2019 principal blogs

I am the Resurrection and the Life
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-15 15:35:15
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25)

Continuing our chapel theme of the “I Am” statements by Jesus, this week I’m focusing on “I am and the resurrection and the life”. Here Jesus is making a clear statement about being the Saviour. In a time when people had many rules about how to live a God-pleasing life, Jesus explains that it is through him, and only him, that we can gain eternal life. It is about a faith in Jesus as God, as the Saviour, that allows us to take up his free gift of life in heaven. No-one goes to our heavenly Father except through Jesus.

I Am
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-8 15:16:57
During chapels this term we are exploring the “I Am” statements of Jesus. As a scene setter at last week’s whole school worship, Pastor Paul shared the story of Moses asking God who he should say has sent him to speak to the people. God replies with, “I am who I am,” meaning “I am called God, because I am God”. Centuries later when Jesus is undertaking his ministry, he makes a number of ‘I Am’ statements that provide a link between him and his Father. People understand that Jesus is saying that he is God. Though, as we know, not everyone was entirely happy about that. This week’s chapel topic focused on when he said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” with the emphasis on the “good”, as shepherds were renowned for being somewhat careless about looking after their employer’s flocks. If one or 2 sheep went astray, the shepherds were relatively unconcerned. However, Jesus makes it clear that all in his flock (of people) are important and that he will search for anyone who becomes lost and will then seek to bring them back to his kingdom. 

It's All True
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-05-1 15:40:11
So how do we have confidence that Jesus really did rise from the dead? After all, it’s a 2000+ year old claim, so it’s perhaps not unreasonable to ask. The answer lies in examining who wrote the biographies and letters that make up the New Testament of the Bible as well as what their motivation was. Some of them were disbelievers and haters, such as James and Paul, who had transformative experiences that turned their anger and distrust into a faith that energized them to evangelise as far afield as they could. Some were followers who had lost all hope when Jesus died, such as the disciples and the women at the tomb, who were then filled again with unexpected joy when he rose again. Some were already hated by everyone else within the community, such as Matthew the tax collector, but he still wrote a biography about Jesus because of what he knew to be true. And there was Luke, a doctor and historian, who investigated all the facts, interviewing believers and haters alike. After doing so, his biography opens with the words, “Having carefully investigated, I have also decided to write an accurate account for you so that you can be certain of the truth about everything you have been taught.” None of these people would have bothered to write their letters and accounts if Jesus had clearly died and stayed dead. They are all actual letters that were preserved and gathered together so that we can have confidence that it’s all true. Jesus is Risen. He is risen indeed! 

It's All about Sunday
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-04-29 09:32:22
With Easter just passed, it’s worth reflecting on how significant Easter Sunday is for Christians. Easter Sunday, the time when we remember Christ raising himself from the dead, is central to our faith. If Christ had not risen again then there is no Christianity. Jesus would have been just another man with some good ideas. His resurrection was a life-changing moment for the people who witnessed it at the time. They lost all hope when he died on the cross and were living in fear for their lives. But on Sunday morning, when the tomb was empty, everything changed, as Jesus interacted again with his followers. He was very much alive – something so incredible that only God himself could have done it. Their doubt, despair and fear were changed to joy as they finally understood the scriptures and Jesus’ teachings of salvation.

Easter Reflections
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-04-3 14:40:28
This week I share a poem about Easter that sums up Jesus’ life and purpose: to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins so that we can have eternal life with God as a free gift.

Love To The Fullest
Patricia L. Cisco

Love to the fullest once roamed our earth.

He arrived here by means of a heavenly birth.

From the very beginning most everyone knew

there was something so special this child would do.

As time would prevail He became a man, 

teaching us love from God's own hand.

Though to some He knew He would be such a dread.

They never could rest until He was dead!

He knew His own fate from beginning to end.

He knew and still loved His betraying friend.

He carried His cross using His own two feet 

to die for our sins and our total defeat.

Why did He do it? No reason but love!

He wanted to help us to heaven above.

Who was this man with such merciful love?

None other than Jesus, our Saviour above! 

God's Foolishness
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-03-28 08:45:21
For the foolishness of God is wiser than people, and the weakness of God is stronger than people. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
From our perspective, the world doesn’t always rotate the way we think it should. Events happen that perplex us, injustices occur that trouble us and rewards don’t always favour the ones we believe are most deserving. So often we cry out to God in protest, pain or despair, asking why these things take place. But it’s not always for us to know or understand these situations. Just as parents need to shield children from some things until they are ready to handle them or parents need to act in a child’s long-term best interest rather than respond to their pleas to avoid disappointment, God does the same for us. We may feel that we are “grown up” enough to know everything but God is so much wiser than we are. True, things often don’t seem fair, they seem incongruent with our desires and they appear foolish. But God’s foolishness is wiser than our greatest wisdom and so we need to trust in him and hold on to the hope that he offers. 

Love your Neighbour
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-03-20 14:02:05
So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding. (Romans 14:19)
The recent tragic events in Christchurch are not part of God’s plan and I’m sure you join with me in condemning those types of actions. Regardless of someone’s background, Jesus made it clear that we should seek to live in harmony together with no group being above any other. He taught us to have compassion and tolerance, and to treat others as we would treat ourselves.
God’s plan is for peace and harmony on this earth and it’s especially at these times that we need to stand together as global citizens and show that attacks upon any group will not divide us. Instead, we need to reaffirm our commitment to acting from a position of love and understanding. 

Significant Women
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-03-14 09:47:04
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. (2 Timothy 1:5)

With last Friday being International Women’s Day, I thought it worth reflecting on the women who appear throughout the Bible. With similar irony to that which exists within Christianity where God does everything to bring us to him rather than us earning our place by his side, the women of the Bible hold strong and significant roles within God’s plan despite the highly patriarchal society of the era within which the Bible was written.

Jesus raises the profile and status of the women he interacts with and uses their life stories to teach about God and his plans. They play critical roles in his ministry and it is the women who remain by Jesus as he takes his final breath on the cross. It is the women who first discover and share that Jesus has risen again. At that time, the word of a woman was largely dismissed, so for so many people to have heard and believed what they saw on that first Easter morning is quite powerful.

There are also many women who show courage and leadership, who question and challenge, and who support and encourage. They also show great faith, recognising that Jesus is different and that he has a way to a better life that is filled with hope and the promise of something far better. 

Lent and Ashes
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-03-7 08:43:44
Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
(Matthew 6:16-18)

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent, which is the 46 days leading into Easter. Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the Bible as something to acknowledge but many traditional Christian churches have at least some reference to it. Lent has historically been a time where Christians give up something that’s important to them in recognition of the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross. In the early church it was a time of fasting so that you could give to others who were in greater need. Jesus was clear that this was not to be about outward showiness, but rather a private action that reflected where your own heart was at; the heart that God sees. People were to participate not for what they could get but for what they could give. 

Celebrate the Central Event
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-02-28 08:51:05
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

At our School Council meeting this week, I read a story about a homeless boy who learns what John 3:16 really means. He is directed to say to a nearby homeowner, “John 3:16,” which then commences an evening of food, a warm bath, a comfy bed and a hearty breakfast. He doesn’t understand what John 3:16 means but he does work out that it results in good outcomes that he didn’t have to do anything for. The homeowner eventually shares the words of John 3:16, explaining that it makes no sense that God would sacrifice his Son so that we can have a better life. But that’s exactly what he did. The central event of Christianity is that Jesus came to us, died for us and rose again, demonstrating his legitimacy of being God’s Son. God wants us with him forever and he paid the price to make it happen. Jesus was his gift to us. As we approach Easter, let’s celebrate that even though we’re still sinners, Jesus has already paid for our salvation at no cost to us.  

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