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Colin Glen Christian Fellowship Cuallacht Chríostaí Ghleann Chollainn Number 18

Cross alk Reconciled to God through Jesus’ death on the Cross (Hebrews 10:10)

Grief overcome by love Inside this issue: Grief overcome by love

1

A Safe Pair Of Hands

2

Is religion dying away?

2

What does Jesus mean to you?

3

Bible in Irish—free on the internet

4

Hope

4

Info

4

―If it‘s happened to you, then you‘ll understand what goes on – you‘re consumed with this sort of universe of grief. And it so crowds your head that you can‘t find any way around it,‖ Bob Geldof explained in a radio interview in March.1 He was speaking about his grief after his breakup with his first wife Paula Yates some years ago. His words express feelings that are felt by so many of us who have suffered a significant unwanted loss in life. It can be loss of someone or something, such as a relationship, death or injury, unemployment, falling into financial hardship, or significantly unfulfilled expectations, etc. Some people try to cope by supressing their emotions. But grief is natural and should be allowed to take its course. In time, we should be able to live more normally again. There is ―a time to cry, and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance.‖2 Recounting his experience again at the Hay Festival Wales in June, Geldof moved the audience to tears as he continued: ―I couldn‘t get beyond the huge immensity of loss – that universal grief. Pain crowded in my head. I couldn‘t find a way over or beyond it. It was too much, the whole thing.‖3 Getting beyond chronic grief in the long term doesn‘t minimise the loss. The past is always part of us. Yet, we must let go of the pain, and live for the future, not only for our own sake, but also for those around us. Bob Geldof was fortunate that actress Jeanne Marine ―for some reason, found something to love in this most unbearable of men, this most detestable of characters.‖ ―And I suppose that the shrunken soul once it is exposed to a persistence of love has no other response than to respond itself.‖

Many people, though, don‘t experience such love in their darkest days. Maybe those around us don‘t understand, can‘t cope, or don‘t know how to help. Yet, there is always one who does understand, who does care, and who does love us enough. Jesus is described as ―a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.‖4 He loved each one of us so much, that he came and walked in our shoes, suffered pain in our place, so that our broken relationship with the compassionate and merciful God the Father could be restored.5 Most of all, Jesus suffered for our sins on the cross so that we could be right with God, by simply turning towards him, away from sin, and receiving his grace and forgiveness by faith alone.6 Many people have therefore been able to say ―In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free.‖ Also; ―I can do everything through him [Jesus] who gives me strength.‖ And in time, that God ―comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.‖7 http://www.newsonstage.co.uk/index.php/hop/latest/1/72037 Ecc 3:4 (NLT), 3 http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/ independent-woman/celebrity-news-gossip/bob-geldof-iwas-detestable-until-love-saved-me-2667291.html 4 Is 53:3 (NLT) 5 John 3:16, Rom 5:1-5, James 5:11 6 John 3:16, Rom 3:21-25 7 Phil 4:13, Ps 118:5, 2 Cor 1:4 1 2

www.cgcf.ie


Page 2

A Safe Pair Of Hands To receive a booklet of ‗Our Daily Bread‘, free of charge, post this slip to the address on the back page. Or, email info@cgcf.ie  Yes, I would like to receive a copy of ‗Our Daily Bread‘. Name ................................... Address ............................... ............................................. ............................................. Postcode .............................  Or, read it online daily at www.odb.org

Edwin van der Sar, [former] goalkeeper for the Manchester United soccer team, had a ―safe‖ pair of hands. He kept the ball from entering his team‘s goal for 1,302 minutes, a world record in one season! That means that for almost 15 games of 90 minutes each, no one was able to score even one goal against his team while he was guarding the goalposts. But one goal by an opposing team in March 2009 ended his record. The psalmist David found comfort in the safest pair of hands—God‘s hands. He wrote of God‘s protection in Psalm 138, ―You will stretch out Your hand . . . and Your right hand will save me‖ (v.7). Like David, we can look to God‘s safe hands to keep us from spiritual danger and defeat. Another assurance from God‘s Word for followers of Christ is Jude 1:24-25: ―Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.‖ That doesn‘t mean we‘ll

Edwin van der Sar – Man. U.td v Wigan, 14/1/2009

never stumble. But it does mean we won‘t stumble so badly that God cannot pick us up. God‘s safe pair of hands can never fail—ever! C. P. Hia. From Our Daily Bread 13/3/2010 (with permission)

Is religion dying away? "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" wrote Mark Twain, after his obituary was mistakenly printed in the New York Journal. More serious is the publication in March this year of a study that religion may become virtually extinct in eight countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. What are we to make of this? Where Christianity is more of a social network than about godliness, the researchers‘ findings may be valid. This is because they are based on human relationships alone (from research on how languages become extinct). But where Christianity is essentially alive in the hearts and minds of Jesus‘ followers, such forecasts are flawed because God isn‘t in their equation. Religion may continue to decline, but it is already dead for those who don‘t know God personally and who are only going through the motions. Many Christians react to reports on the decline of religion in the Western world by

pointing to the positive, vibrant, growth of ‗new churches.‘ Or, the revitalisation of a minority of traditional churches. These are very encouraging. But the overall bigger picture is that Christian influence in society has been on the decline for about a century or so. Still, the important question is whether it is terminal, or not? It certainly isn‘t in other parts of the world. In Africa, Christianity has increased from 9 million to 380 million from 1900 to 2000.1 In the last thirty years, the number of Bible-believing Christians in China has increased from 3 million to around 6080 million, with an estimated 25,000 new believers a day.2 Why, then, is the trend so negative in the West? Local issues play a part, such as recent scandals. Other factors play their part, such as the growing view that all religions are equal (despite some major irreconcilable differences), or that no one belief system can have the truth that saves. Yet, overall, during the last hundred years or so a steady increase in self-reliance can be seen alongside the decline of Christianity. (Continued on page 3)


Page 3

What does Jesus mean to you? Before, I felt like I was suffocating. Now, I feel free. Jesus is like a breath of fresh air in my life.

He means everything to me. He took my sins upon Himself, and now I have peace with God the Father through Him. I love Him.

Jesus is my friend when I have no-one else, he is everlasting.

Elaine

Edel

Tracy Because of Jesus a burden has been lifted and there is forgiveness. He has given me hope when there once was none. And my life because of him has a purpose and joy in it when there used to be chaos and despair. That’s what Jesus means to me and what I mean to him.

Karen Without Him I was lost, I had no hope for the future. Jesus has given me joy, hope, and unconditional love and He's promised that He will never leave me. In Him I am alive for the very first time.

With Jesus in my life I now have a profound sense of peace, fulfillment, joy and thankfulness that He graciously opened my heart to Him.

Geraldine Jesus means hope, love, and mercy.

For me, a life without Jesus is not an option. Liz

Mike

I think life without Jesus would be very scary— with him I know that whatever happens, he is looking after me. He is close beside me. He has a hope and a future for my life. Jesus, my Saviour, means comfort, assurance, peace and love.

Better education, technological advancement, less poverty, higher standards of living, etc. all make us more self-sufficient, rather than dependant on God. And, where religion is cast aside, morality quickly degenerates also. Jesus told us that prosperity can be a barrier to us depending on God. He said; ―I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.‖ Yet, he also said that it is not impossible. And for those who put God first; ―Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.‖ They can know the reality of Jesus‘ promises of forgiveness, peace, joy, love etc., as well as eternal life with him after death, even if they have to struggle at times here and now.3 But do we see signs of the tide turning? Does the recent global financial crisis make

Where do I start…? I could write a book! Harry He overcame sin and death for me. He gives strength by his Spirit to cope with each day, as well as look forward to the future. He‘s smiling! John

Aislinn (Continued from page 2)

Gerry

us pause and think? Do recent world disasters make us question our place in the world too? Are we really as secure and self-reliant as we thought? Through these things, do you feel God challenging you personally as to who or what you rely on? Do you want to be part of the wave of people across the world who are turning back to God? If so, trust in Jesus for forgiveness, and let God have his rightful place in your life. Just ask him, and trust him, and he will forgive you, because the debt of sin has been paid on the cross. He will also give you the power of his Holy Spirit to enable you to live as you ought to before him.4 Relationship with God is immensely more important than bare religion. 1 See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Africa See: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/resources/china/background.php & http://www.compassionradio.com/Commentary/OpenDoorsArticle-new.asp 3 Mt 19:23, Mt 5:3, Mt 6: 12-15, Gal 5:22-24, John 3:16, 10:28, 4 Luke 24:45-47, Col 1:11-14. 2

www.cgcf.ie


Bible in Irish—free on the internet The 1981 translation of Bible into Irish, ‗An Bíobla Naofa,‘ is now available on the internet. It can be downloaded to a computer for use with dedicated Bible software, viewed online in pdf format, or to a mobile phone, at www.anbioblanaofa.org With a desire to see the Bible in Irish used more widely, and with the publisher‘s (Mons. Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, ‗An Sagart‘) similar generosity in allowing it to be free of charge, Colin Glen Christian Fellowship has converted the existing CD-ROM contents into Bible software formats. It can still also be purchased in print and on CD-ROM.

An Bíobla Naofa (The Holy Bible) book cover

There are several advantages to viewing ‗An Bíobla Naofa‘ with free Bible software, eSword. For example, viewing verses in Irish and English at the same time can be a great aid in learning Irish, and even in the medium of Irish (see image). More Bible translations are available in other languages, e.g. Polish, Spanish, Chinese. Other features include commentaries, dictionaries, maps, cross-references, search capabilities and saving personal study notes. ―The Bible has been a source of inspiration and faith in Ireland from the era of Celtic Christianity up to the present day. While it has only been available in print in the Irish language in recent centuries, the release of ‗An Bíobla Naofa‘ on the internet is a significant step forward in making God‘s Word more widely accessible in the Irish language,‖ says project leader John Duffy.

e-Sword software with Irish and English translations of

Whether it is for Bible reading, or just 1 John 15-17, using the Irish language interface option. finding a favourite Bible verse in Irish, visit www.anbioblanaofa.org

Hope

The ‗Rise‘ sculpture (nearing completion, below) at the start of the M1 symbolises the rising of the sun and new hope for Belfast‘s future.

Life in Belfast has been getting better over recent years. But the future that God offers is better still. God himself promises his followers that he will ―wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.‖1 What a wonderful hope to look forward to. Receiving this blessing will be such a contrast, that it will be similar to when the trapped miners in Chile emerged to the bright warmth of the sun.2 In the meantime, God comforts and strengthens his children as they look forward in hope. 1

Rev 21:4,

2

Mal 4:2

Info:

We are a non-denominational Christian Fellowship in West Belfast. We aim to be relevant to the culture of our own local community. We have no formal links to other churches or organisations.  Sunday services Join us for Sunday worship services: 11am—12.15. Everyone welcome. Ring for details including location, or see the website calendar for more info.  ‘Open House’ Bible Evening Join us as we look into the Bible to see what God is saying to us, and how it is relevant to our lives today. Everyone is welcome - just turn up, or ring for more details. Every Monday 7.30-9.30 pm.  Women’s Bible Group Join us as we chat and discuss a topic or passage from the Bible together over tea. Fridays 11.00am—12.30 during term time. Everyone welcome. ‗Open House‘ and Women‘s Bible studies and prayer meetings are at 42A Cloona Park. Contact:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Béal-Feirste-United-Kingdom/ Colin-Glen-Christian-Fellowship/ 150390148365533

John and Elaine Duffy 42A Cloona Park, Upper Dunmurry Lane, Belfast, BT17 0HH  (028) 90600323  johnduffy@cgcf.ie  www.cgcf.ie 

Photo credits: P1; SpreePiX (Bob Geldof), P2; Charlie Chalk (van der Sar), P3; Paul Ford (Jesus), P4; Rise (John Duffy)

View current and past copies of Crosstalk at our bilingual website: www.cgcf.ie


Crosstalk 18