Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Angelic, yeah right!

Do you find the idea that there are invisible supernatural beings around and amongst a bit hard to swallow?
I mean all the fantasy books and films you’ve read and seen paint a funny old picture of elves and fairies and super spiritual beings, but really!?

And if you’ve got an angel on your Christmas tree, the chances are it’s looking like a Scandinavian girl with wings or a chubby looking baby thing.

I wonder what answers you might give if you were asked what you know about angels? Maybe if you’ve been watching some old films you might say “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” Well that’s a line from “Its a Wonderful Lifenot the Bible.
Good old C.S. Lewis wrote plenty about angels (you could check out  the Eldila in his Space Trilogy, Mere Christianity, or maybe try the Screwtape Letters)

Here’s an excerpt from Screwtape LettersIt should be (but it is not) unnecessary to add that a belief in angels, whether good or evil, does not mean a belief in either as they are represented in art and literature. Devils are depicted with bats’ wings and good angels with birds’ wings, not because anyone holds that moral deterioration would be likely to turn feathers into membrane, but because most men like birds better than bats. They are given wings at all in order to suggest the swiftness of unimpeded intellectual energy. They are given human form because man is the only rational creature we know....

Of Course, Lewis is spot on, we only have to read the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel to find some pretty terrifying angelic appearances (Luke 1:11-20, 26-38, 2:8-14).

But does it matter if we bother too much about angels? Do we really have to believe in them? And what’s happened to them since all that stuff in the bible? And what is it they do, and where do demons fit in?

Well if you missed our crash course on January 4th 2015 when we looked at this as we introduced our verse for the year:

2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
then pick it up here - sermon link

Some references mentioned in the sermon:
  • Angels bring GOD’S MESSAGES. (Matt. 1:20; 2:13,19; Luke 1:19,26-27).
  • They provide REVELATION, dreams, and understanding. (Dan. 8:15-19; Rev. 1:1).
  • Angels give GUIDANCE and DIRECTION. (Acts 8:26; Gen. 24:7).
  • They RESCUE. (See Is. 37:36; 2 Kings 19:35).
  • Angels PROTECT. They guard little children, have charge over and protect believers, ‘camp’ around those who fear God. (Matt. 18:10; Ps. 34:7; 91:11-12).
  • Angels provide supernatural STRENGTH. (Matt. 4:11; Luke 22:42; Dan. 10:16).
  • They minister to God through PRAISE AND WORSHIP. (Luke 2:14; Rev. 5:11-12).
  • Angels are warriors of WAR. (Gen. 32:1-2; Dan. 10:13; Rev. 12:7).
  • Angels meet out God’s JUDGMENTS. (Gen. 19:11; Ex. 12:21-23; Rev. 16:17).

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

What's Wrong With This Picture?

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: What's Wrong With This Picture?

Readings: Luke 2:1-7

  1. Discuss the things we might have wrong ideas about in relation to the birth of Christ. for instance:
    • how did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
    • where in Bethlehem was Jesus born?
    • which books of the bible talk about the birth of Christ (Old and New Testament)?
    • did Joseph meet the wise men?
    • who besides the wise men saw the star?
    • was the star particularly bright?
    • ...what else is there that is tradition rather than fact?
  2. What might Mary and Joseph been feeling and thinking?
  3. What keeps us from having Christ at (a) the centre of our Christmas and (b) at the centre of our lives?
  4. How can we encourage each other in putting this right with Jesus (this being 3 above)?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Getting to grips with: Being an Expectant Church

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Getting to grips with: Being an Expectant Church

Readings: Matthew 24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

  1. What is the point of advent?
  2. What does the bible tell us about Jesus return?
  3. Has anyone in the group heard a sermon series on Revelation? Why does it, and other parts of the bible like it, often get ignored? Does it matter?
  4. If we're expecting Jesus to return what difference should it make in our lives and the life of the church? In the sermon we covered 3 but there will be more, spend some time as a group discussing each one.
  5. Pray through the application of this study for each other, as a group and for the wider church.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Getting to grips with being an honest Church

If you missed it, here's a link: Getting to grips with: Being an Honest Church

 Reading: Psalm 139
  1. What are the kinds of things that we think of when we think about being honest, and when might we find ourselves justifying being dishonest?
  2. Working your way through the psalm verse by verse, discuss what it has to say about our honesty as individuals, as part of a church family and in respect of the people we come into contact with who have no faith.
  3. How should we deal with gossip in churches? cf: Proverbs 25:23; Eph. 5:11;James 3:7-8 Matt. 18: 15-20
  4. Spend some time praying for each other and the integrity of every aspect of our church.
  5. Homework - get int the habit of praying the words of Psalm 139: 23&24 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Getting to grips with: Being a Submissive Church

If you missed it, here's a link: Getting to grips with: Being a Submissive Church

 Reading: James 4:1-10
  1. What thoughts come to mind when you think about being submissive?
  2. What are the results of a lack of submission to God? Read through the first 4 verses and discuss the various points James raises.
  3. James looks back to the Old Testament in Verses 5 and 6. Discuss what it means for God to be a jealous God? And how does this link with His desire to give us overwhelming grace?
  4. Verse 7-10: what is the difference between submission and obedience?
  5. How can/should we apply this to our lives today?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Getting to grips with: Being a Giving Church

If you missed it, here's a link to some notes: Getting to grips with: Being a Giving Church
Reading: Malachi 3: 8-12
  1. How would you describe a giving church?
  2. How might we rob God?
  3. Why do we struggle to give back to God? Discuss what our use of time, money, experiences shows of our commitment to God.
  4. Verse 9: does God curse us if we don't tithe?
  5. What has giving got to do with worship?
  6. Verse 10 includes the phrase "I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!." Discuss

Monday, 20 October 2014

Getting to grips with: Being a Worshipping Church

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Getting to grips with: Being a Worshipping Church

Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:8-36

  1. Describe worship.
  2. In this reading, the worship stems from the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. What is that and why was it so important?
  3. Take time to go through this 'psalm' it is a call to worship - talk about the various commands: what they mean and why they are important.
  4. Corporate worship (worship together is important. How can we encourage each other in worship and in which ways might we disturb other people from worshipping?
  5. In your closing prayers spend some time giving thanks and praise in prayer before moving to intercession.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Getting to grips with: Being a United Church

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Getting to grips with: Being a United Church

Reading: Ephesians 3:14-4:16

  1. Discuss the last 7 verses of chapter 3. Consider each verse and how we ought to apply it to our lives.
  2. As a result of those 7 verses Paul takes us through a whole list of behaviours we ought to display (Ephesians 4:1-6). Which ones are missing in our church, is there anything we should be doing about it?
  3. Which gifts are personal and which are for building up the church? V.7
  4. Verses 11&12 focus on key gifts which will bring unity in an obedient church. Why are they key gifts and what is the effect of a church obediently using them (c.f. verses 14-16)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Getting To Grips With A Man You Need To Know

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Getting to grips with: A Man You Need To Know

Reading Mark 8:27-29
  1. What were people’s theories about Jesus then and what do people say today?
  2. Jesus asks his disciples two questions: “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say I am?” Why is it important for disciples of Jesus to be able to answer both of these questions clearly?
  3. If a friend asked you, “Who is Jesus?”, how would you reply? (1 Peter 3:15-16)
  4. What are the consequences to the answer we give to this question?
  5. All Scripture is useful (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What is most useful to you from these three verses?
  6. Discuss where as a church and individuals we might apply these verses to our lives  

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Getting to grips with being the Church Jesus wants!

If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Getting to grips with being the Church Jesus wants!


Instead of specific questions, this week take a look at the four headings used in the sermon:
Use the bible references from the sermon to discuss each one as a group.

Consider how they should impact our life: 
          a) as a church family;
          b) as an individual.

Here they are... Scriptures used to look at: Getting to grips with being the church Jesus Wants.

Scriptures used to look at: Getting to grips with being the church Jesus Wants.

In launching our new series on getting to grips with the church on Sunday I used the following headings and bible passages. As there were so many I promised to publish them with this weeks House Group Questions



Acts 2:41- 47

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them and walk among them.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
    and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

Colossians 3:16- "Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts."


Ephesians 3:10-11

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord." And

"This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth."

Acts 5:42- " And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah."

Acts 8:4- “the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went."


Romans 16:17- “dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them."

Galatians 1:6-7 " I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ."

Ephesians 4:14-15 “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. "

2 John 10-11 "10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work."

Acts 17:11- “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth."

1 Thessalonians 5:21- "Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good."

1 Peter 4:11- "Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you."


1 Corinthians 14:33 "God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people."

Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace."

1 Thessalonians 5:13 ends with the command “live peacefully with each other..."

Romans 14:19 "So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up."

James 3:18 "those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of

Matthew 5:9- “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

Proverbs 12:20- “Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!"

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


I picked this up a few days ago when looking for something else. It's the basis of a sermon outline from George Butterfield.


First it amused me, next it got me thinking - it's a sad and sorry list as there's such truth in it, but I'd love to have heard the sermon - Church leaders reading through this list will be audibly shouting yes!


1. Do nothing to help the church2. Stay away from every service3. Find fault with everything and everybody4. When asked to do anything, say, "I can't."5. Rebel against the elders and leaders of the congregation6. Cause trouble whenever it is possible7. Don't bridle your tongue8. Get a hobby horse and ride it9. Be a dictator10. Be worldly

    I wonder if we might use it as a checklist for our prayers of repentance. Despite this we must thank God for His incredible gift to us of His Church, His Bride, His delight, and most of all His Grace and Mercy.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Who Killed Jesus?

Reading: John 11: 45 - 57
If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Who Killed Jesus?  

  1. Verses 47-48 This is a major change in tempo, the top people were meeting?
    1. What made them react so seriously and quickly?
    2. What was the aim of their meeting?
    3. Did they doubt Jesus miraculous power?
  2. Verses 49-52 are the key to this passage.
    1. Why are these verses important? In the sermon we picked out four points, what were they?
    2. Can you find any others?
  3. Who Killed Jesus and why?
  4. Think back over the first 11 chapters of John.
    1. Discuss as a group things which might have struck you for the first time or you have been reminded about?
    2. What picture of Jesus has come through John's account so far?
    3. What have you picked up through the teaching, discussion and prayer around John that has impacted your life? Talk this through as a group.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Death Defeated! Really

Reading: John 11: 17 - 44
If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Death Defeated! Really?  

  1. Why did Jesus only arrive after Lazarus had been dead 4 days?
  2. Discuss what Martha and Mary said to Him? 
  3. Jesus said 'I Am the Resurrection and The Life' What does that mean?
  4. What condition was Lazarus in when the tomb was opened and why does that matter to John's telling of the story here? 
  5. This raising of Lazarus had a significant effect on the people present and the whole world - what effect has it had on you? and what have you learned? 
  6. Spend some time in prayer for each other, for the Church and our community in the area between Kings Avenue and Deacons Lane. That we would live in the strength and Power of Christ; for His Glory

Some Application Questions to take home

1. There may be things in your life that do you not believe that Jesus has the power to put right, heal, and/or change? Pray this through.

2. How could your life change if you were to believe Jesus fully?

3. Mary fell at the feet of Jesus. How do we place our burdens at the feet of Jesus?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Why would Jesus do that?

Reading: John 11: 1 - 16
If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Will You Live For Christ?  

Lot's of questions, try to cover at least 5 including Q.1
  1. First consider verse 16 - Thomas' response to Jesus. In the sermon we looked at living and dying for Jesus. How might we not live for Jesus?
  2. Was sickness part of God’s original design? 
  3. What was Jesus’relationship with Lazarus & his sisters?
  4. What message did his sisters send to Jesus when Lazarus became sick? What did you learn from their example about how you should pray to God?
  5. Why do people (you?) blame God for sickness?
  6. Why did Jesus wait for two days after hearing Lazarus was sick? Was this cruel? How would you have felt if you were Lazarus’ sister?
  7. What  kind of love did Jesus have for Lazarus & his sisters? Was His delay in coming in keeping with that love? 
  8. How is God’s perspective different from yours? How can you know that God will
    always love you?
  9. Can you glorify God even when sick? If so how?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Some sheep think they can cope without a shepherd: do you?

Reading: John 10:1-21
If you missed it, here's a link to the Sermon: Have You Got A Good Shepherd?  

There are too many questions here for one study, so please do select those you want to study more as a group.

1)   Who is Jesus speaking to? (see chapter 9) Who acted as a good shepherd to  the man born blind and who didn’t? Why?

2)   What does the shepherd know about his sheep, and what is the significance of this? (Ps. 139:2&3).

a)      How does he care for them? (Ps. 23).
b)      What does it mean that he goes ahead of them?
c)      What is the lesson here for us today?

3)   What do the sheep know about the shepherd? Why is this important? (Ps. 100:3).

a)      How can we know the voice of our Shepherd, God? (Rom. 1:18-21; Ps.53:1).
b)      Did Jesus' listeners understand him? Why?

4)  What claim does Jesus make in verse 7, and what did he mean?

5)  What does he promise to those who enter through him? (7, 9, 10b).

6)  Is there any other way to God? What does he say about all others?

7)  What does Jesus claim about himself? (11, 14a) and what backs up his claim? (11, 14-18; 1 Sam. 17:34-36, 45-47).

8)  How does the hired hand act when it comes to the crunch? Why? (12, 13) How is he like the shepherd? How and why is he fundamentally different to the shepherd?

9)   What does Jesus say about his "other sheep"? (16) Who is he talking about?

10) Why do all people need a shepherd?

11) Why did Jesus lay down his life for the sheep? (17, 18; Isa. 11:6) and what does  this teach us about God? (Isa. 42:6; 49:6; 56:6)?

12) How can there be one flock and one shepherd?

13) How can we be good sheep?

14) What does this passage say, if anything about the shepherds of his flock?

15) How did the people listening respond to Jesus' words? How will you respond?