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

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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.

Continue reading

Who is anti-Semitism a problem for?

I wrote a little while back about anti-Semitism.  I also had a little disagreement with a Christian news editor who tweeted the image at the heart of part of the recent political controversy (the painting removed in Tower Hamlets). It was my view that republishing the offending image was unnecessary we don’t need to show something for people to know it is wrong (you didn’t find people publishing examples of the type of pornography that Damien Green was alleged to have on his computer).  The response I got back was that people needed to see the image in order to decide for themselves whether it was anti-Semitic. Continue reading