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.