Creation, Crisis and Calling - Who are we? Why are we here? What’s our purpose? These important questions are asked by every generation. They were certainly issues of great concern for the ancient Israelites and are reflected in stories and drama of their earliest texts, found in the Old Testament. Moreover, these stories explored issues such as humankind’s predicament – our tendency to rebel and go our own way, to compete with one another, even to the point of violence. Despite all this, they discovered that God, rather than simply solving humankind’s problems, called them to be part of the restorative plan – to be a great nation who would be a blessing to the world. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be spending time in some of these amazing stories and considering the same questions the Israelites asked all those years ago. We’ll ask God to teach us afresh, who we are and why we’re here, to help us understand the human predicament and how God calls us to respond.
In his letter to the churches in Philippians, Paul addressed some of the pivotal issues facing the early church. We'll look at some of these over the coming weeks.
Paul's Letter to the Galatians. In his letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul addressed some of the pivotal issues facing the early church; a church rapidly spreading beyond its Jewish roots into the world of the Gentiles. His mission to non-Jewish, Gentile communities raised critical questions regarding how people relate to God, religious identity, the nature of freedom, and much more. In this series, we'll join Paul in wrestling with those issues and consider how they affect our lives today.
"The Emergence of the Church". The book of Acts gives a unique perspective on the life and events of the early church. From the amazing and catalytic events of Pentecost, to threats and deadly persecution, the story charts the highs, lows and unique challenges of life in the first Christian communities. We'll gain insights into what kind of church was emerging and reflect on what that could mean for the church today.
"Lord, teach us to pray", Jesus was asked one day. Prayer is a discipline we learn as we walk the journey of faith. Many times we desire to pray, but feel like the Apostle Paul who wrote "We do not know what we ought to pray for". In this series we'll look at five great prayers of the Bible; prayers that teach us, challenge us and inspire us as we say, "Lord, teach us to pray".
In the second half of February, as Lent begins, our focus will turn to Jesus, and specifically, his parables. Through these short lessons and stories, Jesus challenged his hearers to see and hear with new eyes and ears. Our prayer is that as we look at these parables afresh, we'll be stirred with a fresh vision of God at work in our world.
He started out as a shepherd boy, raising and guarding his father's flock, but through a series of events, found himself anointed King and ruler of his people. King David went from relative obscurity, to the most powerful Office in the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, and from his line, Jesus, the Messiah, was born. David was a man of both great success and tragic failure; hand-picked to be King based on his Godly heart, yet falling to quite devastating depths. There is much we can learn from the life of David; from his triumphs and his tragedies.
Our world is constantly changing and always offering up fresh challenges. Despite this, many of life's most significant challenges are timeless. Issue such as, "How do we handle conflict? What does it mean to live with integrity? How should we view money and possessions?" are questions that face every generation. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed many of the issues that affect us all. His teaching and insights often flew in the face of culture and the popular opinion of his day. In this series we'll visit Jesus' words afresh, as we consider how we face life's biggest challenges.
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