatever it takes to build local church does not go unnoticed. Thank you. 

Honour Someone

Today I went to an investiture for a local person receiving an MBE. It was great to listen to the citation of all that this person had accomplished. 

A number of things came to mind…

1. You never know everything about people. In over 50 years you can get involved in quite a lot. 

2. Everyone has the potential to make a difference. You just have to want to. 

3. You have to be willing to put the work in. There will be challenges and obstacles along the way, no one says making a difference isn’t hard work. 

4. Not everyone will understand why you are doing all that good stuff for others. After all, we are not all into the same things. 

5. It’s good to honour. Find someone and tell them well done. It doesn’t need to be a big occasion, just genuine. 

6. I could probably do more to make a difference. It’s not a competition, nor is it healthy to compare but maybe I need to be more about making a difference where I can