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Summary: Christianity is not a religion, in the sense that a religion is doing things for God. Christainity is all about relationship

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Leicester - Walsingham Pilgrimage 04-03-09 GD

Good morning

It is a privilege to be able to share a few words with you this morning.

Story: Maddy and I moved to Frisby from New Romney at the end of 2007

As we were taking the bedroom apart, I was surprised to find a small basket underneath our bed with three eggs and £1000.

I was a bit puzzled and so I called Maddy and asked her what this was all about.

She said: “Well I have to be honest with you. Every time you preached a bad sermon, I put an egg in the basket.”

I thought – well three bad sermons in 3 years – not bad going.

But I was still puzzled – “Well, what is the £1000 about”

She replied, as wives always do : “Every time I got a dozen, I sold them”.

But this won’t be a sermon this morning – I’d just like to give you a few thoughts

One of the most intriguing passages in the Old Testament can be found in Jeremiah. Here 500-600 years before Jesus’ birth, Jeremiah foretells the New Covenant in Jesus.

Let me read it to you:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (New International Version)

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,

"when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they broke my covenant,

though I was a husband to them, "

declares the LORD.

33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD.

"I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbour,

or a man his brother, saying, ’Know the LORD,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest,"

declares the LORD.

"For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more."

Jesus coming to this earth wasn’t some sort of afterthought by God, because the world had got so bad and out of hand. It was in the plan of God from the beginning

I would like to focus on that last verse.

“for they will all know me from the least of to the greatest”

English is a poor language in some ways, because we use the word “know” to know a fact and to know a person

In German you have two words for to know

Wissen to know a fact

Kennen to know a person

And here in Jeremiah 34 – in Luther’s German translation the word used “kennen”

Christianity is not a religion, in the sense that religion requires you to DO various things to appease God or to be right with God

Christianity is all about a RELATIONSHIP with God.

The very word Abba in the Lord’s prayer reminds us of that.

Our Daddy who is in heaven

God has intervened in the world and will continue to do so. And what is tremendous is that God loves us enough to reveal himself to us

Story: It was in my final year at Charterhouse in Jan 1972 that I became a committed Christian.

I had seen how another boy who was a Christian lived – and I wanted what he had

So I went on a Christian houseparty (which was held interestingly at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford) at the end of term – much to my Dad’s anger.

It was there that I decided that I wanted to know Jesus.

So I went into my bedroom that evening and said “Jesus if you exist like my friends say you exist – I want to know you”

And as I said that – I felt the presence of God come into the room.

How can I describe it?

The closest similar experience is if you are in a room working away, someone comes in but you don’t hear them – but then you are suddenly aware they are there.

Well it was that type of feeling.

But that wasn’t a one off intervention in my life by God

Story: I remember telling my wife in May 1994 in Switzerland (I was working as a patent attorney for a Swiss multinational that

I will never go back to England,

But if I do I’ll never go to an Anglican Church

and if I go to an Anglican Church, I’ll never be a vicar!!

But in 1999 I had a number of independent prophecies confirming my call to the ministry

Probably the most interesting was that with Bruce Collins:

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