Many of us are familiar with Moses in the Bible: the one who led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery into the exodus and towards the promised land. We probably know of the 'burning bush' incident, where God first speaks directly with Moses. God reveals to Moses His liberation plan, and declares Moses will be the leader.
Sunday, 5 July 2020
Challenge: Ask a friend to pray it through with you
Sunday, 28 June 2020
A man afflicted by a crippling skin disease comes to Jesus. This man is desperate - the disease has ruined his life. People keep their distance and he cannot get a job. Approaching Jesus he sinks to his knees and literally begs Jesus: "If you are willing, you can make me clean!".
Sunday, 21 June 2020
We can know up front that God provides. Peter makes this clear in verse 3: "His divine power has given everything we need". He writes 'everything' - not a few scraps, or just enough to get us started! See also in verse 3 that God has called us - remember again that God equips the called. He doesn't leave us to flounder with no resources. Even better than that Peter declares in verse 4 'so that you can participate in the divine nature'. Do you get just how huge this is?
Sunday, 14 June 2020
we have heard it said that the Corona virus is a 'leveller'. On one level that is true - it can infect anybody, and all of us can spread it. It doesn't matter who you are. We have members of the Royal Family, senior government officials, and people in well paid senior positions in society all succumb. Yet when we look at the overall effects of the virus, we find it is not a leveller.
Sunday, 7 June 2020
Many of us are familiar with the story of the woman at the well. Today we will focus on how the story progresses, rather than the part where Jesus smashes the taboos and analysing the dialogue (we covered these earlier this year). Today we are concerned with then what happens - how the woman goes off to tell people.
Challenge: Pray and invite!
Sunday, 31 May 2020
Many of us are familiar with the Pentecost story, where the Spirit falls powerfully on the followers of Jesus in Acts chapter 2. Note the detail in verse 2 - they were in a house. Kind of their own form of lockdown (though with many people in the same house!). They were there intentionally: partly to keep out of the way of the authorities, but also to pray and wait.
Sunday, 24 May 2020
There are times when God can be right narky - seen in some of the scripture passages. For example Isaiah 1 verses 10 to 15 God seems to be having a full on rant! Fed up with the sacrifices and offerings of the people - in fact the very practices of worship He prescribed back in the Exodus times. We might think such a rant can't apply to us, since in Jesus we have moved on from primitive animal sacrifices to the sophistication of our worship songs. But not so fast - read Amos 5 verses 21 to 24. Away with the music too!
Sunday, 17 May 2020
Through the lockdown many are re-learning the art of conversation - with neighbour or the person you meet on the street. That skill of listening well and picking up on what the other person has said is perhaps largely lost, but we are now discovering it again. It gives us all kinds of opportunities to be the witness to Jesus that He calls us to be.
Sunday, 10 May 2020
Last year we went travelling and had a hire car. We were fortunate to get an upgrade which gave us a car with all kinds of extra gizmos. One was 'Lane Assist' - sensors that could see the lane markings so the car would beep at you if you strayed out of lane. We also benefited from the built-in SatNav - handy since we were in a strange country with unfamiliar roads and place names. Both were guidance systems to help us with our driving and exploring the land ahead.
Challenge: Up your game with reading some scripture regularly
Sunday, 3 May 2020
The previous chapters to Zechariah 8 describe a terrible situation, using language like 'a desolate land'. The people are scattered, the city left behind is like waste. It doesn't have its normal activity and on the whole the situation is pretty miserable.
Sunday, 26 April 2020
There is nothing new about pandemics - they have occurred all through history. In our own news we have already had comparisons with the so-called 'Spanish Flu' in 1918 which killed millions around the world. The Black Death in London 1665 killed an estimated 15% of the population. It was even worse 300 years earlier where it is estimated to have wiped out half of the mainland European population. We can go back to Roman times (or even further). A famous Roman era plague was the 'Cyprian' plague, named after a prominent Christian bishop who literally wrote "this it - this is the end of the world!". That was because 5,000 people were dying every day in Rome alone. Of course he was wrong about it being the end of the world, but it was a time where the compassion of Christians was noted across the empire.
Sunday, 19 April 2020
Have you seen the news stories of people spotting wildlife in their gardens? The story of the wild goats coming into Llandudno in Wales - enjoying the freedom while there is no traffic. The Times showed a majestic view of the Himalayas from a town in the Punjab region, noting that for many residents it was the first time they had seen the mountains from their town, because until now it had always been covered in smog! Its as if normal creation is being given a time in which it can breathe again.
Sunday, 12 April 2020
Normally we skip Easter Saturday - having done a walk of witness on Friday, and then celebrations on the Sunday. Yet this year with lockdown impinging on our Easter it gives us an opportunity to think a bit more on the Saturday in between.
As well as asking each other the obvious 'How are you?', also ask your brothers and sisters in Christ this Soul Question:
What is your own sense of God - do you feel He is close or distant?
Sunday, 5 April 2020
We should remember that in Paul's day it could be very isolating. He would stay in a place only for months and then move on, leaving the new believers behind! They had no Zoom, no Whatsapp, no postal system - only the occasional parchment that needed to be delivered by hand! Yet when those parchments were written, they started with God and who He is. The 2nd Corinthian version declares that God is compassionate, that God is a God of comfort. Paul declares this even when the circumstances are hard, when it doesn't feel comfortable. These statements are like stabilisers on a bike or the keel of a sailing boat.
Challenge: Pray for one another, pray for others in your street
Sunday, 29 March 2020
Recall from last week that in these chapters Jesus is preparing the disciples for what lies ahead. In this season of lockdown our personal discipleship is vital - ensuring we carve out time to know God's presence (the discipline of OFF) and finding novel ways to do discipleship with each other ('share the walk').
Sunday, 22 March 2020
In John 15 and 16 we see that Jesus is preparing the followers for what lies ahead - which will be a complete meltdown of their world and their understanding. Jesus knows he will be arrested and cruelly executed. He has been dropping big hints about it, and he knows it will completely shake the world for his disciples.
Challenge: Respond with the words: “I quietly trust in Jesus”
Sunday, 1 March 2020
We started this series looking at Kingdom signs. Today we look at the seventh (final) sign - the culmination in a progression that leads to Jesus raising a person from their grave. Note the next phase of the gospel (chapter 12 onwards) has Jesus going up to Jerusalem for one final time, leading eventually to his death. The signs attest to who he is, but these are not recognised by the leaders of the time.
Challenge: Offer prayer with the words 'Jesus has the power to change things'
Sunday, 9 February 2020
A small crowd had settled to eagerly listen to Jesus. He was sat in the temple courts. It was orderly, done in public, and all good. But then there were scuffles and commotion. A group of men are man-handling a woman, forcing her into the centre of the circle, pointing the finger, accusing. This is not going to be a quiet teaching session any more!
Sunday, 26 January 2020
In this series 'My Life - His Way' we intend to deal with contemporary issues, but doing it with our focus on Jesus. The trouble is that Jesus breaks all the social conventions, smashing down cultural barriers, and blowing your mind with respect to the company he keeps and the approaches he takes.
Challenge: Don't just tolerate but love your neighbour
Sunday, 5 January 2020
We start today our new series 'My Life - His Way' - practical living as a Jesus follower in the 21st century. The series will cover some difficult topics which are contemporary issues. Yet we will do that in a context, and that context will be faith in Jesus.
Challenge: Pray for kingdom sign to be seen in your everyday activity