JESUS CAME TO LIGHT UP OUR LIVES

December 9, 2018

Around the world, wherever Christmas is celebrated, lights are often part of decorations in our homes and on streets and in shops.  Sometimes the “light shows” are spectacular.

“Light” is, of course, a common theme in the Bible.  The first particular act of God’s creation is “let there be light”.  Jesus describes himself as the “light of the world”.  And light plays a part in the Christmas story – the “glory of the Lord” shining around shepherds and “wise men” following stars. 
 
The gospel writer John says of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, “… his life is the light, that shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it”. 
 John 1:4-5   
 
I pray over the next few weeks, that knowing Jesus (God’s Christmas gift to you), will light up your life.

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WHAT DESTROYS RELATIONSHIPS & WHAT BUILDS THEM

November 25, 2018

Scripture gives us a lot (around 100) “one another” instructions; things we should all do on behalf of our family in Christ.  About a third of these instructions deal with Christians getting along while another third are specifically about the church getting along.  Our “connectedness” in Christ is clearly something of significance.  Paul writing to the church in Rome puts it this way - “Christ makes us one body, and individuals who are connected, to each other” (Romans 12:5).
 
Of course, our experience is that it’s often easy for us to get “disconnected” in our relationships; our relationships within the church and in the wider community.  The Bible points to selfishness, pride, insecurity and resentment as four attitudes that cause significant damage to our relationships.  Selflessness, humility, love and forgiveness are described as relationship builders.
 
May God bless us as we seek to grow our “one another” relationships. 

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TAKE UP THY BED

November 19, 2018

In Luke 5:17 some men carry their paralysed friend and lower him through the roof in the middle of a meeting that Jesus is conducting. Jesus’ response is one that is amazing and transforming. There are four things found in this story that we should always hold onto.   

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HOW WE HELP EACH OTHER GROW

November 4, 2018

One of our life’s purposes is to become like Jesus; to grow in character and to grow spiritually. Paul, writing to the church in Rome said it this way – “From the very beginning, God decided that those who came to Him … should become like His son.”

But, we can’t grow on our own. We have to have other people in our lives who will help us to grow; other people who will encourage us and build us up. It’s another reason why, as a church community we’re “better together”.

The Bible gives us many tools for helping us grow together. They include:
• affirming each other’s worth (with acceptance, attention, affection and appreciation)
• praying for one another
• admitting our own mistakes, and
• encouraging each other’s commitment

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REACHING OUT TOGETHER

October 21, 2018

The Bible says we’re “better together” and often speaks about how we relate with “one another”.  So, it’s important for us to build stronger relationships.  Stronger relationships within the church and with the community around us.
 
One purpose of our Christian life is to build relationships by sharing God’s love with other people - with our friends and family, the people we regularly connect with and those who don’t know Jesus yet; those who aren’t in God’s family.  Paul writing to the Philippians says - “You are standing together, side by side with one strong purpose – to tell the Good News” (Philippians 1:27b)
 
We can partner with one another to share that “good news”.  We can faithfully pray together, reach out in love, nurture friendships and represent Christ with our lives. 

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LET GO

October 14, 2018

"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it " (Matthew 10:39). 

We can often find ourselves holding onto to all kinds of interesting things in this life, and we often take control of our own ship. But Jesus is asking us to trust Him.
 
This week we will be reading from John 8. It is a familiar story about the woman caught in adultery. By the end of the passage all the accusers have dropped their stones and walk away one by one, until it is only Jesus left with the woman. In light of this passage we will be looking at what it means to let go. 

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WHY WE NEED EACH OTHER

October 7, 2018

Though we intuitively know it’s not true, we often buy into the “independence myth”.  It’s the idea that we’ll be happy if we have independence in our lives; if we don’t let others get too close to us and if we’re “self-sufficient”.
 
Paul, writing to the church in Rome, turns that idea on its head.  He says - “Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others” (Romans 12:5).
 
God says community isn’t optional.  We need each other, and we belong to each other in the body of Christ.  We have to have other people in our lives if we’re going to be all God wants us to be. 
 
Scripture reminds us we need others to walk with us, work with us, watch out for us, wait and weep with us, and witness with us.

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FROM THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE

October 1, 2018

Daniel 3:1-30

Have you ever been in an environment where you have felt like a “fish out of water”? Perhaps in a group setting where people are acting in ways which offend your Christian sensibilities, morals & beliefs.
Have people ever tried to entice you to go along with the crowd because “everyone else is doing it”?
Have you ever been criticized because of your Christian stance?

We’re going to look this week at the story of Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego & how they handled the pressure to conform to the world’s way of doing things. Then we’re going to look at Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 15 v18-26 as he moved toward the pressure cooker of his trial & death and how these words apply to us in our post Christian pagan society.

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THE RELATIONSHIP CHOICE

September 23, 2018

Everyone has relationships.  Everyone has broken relationships.  It’s part of being human.  And, in our pain and woundedness, we can build walls to keep the pain out and to
keep ourselves from being hurt again. 
 
When we do that, we end up locking ourselves in a prison and locking other people out. 
To rebuild relationships, we have to tear down the walls.
 
In his ‘sermon on the mount’ Jesus said - “Happy are those who are merciful to others.”  Matthew 5:7 (Today’s English Version).  Later in Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells a story that starts with Peter asking about forgiveness (“How many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me?” – Matthew 18).  It’s a story where Jesus measures our capacity to forgive against the forgiveness, the mercy, that God has first shown to us.
 
Both the beatitude and the parable remind us that we can forgive because we’ve been forgiven.  They also remind us that there’s a cost to not forgiving others; that we remain unforgiven ourselves.
 
So, we have an opportunity to evaluate all our relationships, offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us and make amends for harm we’ve done to others.

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THE BORN IDENTITY

September 16, 2018

The way we see ourselves has an impact of every area of our lives. Our identity determines who we are as people and even determines whether or not we are happy, successful, hopeful, and our ability for God to use us.

The devil is hard at work robbing believers of their true identity in Christ. This Sunday we will explore the key truths about our true identity in Christ.

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