Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Study Questions - Who is Jesus? (or) What's a Fathers heart?

Reading John 1:14-18.
If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon The word on the street is...
  1. In the sermon we looked at a few of the ideas people today have about who Jesus is. Discuss some of these as a group. What difference does our idea of who Jesus is make to our lives today?
  2. The second half of verse 14 says "And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son". What is god's glory? Can we see it today?
  3. Verses 14 and 16: What is:
    • grace;
    • truth.
  4. Verse 17, how does the law fit with grace and truth? And what difference does knowing that make to you?
  5. Verse 18 says, (in the New Living Translation) "No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us." First talk through what God's 'father's heart' means, and then use this as a theme to lead you into a time of prayer.

Friday, 6 December 2013

A Christmas Card From God.

You may not know me…

But I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you get up. I’m familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139: 1-3

Even the hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

You see, you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

And in me you live and move and have life. Acts 17:28

For you’re my child. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

And I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were no mistake, because all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I decided the exact time of your birth and where you’d live. Acts 17:26

You’re wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And was at your side from the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I’ve been lied about by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

But I am the cause and supply of all love. 1 John 4:16

And I love you so much! I want to share that love with you. 1 John 3:1

Because you’re my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I give you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

You see I’m the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48

Every good thing you’ve ever had, or will ever have, comes from me. James 1:17

I’ve met all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future is filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

You see I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

And I never stop thinking of you. Psalms 139:17-18

And I love to calm you with my singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I won’t leave you. Jeremiah 32:40

You’re treasured by me. Exodus 19:5

I want to show wonderful things. Jeremiah 33:3

So remember if you seek me with your whole heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Love me, and then I will give you your heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4

Remember it’s me who gives you right desires. Philippians 2:13

And I’m able to do more for you than you could ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20

I’m your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I’m your loving Father comforting you in difficult times. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When your heart’s breaking, I’m with you. Psalm 34:18

I’ve carried you close to my heart, like a shepherd would. Isaiah 40:11

One day I’ll wipe away all your tears. Revelation 21:3-4

And take away all the pain you’ve suffered. Revelation 21:3-4

I’m your Father, and I love you just as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

You see it’s in Jesus, I showed my love for you. John 17:26

He’s the exact image of who I AM. Hebrews 1:3

He came to show that I am on your side. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that because of Jesus, I can wipe out your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Because of Jesus you can know me as your perfect Father. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate demonstration of love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

And if you accept the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I’ve always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

But here’s the important question…Will you be my child?  John 1:12-13

I’m waiting for you.  Luke 15:11-32

Almighty God

Your loving Dad

Monday, 2 December 2013

Study Questions - The Word on the Street

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon The word on the street is...
  1. In the sermon two verses were noted as the key to understanding the gospel. What were they?
  2. Discuss verses 1&2; who is the word and was does it mean that the word always existed; how should that affect our understanding of God?
  3. What does John tell us about the process of becoming a Christian in verse 12?
  4. What does it mean to be born again? Verse 13
  5. If a person asked you how he could become a Christian, what would you say?
  6. What practical difference in our daily lives should verse 14 make?
  7. A personal question to take home with you: How does  Jesus, the word, make a difference on your lives?

Friday, 29 November 2013

Gospel of John:

This book was written by John. Not John the Baptist, but one of the 12 disciples. He was the brother of James, the son of Zebedee, and a nephew of Mary the Mother of Jesus, so that makes John, and his brother James, first cousins of Jesus.

John was the only one of the disciples to die a natural death. Judas committed suicide, and history tells that the other 10 were all martyred. Not only that but it turns out that he was the last of the twelve to die; he was probably way over 90 when he died.

As well as this book John also has 4 other books in the New Testament, the book of Revelation and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. The common theme in all the books is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is a factual look back telling just a tiny amount of Jesus life and ministry. The three letters of John were written to deal with ongoing issues in church life, and Revelation is looking to the future.  So John is also the only Biblical writer to write books in the past, present, and future tenses.

It’s likely that John wrote his Gospel in Ephesus around about 85-90 A.D., before he was sent by the Romans to the isle of Patmos. The church at Ephesus had young Timothy as its Pastor and as well as John, they would have had Jesus mother Mary in the congregation.

John’s Gospel is very different from the others in that it shares only a tiny amount of their content. Obviously John would have been pretty familiar with Matthew, Mark and Luke’s books.

The other Gospels were all written decades before and share a lot of the same information, albeit, they were written with different focus.  

Just for a bit of wider background it’s probably worth us spending a minute or two looking at how Matthew, Mark, and Luke, (collectively called the synoptics) are different to John’s Gospel.

·         John has his focus on Jesus’ ministry in the Southern area of Israel known as Judea, and a lot of the action is in Jerusalem, where the synoptics  have a focus on Jesus’ ministry in the Northern region of Galilee.

·         John contains lots of long sermons, while the synoptics, have shorter saying and parables

·         The Passover is mentioned once in the synoptics, but John mentions 3 Passovers, which give us a clue to the fact that Jesus’ public ministry was about 3 or 3½ a half years

Purpose of the synoptic authors:

·         Matthew: to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the King of Israel

·         Mark: written first for a Roman audience (from Peter’s perspective)

·         Luke: written to give a reliable and precise record of the history of Jesus Christ's life. Also likely to have been used by Paul’s lawyer in court…


But what was John writing for?

The word BELIEVE is used 101 times and Jesus is the I AM 31 Times In John’s Gospel.


John’s Gospel is both full of heavy in theological ‘stuff’, and easily understood. It’s been said that John’s gospel is “shallow enough for babies to wade in, but deep enough for elephants to drown in.

Whilst the synoptics focus on the facts of Jesus’ ministry. John digs into what His ministry means, he’s interested in application. And as well as that, John is seriously  wanting to get the message out, he’s very evangelistic.


The key verses in understanding the whole of this book are:

John 20:30-31
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.


And in his opening verses he lays out just what it was that God did:


John 1:14
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John was a fiery character in early life and he and his brother, James, were known as the “sons of thunder,” They’re even recorded as wanting Jesus to call fire down from heaven on their enemies. But this young, passionate idealist, was transformed into the mature, patient, valued ‘apostle love’. John stressed the love of God more than any other writer in the bible.

Jesus love transformed John personally and it’s still a love that can transform us today as we meet Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Study Questions - People of Faith

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon What is Faith?

Read Hebrews 11:1-8

  1. What is faith - discuss what verse 1 means.
  2. Consider what verse 2 means.
  3. discuss what it means to have a:
    • worshipping faith verse 4
    • walking faith verses 5 & 6
    • working faith verse 7
    • willing faith verse 8
  4. How are you going to apply this to your life?
Next week it's Advent Sunday and we'll be starting our series on John. Why not decide to read the whole of John through advent?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Study Questions - Hezekiah

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon The way we turn out depends on....

Read 2 Kings 18:1-6

  1. What do we know about Hezekiah’s Father (2 Kings 16:2-4) and Son (2 Kings 21:1-9)?
  2. How could Hezekiah turn out so well with a dad like that, and how could his son go so bad considering his legacy?
  3. Work slowly through 2 Kings 18:1-6 again and discuss one by one all of the right things he did.
  4. How can we apply this man’s story to our own lives to ensure a closer relationship with Jesus and a positive impact on those around us?
Next week we'll be rounding up our mini series on Bible Personalities with a look at a list... Have a read through Hebrews 11 as a warm up J

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Study Questions - Judas Iscariot

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon A good beginning and a gruesome end
Read John 6: 47-70
  1. What do we know about Judas' background, who was his dad (John 6:71; 13:2,26), where did he come from (Iscariot means son of Kerioth (Joshua 15:20 & 25)
  2. Did God, programme Judas to fail and make him do what he did? Discuss (Psalm 41:9,109:5-8, Zechariah 11:12-13)
  3. Judas started off well, he was called to be an apostle, what went wrong?
  4. In the light of Judas' life we can see that sin is progressive. Discuss what Christians can and should learn from this today. (here's an illustration used in the sermon - Sin is progressive)
  5. Read 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 and discuss.

Next week we'll be taking a look at King Hezekiah - 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32 & Isaiah 36 - 39


There’s an old story of an artist who was hired to paint a mural in a Sicilian cathedral showing the life of Jesus. The painter made it his life’s work. He began by searching for people to be his models for what was to be a huge picture and one of the first he discovered was an innocent looking twelve-year-old boy, he was a perfect model for Jesus as child.
Over the decades he found all the models for the various scenes, till it came to the picture of the night Jesus was betrayed. The only model he couldn’t find was a model for Judas.
Then one afternoon he saw a seedy corrupt, looking bloke lurching around half drunk outside the cathedral. Instantly he thought that’s him, that’s my model for Judas; he approached him and led him into the cathedral and pointed out the bare patch on the wall, and asked him to pose for Judas. But the man stood silently and wept hiding his face in his hands and he said, Don’t you remember me, Maestro? Pointing to the innocent picture of Jesus aged 12, he said, forty years ago I was your model for Him.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Study Questions - No Rehab for Rahab

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon No Rehab for Rahab

1.    What do you make of the spies’ choice of accommodation?

2.    What did the king of Jericho demand, and how did Rahab respond?

3.    Did the New Testament praise her for lying? (Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25) What should we take from this story about lying?

4.    What had the people of Jericho heard about Israel, and how did affect them?

5.    What was the deal the two spies made with Rahab and what was the sign of the agreement between them?

6.    What did Rahab’s family have to do in order to be spared? Discuss.

7.    What can we learn from this story about our own salvation from sin.

Next week we'll be taking a look at Judas Iscariot

Monday, 28 October 2013

A thought on Psalm 25:9

"He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way."


In the seventies when I first had my own transistor radio it was great, but almost always there were crackles or a bit of fuzziness and interference on the line, things to distract me and annoy me and spoil my enjoyment...
...and so often that's what we find with our Christian lives, because of the crackles and interference on the line, because of the fuzziness, we miss hearing what God is saying to us; we get annoyed and distracted by things and it spoils our enjoyment of God.
With my radio I soon realised that as long as it was facing the right direction and was carefully tuned I could hear it loud and clear.
What is the interference we have on the line, is it worry about a situation we can't cope with, self-centeredness, laziness, pain, pride, loss, or something else? You see while all those things are in the way we can get upset, angry, disorientated, not sure where we're facing, and we really struggle to hear God's voice.
Maybe you're thinking great, that obvious, but how can I get re-tuned?!
Simply sit down, be honest with yourself and God, and ask Him in His love to forgive you for living a fuzzy life of distraction and interference, ask Him to point you in the right direction, and humbly, gently get re-tuned, dropping each bit of fuzziness, one by one and as you do, bit by bit, His voice will be clearer and louder and He will be the main thing again.

Letting God be God is being humble, and humility goes hand in hand with wisdom