Everyday People

Among the conversations about mission and particularly urban mission I’ve picked up on a tendency to polarise mission fields.  We seem to talk in terms of two mission fields

1.       Prosperous/well to do contexts where people are aiming to evangelise the elite as some kind of strategy in the hope that they will be reaching current and future leaders/ opinion shapers through camps, CUs etc

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Why did God test Adam with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?

“If God knew that Adam would fail the test and eat from the Tree, then wasn’t it unfair of him to set the test in the first place?”

This is one of the questions that was asked at Sunday Night Church this week. The simple and short answer is “ He didn’t set a test” at least not in the way that we have grown accustomed to thinking about tests, trials and tempting.

We are conditioned by living in a world blighted by sin and so we know that we get tempted and fail. If someone tells you not  to think about something, say something or do something then you can’t help yourself. So, we assume that in the garden, that there was this tree and every day, Adam saw it and the tree subliminally shouted out to him “come, take a closer look, eat from me” until eventually, Adam gave in. Continue reading

What the Preacher Saw (The Enigma Sermons 4)

Ecclesiastes brings us the observations of Qoholet (the preacher) who is king in Jerusalem (1:12). He sees himself as in position to do this because of his great wisdom (1:16) and so he makes the pursuit of understanding his life project (1:13, 17). Remember that we have seen already how his perception is that life is an enigma, vapour like, hard to pin down, like chasing the wind (1:2, 14. Here are some of the things he observes about this enigma as he tries to pin things down). Continue reading

Joseph’s Story (Genesis 37-50 Big Picture)

The book of Genesis closes with the story of Jacob’s 12 sons focusing specifically on Joseph (Genesis 37 -50). It tells how the people of Israel found themselves in Egypt prior to the Exodus.

Jacob has settled back in Canaan and had 12 sons via his two wives, Leah and Rachel as well as their maidservants who they give to him as concubines. Rachel, his first and greater love has provided him with two of the sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Continue reading

Taking in the Bigger Picture

We tend to only read and study a few verses of Scripture at a time, maybe a whole chapter. This is true of preaching, Bible studies and personal quiet times. There s an important place for this in-depth study and reflection. However, the risk is that we can lose sight of the big picture. A book of the Bible or a section of it builds up a narrative or a logical argument. Letters and Gospels in the New Testament were designed to be read as wholes. In the Old Testament, there is a story that builds up from Genesis through to 2 Kings and if we don’t get the whole story, we lose something of its meaning. Continue reading

When my enemies attack (Psalm 3)

Our 930 and 1115 Congregations are currently exploring 2 Samuel 14-24. These chapters tell the story of Absalom’s rebellion against David. Alongside the main teaching, we are encouraging people to reflect on some of the Psalms providing reflection, commentary and response on the events. Our preacher on Sunday picked up on Psalm 3 which David wrote about the time when he was on the run from Absalom. Continue reading

Expository Worship and 2 Samuel

I thought I’d share an example with you of our congregation leaders thinking through how to connect up the teaching series with the rest of the service over the next few months.  We are coming to the end of 2 Samuel (ch 14-24) and so we did two things. First of all, the preaching team met together to look at the big picture of what is coming up. The the congregation leadership team (11:15) spent a bit of time thinking about implications for songs, prayers, responses additional readings etc. This is what they came up with.

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