Human Interaction

“Most human interaction is for better or for worse. Each moment with another person can be an opportunity for discovery and growth or for the erosion of identity and the destruction of one’s personhood.”

This quote is from Robert Bolton’s 1986 book “People Skills”, and I think it highlights the enormous potential that we carry with us, every day. We carry the potential both to curse those around us and to bless those around us.

Each moment that we are with another person we can listen to them, we can encourage them, we can comfort them. We can, if it is appropriate, challenge them, inspire them, confront them. We can always speak the truth. We can always be loving – as love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Or, as is often easier, we can ignore them, snub them or put them off. We can crush their hope to connect with us simply by “getting on with our business”.

In the gospel reading set for today, Jesus walks on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). Jesus is clearly working from a different rule book, and Peter wants to join him. Peter is a fisherman. He knows how boats and water work. Or, how they usually work. Peter allows his faith in Jesus to challenge the ways he has always looked at water, and he steps out of the boat.

Will we allow our faith in Jesus to challenge the ways we look at the people around us?

In our song this morning, “Oceans”, there is the line “You call me out upon the water – the great unknown, where feet may fail.” This must be exactly Peter’s feelings as he steps out of the boat. But it’s the next line of the song that gives us courage: “And there I find you, in the mystery”. We can step out onto the water with faith, because we know that it is Jesus who is calling us.

When you’re with another person, and you find you have the opportunity to bless them, take the step with faith. Allow Jesus to call you out of the boat of your safety, to encourage a person whom you wouldn’t usually encourage, to comfort a person who doesn’t “deserve” comfort from you, or to be patient and kind in a way that Jesus would be.

Please notice, I am NOT suggesting that we put ourselves in harm’s way. I’m suggesting that we love our neighbours the way we want to be loved ourselves – the way that Jesus loves us. And I’m suggesting that when Jesus suggests we trust him, we fully trust him.

That is my hope and prayer


In a tough spot, will you follow Jesus?

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seemed to work out? Have you ever had one of those years?

COVID-19 has made life difficult and unpredictable for most people in the world.  All churches – including ours – have been trying to predict what the virus will do too. Churches, it turns out, are ideal spreading grounds: people gathering inside, for extended periods, vulnerable people, singing and preaching. It almost seems like God is asking us to be “the church” without meeting in our church building.

Can you conceive it? What are we if we can’t meet in our building? I imagine that the disciples felt something similar. In the Gospel reading from the Lectionary for today (Matthew 14:13-21), when faced with a hungry crowd, Jesus says to the disciples “You give them something to eat.” Can you imagine yourself there as a disciple? How do you respond?

I’m sure the disciples had no idea what Jesus meant. How can the few of them feed all these people?  But they had forgotten who it was whom they were following. 

As we read in last week’s lesson, we need to let the “yeast” of the Kingdom of God fill us and work it’s way deeply into us – like yeast through a whole batch of dough. Like the virus, but with very different results. The virus brings organ failure and death. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). 

The economics of God are not the economics of man.

If we can step out, like the disciples did, and offer our Lord the meagre resources that we still have, our story teaches that Jesus can do the miracle. In our scripture passage, the massive crowd all ate and had enough. In the story of our Church and Ashmore, what can Jesus do if we place into HIS hands the things that he has entrusted to us?

Let us hear the invitation today: “You give them something to eat” and reflect on what God might be calling us to.

And may God, in his mercy, and in Jesus’ name, bless us all with his grace and peace.


The Joys of JESUS

Ever thought JESUS was a funny man?
He loves making people laugh.
He has this whimsical playfulness about him.
It makes you want to smile.
And these stories of JESUS this morning should bring wide grins on your dial. A little seed, a bit of yeast, a hidden treasure, a brilliant pearl and a net full of fish, are all illustrations of the Kingdom of Heaven.
For some of these you will have to stumble across them because they are hidden.
And the others, well, you will have to search carefully.

So what are you looking for in your life?
Let me tell you what God is looking for?
And He will go to great lengths to find you, and, in so doing, show you how to find Him.

And, along the journey, He will take you, (that is, if you are prepared to follow Him) on some amazing adventures.
He will show you His love.
He will help you discover His joy

And you will bless others as you continue to follow Him
Your life may be hard.
There will be some difficulties but as you persevere, you will discover new hope and vitality.
You will be used to draw others to new found joy
And you will be satisfied.
You will be filled.

The God, who loves you passionately, will provide
He will be there for you.
He’s got your back and He will lead from the front.
Wherever He calls you to go, He will be there before you get there preparing your way.

You can count on Him.

Now, what are you looking for, in your life?


God bless you,


Wheat or Weeds

‘I’m not sure’ is often the answer I get to ‘are you going to heaven?’
And, if it’s ‘I’m not sure’ it is ‘I hope so’.
Why are people so unsure about their destiny?

And here’s the thing;
Fear, guilt, shame will always cloud your understanding.
These emotions play havoc with us.
They weigh us down.
At Bible study this week I asked the question, did satan do the right thing for him, in getting JESUS up there on the cross?’
The answer is NO!
For, on the cross JESUS defeated the devil at his own game.
So satan changed tactics and he began to harass those who followed JESUS in such a way that the followers of JESUS began to believe him.
He pounded us (and he still does) with doubt, so that the followers of JESUS are unsure about their salvation.
But, and here’s another thing: in this story this morning JESUS, (as the farmer) calls the workers to not touch the wheat and the weeds until it is time for the harvest.
They can be pulled up together and then separated.
But the thing about the story is the wheat and the weeds are examples of humankind,.
But unlike wheat and weeds, humans can change
The weeds can decide to be wheat.
You might be surprised at who you find in heaven, when you get there, because, it is not about how good you are, it is ALL about whether you say YES to JESUS.
And when you say YES to JESUS, He says YES to you

Now, let me ask you, are you going to heaven?

God bless you,


Where Are You Headed?

Where Are You Headed?

We’re all on a journey … even if the present situation has interrupted that.
We are still moving forward?
But let me ask you, do you seem to be getting anywhere?
Some of you might respond, “Well, I’m getting on in years.
I am retired and I am not really interested in moving on.”
Others might say, in reaching the same conclusion, “My limbs ache, arthritis has set in and it takes all my energy to just get out of bed in the morning.”

This getting old is not what it’s cracked up to be, eh!
And yet ….. despite the body not pulling its weight, (well, maybe its pulling more weight that it did), God has not given up on you.
You are still highly useful to Him.
And God has plans
The story in the Gospel that we talk about today is one which JESUS told.
he saw a farmer scattering seed, but the farmer did not seem to mind that some seed fell on rocky or hard or weedy areas.
These areas are not fertile places for seed to germinate.
And if we were translating the soil; to humans we might think that the rocky or hard soil was us oldies.
We once were good fertile soil but not any more.
But yet, this farmer of JESUS throws the seed our way.
Doesn’t He know it’s not worth it to Him to do that?
Or does He see something we don’t?

The seed, or as I like to call it, ‘the gift of life’ is just as important to you and I, than it is to folk 50 years younger, and here’s the thing.
Who do you think is able to better relate to an older person?
There are people out there whose path you will cross this week that need to hear your story of how you found the gift of life and how it is growing new life within you.

And if you are not one of the oldies in this church, then gives what?
The fit of life is given to you too, to share with those who path intersects with yours.
We are all useful to God and God wants to bless us all.
When we pick up the seed that falls at our feet and offer it to someone who hasn’t found it yet, we are transforming the world the best way it can be transformed, one person at a time.
You are useful to God
You are in His plans
He knows you.
Let God excite you with His vision and plan today.
That will put a smile on your face.

God bless you