John Lanchbury | Luke 22:24-34 

Simon Peter was about to go through the greatest test of his life, one that would prove that his own strength was not enough to follow Jesus. Yet though he let Jesus down, Jesus did not let go of him but restored him. John explains that if we take the call of God seriously, trials will come, but through it all we are held securely by the love and promises of God.

Discussions questions can be downloaded here.

[Jesus said,] ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’

March 24, 2019

Faith to give

Bobbie Frere | 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 

If we were asked to suggest a sign that God is at work, generosity may not be the first thing we would think of. Yet Paul attributes the actions of the Macedonian church to the grace of God. When we start giving beyond our comfort zone it shows what we really value.

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.

Geoff Lanham | Acts 4:23-31 | 2 Chronicles 5:1-14 

A few days before Geoff spoke, a tree came down and crashed through a neighbouring fence. What if God broke through into our worship in a similar way? Do we expect to meet with God in worship, and to be changed as a result? Geoff describes some incidents from his own experience, and encourages us to come to worship with expectation.

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

Image of a fallen tree

An unexpected breakthrough

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God... ‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures for ever.’ Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.

March 10, 2019

Faith to wrestle with God

Chris Turner | Genesis 32:22-32 

Jacob clearly does not realise, as this extraordinary wrestling match begins, just who it is that he is fighting. Only afterwards can he say, "I saw God face to face". As Chris explains, Jacob, the cheat who has been on the run for so long, also has to confront his true self. When God gets a hold of us to change us, the outcome will be painful, but it will be worth it.

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’

Susan Haynes | Luke 18:18-30Matthew 7:13-14 

One of Jesus' best-known sayings is also one of the most puzzling: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." As Susan explains in this All Age service, all of us are weighed down by things which make it hard to truly follow Jesus - money, fears, ambition and many more. She draws on her own (limited) camel-riding experience to encourage us to allow Jesus to do what we cannot do for ourselves.

A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ... Jesus... said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

[Jesus said,] ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

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