LET YOUR LIFE REFLECT THE POWER OF EASTER
Easter is approaching and, with its claims that Jesus is the Son of God, who was born of a virgin, crucified on a cross, died and was resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that His death paid the price for men’s sins, one can’t help but wonder how this truth should be communicated to a world that becomes more and more secular as the years go by.
In order for those who have little or no faith to experience ‘Easter’ in their own lives, they have to see it in yours. So ask yourself these questions: What difference has following Christ made to how I live my life, and to how I treat my family, children, spouse and those I encounter in my day-to-day life? Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Are you exhibiting that abundant life in your life that will make people ask, “Who is this Jesus?”
During His sermon on the mount, Jesus told the crowd, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). When we do good works, and tell people it’s our faith that inspires us to do good works, it will make them think twice about Christianity, and about our belief in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During this special time of year, let’s ask God to unleash the resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead into our own lives, so that people can see how the message of Easter has affected our everyday lives.
And let’s say this prayer that Paul wrote to the church in Ephesians 1:18-21: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come.” Amen.
LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP
There are always lessons to be learned from the lives of others – whatever their religious persuasion – and I learnt some poignant ones about leadership following the recent death of Bob Crow, leader of the RMT Union. I must confess I saw him as a pugnacious man, who occasionally inconvenienced my journeys on public transport by calling strikes whenever the powers that be wanted to bring in changes that would impact his members.
It’s through Crow’s death, however, that I’ve discovered that RMT members are amongst the highest paid transport workers in Europe; membership of the RMT increased from 57,000 to 80,000 under his leadership, and that he sought to represent his members well. His life demonstrates that, when leaders carry out their jobs well, they won’t necessarily be liked. This was true of Jesus. His followers loved Him, but He was disliked by the ‘establishment’ of the day and, because He stayed true to His mission, He fulfilled the work God had Him do.
Some churches are in decline, because the leader is more concerned about maintaining the status quo and being disliked for instituting change. Can you imagine what the Church would be like, if more church leaders were concerned with pleasing God rather than man? A leader must know their mission; stand firm in what they believe; be prepared to lift their head above the parapet, and take the flak as well as the praise that goes with the job. Bob Crow seems to have done all three and left an indelible mark. Crow’s life has provided me with this leadership lesson: when you’re a leader, it’s nice to be liked, and to be loved is a bonus, but when you’re respected because you’ve stuck to the task at hand, then you know you’re succeeding.
THE KILLINGS HAVE TO STOP
I must send a public shout out as well as condolences to Lorraine Jones, a Christian minister, whose son, Dwayne Simpson, died recently after being stabbed in the heart. I first heard about Dwayne via his mother’s FB post, asking people to pray for his healing following his stabbing. The next post I read by Lorraine stated that Dwayne had died. I felt saddened, and felt led to visit her – something I don’t normally do – and met a courageous woman standing firm on her faith, encouraging others despite her great loss.
Lorraine is one of too many mothers, whose children have died at the hands of another young person. When are we going to say enough is enough? If we don’t want UK inner cities to become like our counterparts in the US, like states, where shootings and killings of Black youth take place every day, we need our community, business, political and church leaders and gang leaders to get round a table and thrash out a solution. Too many youth are dying. Too many mothers are crying. It’s got to stop.
Lorraine Jones, you are in our prayers.