October 27, 2019

Samson

John Lanchbury | Judges 13-16 

Once again the people of Israel find themselves oppressed, and once again God sends them a deliverer. This time it's a man of volcanic temper and superhuman strength whose deeds are very much in the "don't try this at home" category. Samson stirred up trouble and ultimately destroyed himself, yet for all his many weaknesses, God used him to fulfil his purposes. John talks us through Samson's dramatic life story and finds out what we can learn.

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years... The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

For further reading on Samuel's life and the issues it raises John recommended this book: There are no strong people by Jeff Lucas.

October 20, 2019

Gideon

Bobbie Frere | Judges 6:1-16 

After a break last Sunday to cheer on the heroes running in the celebration of the Birmingham Half-Marathon, we're back with our series looking at some of the Bible characters who can teach us "Lessons for life". Like so many long-distance runners these "heroes" encountered adverse conditions, uphill stretches and times when they thought that they would never make it. None faced more overwhelming odds than Gideon, plucked from obscurity to free his nation from a massive army of occupation. How did he face the challenge? As Bobbie explains, he didn't get everything right - yet God still fulfilled his promise. 

Discussion questions can be downloaded here.

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, 'The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.'

'Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, "Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?" But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.'

October 6, 2019

Guard the gospel

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.