Emails In The Bible

What does a human email look like in the bible ?

Try the book of Esther :-

Esther 4 v 6-17

“Esther sent Hathak to Mordecai in the open square to find out what was troubling him”………..”Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said” …..”then she instructed Hathak go back and say to Mordecai”…………. “when Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai he sent Hathak back with an answer””……..”then Esther sent Hathak back with this reply to Mordecai”……so Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions”

 

In my last company we prepared high value quotations. Apart from the price, we would sweat over whether we had said everything right in the supporting letter that we also emailed with the quote. When the send button was pressed, an abort feature could be activated for the following 10 seconds. After that the quote was sent. No turning back. We hoped we communicated the right words.

 

The book of Esther is a true Hollywood epic. It tells the story of the deliverance of the Jewish people from extermination.

 

I must confess to only recently coming across a character in the book of Esther named  Hathak. Whether he was a believer in Esther’s God we don’t know but God used him to facilitate critical messages (written or remembered) between Mordecai and Esther. The problem was that Mordecai was outside the Palace and Esther was inside and they urgently needed to talk about the real threat of the potential ethnic cleansing of the Jews supported by the wicked Haman.

 

No email, no facebook, no fax, no phone, no mobile, just a walking, talking email called Hathak.

 

I would assume he was good at his job as he was “one of the Kings eunuchs assigned to attend Esther” (Esther 4:5).

 

I wonder if you find yourself in a place where you are sharing, administrating, organising or delivering confidential instructions between people or leaders  but are somewhat invisible yourself. Without you information goes astray or is not passed on and practical issues are not resolved. With you it goes smoothly and you see the results of your patient service but perhaps it isn’t recognised as much as you would like it to be. We all relate to you !

 

Hathak gives us a picture of faithfulness and reliability.  In many ways, leaders long to have teams of  “Hathak staff”.

 

Do you sometimes struggle to give thanks to God for the behind the scenes service he has entrusted you to do ?

Do you look with envy at those on a stage ? We have all been tempted to fall for that ! You are not alone.

 

Enjoy the person God has made you to be and remember, God is watching, and he will reward you on that day.

Let us give thanks to God for every opportunity to serve including being a God anointed human email if that is where we find ourselves at a “time such as this” (Esther 4:14).

by Jon Gledhill, a member of Hope Church Luton

Jon

Jon Gledhill is a member of Hope Church Luton
Jon Gledhill is a member of Hope Church Luton

 

 

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A Lent Challenge

Read The Gospel Of Mark During Lent

Next week is the beginning of lent, marked by Shrove Tuesday which is followed by Ask Wednesday. Traditionally Lent is a 40 day period to help us prepare ourselves for the great Christian Festival of Easter.

Over the last few years numbers of people have kept some kind of lent observance. I have known people give up TV for lent, or chocolate. I’m not totally sure how this prepares us for Easter, other than to appreciate even more an abundance of chocolate Easter Eggs.

I would like to propose a different lent challenge, for us to read the gospel of Mark during lent. Below is a suggestion of how you might do this. However feel free to approach this challenge in the way that best suits your circumstances. The important thing is not how you do it, but that you read Mark’s gospel between now and Easter Sunday on April 5th.

I will be preaching from Mark’s gospel during March and following each preach I will be giving out some questions to help you get deeper into the truths contained in the wonderful little book.

Easter is the climax of the Christian year; please join me in this challenge to prepare well for it.

With Love

Tony

 

Reading plan for Mark’s Gospel

Week one – Wednesday 18 February

Wednesday: Mark 1.1–13

Thursday: Mark 1.14–28

Friday: Mark 1.29–45

Saturday: Mark 2.1–17

Week two – Monday 23 February

Monday: Mark 2.18–28

Tuesday: Mark 3.1–12

Wednesday: Mark 3.13–35

Thursday: Mark 4.1–20

Friday: Mark 4.21–34

Saturday: Mark 4.35–41

Week three – Monday 2 March

Monday: Mark 5.1–20

Tuesday: Mark 5.21–43

Wednesday: Mark 6.1–13

Thursday: Mark 6.14–29

Friday: Mark 6.30–56

Saturday: Mark 7.1–23

Week four – Monday 9 March

Monday: Mark 7.24–37

Tuesday: Mark 8.1–21

Wednesday: Mark 8.22—9.1

Thursday: Mark 9.2–29

Friday: Mark 9.30–50

Saturday: Mark 10.1–16

Week five – Monday 16 March

Monday: Mark 10.17–34

Tuesday: Mark 10.35–52

Wednesday: Mark 11.1–11

Thursday: Mark 11.12–33

Friday: Mark 12.1–17

Saturday: Mark 12.18–37

Week six – Monday 23 March

Monday: Mark 12.38–44

Tuesday: Mark 13.1–23

Wednesday: Mark 13.24–37

Thursday: Mark 14.1–11

Friday: Mark 14.12–31

Saturday: Mark 14.32–52

Week seven – Monday 30 March

Monday: Mark 14.53–72

Tuesday: Mark 15.1–20

Wednesday: Mark 15.21–39

Thursday: Mark 15.40–47

Friday: Mark 16.1–8a

Saturday: Mark 16.8b–20

 

tonyt

Tony Thompson is the leader of Hope Church Luton.  He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.

A Surprising Testimony

I recently read an amazing and surprising testimony which I was totally unaware of and thought worthy of sharing with others.

At the end of the 2nd World War German prisoners of war in Scotland were shown photographs of the horrors in the camps of Belsen and Buchenwald. They were totally unaware that such places existed and had to deal with the nightmare realization that they had been fighting for a regime responsible for unimagined atrocity.

It is impossible to imagine what these poor people must have felt like. One of them, who had little Christian background, was given a Bible by an army chaplain. He says

“I read Mark’s Gospel as a whole and came to the story of the passion; when I heard Jesus’ death cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ I felt growing within me the conviction: this is someone who understands you completely, who is with you in your cry to God and has felt the same forsakenness you are living in now . . . I summoned up the courage to live again.”

The prisoner of war was the great German Protestant theologian Jürgen Moltmann,  he writes about this experience in his autobiography “A Broad Place.”

It demonstrates the power that Scripture has to speak into our deepest despair and to totally change our lives. Why not give yourself the challenge to read Mark’s gospel again and allow God to speak to you through it. It could change your life!

 

 

WRITTEN BY TONY THOMPSON

tonyt

Tony is the leader of Hope Church Luton.  He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.

Helping a New Year Hangover – final part

In the last of her New year Hangover blogs Jane asks us to consider how the world around us affects our judgement and our ability to live loving compassion lives.

I live in Luton.  The mere stating of this will conjure up many different thoughts in people’s minds.  Some the delight of the multicultural cuisine, others race riots, fundamentalist marches or the Hatter’s orange football strip.  If you ask Lutonian’s to describe Luton they will all have something different to say depending on their age, personal experience and the particular part of Luton in which they live.

Our experiences affect our judgments and our ability to love the world around us. This includes our home situation, what we read, what we experience and what we hear every day. Ever noticed how a young children pick up adult words, actions and attitudes? This doesn’t stop when we become adults.

Jesus asks us to love God and love others as we love ourselves.

Those around us often struggle to love each other or themselves.  We are no different. It is a choice we make.

Jesus life reflected his unconditional love for God and others. He showed compassion on the adulterous woman, the leper, the rich young man, the senior palace official and the temple leader, the hungry and the out cast. He refused to be bound by racial divide as he talked to the woman at the well. Neither did he condemn Judas who betrayed him.  What ever background, disability or social status, Jesus was there with love and compassion in the midst. The threat of stoning did not curtail His ministry of reconciliation. Jesus was not interested in the job title or degree status. He looked into peoples hearts, saw their prejudice and still loved them and offered a door into Gods kingdom.

Being a Christian is not easy. Jesus was executed in the most painful and humiliating way possible so why would our lives be easy? As you start the year why not give yourself a spiritual check up. Think about how you react to the lad with Down’s Syndrome, the lady with a facial disfigurement or the group wearing hoodies. Do you dismiss people because they smoke or have a tattoo? What about the grubby, smelly visitor who sat at the back last week?  Then there are the people who do not look like us, or stem from ‘our tribe’.  We may react because of skin colour, clothes sense, accent or the way people speak to us.

If I posted a picture of a fully veiled lady would you presume her faith? She might be a Christian working in another country dressing appropriately to reach into another culture.

Perhaps you struggle to see how God could love a murderer or child molester.
Jesus said ‘let him who is without sin cast the first stone’. The people left. The woman was free.“ neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus does not expect us to change without help.  He gives us relationship, the Bible and the Holy Spirit which reveals truth and strengthens us in our daily battles.

What does loving God and loving your neighbour really look like for each of us in today’s society? To love the sinner and hate the sin.
Let us examine our hearts and ask Jesus to fill us with his love and compassion.

May we go about our day to day lives with renewed hearts and minds as we journey on into 2015.

 

Jane

 

Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team - you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church
Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team – you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church