January 27, 2019

When faith is lacking

Bobbie Frere | Matthew 13:53-58 

Jesus and his disciples encountered unbelief in other places, but nothing quite like in his home town. Even today some people are initially attracted to Jesus, but obstacles get in the way of truly following him. If we believe that God cannot work in our lives or make a difference in the world today this risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bobbie encourages us to see Jesus as he really is and to start growing in faith.

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

Coming to his home town, [Jesus] began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. ‘Isn't this the carpenter's son? ... Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offence at him.

January 20, 2019

Faith in the unseen

Allan Bartlam | Hebrews 11:1-16 

A step in the dark? Blind faith? Neither, says Allan: genuine faith means putting into practice a belief based on rational foundations. There are reasons to believe that God created the universe, that some things we can't see are real and that God's promises can be trusted. It's because people like Abraham chose to believe God in the past that there is a community of faith all over the world today. How can we grow in our faith and act on it?

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for... By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going... And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

January 13, 2019

Faith to believe

Geoff Lanham | Romans 10:9-10 | Ephesians 2:1-10 

Faith to believe... but in what, and why? This is an age when many are suspicious, even afraid, of religious belief and commitment. Geoff explains why faith in Jesus not only makes sense but is essential for living the life we were intended to have.

Earlier in the service we watched a short video in which Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome project, explains how he started to investigate the truth about Jesus and eventually came to a personal faith. You can watch it here.

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.

January 6, 2019

Keeping expectancy alive

Chris Chalmers | Numbers 13:17-33 

In a dramatised version of the reading earlier in this All Age service, we heard how one of the spies - Caleb - urged the Israelites to go in and take the land which God had promised to them, but the rest of the group were too afraid of the size and strength of the Canaanites. In this short talk Chris presents us with a challenge for 2019. Will we see only the difficulties, or be expectant for what God will do?

image of malteser challenge

The Malteser Mountain challenge: the player lifted the lid but could not stop some of the Maltesers spreading on to the tray

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, ‘Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.’ ... They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.’

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, ‘Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.’ ... They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.’