Friday Five Favourite: Christmas Advert Runners Up 2018

7 12 2018

A selection of this year’s Christmas adverts that were good, that were maybe warm and fuzzy, but not strong enough to make the top five – in no particular order…

McDonalds

Intu

Vodafone

John Lewis

Asda

As an added bonus, this isn’t really a Christmas advert, but absolutely superb, possibly better than all of the above. Every year, when John Lewis release their Christmas advert, a man in the USA with the twitter handle @johnlewis is completely overwhelmed with responses (John Lewis’ actual twitter handles is @jlandpartners, used to be @johnlewisretail or something like that), so this year, Twitter worked with him to make this

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Friday Five Favourite: Christmas Adverts 2018

30 11 2018

It’s back! Advent starts tomorrow and I think all the major companies have released their Christmas adverts now, so here are my top five for this year! (Next week I’ll share five that didn’t quite make the list…)

Sainsburys (mostly for Plug Boy!)

KFC

Waitrose (it was a tough call between the below and this one)

Aldi (Other entries this year here, here and here!)

Lidl





Sermon Notes: The Ninth Commandment – To tell the truth

22 03 2016

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.”

A lot of people these days think that telling the truth can just cause problems. In the film, “Liar, liar”, when Jim Carrey is forced to tell the truth it’s an absolute disaster for him.

Telling the truth is different to being brutally honest, or “telling it as it is”. We’re called to speak the truth in love; that is, to have the good of the other person in mind. The important thing is the attitude behind the truth telling.

The commandment refers to our neighbour, but we know from the story of the good samaritan that this is not limited to those we know and like.

A witness report was highly important in the ancient near east – on just one witness report you would be considered guilty until proven innocent.

“One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offence they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you.”
– Deuteronomy 19 vv 15, 18-19

The ten commandments generally cover the most serious form of each sin – for example for murder this covers forms of hate and anger, it looks at the condition of the heart.

Other things covered by lying include exaggeration, misleading, and taking words out of context.

Words are powerful and can be damaging. “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3 v 6.

Gossip is talking about people to do damage to their reputation; malicious sharing of information. It’s a big issue for the church when things will be shared under the disguise of “for prayerful concern”.

We should ask ourselves:

  • Is what I’m saying true?
  • Does it need to be shared with this person?
  • Would I say it if the person it’s about was here?

It’s as bad to listen to gossip as it is to share it; it ropes us in and encourages it. If we find ourselves gossiping, let’s stop and pray for the person instead!

If someone is complaining about a grievance against someone, suggest they go to them directly, not to have a go, but to express the hurt caused in love, and try to reconcile the relationship.

All commandments have a positive side to them – speak the truth!
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body.” – Ephesians 4 v 25
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1 v 14
“He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.”
– Isaiah 53 v 9
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14 v 6

The world does brutal honesty; we’re called to speak the truth in love.

No matter how hard we try, none of us speak completely wholesomely.
“All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.’
‘Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practise deceit.’
‘The poison of vipers is on their lips.’”
– Romans 3 vv 12-13

Because of what Jesus did, we don’t need to live lives tied to the burden of lies.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8 v 32

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4 v 29





Sermon Notes: The Eighth Commandment – What’s mine is God’s

11 03 2016

“You shall not steal.”

We live in a corrupt world. Corruption is responsible for about 5% of the global GDP.
We pay the price in insurance, tax, higher prices in shops to cover losses from shop lifting..

Tax avoidance is a huge issue for respectable companies – fraud is theft!

Some forms of theft have almost become normal or even acceptable. Dream holidays that are building sites, taking office stationary, even wasting work time.

A lot of the ten commandments tie together. Theft (8) often stems from coveting (10), can hardly be done without lying (9) and often ties in with idolatry (2).

Consumerism is a religion, shopping centres are the new cathedrals.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” – Luke 16 v 13

The desire to acquire, to keep up with others, is a danger of consumerism.

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendour,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honour come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” – 1 Chronicles 29 vv 11-12, 14

People have their wealth and possessions, but we’re stewards, not owners. Stealing is therefore an offence against God – it implies the robber is not trusting God for all he needs.

A steward is someone who cares for someone else’s property and manages it to their intentions, not being wasteful or letting it get into disrepair.

Good stewardship means working hard – “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” – Ephesians 4 v 28

Good stewardship involves giving away to those in need

Three attitudes to possessions:

  • What’s yours is mine – Thief
  • What’s mine is mine – Most common attitude
  • What’s mine is God’s – Correct

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6 vv 19-21

Our gifts and talents are from God and are to be used for His glory. When we waste time and fail to use gifts we’re robbing God.

Breaking other commandments robs God of his glory, and so in breaking them, we often break this one.

When we steal, we are saying that what God has given us is not enough.





Sermon Notes: The Seventh Commandment – Faithfulness in Marriage

29 02 2016

“You shall not commit adultery.”

I went to our early service this week, which means these notes are from a different speaker than usual, but still on the seventh commandment!

Marriage was God’s idea right from the start.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2 v 24

It wasn’t long before they thought they knew better. We have free will, so it’s no surprise we struggle.

Adultery can be committed mentally as well as physically.
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5 v 28

We live in a very sexualised culture. Not just in things that make sense to be romantic, but absolutely everything!

Our hearts may be given to the Lord, but we’re still susceptible – thoughts go round our head.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4 v 8

It’s about thought life. Thoughts lead to feelings lead to behaviour. Thoughts work their way outwards.

External influences are important too. Be careful what you put in, because it tends to start to come out.

We should also consider spiritual adultery.

Adultery is by definition an act of unfaithfulness, and so spiritual adultery is an act of unfaithfulness in our relationship with God.

Hosea was told to marry a woman who would be unfaithful, symbolising Israel’s behaviour.

“you have forsaken the love you had at first.” – Revelation 2 v 4b

We will make mistakes, but God is gracious.
“You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same” – Indescribable, by Chris Tomlin

We shouldn’t treat our relationship with God lightly or carelessly. The enemy is looking for any way to trip us up.





Sermon Notes: The Sixth Commandment – Live and let live

22 02 2016

“You shall not murder.”

In the original Hebrew this commandment is two words: “Don’t kill”. The Hebrew language has 8 words for killing. This one is forbidding unlawful killing of a human being.

For further reading on the subject our Pastor recommended “Issues facing Christians today” by John Stott.

Life is valuable and comes from God. He is the author of life, He gives and takes away: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2 v 7

Issues of Life and Death:

  • War
    Most Christians would treat war as a last resort. Some would say that all war is wrong. Sometimes it can be the lesser of the two evils available, eg the Holocaust.
  • Capital Punishment
    Capital punishment isn’t an issue in the UK anymore, but people still being up the question of it after a major crime eg a mass murder in the news. The question raised is the idea of a life for a life, vs it being barbaric, and the risk of legal mistakes.
  • Abortion
    Life is valid from conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139 v 13. This is the biblical understanding. All abortions are results of unwanted pregnancies, whether these be from rape, sex outside of marriage, or other, they’re all from situations outside of God’s perfect plan.
    But we must not forget there is still Grace. God comforts and heals.
  • Euthanasia
    The voluntary choice to end life goes against God having authority to begin and end life. Again there are complexities of course.
    All life is valuable and God given. This isn’t a popular view in our society, we want freedom to choose.
  • Suicide
    Again we don’t have the authority to choose when our lives will end. But again there are complexities. Issues of mental health, awareness of what one is doing.

All of these subjects are complex and require further reading than can be covered in a sermon. For anyone who has broken this commandment though, there is forgiveness available.

It’s much harder to keep this commandment than it initially seems.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” – Matthew 5 vv 21-22a
Jesus raised the bar substantially. These are the things in our lives that can become seeds of much greater issues.

It’s ok to be angry about injustice in this world – we want to share God’s heart. How could God be indifferent to the freezing Syrian children?!

When there is damage in a relationship there may be anger, and it needs dealing with. “In your anger do not sin” – Ephesians 4 v 26a.

Often our anger is tied in with a desire for revenge, that is not ok.

There are four unhealthy ways in which we express anger

  • Pressure Cooker
    Blowing up easily at anything, running on a short fuse.
  • Passive-aggressive
    Won’t express anger in public, bottling it up so our bodies have to deal with it, both physically and mentally, leading to resentment.
  • Martyrs
    Thinking everything is their fault, life is a pity party to which only they are invited.
  • Manipulators
    This could come in many forms, silent treatment, sabotage, little comments, deliberately forgetting things.

We’re capable of any of these!

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” – James 1 v 19
This indicates that we will become angry.

When we are angry with someone we should go to them, but not to explode at them. It’s biblical to describe the hurt we feel and talk it through. We should do this before coming to the Communion table.

It’s not easy! We’re works in progress, and need to work on it.

The bible teaches us not to take revenge or bear grudges.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” – Hebrews 12 v 15

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6 vv 14-15

When we’re looking to deal with a broken relationship we need to do it slowly and humbly.

We’ve all broken this commandment, Jesus never did. Through Him we find forgiveness.





Sermon notes: The Fifth Commandment – Respect Authority

16 02 2016

“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

In current society this can be a particularly sensitive commandment with all the family breakdown.

“If anyone fails to honour his parents, is there anyone he will spare?” – Augustine

Parents are ordinarily the first people we know, our first school, our first government, our first hospital.

Honour is a word meaning weighty or heavy, to give due weight to position.

“But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” – 2 Timothy 3 vv 1-2

Parents deserve honour for the sacrifices they make for their children.

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” – Colossians 3 v 20. It pleases Him!

This commandment has a wider application of all authority. The Israelites referred to their Kings and spiritual leaders as Father.

We should be praying for our politicians. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, […] Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor.” 1 Peter 2 vv 13,17.

We should be praying for our employers. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. […] because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.” Ephesians 6 vv 5,8.

Submission is often seen as a forceful suppression, but this is not the case. Submission means cooperating with the God given roles that others have, for His kingdom.

Therefore submitting to church leadership is cooperating with them. In turn, leaders are to exercise this in a way pleasing to God.

The balance to this commandment is Ephesians 6 v 4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”

We live in a society where there’s a lot of cynicism towards those in authority – police, politicians etc, so leaders have to work harder to build trust.

This commandment remains in force when children grow up and move out – caring for them as they age.

We all fall short of this commandment as we do with others, but Jesus paid the penalty for us, in doing so in obedience to His heavenly Father.