Author Archives: Nick Watson

About Nick Watson

I'm a husband to Joanna, a Dad to three teenagers, a disciple to Jesus and a Rector to the people of Wednesfield in the West Midlands. I'm trying to keep all those in balance and find some time to play my guitar as well.

Blogging the Bible – or 3 chapters of it…

A while back I rashly committed myself to blogging daily through the whole Bible in a year. It was a great thing to do, though I overran a bit. It helped me to see the Bible with a new perspective, and to focus on the big picture of God’s story. But rather than the hoped-for kick-start to writing more regularly, I then stopped blogging to recover!

So I’m starting again – with no promise to write daily, and a more focussed aim. I’m planning to work through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), over the rest of 2018 if that’s what it takes! The idea is to help me to have a bit of discipline about studying this key text in depth, and putting into writing what I think I’m understanding about it.

One thing that’s pointed me to this passage is reading Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy, which has challenged some of my ideas about what Jesus was saying in the Sermon, starting with the Beatitudes. It’s made me think that I need to do some new reading and thinking about it, which is never a bad thing to do with Scripture!

I’ve got a lot of commentaries and books on the Sermon on the Mount. If you know if any you’ve found particularly helpful, please let me know! And watch this space (but patiently, please!)

 

25 December – Gifts for Jesus

Happy Christmas!

As you share gifts today and celebrate, remember the gifts brought by the wise men, and their meaning; gold for a king, incense for God, and myrrh for the healing that would be brought through Jesus’ suffering yet to come.

What will you bring to Jesus as a gift this Christmas? How will you know and serve him more fully as we travel together into the future with him?

May the peace of Christ be with you and those you love this Christmas.

 

The animations in this series are by Jon Birch, and used by permission, but please don’t download them or post them elsewhere, as the copyright doesn’t allow that. Find out more at http://proost.co.uk/altadvent.

24 December – Who do you ask?

Answers are easier to find than ever – for some questions, at least. With internet access we can search for any question and find answers. Of course, one problem is that we have to work out which answers are right, or at least best. More complicated, though, is that we have to work out who’s giving the answers – and what their agenda might be.

The Wise Men went to the obvious place to look for a King of Israel – the palace in Jerusalem. When they realised they were in the wrong place and asked for directions, the answer they got was correct – they needed to go to Bethlehem. But they had asked the wrong person, and Herod had his own agenda. His agenda was to make sure that he stayed in power, whatever he had to do to make it happen. And he didn’t have space in his plans for another king. What he did next is in Matthew 2:13-18.

In the last couple of years we’ve become aware of the dangers of our choosing where we get our information about the world, because we tend to go to people, websites and broadcasters who seem to agree with us. Then we forget that just because someone shares our bias, that doesn’t make them unbiased. We need to be careful who we go to for answers – they may be asking different questions from us, and the ‘right’ answer can lead to the wrong consequences.

 

The animations in this series are by Jon Birch, and used by permission, but please don’t download them or post them elsewhere, as the copyright doesn’t allow that. Find out more at http://proost.co.uk/altadvent.

23 December – Still to come…

One of the risks of an Advent calendar (video or otherwise!) is that we begin to think of Christmas as a wonderful ending. In fact, of course, it’s just a beginning. In today’s video Mary looks back on Jesus’ first year, their first year as a family – and wonders how all the things that God had said about him will happen.

You might like to listen to the song, ‘Mary did you know?’ – it’s a wonderful reflection on all the things that were still to come. But for the moment, Mary didn’t know. And finding out would be a lifetime’s journey with Jesus.

What’s ahead of you on your journey with Jesus? Like Mary, you could spend some time wondering, asking God to open the right doors for his will to be done through you.

 

The animations in this series are by Jon Birch, and used by permission, but please don’t download them or post them elsewhere, as the copyright doesn’t allow that. Find out more at http://proost.co.uk/altadvent.

22 December – Good news for everyone!

The shepherds come bursting into the story, still smelling of sheep and a bit out of place in a maternity ward – however rough and ready it might be. But they remind us that Jesus’ birth is good news for everyone – including (or even especially) those who’ve got no business being there.

It strikes me for the first time this year that since Gabriel spoke once to Mary and once to Joseph about nine months previously, apart from Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, God has been quiet. He hasn’t (so far as we’re told) sent any more messengers, or even prophetic dreams. Mary and Joseph have simply got on with what they’d been called to do, bringing Jesus to birth miles from where they’d expected. They must have wondered sometimes what was happening to them.

But that night, the shepherds burst in and their excitement bursts out – the angels are back in celebration! It’s the confirmation of what this is all about. And it’s great news for the world.

 

The animations in this series are by Jon Birch, and used by permission, but please don’t download them or post them elsewhere, as the copyright doesn’t allow that. Find out more at http://proost.co.uk/altadvent

21 December – Glory to God, Peace to Earth

When the angels turn up, heaven hits earth with a bang. God’s universe-wide, history-long plan to step into our world is announced to a few working people on a dark hillside. And that’s one of the key things about Christmas – we celebrate every year that God’s work in the world isn’t just ‘then’ (whenever ‘then’ is) but Now. And it’s not just ‘there’ (wherever ‘there’ is) but here.

Looking around you, where can you see God at work today, perhaps even in your daily work? Will you be willing to step aside from the ordinary to pray and worship him? That’s a way to follow the shepherds today.

 

The animations in this series are by Jon Birch, and used by permission, but please don’t download them or post them elsewhere, as the copyright doesn’t allow that. Find out more at http://proost.co.uk/altadvent.

20 December – The Lord’s my Shepherd

We’re not familiar with shepherds in Wednesfield. But the ‘Good Shepherd’ is an image of God lots of us find helpful. The shepherds in today’s video remind us of what that shepherding involved in their day; it involved living among the sheep, caring for them, guiding and providing and sometimes protecting them. Israel’s greatest king, David, began life as a shepherd, and at his best he led his people with the same care.

Who are the shepherds of our community? Who are our guides, providers, protectors? And who do you guide, provide for and protect? Pray for them today and perhaps ask yourself what they reflect of the God who cares for us – or of what we need from God.

 

The animations in this series are by Jon Birch, and used by permission, but please don’t download them or post them elsewhere, as the copyright doesn’t allow that. Find out more at http://proost.co.uk/altadvent.