- This is not about me….
- This is about keeping children safe
- This is about #freedomofspeech
- This is about #Antichristian bullying
- This is about #Tolerance
- This is about #CulturalMarxism
- This is about our #society
- This is about your safety – you could be next!
If you missed the sermon on this passage you can pick it up here
- Before reading through the passage discuss what you know about Gideon.
- Read the passage.
- Who were the Midianites and the Amalekites, and why did they come to the valley of Jezreel?
- What is surprising about Gideon’s decision to ‘put out the fleece’?
- What is surprising about God’s response?
…for kings and rulers in positions of responsibility, so that our common life may be lived in peace and quiet, with a proper sense of God and of our responsibility to him for what we do with our lives.
Yippee, it’s election time again, and so I’m expecting the usual questions to be raised about ‘the right way for Christians to vote’. This time around though it’s made more exciting by #Brexit, so let’s just deal with that up front. Brexit will be something that you will have a legitimate view on and it will no doubt, and not unreasonably have a major impact on where you put your cross; that being said, and I know that this may be controversial, but Brexit is not the most important issue for Christians (those who know me well will appreciate how difficult it was for me to write that…).
Let me explain why I say that: It is clear from the mainstream media, social media, conversation and experience, that in the past decade there has been a seismic shift in our society as a result of significant and often underreported changes in law, guidance and judgements from both our parliament, governments and judiciary. This shift that has radically diminished freedom of speech and expression, has led to more babies being killed in abortion, has normalised a huge number of behaviours that are contrary to scripture and are a danger to our society and raised up all manner of political organisations as the new ‘gods’ of our age. Alongside this our politicians discourse has become all too often sordid, ungracious and duplicitous.
But Christians can neither sit back and blame everyone else, nor absolve ourselves for our part, because, in fact, the part the Church in the UK has played in bringing about this sad shift in our society has not been insignificant. Sadly instead of being ‘salt and light’ in our country many Christians have found that they are afraid of ‘speaking the truth in love’ for fear of abuse, loss of employment or worse, and these fears are not irrational as you will discover if you speak with any who have done so…
So, you may be asking, what has this to do with the upcoming election? Simply this: Christian’s let’s take this opportunity to re-evaluate, reboot and remember what it means to live as resurrection people, we’re here to be Christ’s witnesses in this world, we are to live renewed lives because, by His Grace and Mercy, Christ is renewing us to live as Kingdom people. But what does a Kingdom person do in the midst of an election campaign?
I would suggest the following, and this is no perfect or definitive list:
- Pray for all your local candidates, and keep praying for them;
- Be gracious in any communication, show Jesus’ love by the way you speak or write;
- Don’t get party political, unless you are called to serve politically;
- Ask all the questions of the candidates that you can think of asking, particularly around their standing on:
- The breakdown of the traditional family unit – what are the candidates views on why this has happened and how would they support traditional marriage and family?
- The sanctity of life – abortion and euthanasia;
- Education – the teaching of relationships and sex across schools, the secularisation of the curriculum etc.
- Freedom of expression – the diminishing freedom to express biblical beliefs and views to which some people object, and also to speak of Jesus Christ and share the Gospel.
- The worldwide persecution of the church;
- Do they have a faith?
Also, check out the following organisations who have great ministries helping and supporting us be the Christ’s Church in this land:
- Read the passage through as a group.
- If you had to describe Amaziah’s character in a sentence, what would you say?
- How does Amaziah’s reign with it’s gradual drift away from God show of the danger of a halfhearted faith?
- Read Jeremiah 17:9 and discuss.
- Talk through the application we can take from this passage.
If you missed the sermon for this study please pick it up here
- Talk through those things you know the bible says about remembering (this could take you several weeks of study 🙂 );
- The sermon referred back to Hebrews 11. Spend some time checking out some of the people mentioned and discuss what was special about them;
- In the sermon we brought out a number of areas of application. Discuss those mentioned and others you have discovered as a group.
- Spend some time in prayer for each other and the work and mission of our church.
If you missed Gordon’s sermon on this passage you can pick it up here.
Readings (Acts 4:32-37; 9:26-31; 11:19-30; 13:1-3; 14:8-20; 15:36-41)
- From these passages, discuss the type of person Barnabas must have been. What things stand out about Barnabas?
- What are the ways Barnabas lived up to his nickname, “son of encouragement,” and in what ways did this affect the other people in his life?
- Why is Barnabas significant in the life of Paul and subsequently in the Gentile mission?
- Although the text doesn’t go into detail, what do you think the source of disagreement was over John who was also called Mark? What does this say about Barnabas?
- List some specific ways you/we could incorporate some of the lessons we learn from Barnabas.
If you missed the sermon on this passage you can pick it up here.
- What are your first thoughts on reading this account?
- Does your family background have a lasting effect on your approach to life?
- As a group: list all the positive reasons why you think God chose Jephthah and then all of the negative reasons that might have put you off from choosing him to lead?
- Talk through Jephthah’s vow. From the point of him making it, was that good or bad? Also what was the outcome?
- Where are the main areas of application for us in this passage?
The way that traditional values have been slowly eroded over past decades and are now increasingly and aggressively derided and forced out of our society cannot have escaped any Christian, and so it is more and more important that in following Christ’s reminder in Matthew 5:13-16 to be ‘Salt & Light’, that we ensure we’re equipped.
As a Church New Connexions does everything we can to help you with that equipping: in our preaching, teaching, studying together, prayer, fellowship and care for one another we seek The Lord’s leading and to be obedient to Him. We also ensure that current issues which require our attention are posted on our Twitter Page, but we are also thankful to the Lord for the many people and organisations who are involved in ministries sharing and caring for Christians in this land. In particular this post is indebted to Roger Kiska and the team at Christian Concern for providing the short video below. Please do watch it and also share it as widely as you possibly can.
This is one of many, many areas where our society is under attack (for others see our Twitter Page), please keep informed, keep lobbying and keep sharing. Also please keep praying, stay strong in the battle, and praise God for His goodness!
If you missed the sermon you can pick it up here.
- As a group try and describe God as completely as you can.
- Read through the text from each translation that is represented in your group.
- What caused Paul to write these verses?
- When you read and hear about God’s incredible attributes and His salvation plan, what is your reaction?
- In the sermon we picked up on at least five areas of application. As a group consider the key areas of application and discuss how you will help each other in applying this passage in your daily lives.
- We are starting a Connexional Sunday School training today. Trainees(50-60) are of various backgrounds and different educational levels, some not literate at all. They will spend 49 hrs in 8 weekends. Pray for patience in bother facilitators and trainees and wisdom; & resources to handle this successfully.
- We have been having, for quite a while now, a serious back and forth with the government on boundaries at Jui land. We are now close to a compromised solution. Pray for sincerity in the hearts of government officials.
- The cost of living has considerably increased in the past months. Many people (over 85%) are really poor and things are difficult. Inflation and lack of employment are among some of the reasons. Pray that God will endow the government with wisdom to tackle the root cause of this trend.
- As Pastors in the Connexion, we have been praying and planning for our usual annual rretreat.Over 80% of our Ministers depend on stipend from the SLM grant. Paying the cost of the retreat by themselves is not feasible. Pray for God’s provision as we plan for this event which is so important for Ministers.
- The Connexional youth have also planned to meet for their camp this year after a lapse. Pray for their planning team for wisdom and provision.
- The chaplaincy ministry in our schools is up and running as of September. Pray for God to help us sustain it and use it to bless the teachers and children.
- A gentleman called Gabriel Madieh, who is head of The Shepherds Hospice in Sierra Leone, was leasing one of our facilities at Jui. This was where the heads of the Connexion should reside, but he has been working frantically to connive with government so that he can take the facility away from us and own it personally. He has refused to pay the agreed lease since 2003 and forcefully continues to stay in the house. We cannot take legal action against him as yet until we have all the papers from government. Many people in the Connexion are very furious with his disrespectful attitude to the Connexion. Please pray that God will touch his heart and the Church will have the upper hand.