Disagreeing Well

Disagreeing Well

Last Sunday Dave gave a sermon on disagreeing well (listen to it here) We looked at the story of Paul and Barnabas, from Acts 15, where, despite years of successful service and friendship – their relationship fell apart over a disagreement on whether to gamble on an old friend who had let them down in the past. The falling-out is described in the NIV translation as ‘sharp’. Ouch. Perhaps you’re familiar with that feeling of being left wounded and prickly towards someone after a disagreement becomes an argument, then a full-on falling-out?… Perhaps the saddest thing about this story, is the fact that both men are coming to the argument with good intentions and go on to do good things separate from each other: How much better for them if they had of just been able to recognise that at the time they let they friendship turn so sour! Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing, but this is an important lesson to those of us still striving to follow their lead of wanting to share that same good news through our life journeys today. Being part of a Church or faith community is rife with potential to fall-out and disagree. It can be a messy business trying to be as inclusive, loving and accepting as possible! Do you need to readdress a conflict that has turned sharp between you and someone else? Perhaps an old friend or someone you’re hurt hasn’t been able to see things your way and recognise the good intentions behind your argument? Don’t let it fester and have to learn the hard way, like Paul...
Advent Credo

Advent Credo

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life; It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction— This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly. It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever— This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace. It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world— This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world. It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers— This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams. It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history— This is true:...
Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

This year, we at Royal Docks Community Church look forward to wishing ALL* of our neighbours tidings of comfort and joy this Christmas! *Even if, like Mary, you’ve got lots on your plate and you’re stressing out about how you’ll cope and live up to everyone’s overwhelming expectations. Or if, like Joseph, for you Christmas brings with it difficult emotional baggage but you still have to put on a brave face for your relatives. Perhaps, like the Wise Men, Christmas has totally different cultural significance to you – yes, we mean you too. Maybe you can relate to the Shepherds in that you have no expectation of being welcomed or included in the Christmas story – we are so sorry you feel that way: we absolutely mean you too! And especially if, just like the donkey, you’re not getting a break from work this Christmas. However you intend to spend it this year we want to extend, and pray that you experience, tidings of God’s great comfort and joy this Christmas and in the new year. God bless you.  ...
Safety Nets and Tightropes

Safety Nets and Tightropes

Is community a safety net you hope is there when you need it? There are times we really need others’ support. Being at home with 3 young children taught me this. I have never so actively sought company as I did in those years. I needed the emotional and practical help of being with others who had this, and sometimes only this, in common. Largely sleep deprived, often anxious, yet mostly hopeful, I found a group of local parents and together we learnt how to be each other’s safety net. This week, I heard that community is more like a tightrope than a safety net. Not just there for the tough times, being in community is the only way to authentically move through life. Challenging and rarely comfortable, community knocks the edges off our pride and self-centredness. It’s a tightrope walk. A recent Guardian series on ‘Live Better’ focussed on the idea, ‘Get Involved’. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/25/eight-reasons- people-do- not-involved- community Seeking a way to ‘Do Something’ about climate change and resource shortages the author approached Dr David Fleming, who had invented a clever mechanism to incentivise individuals – and entire nations – to save energy. What, in his opinion, was the most important thing anybody could do to tackle these threats? “Join the local choir,” he said. At first the author found his answer annoying. Was he being cute? Not at all. The most important thing, when trying to Do Something, the late Dr Fleming explained, was to build a sense of community. Community makes bigger changes possible. At Royal Docks Church we have been leaning into community. It goes against...
Jesus: The Sweet-Potato of Life

Jesus: The Sweet-Potato of Life

Have you ever heard of the verse in the Bible where Jesus describes himself as the Bread of Life? He explains that ‘Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.’ (John 6:35) Well I have to admit, despite considering myself someone actively working on trying to ‘get to’ Jesus, I woke up this morning more than a little peckish… Must I be doing something wrong?? Well, not necessarily. Last Sunday, we celebrated Harvest Festival – thanking God for all we have and responding to the call to share His blessings with those around us who perhaps need to know more of His blessings in their lives and situations. We also sampled a wide variety of breads from different countries: from Isreali Matzah, Lebanese flatbreads, German Rye, French brioche, Indian Chipatis and more! We thought about what all of these breads had in common and realised – they all form a staple part of that national, cultural diet. Bread is something we eat lots of in this country – be it as toast in the morning, sandwiches at lunch or forming the base of you pizza at dinner – chances are, bread has featured in your diet at some point already this week and perhaps even today. It’s so commonly eaten, that even people allergic to bread have worked to perfect gluten-free recipes allowing them to join in on the comforting carby-goodness! Looking back at Jesus’ metaphor of himself, the cultural context he was speaking to would have understood that what He meant was ‘I want to be a staple part of your lifestyle.’ He’s not the ‘Glace Cherry of...