Steve Robinson

Role: Minister
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Sun, Jan 13, 2019

I sometimes think that James is like the little boy in the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Story who exposed the emperor's nakedness.

James has a painful habit of exposing our own spiritual pretence: do we just talk a good game? Do we know the language, read the right books, sing acceptable songs, go along to the right meetings?

Fine, so far as it goes, but James argues that if that is our faith, then it needs to go a whole lot further: much, much further in fact, into a different way of living. We are not just to listen (although that’s crucial because you have to know what you are hearing but we must think through and engage with what we’ve learned and heard and out it into practice every day. It’s not enough to hear and to know about our faith, we are called by Christ to do something about it.

Sun, Jan 13, 2019

Tough times face us, it is true but the Good News of Jesus Christ and of God’s provision is always the Good News.

Faith and trust is truly the key to facing up to the tests that our daily lives set us.

It is faith in the Lord who will equip us not just to stay still and survive but to thrive and grow to maturity through His Grace. We will not achieve perfection in this life, but it is as we are refined in the face of trials and hardships, as we trust God wholeheartedly, as we are single minded about serving him and making him known, that we will grow closer to him and to each other.

Whatever trials we face - and we may be facing them now or may do so this week - then I pray that we will face them with God at our side, with prayer on our lips and with hope in our hearts.

Sun, Jan 06, 2019

At the state opening of Parliament, the reigning Monarch reads out a list of the legislation the Government will be bringing in the next session. Whilst this is effectively a statement of purpose for the kinds of areas the ruling party will focus on, it is often hard (without digging a lot deeper) to understand the motivation behind the words.

It’s very different with the writer of Psalm 101 (which is seen by many as King David’s coronation address). This is a very personal statement not a list of proposed legislation and, as a result, reveals, a lot about the heart and motivation that lies behind the façade of a successful man. It’s a question of character (who we are) as well as a matter of commitment (what we’ll do): both aspects reveal whether we are truly grounded in our relationship with God – or not.

Sun, Jan 06, 2019

Rockefeller the American billionaire described contentment as "A little more than you already have.“

We’ll always want more if our life is run on the basis of comparison – the car someone else has, the job they do, where they go on their holidays and so on. In such circumstances, happiness only comes when you are up with the competition or, better still, one up on the competition.

True happiness comes when we find real contentment. Despite the pressure to lead busy lives and to fill our diaries, we need to ensure that our focus remains on what we believe and how that is worked out. When we depend on God and not on some kind of social or possession driven pecking order, then we will find real contentment irrespective of the circumstances we may find ourselves in.

Sun, Dec 23, 2018

When the angels appeared to the shepherds 2000 years ago and sang “Peace on earth”, it wasn’t pie in the sky but a message from heaven itself. Later, when Jesus said “My peace I give to you”, He wasn’t joking. He really wants to share in our lives, just as He did when He was born in Bethlehem.

It isn’t every day that God came to live with ordinary people. The true story of Christmas invites us to do more than to read, remember or listen – it’s an event which invites us to step inside and to join in.

Will you take one step beyond the stable door and discover the most wonderful gift of all?

No, it’s not M & S, sprouts of even Christmas Day itself – it’s simply: God with us.

Sun, Dec 16, 2018

It’s said that you can see a candle flame on a still dark night over a mile away. Surely, something so small can’t make that much of a difference, can it?

The story of Christmas is an account of an everyday life event – a birth – that changed history forever. Surely someone that insignificant can’t have such a tremendous impact, can he?

The light shines in the darkness and that light is the light of men. Emmanuel. God with us.

Sun, Dec 09, 2018

John’s audience has been waiting for a Messiah. They have particular (and set) views on what he would be like: from the family line of David, he would set the world alight and set the world right again

They have been drawn out into the desert to get right with God: to be baptized as sign of their repentance. They are going to get on the straight and narrow.

But, that’s not the full story

Jesus’ arrival was not the best thing on some kind of spiritual “wish list”. He came to free the Jews from a fate worse than one that imposed by the occupying powers of Rome. What He delivered was so much greater than what was expected - He came to free them, and us, from death.

Sun, Dec 09, 2018

Locusts and wild honey may not sound like haute cuisine but it serves its purpose. Taken with clothes made out of goat hair, it provides the essential basics for food, warmth and decency, leaving you free to focus on what really matters.

The coronation of a new King is an exciting and busy time. There’s a lot to get ready - no one wants any hold ups on the day itself which might prevent the King from coming to His Kingdom and taking his place on the throne. It’s a question of ploughing the road – making sure that the way is clear and path is as straight and easy as it can be.

Advent welcomes the coming of the King. The way has already been prepared but it is equally as important that, when he turns up, we are not distracted either by the trappings of his arrival or by our own lack of preparation. Have you heard? Are you ready? Will you come and see? Will you receive, go and tell?

Sun, Dec 02, 2018

As we move into the Christmas season, let us not get so short sighted in single-mindedly over-preparing for Christmas, that we forget God’s vision for the world.

What is at stake is not just another annual celebration or making Christmas memories with friends and family. What is at stake is the coming of the kingdom of heaven, which, as Jesus reminds us, is both already and not yet here.

Sun, Nov 25, 2018

What does it really mean to be a disciple?

In the strictest sense of the word, a disciple is someone who learns from a teacher. It’s more than knowledge though, it’s more like embracing a new way of life.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus spells out what the Kingdom driven life is really like. It is no bed of roses – the call to love, justice and mercy has significant implications for our status and goals even though the values of that rule will bring eternal life.

Discipleship now goes beyond learning: a mature disciple is now a follower who is prepared to be like the Teacher (Jesus). It means putting ourselves way down the list and being prepared to give everything for God, even our lives.

Sun, Nov 25, 2018

The world has always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

As Paul looks forward to a visit to Jerusalem before going to Rome, he knows he won’t see his friends again. They have been through a lot together: they’ve faced hardship and shared blessings. Their love for and commitment to one another has been strengthened by their experiences but it’s been forged in their relationship with God and worked out in mutual respect and encouragement.

Now, as he says “farewell,” Paul has the opportunity to share a few well-chosen words with those who he is leaving behind. His focus is not on himself but on what drives him: his faith and his commitment are an example for them to follow.

How prepared are we to lay everything on line that we might support and encourage others?

Sun, Nov 04, 2018

It all seems very unfair. Whether you’ve spent 12 hours or 1 slaving away to bring the harvest home, you still get paid exactly the same: the day’s rate for a working man.

Jesus’ story paints a familiar picture to his listeners (“the disciples” [19: 23]). It’s harvest time and the grapes needed to be gathered in before they spoil. The sting in the tail is an illustration of grace: it is unexpected, undeserved but very welcome.

God is not controlled by our rules or laws but works as He wills, according to his character. It really is grace and generosity combined.

Sun, Oct 21, 2018

Over the last 7 weeks we have been focussing on what it really means to be a saint. No, that doesn’t mean we are members of a well known football club based on the south coast. It’s actually something very different yet it still reflects our individual involvement and personal commitment.

Being part of a church is God’s plan for every Christian and becoming part of that church is His plan too. We can’t do it on through our own effort and merit but are called by and made alive in, Christ.

In our final sermon of this Transformed life series we’ll see how God’s love and power bring us together, hold us together and enable us to grow together. It can all seem too much to grasp at times but God is able to do far more than we can ever ask or even imagine. Nothing is impossible for Him

Sun, Sep 30, 2018

There are serious benefits to be had when you’re connected with someone who is a mover and shaker. Not only do you get to bask in the reflected glory of another’s work, you get an open door to some good things yourself simply by virtue of who you know.

I’m not saying that the relationship of any Christian to Christ is like a business transaction – that’s far too pragmatic – but don’t forget the benefits of being connected and remaining connected. Setting it up is all Jesus’ work – that’s why it’s called grace – and the benefits are clear: growing up and spreading out.

But it will only happen if we stay connected to the source.

Sun, Sep 30, 2018

You don’t have to look too far to find a makeover show on the TV schedules.

Whether it’s your home, your garden or your image – it seems that anything is fair game. Shots of a disordered “before” are followed by the attentive intervention of experts such that in the closing minutes the final reveal (or “after”) seems to bear very little relation to what you began with.

The thing is, I don’t want a makeover, I need a transformation. There’s a danger that the work will be only skin deep and too much of the old me will remain – only to surface once the experts have left for the next victim (sorry, “project”).

The key word in today’s passage is but. Not related to water, nor anatomy but a recognition that not our outside but our very self is given a makeover by God. We’ll never be the same again afterwards, either.

Sun, Sep 23, 2018

Since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.

As we look at Hannah's prayer (1 Samuel 2: 1 - 10), we'll have the opportunity to share our own experiences of God and to pray with expectation for what God will do.