How can I receive God’s gifts?
The Holy Spirit wants to bestow and anoint you with spiritual gifts to empower you as you work within your wheelhouse….
The Power of the Incarnation?
Rev Gav reflects on the incarnation of the second person of the Holy Trinity in Jesus Christ and the difference it makes to all creation over all time….
God is on our side
Gaining a perspective as a mother who bears us, holds us, and protects us is vital to our understanding of the the nature of God….
What do we do in times of trouble?
What do we do when we are either ‘in trouble’ or ‘troubled’? Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” Rev Gav reflects on how we can trust in Christ….
How can we reach this generation?
The Church (capital C) struggles to engage with those in Gen-Z and Gen-A. Does it mean we might need to do things a little differently?…
How does Jesus minister to us?
The Road to Emmaus is a story about two down-hearted disciples who are ministered to by Jesus. In the same way, Jesus can minister to us, today….
To whom are you being sent?
The story about Thomas witnessing the resurrection is not just about having faith and believing, it is a commission from Jesus to be sent into the world that others may find life….
What happens when we let go?
As Christ emptied himself for all humanity, it is the emptying of ourselves that brings us into a revelation of God’s love. Sometimes, sadly, it can take a devastating crisis to get us to that point, but even then, there is still hope….
“As I have done”
Rev. Marie Loewen shares her reflection on Jesus’ commandment to love one another in this special Maundy Thursday reflection….
How should we deal with anger?
Anger is an emotion we feel when there is an injustice and it is not wrong to feel anger, however it is how we deal with that anger that matters….
What should our attitude be to death?
We all encounter the pain and the trauma of death. What should the Christian attitude be when dealing with suffering?…
What does it mean to be a mother?
Psalm 23 is probably the best-known and best-loved of all the sacred songs or hymns found in the Bible, and it is a wonderful image of the mothering God….
Why does Theology matter?
Why does what we think about God matter and how should we approach the Bible to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God?…
How can we be born again?
Nicodemus, a member of the high Jewish Council, approached Jesus in the night and went away forever changed. Let’s find out what happened!…
What is the purpose of temptation?
Why are we tempted to sin and what is the purpose of sin? What effect does sinning have and how can we avoid it?…
Why was Jesus transfigured?
Nestled in the gospel accounts is the account of The Transfiguration — a wonderful mountaintop experience. What did it mean to Peter, James, and John, and what does it mean for us today?…
How can we have strength and dignity?
Strength and Dignity are two virtues that the Christian can possess, but how do we go about getting them?…
How can the poor in spirit be blessed?
Jesus says some radical and baffling things in his opening words on The Sermon on the Mount. In this Insight, Rev Gav explores the big picture that sets the scene for the rest of Jesus’ teaching….
How do we find rest for our souls?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and…
How can we be a united church?
What makes a good church community? How can a church hold and differences and remain united? Rev Gav explores what it means to be united with diversity….
Will we behold the Lamb of God?
John the Baptist calls Jesus The Lamb of God but where did this expression come from and what does it mean?…
Why is baptism all about water?
Rev Gav explores why water is an important symbol in creation, history, and why it is used in the ceremony of baptism….
Will we follow the star?
What is the truth about the Magi and why does their inclusion in the Christmas story matter to us?…
What might the message of Christmas mean to you?
There are many different take-aways from the Christmas message, and here are seven of them as we reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ — the Word made flesh. Which one resonates with you?…
The Secret Message of Christmas
There is a secret message hidden in Christmas. It is hidden behind the sparkling snow speckled Christmas tree and is underneath the banqueting table laden with turkey and mince pies and wine. It is buried beneath piles of promising presents and is tucked behind the dwindling bank account and additional financial pressures. It is masked by the sound of loud knitted jumpers filled with their equally loud on-screen owners and drowned out by the jolly cries of of a dream-like figure with fur and bells….
Does God speak to us in dreams?
Joseph encountered an angel in a dream and it impacted the lives of Mary, Jesus, and all of us forever….
Is it okay to doubt when things go wrong?
What do you do when you give your life to a cause and everything seems to go inexplicably wrong? Can we hold onto hope? Rev Gav explores….
Why is there a problem with waiting?
Waiting is a part of life isn’t it? The New York Times dubbed waiting in line a “timeless form of torture,” and…
How can we be ready to meet King Jesus?
Rev Gav reflects on the simple message of John the Baptist to repent, be baptised, and live our lives in a new God-facing direction….
Will we see our loved ones again?
It has been a tough few weeks for those living in the East End of the island. There have been a large…
What happens when the King comes?
Jesus came to inaugurate, declare, and establish God’s Kingdom. He came as the King. And as he did so, he wanted, through his words and his actions, to both proclaim and demonstrate what that Kingdom is like. To do this he used parables, multi-layered stories that were designed to shock or jar with the listener. “If you want to know what the Kingdom of God is like? Well, let me tell you a story…” Each parable is like a window onto the nature of God’s Kingdom. Each parable lets us see something about the Kingdom of God. And so we come to this parable found in Matthew 20:1-16, The parable of the vineyard workers, and it is a parable about God’s Kingdom Values versus Human Kingdom Values….
Lest we forget
Remembering acts of self-sacrifice during times of abhorrent war, can ultimately point us to a God who loves us and who has given himself for us….
How can I be justified before God?
Rev Gav explores how justification works and how the very nature of faith is the recognition we cannot achieve holiness in our own strength but need a Saviour….
How can I persevere in a hurting world?
Rev Gav explores how we can persevere in petitioning God in prayer, and persevere in seeking justice for the world, through maintaining a divine perspective, holding on to hope, being prepared to fail, never stopping, mutual encouragement, and drawing on God’s strength….
What can outsiders teach us about God?
Rev Gav reflects on the story of the healing of ten Samaritan lepers and draws out three faith lessons for us today….
What is body-spirit dualism and why should it be avoided?
There is a heresy (false teaching) called dualism and it is as prevalent today as it was in the first century. Like all heresies it has massive implications for how we understand Jesus Christ and for how we live our lives….
How can I find contentment?
How can I find contentment in my life? Is it a transitory emotion or something more?…
How can my life bear fruit?
In this message, Rev Gav reflects on the gardening metaphors used by Jesus and how we can bear fruit by being transformed by the Holy Spirit….
Why is Jesus more than a shepherd?
Jesus was often accused of hanging out with those who were considered sinners, and on one occasion when the religious elite were berating Jesus for welcoming and eating with undesirables, he told them this parable:…
God calls us to welcome and include the marginalised, broken, and poor. Rev Gav reflects on the Pride events that took place in Bermuda and how the LGBTQIA+ community has been mistreated by some branches of the wider church….
In this message, Rev Gav explores Jesus’ invitation for us to be both humble and generous, and to extend God’s invitation to others….
Rev Gav explains how he has a foot in contemporary culture and a foot in church culture and how his calling is to draw the two together….
I think the Apostle Paul was a runner. Across different letters he compares the Christian life to running a race and uses the metaphor of crowds cheering us on, Jesus championing us, the need for perseverance, and so on….
Have you ever heard the phrase, “to gird up your loins?” It means to prepare yourself for something difficult or challenging, and it is lifted right out of the Bible. Back in biblical times people wore long tunics which would get in the way if you needed to engage in something physical, and so, they would gather the material at the front, pass it between their legs (a bit like a nappy), bring it to their back then around their waist on both sides, and tie at the front. Once you had girded your loins you were ready for battle or for service….
Do you have a teddy, blanky, or other soft or stuffed toy that brought you comfort as a child? I am never surprised to discover that adults still keep their favourite childhood stuffy hidden in a drawer or closet. Mine is a bunny and his name is Bunny Bookins. Bunny and I have been together since I was born and he has had so many hugs in his lifetime that he is pretty much bald (like me). And despite now having someone a little bigger to hug in bed, when I see him or hold him I still get a little pang of comfort….
The Lord’s Prayer is the most profound prayer ever uttered. It is short and simple, yet contains everything we need as physical and spiritual beings. …
Have you ever wondered how two siblings can turn out to be totally different in character? I have two daughters who were brought up by the same parents and grew up in the same context. Both had similar life experiences and were instilled with the same values. We even fed them the same food! And yet, despite sharing some wonderful characteristics, such as their fierce independence and their strong sense of justice, they are wonderfully and remarkably different. Their differences are what make them unique and are welcomed and celebrated….
This week I was approached by someone who asked me what it means to believe in God. Here is my, somewhat, rambling reply….
In 1989, electronic synth-pop band Depeche Mode released their song ‘Personal Jesus’ and it was a world-wide hit. The famous lyric from the song reads, “Your own personal Jesus; someone to hear your prayers; someone who’s there.” At the time, Christian preachers and evangelists could be heard asking the question, “Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour?”…
If someone approaches you and asks you to follow them then how do you decide if you are going to agree and go with them? Well, I suggest it depends on two things. Firstly, it depends on who they are. For example, are they trustworthy? Do they have a track record of dependability? Have they ever let you down in the past? And secondly, it depends on where they are going. Are they leading you somewhere you would like to go? Have they been there before? Do they know the way?…
Imagine if it was your job to make rules for humanity by which to live. The whole of humanity depends on you to come up with a set of rules to ensure that humanity prospers, stays safe, and protects the environment. Where would you start?…
I put the cat among the pigeons last week, when writing in our local paper, by referring to the Holy Spirit as a she. I enjoy receiving correspondence from readers, and on this occasion, I received two letters: one from a woman who felt insulted, and another from a woman that felt affirmed by my use of the feminine pronoun. I was rather excited as it meant I had at least two readers, although perhaps afterwards only one! At the time of writing this it is Trinity Sunday — the Sunday when we celebrate God as three-in-one; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — so today I am going to put my case for affirming the femininity of God. If you are likely to be offended, please do read on!…
Throughout the Bible, the Spirit of God filled people at specific times and places to anoint them for a special mission or purpose. For example, in the Hebrew Bible, Joshua was filled with the Spirit to lead the tribe of Israel into the promised land, and in the Gospels, John the Baptiser was filled with the Spirit as he heralded the arrival of Jesus Christ. As I have mentioned before, the Spirit of God is always outward looking and always looking to the interest of others, therefore the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God is not, primarily to benefit ourselves, but to bless and benefit others….
In the church calendar, The Festival of Ascension and it sits between the two festivals of Easter and Pentecost. Easter is when we celebrate the resurrected Jesus, and Pentecost is when we celebrate God’s Spirit coming to live in all believers. Ascension sits between the very physical, real, present and living resurrected Jesus, and the very spiritual, real, presence of the Holy Spirit. So what happens in-between? What is Ascension? And how can we make sense of it and understand it?…
President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling and saying the same things over-and-over at White House receptions, and so one evening, he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he said. As each person approached him to shake hands, he gave them a big smile and declared, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”…
This week we celebrated the installation and collation of Jerry, the new Canon Residentiary at the cathedral. Us Anglicans like to use long words do we not! To put it another way, we welcomed a new pastor to the church in the town centre! After the uplifting ceremony there was fried chicken, and chocolate cake, and wine, and it was a fun party. One of the cathedral members, seeing the wonderful and abundant spread of food, turned to me and asked, “Perhaps we should go into the streets and invite people to this banquet?”…
Do we really know each other? Because there is a difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone. We often know a lot of things about each other. For example, we can know someone’s name, their age, where they live, what they do for a living, and whether they like Marmite or not — but that is not the same thing as knowing them. Knowing is somehow deeper, and it is not just about collecting and retaining information or data about a person….
Breakfast. I love it. It’s my favourite meal of the day. Whether tucking in to a ‘full-English’ at a roadside greasy spoon, picking apart a pair of smoky kippers in a posh Edinburgh hotel, slicing open a warm, succulent cantaloupe on a country lane in Northern Australia, allowing the scent fragrant Nasi Lemak to fill my nostrils in Malaysian hawker stall, or a indulging in a hearty bowl of biscuits and gravy in a diner in Utah, you cannot beat a good breakfast. I’m sure you can think of your own favourites, and yes, I confess, I have yet to try codfish and potatoes (don’t tell anyone)….
Christianity asserts that we are holistic beings — that our bodies, minds, and spirits are interlocked and interwoven and cannot be separated. …
When I was about eight years old, I was sitting with my friend Matthew on the back seat of our school bus, staring out of the rear window. In the car that followed behind the bus, two punks started sticking two ﬁngers up at us, and so, giggling, we returned the favour. Little did we know that the deputy headteacher had heard about what we had done, and when we arrived back at the school, he asked both Matthew and I if we had done the dastardly deed. I confessed, and so the next morning, in the school assembly, I was made to stand and be publicly shamed in front of everyone. As a punishment, the head teacher asked all my fellow pupils to ignore me and not to speak to me for a whole day. It hurt deeply, however, I was, after all, guilty….
What happens when we die? Where do we go? And what form will we have? These are questions asked by every human being that has ever lived, and throughout the millennia there have been many different answers. As a Christian minister who regularly takes funerals — for both young and old — the subject of life after death is never far away from my own consciousness, and as Christians, we also retell the story of Jesus on a weekly and annual basis, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus every Sunday and also at Easter….
When I write the word ‘church’, what is the first thing that pops into your head? I expect you imagine a building or a service (taking place inside a building). Well, these are expressions of church but not church. If you have been reading my articles for a few weeks then you will know that church is not something you go to, but a community of people glued together by the love of God expressed through the person of Jesus Christ….
In the iconic 1980s film, The Blues Brothers, the two protagonists Jake and Elwood set off on a quest to save the Catholic orphanage in which they were raised. They do this by getting their R&B band back together and staging a gig to raise $5000. The classic phrase that everyone remembers from the movie is, “We’re on a mission from God.”…
This week, amongst the deluge of harrowing news emerging from Ukraine, I heard the story of two Scottish men who, at the very start of the conflict, drove to Poland to begin helping Ukrainians move across the border. On one occasion, passing a Russian convoy, they were held at gunpoint, had their vehicle ransacked, their possessions stolen, and two of their tyres shot out. They limped on for a further fifteen miles until locals found them two spare tyres, then they continued to the town of Sumy to help evacuate a student and six other people before the bombing there began. During their return journey to the Polish border, one of the men, on his wife’s birthday, called her from the road. Through tears she encouraged him, “Just go for it!”…
The season of Lent, traditionally, it is a time when we reflect on our own shortcomings and focus on spiritual growth. Around the tenth century, Lent became linked with Jesus spending forty days in the wilderness where he was tempted by the Devil….
Has anyone ever deliberately done something that makes you feel inferior or look bad in the eyes of others? For example, have you ever been physically bullied, has someone ever made a belittling remark about you, or spread bad rumours about you behind your back? They may have used phrases about you such as, “That brought her down a peg or two” or “That made him eat humble pie.” Let me make it clear, you were not humbled, but humiliated. There is a difference….
I had a few experiences of church when I was growing up. When I was about seven or eight years old, my family were regular attendees until I was expelled from Sunday School (no idea why, ask my mum), and soon after that, our church-going dropped off to occasional visits at Christmas and Easter. However, it was not until I was nineteen years old that I took the plunge (literally) and became a Christian….
My family and I were very blessed to be able to afford a short vacation, and I excitedly booked return flights to Miami with American Airlines. It was only when I received a confirmation email from the airline that I discovered that I had accidentally booked the return flight for the following month. I had made the booking when I was tired and I guess I simply clicked on the wrong box at some point and misread the dates when I hit the button to confirm. It was an honest mistake and therefore I figured the airline would understand and I would be able to change the flight. How wrong could I be?…
I have a confession to make, and that is that I am a mad-keen angler. I love fishing. Whether float-tubing down the Green River in Utah for cutthroat trout, wending my way up a Scottish river casting silver-blue-and-teal flies for wild salmon, hooking into 100lb tuna from the rocks off Ascension Island, popping for Tarpon in the Everglades, or winkling out an elusive hogfish from Great Sound, fishing is my thing….
”Love is patient; love is kind; love is not jealous or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”…
The church is a group of people, called by God, to join in with God’s ongoing mission in the world; to announce the kingship of Jesus, and to be witnesses of his infinite love. We do not exist, simply to claim ‘souls’ for a disembodied future existence in heaven, but we exist to be physical bringers of the redemption, restoration, and renewal of creation, working towards that time when God’s kingdom will fully come and heaven and earth will one day be perfectly reconciled. It is a big task, and a vital one too, and importantly, each one of us has a role to play….
If there is one miracle of Jesus that, today, almost everyone seems able to recall, it is Jesus turning water into wine. Perhaps it is because this is the first miracle encountered in John’s account, or perhaps it is because it is rich in symbolism, however, I have a hunch it is because this miracle contains several ingredients with which we are all familiar — a full on party, a bunch of tipsy guests, and an abundance of delicious red wine….
When you have an epiphany — under a flash of popping light bulbs — you suddenly grasp the reality or truth of something. And from that moment on, you see things differently and look at the world with new eyes. This week, the church entered the season called Epiphany, and collectively, we remember those Eastern astrologers that visited Jesus some time after his birth. Despite being outsiders from a different culture, they had an epiphany, and recognised the reality of who Jesus was….
This Christmas season, as you bridge into a new year, perhaps you can make it your new year’s resolution to turn to God and receive his free gift of grace, because there is nothing you can do to make God to love you more, and nothing you can do to make God love you less. God loves you, because he loves you, because he loves you….
To be human is to experience the fragility of life, and none of us go through life without enduring hardship and pain. Add to it the extra pressures of a global pandemic, and it is no wonder that we find ourselves under immense strain. Bodies have been strained, emotions have been strained, minds have been strained, relationships have been strained. Is there a single aspect of our lives that has not been affected? What is the answer? Rev Gav explores……
This week was the last week of Advent, the season in which we look forward to the coming of the Saviour of the World on Christmas Day, and traditionally, during this week, we think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had an encounter with an angel who told her she was ‘highly favoured’ — selected and singled out; hand-picked by God to be the bearer of his Son. But get this, she was not chosen because she was special. She had not done anything to deserve God’s favour. She did not come from a remarkable family line. She was not wealthy or important (in a worldly sense). Mary was an ordinary girl, doing ordinary things….
Have you ever taken part in a ‘Secret Santa’, where you anonymously purchase and wrap a Christmas gift for a friend or a work colleague? Well, Secret Santas are perhaps closer to the original idea behind gift-giving than our modern-day practice of adding gift tags to let the person know the identity of the giver. Let me explain……
Have you ever listened to a radio station when everything suddenly goes silent; where the record ends and the presenter forgets to play the next tune, or there has been some kind of technical difficulty, and the microphone goes completely quiet? Because those few seconds of silence from your speakers feel like an eternity, it is not called ‘silent’ air, or ‘quiet’ air but it is called ‘dead’ air….
Christians, throughout history, have been concerned with both the afterlife and the end times. What happens when we die? When will we be resurrected? When will Jesus come again? What will it be like when that happens?…
Anticipation (full teaching)
Read Luke 21:25-36 Introduction Christians, throughout history, have been concerned with both the afterlife and the end times. What happens when we…
Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” So, who were the kings at the time? In this short history lesson we will find out!…
When Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” the question was loaded with preconceptions and Jesus’ answer would result in his death. Will be bold enough to proclaim Jesus as King in our world?…
In the morning I like to make my gorgeous wife a cup of tea, and make myself a coffee. I open the cupboard and decide what kind of mug mood I am in. Yes, there’s a thing called a mug mood. They all look so shiny, and I take great pleasure in selecting one that meets my mood that particular morning….
I like to be fed. In fact, I love food. To be honest, I like to think of myself as something of a foodie. I enjoy creative, flavourful, food experiences, and tasting delicious wines. It is my secret vice! Some might call me greedy (but not me!) If the stomach is the way to a man’s heart, then I have done very well marrying my wife, for she loves cooking and is a superb chef….
Pride is putting ourselves, our wants and desires, before God, others, and the environment. Pride literally has an ‘I’ in the middle….
Hope – Part 2
Does God have a plan for the world and how do we discern what that plan is?…
Hope – Part 1
In this message, Rev Gav encourages us to see hope as joining in with God’s acts of creativity in the world….
Community – Part 2
In John’s gospel is a story about a guy called Nicodemus, and it is through his dialogue with Jesus that we encounter some of the themes and ideas about God’s eternal community — The Kingdom of God — that form the very basis of how we are to live and have our being in relationship with God….
Community (Part 1)
Trinity Sunday is the day we celebrate the doctrine of The Trinity — a God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the term ‘trinity’ does not exist in the Bible, from scripture we learn that God is both one and three at the same time. There is one God but this one God is community….
I find it difficult to write a sermon on the theme of the Holy Spirit because, such is the importance of the Spirit to the Mission of the Church, that nearly all my messages are about the Holy Spirit in some way or another! If there was one topic on which I could talk at length it would be about an aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit of God, but today, I am going to go back to basics. For some, this teaching will be familiar, and yet for others it might be the first time they have truly considered who the Spirit is and why the Spirit is important….
Sometimes, I meet people and they say to me, “I wish I had your faith” or, “Your faith must bring you great comfort.” It is as if they have no control over whether they have faith or not; as if faith, like a ray gun, zaps us from heaven; or is something inside us that we are either born with or not. But faith is not something out of our control, forced upon us, or something with which we are born. No. Faith is a choice….
I love that refrain that we shout at Easter, ‘He is risen’. It is not, ‘He was risen’ or, ‘He has risen’. No! It is, ‘He is risen!’. We use the present tense because Jesus still is and this is vitally important! When we think of other people in the Bible who were brought back from the dead, Lazarus, for example, we say, “Lazaraus was raised,” because Lazarus died again. But Jesus is alive!…
Wisdom (RG only)
The writer of the book of Proverbs says that to have integrity, justice, honesty, and make good life decisions, we need to pursue wisdom. But what is the pursuit of wisdom and how do we go about it?…
What do you do with a theology that tells you God has a plan for your life when everything seems to be going down the pan? Rev Gav shares his experience….