I Love Christmas

I absolutely love the Christmas season. It’s a time where I can look forward to the holiday break, loads of food, presents (from those that remember!) and the whole festivity. It’s just brilliant.

It’s also a time that I take stock of all that has happened through the year: good and not so pleasant. It also gives me a feeling of having a clean slate for the next year. I can make myself new promises like joining the gym in January, eating healthy, reading the bible more consistently, enrolling for a new course… the list goes on.

However, the best part of it is remembering that our Lord Jesus loved us so much that he came to the earth in human form so that we can have a clean slate with God. The clean slate, through his free gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Have a great month ahead.

  • Pastor Benson

The Christian Husband

We’ve been doing a series on relationships at CFT Bristol Church over the past few weeks. When I began to speak about the realities of the role of a Christian husband I got a lot of interesting remarks. A few of the women had loads of smiles on their faces, whilst I got some looks of curiosity from some of the men. My response to the men was to “hold fire” till I have done the sermon series on the “Christian Wife”. The reactions were interesting.

One of the things that I mentioned is that the role of the “regular” husband who goes to the same boring job for the sole purpose of ensuring he provides for his family is really undervalued by popular culture. If you don’t believe me ask the next teenage boy what he aspires to be. You’ll probably get the, “I want to be a great footballer”, “I want to be a famous singer”. The responses go on. However, if you asked the question: “Have you thought about aspiring to be a good husband?”, you might get a weird look back from them. Implying that being a good husband is not on their list nor do they think it is something to aspire to.

I mentioned that this “regular” hardworking and faithful husband is of great value to God. This man is so valuable to God that He uses the criteria of being a good husband as one for appointment into the really important offices in the Church (see 1 Timothy 3:4).

When next you come across the husband who against all odds is trying to make things work for his wife and children, provides for them selflessly, give him a big “thank you” on my behalf and God’s behalf.

Have a great month ahead.

  • Pastor Benson

The Privilege of Prayer

One of the greatest privileges that we have as believers is that we can pray to God and when we do, He answers.

When we reflect on prayer to God several things may cross our minds. One could be excitement about answers to our prayers, another could be thoughts of why some of our prayers weren’t answered. It could also be that we take the extreme position that God does not listen to or answer our prayers. This opinion may be due to past disappointments of not seeing the results we expected when we prayed about certain issues.

The truth of the matter is that God hears and answers our prayers as believers. Jeremiah 33:33 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”. Isaiah 65:24 says, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear”.

Let’s spend time understanding how God answers our prayers and speaks to us. That might help us to see how He  answers our prayers and how He deals with us.

Have a great month ahead.

  • Pastor Benson

Worldliness

I have been teaching a series at our church called, “Your New Life in Christ”, exploring and highlighting the fullness of our new life in Jesus Christ. The scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here”. The Christian faith goes beyond just attending church meetings or doing “Christian things”. It should permeate every area of our lives: our desires, thoughts, affections and ultimately our actions.

Worldliness which is defined as “being overly concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than spiritual existence” is one of the main threats to this new life that we have in Christ. The bible defines worldliness as “…conforming to the pattern of this world….” (extract from Romans 12:2). Its threat is quite subtle and may go unnoticed by the believer who is worldly. It takes a constant comparison of our lives to the word of God to highlight its symptoms.

The ultimate aim of worldliness in the life of a believer is to turn their affections away from God and to make them deny the faith, like Demas in the bible (2 Timothy 4:10).

As believers, let us move away from worldliness by renewing our minds with the word of God (Romans 12:2) so that we can finish our Christian race with joy.

Our New Life In Christ

Someone told me a story a while ago about a man who saved up to travel on a ship from England to America. This was in the 18th Century and in those days, the only way you could travel on that kind of journey was by sea. It took him a long time to save up for the fare, probably a year.

When he set out to travel on the ship, he took a couple of moulded loaves of bread and jugs of water to feed himself on the journey. Whilst on the journey he kept to himself in his cabin below deck. Once in a while, he would come on deck and observed that the other passengers were joyous and feasted on all sorts of delicacies and used all the facilities on the ship. He pondered on how unfortunate and uneventful his life was compared to the people on deck. Afterall, he thought, his fare only availed him of just a little cabin bed in the low end of the ship.

Three weeks later, the ship arrived in the States (America) and everyone was getting off the ship. Whist they were all leaving, the captain of the ship was thanking everyone for taking the journey on the ship and was shaking their hands.  When the man, whom I’ll call Johny (not his real name) got to the captain, he shook his hand. The captain then made a comment to Johny, “Mr Johny, I noticed that you kept to yourself quite a bit whilst on the trip”. Johny replied, “Well, my fare only availed me the little cabin bed and nothing else, so I just kept to myself”. In utter surprise the captain said to him, “Johny, all the facilities of the ship including the banquet were all included in your fare!”. Johny was so shocked and surprised. He had missed out on all that was available to him on the trip.

This is similar to some of our lives as believers. We sometimes think that all there is to our faith is just saying yes to Christ. Then it’s just a struggle from then on in terms of our faith. We might fail to realise that God has provided so many things for our journey, thus missing out. God has provided the Holy Spirit to help us, he has provided power and authority to deal with life situations and provided all that we need for life and godliness.

Let’s not be like Johny in our Christian walk. Let’s get to know all that Jesus has provided for our journey here on earth.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

Discipleship – Knowing God

If you are like me, I often feel that I am not progressing with God if I am not “doing” things for God.

I came across a passage in the bible a few years ago that I found to be quite insightful. That passage highlights that the life worth living focuses more on knowing God, rather than just “doing” things for God. Jesus said in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Apostle Paul, whom God used to write over a third of the new testament, stated in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”. His aim in life was knowing God.

Let’s re-align our primary focus as believers to knowing God, even as we do our bit to extend the kingdom and the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to be a disciple?

One big question has been running through my mind over the past few months: “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?”. Is the measure of discipleship how much of the bible I know? implying “knowledge only” discipleship. Or does it mean more to be a disciple of Christ?

A closer look at the bible, especially the book of Acts gives us a look into the lives of the early disciples of Christ.  In their instance, discipleship was not just “knowledge only”, it touched every area of their lives. It shaped their world view, their relationships, how they perceived society, how they lived their lives, the choices that they made and so on.

It appears that discipleship goes beyond just “knowledge” of the bible. It is a lifestyle that aims to be like Christ. Jesus said in John 8:31, “….If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples”.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

The Gospel – The reality

I recently travelled to a country in the East and what really struck me was how deeply interwoven their cultural beliefs are with their day to day life. Their beliefs dictate who they got married to, how they got married, what they ate, the clothes they wore, their outlook to life, etc. Their beliefs were “heart deep”.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ transcends culture and reaches beyond this present life. If we really take the Gospel to heart as believers, it should inform our choices, our worldview and our very existence.

Let’s make a conscious decision, today, that we’ll become “heart deep” disciples of Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit. That way, our faith will be evident to everyone around us.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

The Life Worth Living

What would your response be if I asked you the question, “What would make life worth living for you?”. You might say, “my life would be really worth living if I became famous and wealthy”. Another person might say, “my life would be worth living if it were problem-free”. The responses one would get to this question would vary depending on everyone’s personal circumstance and aspirations.

However, God has planned a life for every human being that is really worth living. He states in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Let’s focus on God’s plan for our lives, so that we can really live the life that is worth living.

-Pastor Benson