Hi Church,

If you follow me via socials you will probably know that last week we procured a new cavoodle puppy whom we have named ‘Leo’.

And while we had planned that he might be friends with our now deceased ‘Connor’, it unfortunately didn’t turn out to be.

But one the things that I find, and you might find this too, is that when we get things that are new, shiny, exciting – we want to tell others about them.

Currently, I think I have worked out a way to weave into any conversation the fact that I have a new puppy and he is cute and his name is ‘Leo’. I’ve even been able to find a way to word it into this message for you.

I wonder if there has been any point in your life where you found Jesus, the message of grace, or an encounter of the Holy Spirit new, exciting or ‘shiny’?

And in that moment – what was your first reaction? Was it to not tell anyone else for fear of what they might say or think of you? Or was it to tell the whole world the love and gospel you have experienced?

Over the past 5 weeks, as we have journeyed through Galatians, the blessing has been the same, and it is taken from Paul’s letter where he writes (in the Message translation): For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do… it is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! (Galatians 6:14-16)

Too often I think we try to please others and fit into being the people that they want us to be. For Paul, it was all about Jesus, and for him the gospel of Christ and him crucified is also so new, so shiny, so exciting, that he doesn’t care about pleasing others, he is caring only about pleasing God.

You see, you are free. That is the gospel message, you are totally new, a free life, but are you living in that freedom? Or are you still controlled by others?

My prayer is that the gospel of Jesus which speaks of the grace of God is enough for you, and rather than be worried about what others may think, you learn to love them so much, that the only way you can love them more is by sharing this message with them.

 In Grace, Pastor Ben.

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