Dismantling the roadblocks to faith

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Monday, August 11, 2014

When someone becomes a Christian a miracle takes place. The Bible describes this conversion experience as crossing over from death to life (Ephesians 2:1,2), being born again (John 3:3,8), and becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). For this reason it's unsurprising that the Bible says that only the power of God can convert a person to Christ (Matthew 19:25,26). Human wisdom, decision making, and ingenuity are never enough to produce this kind of spiritual phenomena in someone’s life....


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Lessons from the storm

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Friday, July 5, 2013

How do you get Christian faith to grow? What kind of climate and soil is required for it to develop into something strong and vibrant rather than something sickly and weak? Perhaps a retreat would be a good idea. Maybe if we were all to spend a month in a secluded monastery with nothing but a Bible and a few worldly possessions we would see our faith grow as we enjoy time out with God. Or maybe a programme of intensive Bible study. Being saturated in God’s truth is surely a good thing, so i...


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In the Darkness of the Valley

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Friday, July 5, 2013

1 In the darkness of the valley,

when our hearts are filled with fear;

knowing this should give us comfort:

Christ our Lord is standing near.

He will be our powerful helper,

ever-present sovereign guide.

Nothing in this life will tear us,

from His presence or His side.

2 God has promised not to leave us,

and has made this promise sure;

in the cross of His Son Jesus,

all He says is made secure.

3 With the blood of our Lord Jesus,

God re...


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Dealing with Change in the Church of Christ

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Friday, July 5, 2013

If there is one thing guaranteed to send a chill down the spine of the average congregation, it is the prospect of change in the church of Christ. Nothing is more likely to turn a pew into a trench than talk of a new hymn book, a revamped order of service or a restructured ministry. And we can understand why many Christians struggle in this way: change produces uncertainty which in turn exposes human insecurity. People are forced to look into a future they had hoped would be calm and predi...


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Are you converted?

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Tuesday, January 8, 2013

As we enter a new year there are lots of questions we may be asking ourselves. How will my health be in the months ahead? Will I still have a job by 2014? These are just two examples of the questions people may ask at the start of 2013. Yet, while these questions are not insignificant, for the Christian at least, these questions are far less important than the ultimate question of our spiritual condition: ‘Am I converted to God?’ This question is of more than academic interest because how...


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Loving the imperfect church - Part II

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the first part of this article we were introduced to Sal, a fictional character whose recent experiences led to her becoming deeply disaffected with the local church. We also saw how many Christians have shared her pain and at times wondered whether it might be easier to leave rather than love the imperfect Church. We went on to suggest a few things it would be useful for people like Sal to hear as they come to terms with life in the imperfect church. Amongst other things we saw that the l...


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Loving the imperfect church - Part I

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Attending the local evangelical church had been a revelation to Sal. Brought up in a one-parent home with an agnostic mother, and brothers who were self-confessed atheists, it had been a new world to her. What struck her first - before anything the preacher said - was the people's warmth. Unlike other people she'd known, these Christians were unconditionally kind and accepting. At first this made her suspicious: what were they after? Eventually she realised their love was sincere and then she...


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Jesus and the cult of celebrity

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sometime in the 1960's the artist Andy Warhol prophesied that one day everyone would have their fifteen minutes of fame. Today it seems that his prediction has almost been fulfilled. Our TV screens are saturated with reality TV shows that give ordinary people instant celebrity status. Naturally this modern cult of celebrity breeds its own values system. In particular it promotes a view of life in which appearance is what counts and making an impression what matters most. The only sin in the w...


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What's so good about Christmas?

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How do you picture the birth of Jesus? Would you have wanted to be there? Do you imagine it was a serene occasion full of uninterrupted delight and laughter? Most of us would probably like to think so. But the author of Luke’s gospel tells us otherwise. He records that, for one of the key characters in the original Christmas story, the events surrounding the birth of Jesus were deeply traumatic! 

 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, be...


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Single Minded

Posted by Steve Ridgeway on Monday, December 17, 2012

Not that long ago someone asked me what Christians can do in order to integrate single people into the life of the local church more easily. But, after thinking about this matter for a while, I came to see that the basic thrust of this question is unhelpful. This is because, in its initial form, it assumes that making singles feel included in Christ's body is naturally hard. Yet as I study the Bible I am convinced that this shouldn't be the case. However, I do believe we can make it needlessl...


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