Sandyknowes Blog

Living beside the busiest roundabout in Northern Ireland gives plenty of opportunity for watching the world go by. Sandyknowes Blog is the personal blog of Niall Lockhart (minister of Ballyhenry). Pull in and have a read…

Having questions about life and about God doesn’t necessarily mean you all of a sudden want to start coming to church. Whatever your starting place Christianity Explored could be just for you. DVD led and based around Mark’s gospel this informal 6 week course gives room to explore three big questions: Who is Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What does it mean to follow Him?

Sunday coming sees us meeting for morning worship at 11am. This service includes communion (bread and wine) - a really welcome opportunity to remind ourselves of the foundations of our faith in Christ at the beginning of another new year together. (The picture I have used for this post is one I took in Malawi in 2000 during a communion service in a remote village in Northern Malawi. A reminder that the heart of Christian faith is the same at all times and in all cultures). We also begin a new Old Testament teaching series with Niall looking at Daniel chapter 1.

Many commentators in news and social media have reflected upon how 2014 was a year of many tragedies and crises around the world. Facts, figures and statistics easily go over our heads in these days of 24hr news and 140 character sound bites. However one fact that has come to light today is truely horrific. The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has estimated that 76,000 people lost their lives as a result of war in Syria in the past twelve months.

Yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph (11/12/14) ran a story revealing the findings of a recent survey carried out among 1000 children at a Shopping Centre in England. Children were asked the question ‘Who is Jesus Christ’ with a number of multiple choice answers, including:

(a) A footballer for Chelsea

(b) Son of God

(c) TV presenter

(d) X Factor contestant

(e) An astronaut


The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about Joseph. We know that he was a carpenter, that his family roots were in Bethlehem, and that at one point in his life he got engaged to a girl called Mary. And then everything changed. Matthew in his gospel records how in a dream one night an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: ‘Joseph Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.’ (Matt 1 vs 20) And with those words everything changed.