Sunday, 11 December 2016

Final Charge - 2 Timothy 4

Paul has addressed important subjects across these two letters, but we can also see that they are practical letters to Timothy written in specific circumstances. The letter finishes with various practical points: people are ill or in different locations, come before winter, bring cloak and scrolls! It is in this real and actual context that Paul and Timothy were attempting to speak out for Jesus.

[OUT] Where are you called to speak for Jesus?

Challenge: Explain what you do is because of your faith in Jesus

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Scriptural Foundation - 2 Timothy 3

Paul wrote this letter nearly 2,000 years ago, yet the first verses of chapter 3 might just as easily be taken as a description of the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign! As we have seen Paul writes to Timothy with opposition and trouble in mind, and this chapter continues that theme.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Pass it On - 2 Timothy 2

Paul tells Timothy to 'Be strong' - but in what source of strenght? Strong in the grace that is in Jesus, the grace we heard about last week, the grace that is in the very character of God from the beginning, now fully revealed in Jesus. It is His ability, our availability.

[IN] Where does God need to challenge you right now?

Challenge: Pass it on! Share your growth so others might grow

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Live for the Gospel - 2 Timothy 1

In Paul's second letter we will see that the underlying theme is the same - Paul is keen for Timothy to tackle teachers who are leading away from Christ. But before he gets to that take note of the importance of personal relationships. In v1 Paul understands his call from God as an apostle, but Timothy is important to him as his dear son.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Values into Practice - 1 Timothy 5

In real life situations can be difficult and messy. Attempts to help people can be abused and taken for granted. In chapter 5 Paul turns to practical advice for the actual scenarios of helping widows in the church community.

[UP] Is you faith based on a bargain, a pledge or simple trust?

Challenge: For hard decisions, trace back to Kingdom Values

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Encouragements - 1 Timothy 4

Having given directions about leaders, Paul returns to the main theme of the letters - dealing with false and erroneous teachers. He has stern words: deceiving spirits, hypocritical liars and so on! But rather than going on and on, he quickly moves on to what amounts to six encouragements for Timothy.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Directions - 1 Timothy 3

Paul introduces another of his 'trustworthy sayings', but curiously this one could just as easily be a secular saying. 'Whoever aspires to be a leader desires a noble task' could apply in your local book club as much as the church!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Global Mission Purpose - 1 Timothy 2

Chapter 2 calls for urgent action: praying for people, the community, those in power. In contrast to anyone who might say that Christians should retreat into a holiness club, Paul picks up on roots expressed in Jeremiah 29:7 and says get praying and get out there!

[OUT] Who are you called to pray for?

Challenge: Choose 3 names and then persist in praying for them

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Big Cause - 1 Timothy 1

Having set the scene we now start looking at the letters Paul sent to Timothy, as a kind of followup instructions after journeying together and Timothy learning at Paul's side.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Introducing Timonthy - Acts 16:1 - 5

We start a new series looking at Timothy the discipled leader. Paul meets Timothy on his travels (Acts 16). We are told little about him, but clearly Timothy joins as a helper, and goes on to be a leader in his own right. The two letters we will work through show Paul giving 'update instructions' to help his leadership.

[IN] Where might God mess with your schedule?

Challenge: Leave space for Jesus to fill

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Community - OIKOS

The Greek word for house or household is 'OIKOS'. It would include the extended family, the gathering of different members together in one place. It was also used in the New Testament for gatherings of Christians - typically meeting in a person's house.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Irreducible Core - 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 8

Tech and mobile phones are cool things, and enable us to do lots of stuff that a generation ago was but a dream. Yet they come at a cost of distraction: alerts, pings, notifications, newsflashes are now constantly hitting us all the time. Literally tonnes of information now comes at us, or is available.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Leader as Gardener - 1 Corinthians 3:1 - 9

In your garden you can do various things to help things grow ... but in the final analysis you can't actually make things grow. Only God can do that. And yet if you do nothing, things will still grow!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Spiritual Gifts - 1 Corinthians 12:1 - 11

We all like to receive gifts, but we also know the phrase 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'. The latter resonates with God and who He is: God is Love, and love cannot help but give and pour out.

[UP] What giving does God want to enable through you?

Challenge: Release & Increase!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Learning with Moses - Numbers 11:24 - 30

Last week we saw how Joshua got to tag along with Moses as the people were led by God. The journey was not always enjoyed by the people, and this week the scene is one of complaining and moaning - the people had God-provided food to eat, but they wanted real meat! This got to Moses and led to a sense of burden. He felt he had to carry all 1.5 million people himself.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Experiences with Moses - Excerpts from Exodus 24, 32 and 33

What do other people see in our lives? Is it something attractive and worth imitating? Watching someone and doing like-wise was in the rabbi-disciple culture at the time of Jesus, but it also goes back much further. In Exodus we see Joshua tagging along with Moses, seeing how he did life, his priorities and reactions. This mini-series will look at 'The Discipled Leader', echoing our look at 'Jesus the Discipler' from earlier in the year.

[OUT] Do you live a life worth imitating?

Challenge: Review one area of your life

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Corporate Prayer - Acs 4:23 - 31

Having looked at Nehemiah, Jeremiah, and David in prayer, as well as the Lord's prayer, we now look at an example of the early church praying together. They were united in response to a threat - Peter & John told not to speak about Jesus. This was a threat against the very purposes of God.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

David in Prayer - 1 Chronicles 16:8 - 36

The people of Israel were defined by their story - of God leading them out of slavery, of making promises and covenants with them. God had instructed them to make an ornate box - 'the ark' - in which they kept etched tablets of stone. This was a focus to help them in their worship. Many years on they were finally able to settle in the land God had promised, and now they had a king who could establish them as the people of God in the land of Israel. David succeeded in bringing the ark to Jerusalem, to form the epicentre of their worship. It was a day of great celebration. Since the people were to be characterised by their worship of God, David appointed people to praise - not just on that great day, but each day thereafter. The 1 Chronicles passage records a poem of praise written for the occasion.

[IN] Do you feel part of God's bigger purposes

Challenge: Contribute one sentence of praise per day

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A Troubled Soul - Mark 1:35-39 and Jeremiah 20:7-18

Jesus did a life on life training course for his disciples. His habits would be a model for them, one bed-rock habit being withdrawing to pray. In Mark 1 he does this, and when the disciples come after him he is not simply drawn to the needs of the crowd but instead demonstrates the discipline of OFF and follows a call to minister elsewhere. His prayer time seems to set an inbuilt metronome ticking with the presence of God.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Nehemiah's Prayer - Nehemiah 1:5 - 11

Nehemiah and his people were in exile. He was serving a foreign king and acutely aware of the devastation and shame on his people back home. The walls of Jerusalem were in ruins and their plight was desperate.

[UP] What level of confidence do you have to approach God in prayer?

Challenge: Use Nehemiah's prayer as a model for your own prayer

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Teaching Moments - The Boy with the Spirit - Mark 9:14 - 29

The story of the boy with the spirit is an interesting one. The father brings the boy for healing, and the disciples pray but with no success. Jesus returns and is able to cast the spirit out ... leading to lots of questions for the disciples, and for us too!

[OUT] Where are you called to exercise faith in Jesus?

Challenge: Offer to pray in name of 'Jesus who heals'

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Correct and Restore - Matthew 16:21 - 23

In this series we have been looking at how Jesus did discipleship - his way of bringing followers on a journey of growth, eventually to be released to go and do the same. We have seen how this happened life on life in the context of the unfolding story of Jesus, amidst his ministry.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Teaching Moments - The Canaanite Woman - Mark 7:24 - 30

A story tells of a church leadership team that got bogged down discussing security issues for the church building. Their meeting was inconclusive, so they had to agree to an extra meeting convened on a Saturday morning at the church. That Saturday the arrived to find a tramp had let himself in, and was helping himself to breakfast from the fridge in the church kitchen!

[IN] What does Jesus want to challenge in you?

Challenge: Reach across a barrier

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Step Out - Luke 9 & 10

What was the greatest action Jesus ever did (apart from the whole cross/resurrection thing)? Perhaps it was no single miracle or sermon, but the fact that he sent people: first the 12, the 72, and later commissioning all disciples. For this sending had a multiplication effect, spreading from the single person of Jesus.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Blind Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46 - 52

The crowd is celebrating, Bartimaeus is calling. Jesus is in town which gives the crowd reason to be glad, and Bartimaeus to hope for mercy. The crowd are not interested in Bartimaeus and his interruptions. They rudely tell him to be quiet. They have no respect for him - his name means 'Son of Filth' after all. Yet he calls all the more, using the royal title 'Son of David' - recognising Jesus as the Messiah. The son of filth calls to the anointed royalty of David's line!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Teaching from Friendship - Matthew 18:21 - 22

In the gospels we see (among other things) the developing relationship between Jesus and the disciples. Natural to any relationship is dialogue, with Matthew 18 being one example. Here and elsewhere we see Peter asking a question - in this case a hard question about forgiveness.

[UP] Are you close enough for hard questions?

Challenge: In your triplet wrestle with a question

Sunday, 10 January 2016

See Potential - Luke 5:1 - 11

Incredible things are possible because God is with Us! Both the Christmas story and the promise given in Matthew 28:20. This is Jesus, God walking in everyday life among His own creation.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

[OUT] Who are you called to help disciple?

Key Challenge: Pass it on [see if it goes viral!]

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Be Disciplers - Matthew 28:16 - 20

Matthew 28 might seem a long way from the beginning of Matthew and the Christmas story, but it has important words for our generation: 'Make disciples ... teach people'. Poignant because culture today would rather have church as an event, in the worst case another experience to consume, yet instead Jesus did life on life, apprenticeship, and walking alongside.