It’s every Wednesday evening from 1 May to 10 July from 7.00 to 9.15 at St Ann’s Orford, Warrington WA 8AJand it always starts with food! I think it’s pizza the first week, but I’m not in charge of the kitchen, for which give thanks.
Each week there’s a different video to watch and discuss in groups. The things you don’t agree with are the things that help you realise what you really believe, because we will all learn from each other.
Did Spring begin at Easter this year? Did it make you think about your faith? If so, what next and where to find out more? I have written before about Alpha and now it is here, whether you read my previous blog or went to the meeting or not.
What is Alpha? It is a chance to discover, in an informal setting, what Christians believe – not what atheists told you Christians believed – and what you yourself really believe.
Does Spring start with Alpha or vice versa?
It starts in Warrington on Wednesday 1st May at St Ann’s Church WA2 8AJ at 7.00 pm. I’ll be there, and if you let me know if you’re going to join us, I’ll greet you or come incognito if you’d rather.
Go to the national website for details about Alpha and to find other places and dates, if you need one nearer you.
Is this Spring the time for a new beginning?
Not everyone who does Alpha becomes a Christian, but if you don’t you’ll know why not – it won’t be just because you never got round to thinking about it. That could be a new beginning too.
Here’s an invitation to my church for this Easter Sunday.
If you live anywhere near Warrington, or perhaps even if you don’t, I’d love to see you at one of these services. Let me know and I’ll greet you there and help you find it if you’ve a problem getting there. The details are on this invitation.
And here’s an invitation for you to consider an old mystery
Whether or not you take up my invitation, you might like to think about the two-thousand-year-old mystery of Easter. I discussed it in this article I wrote a while ago. As a writer of mysteries, I can find only one satisfactory solution to this one. But what do you think?
Some Christians seem to talk about sin more than they talk about God. They sum up the gospel message as ‘Jesus died for our sins’. That is the essence of the message conveyed so very well by the Four Signs and is an important element in the Holy Communion Service. But is that all there is? No.
Why have I not mentioned sin in any of my accounts of my journey?
I am simply telling it the way I remember it. When I came to faith, I did not have any sense of sin. I was not conscious of that I was afraid of eternal – or even temporary – punishment. If I was afraid of anything, I was afraid of living a lie. The lie that God does not exist. I was looking for truth not forgiveness, or the answer to some personal problem. Sorry to disappoint those who think religion is a mere crutch. It is a crutch, because none of us is whole, but not a mere crutch. Sin was not even the big issue for me when people challenged me as to the reality of my relationship with God.
Is sin not important in my understanding of the gospel?
It is now. But it is still only part of it. God is bigger than we often think. I became aware of sin about nine months after I had made a decision to follow Jesus. Some friends played a practical joke on me and I took it badly. I really lost it. Although I felt bad afterwards, I was still angry, but I knew it wasn’t right. We all know that love is an essential feature of the Christian life. I was upset and went to see a friend, Kevin, who had been a Christian for a few years and I looked up to him.
How did I deal with sin when I first became aware of it?
My friend said my anger and bitterness were examples of sin, but Jesus could deal with it. In John’s Gospel, Jesus says he is The Way, the Truth and the Life. Kevin said that Jesus is the Way because he doesn’t just tell us what to do but gives us the way to do it. I had to ask, admit I was wrong and say I wanted to be right. It worked. I don’t know how. God knows. But I was able to forgive the others because I knew God had forgiven me. That was not the first or last time I got angry or did anything wrong. It was the first time I let God deal with it.
Do I think sin is an important issue?
Yes. Sin prevents you being who God intends you to be and it hurts others. It also hurts God. He wants to deal with it. He can and will. Trust God. However, we don’t all follow the same journey. I became aware of sin only after I had made a decision to become a Christian. For some, it comes first. Don’t copy me or anyone else. Be yourself and let God deal with you in the way that is right for you.