Geoff Lanham | Psalm 19:1-6 | Hebrews 13:15-16 | Ephesians 5:15-20
We all know that worship is in some way important, but in the end what difference does it make that over 100 of us gather within our building each week to praise God? More than we might realise, says Geoff, because we are part of a much bigger picture which involves the whole of creation and the nature of God himself. There's plenty of encouragement here for each of us, however feeble our efforts might seem, to join in worship.
Discussion questions can be downloaded here.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremy Thompson | Luke 4:14-30
When Jesus stood up in his own home town, read the words of the prophet Isaiah and applied them to himself, he proclaimed the values of the Kingdom of God: values that motivate us to welcome refugees and offer them safety and friendship. Jeremy is Acting Director of Restore, which works alongside Birmingham churches to befriend refugees. Speaking at the end of Refugee Week, Jeremy reminds us how hard it is to feel like a stranger and encourages us to continue our support of those who have come here in fear of persecution: it is Kingdom business.
[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read...
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour."
Geoff Lanham | 1 Peter 3:8-12 | Romans 12:14-21
God bless you! We might say this casually - even when someone sneezes - or possibly with greater meaning. Rarely will we seek God's blessing for someone who has hurt us, yet that is what Jesus did even for those who crucified him. As Geoff explains, fighting fire with fire only spreads the flames, but responding to evil with goodness is the Jesus way.
Discussion questions can be downloaded here.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord.
Graham Romp | 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
As ambassadors we've got a job to do, says Graham: and speaking on Pentecost Sunday he reminds us that the Holy Spirit goes ahead of us as we tell others the good news about Jesus. Here is a privilege, a challenge and a top-priority, God-given task.
[God] has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God.
Chris Chalmers | Genesis 1:26-31 | Micah 6:8
Chris put a lot of creative effort into making her cake, but it got a bit messed up once other people got involved... So how are we treating our beautiful created world? In this All In service, Chris' talk led us into some activities to encourage us to take action in our daily lives.
Chris' chocolate cake, before decoration
The cake after decoration...
...and after the rest of the household had had a go at it
Then God said, 'Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.'
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?