Archive for December, 2014

by Colin Dexter


by Colin Dexter

Agape Community Church Ty Sign

Homeless invited to city church this Christmas

by Colin Dexter

HOMELESS and vulnerable people in Newport are invited to attend a city church to enjoy food, companionship and shelter this Christmas.

Stow Park Church in Newport are opening their doors even wider next week as they hold a ‘Christmas week drop in’ for homeless people in the city to come and have breakfast and lunch for free at the church.

Homeless and vulnerable people can attend the church from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday next week with the usual weekend breakfast resuming on Saturday. The church is not providing overnight accommodation but shelter during the day.

Those wanting to attend the Christmas lunch on Thursday should ask for Liz at the church before Monday to receive a free ticket.

For more information the church can be contacted on 01633 843730.


by Colin Dexter

What is your view of the gospel?

by Colin Dexter

Could you summarize Jesus’ ministry in one sentence? Be careful—your answer will say more about you than it will about him. The Apostle Peter gave a one-sentence summary in Acts 10:38. It’s instructive how he chose to summarize the good news:

You know … how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

It’s a fascinating account. Peter has recently had a remarkable encounter with God–filled with revelation and mystery–and before he has time to sort it out, he is called upon to share the gospel of the Kingdom to a roomful of people who are completely foreign to him. This passage is pivotal to the growth of the church; it’s the moment when Peter’s experience overwhelmed his theological understanding of the gospel, and it’s when the Holy Spirit sovereignly decided to demolish ethnic walls and renovate the church.

Peter’s response is instructive not only because it gives the essentials of Jesus’ ministry; it provides the essence of our calling as followers of Jesus. Peter was after more than a mere presentation of gospel message; he was out to make disciples. First impressions, as the saying goes, are lasting ones, and I suspect Peter wanted his hearers’ first idea of Christianity to include the notion that they were called to be just like Jesus. The tree will grow from the seed, and Peter sowed the seeds of the divine nature becoming flesh-—not only in Jesus, but also in us.

What kind of tree will grow from the seed we plant? Perhaps we should measure our summary against Peter’s inspired example. He are five points of comparison:

1. Peter’s gospel message includes Father, Son and Holy Spirit working together. (“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit”) The tree will grow from the seed. Do we present the full picture of God at work in the earth, or limit the image of God to only One Person? Peter’s example is instructive. A “full gospel” requires the presentation of the full Godhead.

2. Peter’s gospel message doesn’t point to heaven as a future event. He paints a picture of heaven and earth linked together through the work of the Holy Spirit, who spans the divide and pours the stuff of heaven into the words and works of Jesus. In one simple sentence, we get to see how “Let-your-Kingdom-come-let-your-will-be-done-on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven” works.

3. Peter’s gospel message does not limit Jesus’ mission to redemption only. We see Jesus going from place to place, “doing good and healing.” We see God in action, giving practical expression to his goodness and power. How many gospel presentations affirm his essential goodness as well as his power to express that goodness. True, redemption is part of the story, but Jesus embodied a much bigger “good news” than we dare to imagine.

4. Peter’s gospel message reminds us that we are called to conflict. Those who are in need of healing are “under the power of the devil.” Even the most “Missional Churches” of the western world fail to highlight the spiritual nature of the conflict we face. His intent was not to win an argument; his intent was to win freedom for the captives.

5. Peter’s gospel message presents the presence of God as a necessity for ministry. This final point is worthy of a separate article (or a book). Jesus-—Immanuel—operated in the presence of God. That presence was essential, not optional. If Jesus needed it, how much more do we?

Verses 39–43 indicate that Peter had more to say, but the Holy Spirit had heard enough. The Spirit was ready to harvest. God was ready to start a wildfire. Even those who were strangers to the Jewish covenant were welcomed into the Kingdom of God. The church would grow from pagan soil. The barbarians in Europe were about to see the light. If we were only dealing with church history, this verse would be interesting enough. Strangely, God’s not into church history, he’s into the church now. And certainly he didn’t inspire the book of Acts merely to interest us, it’s the inspired Scripture-—meant to instruct us.

How we summarize the gospel is the seed of our expectation. The tree grows from the seed. Peter called the seed “imperishable” because he wanted us to become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

Isn’t it time to revisit the gospel Peter preached?

Three Wise Men?

by Colin Dexter

“We Three Kings”

This hymn, also known as Quest of the Magi was written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr. in 1857. He was the rector of a Pennsylvania church and wrote the hymn for a Christmas pageant. The song was published in 1862. The song and a wrong theology grew popular shortly after.

The Magi were kings and they were from the Orient, the “east.” The Magi presented three gifts to Jesus, but most people have come to believe there were only three kings – and that is very unlikely.

There is a document called “Revelation of the Magi” that may have been written about one hundred years after the book of Matthew. It is not Scripture, but it is interesting study. That author describes a group as small as twelve, but possibly much larger, who traveled from China. They were thought to be descendants of Noah’s son, Seth. They had been given the knowledge that God would provide a great light that would lead them to the King of the Jewish people. d

by Colin Dexter



by Colin Dexter

Thom Rainer (extract)

“When we lead our people in the process of transformation, we need to orient them to the reality of the war within them. Romans 8:8-9 says, “Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Once a Christian, the Spirit lives within us. But the “old self” still wars against the transformation. It is a battle and process that will continue until we enter eternity.

1. Transformation stalls without spiritual exercise.
2. Transformation stalls amidst envy and strife.
3. Transformation stalls when we live like the world.

Striving Rather Than Stalling

What if each morning, your church members prayed something like this: “Lord, I choose to be sold out to you today. Let me cross paths with those who need to see how your power transforms a life. Let me put others ahead of myself. Rejecting the feebleness of this world, help me to live like Christ.”

Imagine the transformation possible if they chose to place God’s mission and the interests of others before their own. I fear that too many people simply hope to survive the day unnoticed and unscathed. I discovered that such a mentality is too much like the world and too little like Jesus.

In listening to the stories from our research, we discovered that churches and individuals experiencing transformation all went through a cathartic moment in life. At some point in time, they looked around and decided that more was possible. Some came to this conclusion because of negative circumstances and others because of a great victory, but the principle was clear: a decision must be made.

The natural order of things is for energy to wane, and things come to a grinding halt.

But the Christian life does not have that intention. God creates a new life in us and wants to transform our everyday living into a portrait of the gospel’s power. “

by Colin Dexter


by Colin Dexter

Notices 14th Dec