Chris Turner | 2 Timothy 1:1-14
Unusually, this recording comes from our evening service. Our All-In morning service told the story of Joshua through drama, which doesn't really work as a podcast (sometimes you just have to be there), but in this talk Chris focuses on another leader who faced a challenge. Like Joshua, Timothy needed to be strong and courageous, and he also had God's infinite resources to call on. Chris talks us through Paul's message of encouragement to Timothy which applies to us too.
I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
John Lanchbury | Joshua 2:1-21
Of all the people who could be counted as Bible heroes, Rahab was one of the least likely: a prostitute living in a city that was about to be invaded and destroyed by the huge Israelite army camped across the River Jordan. She probably didn't know much about the God of Israel, yet she hid the two men who had come to spy out the land and extracted from them a promise that she and her family would be saved. She made a life-changing decision, says John, one that challenges our view of who can and cannot become part of the people of God.
Discussion questions can be downloaded here.
Before the spies lay down for the night, [Rahab] went up on the roof and said to them, ‘I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you... please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them - and that you will save us from death.’
Judy Ward | Isaiah 6
Overwhelmed by the holiness of God, Isaiah's eyes are opened to see the need around him and he responds, "Send me!". Judy, who leads the South Birmingham Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt advice centre, encourages us to see the scarcely noticeable need all around us - the signs that people are lonely, suffering hardship or in debt - and to respond in the same way.
Here's a song that sums up Judy's message: You're the God of this city.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple... ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’ ... Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
Graham Romp | Genesis 12:1-8, Genesis 22:1-18
Several decades have passed between the events recorded in these two readings, including a change of name and many failures and wrong turnings. Through it all, Abraham's faith has grown, yet now he faces the ultimate challenge: is he prepared to give up everything he has lived for and trust God completely? Graham continues our Lessons for life series by looking at what we can learn from Abraham's relationship with God.
The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.'
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him... 'Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you.' ... But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven... 'Do not lay a hand on the boy,' he said. 'Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.'
Peter Frere | Genesis 6:5-22, Genesis 8:18-9:17
This is a story in vivid colour - the array of animals floating in the ark, the covenant symbolised by the rainbow - yet at heart it depicts human failure, judgement and the grace of God as a flawed humanity is given a new start. Peter explains what this means for our present situation, and what we can learn from the character of Noah.
The book mentioned by Peter near the start of the talk is The Lost World of the Flood, by John Walton and others.
God said to Noah, "... I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark - you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you."
Chris Chalmers | Genesis 1
This week we start a new series Lessons for Life, looking at what we can learn from some of the big characters in the Bible. We begin at the very beginning: first with an account of creation (possibly not a version you've heard before), then Chris explains how, after a good start, things started to go wrong. No spoiler intended, but 4 minutes into the talk we suggest you look into a mirror! If you possibly can, watch the video and song which followed the talk here. God's love inspires our response: truly a lesson for life.
Then God says, Let's make people. Like us, but human, with flesh and blood. Give them the job of caretakers of the vegetation... God looks at everything he's made and says, Fantastic! I love it! - From The Word on the Street
Allan Bartlam | John 11:17-44
How many people were recorded as being brought back from the dead in the Bible? The full answer to Allan's quiz question can be found here. In this talk we confront the reality of the one who not only has the answer to death, but is himself the answer to the greatest problem all of us must face.
Jesus said to [Martha], "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Bobbie Frere | John 10:11-21
Even in an urban society, we understand something of the role of a shepherd. It's what the word "pastor" means and Bobbie has a recent example of someone who fulfils that role well. But Jesus goes far beyond what any other shepherd has ever done: going to the cross to rescue us and bring us into the flock.
[Jesus said,] "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
Chris Turner | John 10:1-10
A sleep-deprived week spent camping with thousands of Christians of all ages... maybe not the ideal opportunity for sermon preparation, but it inspired Chris with a vision of what life could and should be like for those who gather in local churches. Jesus offers not just a way in to life but also the means to enjoy safety, growth and community.
One of the camping villages at New Wine: a temporary home for people of all ages and backgrounds
Jesus said again, 'Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'
Susan Haynes | John 8:12-20
If you've ever been in pitch darkness, you'll know how frightening it can be. Speaking in an All In service, Susan reminds us of the many ways in which light can help us - and that only Jesus' light is true and lasting. What kind of light do we need most at the moment?
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” [The Message version]