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6th September 2015
God created all things: He created the sun and moon and stars, animals, plants, everything that exists, and He said it was good. But then He also made mankind in His image, and again He said that it was good.
God is the Author of life itself. He is the source of life. He brought you into this world. You are not an accident. However you came into the world, you are not an accident, you were created by God – you were made in His image. Every single human life is made in the image of God.
Being made in God's image screams that every human life is precious. You have great value. Not only did God make you, but you are very precious to Him. So much so that Jesus went to the cross to die for you. When you were a sinner, when you didn't know Him at all, He died for you. That's how much value He places on your life.
This should affect how we look at ourselves and how we look at others. You need to recognise that you are valuable and precious, and then to look at others and recognise that they are made in God's image too.
How have you emotionally connected to the images in the news recently? How have you reacted to the photos of the body of the little boy washed up on the beach this week? As we look at these images something within us cries out, "NO!" Because we know that life is precious. It doesn't matter what political party you're from – it's a question of connecting with Jesus' compassion for those He holds so precious.
God made us, we are precious to Him, and He has created us to be incredibly diverse. There's a lot about us that makes us the same – wherever we from, most of us have two arms, two legs, two eyes, etc. But He has also created us to be very diverse too – there's no one else exactly like you, there's no one who thinks exactly like you do, no one who acts exactly as you do. You bring something onto the Earth that no other human being does.
Each one of us reflects something of the God who made us. Each one shines something of the love of Jesus that no one else does. It's not uniformity; it's unity in our diversity. You are a unique shape. You matter.
Are you someone who celebrates difference?
We were made for purpose. We were created to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ, reflecting His love and beauty to those around us, bringing freedom and grace wherever we go. Our mandate is to bring good news to the poor, to bring freedom for the captive, to bind up the broken-hearted (Isaiah 61). Our job as followers of Jesus is to show people how loved they are.
John Wesley said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
We've been made for purpose, and we've also been made for relationship. You were made, crafted and designed for love – to receive love and to give love. Sometimes we find it difficult to love because we still have areas of our hearts where we need to be healed. But Jesus has set us free to know we are loved and to show love to others.
When I look at my son, I see that he looks a bit like me. God made us to look like Him. We were made for intimacy with Him, being who He has made us to be.
In Christ, our original design is restored. Sin has caused damage and brokenness. The original design was lost, but Jesus came to restore humanity back to it. In Christ, I realise who I am, where I'm from and where I'm going. In Him I realise how valuable I am – and not only me but every human being. In Christ I realise my life has purpose and I am chosen, adopted and forever loved as a son. Hallelujah.
Posted by Santino Hamberis
23rd August 2015
One phrase has lived with me throughout the last 11 weeks as I've been on sabbatical: "...Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)
For the Christian, the reality is that Jesus is living in you – wherever you go, He goes with you. Christ being in you means two things: firstly, you will experience internal transformation; secondly, you will bring about external transformation.
Transformation takes place within us so that we can transform those around us. Christ in you means you are being taken from one degree of glory to another: you're different to who you were a few months ago because you are becoming increasingly like Jesus.
The world looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Peter writes that we are now "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The core of our nature is being changed. And Philippians says that God finishes the work He has started (1:6).
Christ in you means that you begin to understand your new nature as a son or daughter. We haven't just been saved for our sins to be forgiven and our consciences cleansed – amazing as those things are! – but we have been saved for adoption into His family. Whatever you've done, if you have accepted Jesus you are a co-heir with Him. Everything that is true of the Son, if you're in Him, is true of you!
Christ in you reveals who you really are. The Bible says that Christians have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We are called to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). You can know joy even when the most horrific things happen, because Christ is in you. You can know peace. You can know rest – no more striving to be accepted or for recognition.
Christ in you means He's the answer for everything. He is enough for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
As we as being transformed on the inside, we are called to transform the world around us. Kris Vallotton says: "You will always reproduce the environment around you that you cultivate within you." If we're going to see communities and cities and nations transformed, we need to be like vending machines that pour out love, extending it wherever we go.
We carry the Kingdom wherever we go. We are to steward what He's given us – grace, mercy, forgiveness, love and so much more – and give it away. Who can you pour out mercy and love on today? Who can you notice who no one else has spoken to today? We are to be Kingdom stewards, who give our grace because we have received so much of it!
Posted by Santino Hamberis
16th August 2015
Moses prayed what Spurgeon called the greatest petition that man ever asked of God: “Now show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
God is everywhere – the Psalmist says there’s nowhere we can flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139) – so what does it mean when Moses says that if God’s presence doesn’t go with them, they won’t go? God is everywhere, but in the Bible His presence means His manifest presence to bless.
Moses argues with God. Prayer is claiming the promises of God back to Him, pressing into all that He has for us. Prayer is rooted in God’s promises – He has already given us the reasons why He should answer.
Are you crying out, like Moses, for God’s manifest presence? God’s response to Moses asking to see His glory is to reveal His name. Biblically someone’s name reveals the deepest insight into their character – God’s name is who He really is. And what is His name? Is it holiness? Power? Justice? No, first and foremost it is that He is good. That is the glory of God.
The whole essence of the Christian faith is understanding that God is good and God is in control. He’s not just good – He’s not like a cosmic Santa who wants to be nice to you but doesn’t have the ability to bless you because you’ve been naughty. And He’s not just sovereign – just someone who is just powerful and in control but without being good.
Whatever you’re going through, God wants you to know that He is good and He is in control. God’s glory is His goodness and His sovereignty.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the glory of God. John writes of Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
This means that Christians – those who the Bible describes as “in Christ” – are connected to the glorious One and His glory is in us. This isn’t just the case when we’re in church meetings, but all of the time! We carry about with us the glory of God; we are glory-carriers. The Bible describes us as “jars of clay” on the outside, but indwelt with glory!
This is who we are! We need to be more aware of our identity in Christ. Culture tells us to find our identity by finding out who we are. For the Christian, we find out our identity by finding out who we are in Him! The trouble is that we look at the outside and see the jars of clay, the cracked pot. But the reality is that we need to see the glory of God in one another.
All we need to know is that God is good and God is in control and we will find that He gives us opportunities to show His glory – to show His goodness and mercy and love and compassion and kindness to others.
People will criticise us for some of the things we believe and some of the things we do, but Peter writes: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day that he visits us… For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people…” (1 Peter 2:12, 15)
We don’t get into heaven by being good – that’s by grace – but we are called to be good. We’re called to acts of mercy and kindness and goodness as we carry God’s glory to those around us all through the week.
Posted by Jeremy Simpkins
8th April 2015
If you've ever had to rummage through the roof space at the Hastings Centre, you may have come across the church archives, hidden in the corner under a dusty light, with some very old hardware. Though King's is now a modern, thriving church with brilliant facilities and new people joining all the time, these archives are a reminder that it hasn't always looked like this.
Many of the faces that we see on Sunday have not been around since the church first emerged 40 years ago. King's started as St Leonards Christian Fellowship in 1974, when five people began to meet in Don and Stephanie Smith's basement flat. Within two years, the group had grown large enough to need to hire a building and finally, in 1991, we purchased Boundaries, an indoor cricket centre, which is now the Hastings Centre and has recently undergone a huge refurbishment project. The people that make up King's have changed over the years and though faces are always changing, King's remains a community that demonstrates the faithfulness of God in Hastings.
The staff currently working at King's come from all kinds of backgrounds. Those who have been working for many years work alongside staff who have only joined within the last few months, and despite the time differences, they all share a love for King's and serving the church. Su Butler, our current church office manager and Paul Mann's PA, worked as a headteacher before joining the church team around nine years ago. She first joined temporarily, in Resources, and also volunteered in the kids' work and several other areas, but became a permanent member of staff in 2007. She says, "When you think about King's in the past, it seems so small! And when I was first asked to become an administrator, I said no. But now I love my job, I really love it. I wouldn't do anything else! I look forward to it every day."
Many members of staff have been working at King's for a few years, and have seen many changes in the course of church life, whether that's in our leadership team (with our current lead elder, Paul, taking his position in 2009 after five years on staff), in the staff team, or in the way the building is run. Though the Hastings Centre has changed hands over the last few years, either run by those who've now left Hastings (such as Alwood Wick, who is now based in the Philippines with his family) or by some of our current members of staff, it's still running with great enthusiasm. The renovation project has opened up many opportunities to showcase King's, especially now that there are plenty more rooms than when the building was purchased, and to extend God's love to our community.
Laura Grove, who manages our on-site coffee shop, Coffee Box, and has been working here for the shorter time of 18 months, is able to think of creative ideas to welcome new people to the Hastings Centre, which is now a thriving conference centre run as a social enterprise. Coffee Box plays an active role in bringing people from the community into King's, as it opens throughout the week as a family-friendly place to meet. It hosts plenty of events, too, with family film nights and a licensed bar. It's a big step forward from the first purchase of the cricket facility around 20 years ago, and with the launch of our Sunday evening meetings after Coffee Box had opened, it's been an integral part of giving the building a new, modern look while King's remains grounded in its foundations as a community hungry for God.
Though King's has undergone significant changes, it keeps the same vision that Don Smith and others had in 1974: to glorify God and show his love to Hastings & 1066 Country. One of the oldest pieces in our archive, written in 1988, defines King's like this: "Who do we think we are? [...] We agree with the apostle Paul's definition of the church: 'All who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ.'" And the same is true of us today, demonstrating that God has continued to be faithful in growing His church in Hastings.
Posted by Sian Francis-Cox