Another year passes but God’s love goes on and on and on

You may not know me…

But I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you get up. I’m familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139: 1-3

Even the hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

You see, you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

And in me you live and move and have life. Acts 17:28

For you’re my child. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

And I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were no mistake, because all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I decided the exact time of your birth and where you’d live. Acts 17:26

You’re wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

And was at your side from the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I’ve been lied about by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44

But I am the cause and supply of all love. 1 John 4:16

And I love you so much! I want to share that love with you. 1 John 3:1

Because you’re my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I give you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

You see I’m the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48

Every good thing you’ve ever had, or will ever have, comes from me. James 1:17

I’ve met all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future is filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

You see I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

And I never stop thinking of you. Psalms 139:17-18

And I love to calm you with my singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I won’t leave you. Jeremiah 32:40

You’re treasured by me. Exodus 19:5

I want to show wonderful things. Jeremiah 33:3

So remember if you seek me with your whole heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Love me, and then I will give you your heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4

Remember it’s me who gives you right desires. Philippians 2:13

And I’m able to do more for you than you could ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20

I’m your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I’m your loving Father comforting you in difficult times. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When your heart’s breaking, I’m with you. Psalm 34:18

I’ve carried you close to my heart, like a shepherd would. Isaiah 40:11

One day I’ll wipe away all your tears. Revelation 21:3-4

And take away all the pain you’ve suffered. Revelation 21:3-4

I’m your Father, and I love you just as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

You see it’s in Jesus, I showed my love for you. John 17:26

He’s the exact image of who I AM. Hebrews 1:3

He came to show that I am on your side. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that because of Jesus, I can wipe out your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Because of Jesus you can know me as your perfect Father. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate demonstration of love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

And if you accept the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I’ve always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

But here’s the important question…Will you be my child?  John 1:12-13

I’m waiting for you.  Luke 15:11-32

Almighty God

Your loving Dad

Broad Shoulders

A short study on Isaiah 9:1-7

If you missed the sermon you can pick it up at: It is written it will happen!

  1. Where are verses 1 and 2 quoted in the New Testament? What does this teach us about the meaning of the passage?
  2. What blessing is promised in verses 3-5? (Discuss the reference to Midian. cf. Judges 7)
  3. Who is predicted in verses 6 and 7? Explain what these verses teach about His role.
  4. Talk about the significance of each name used for Him [* Wonderful Counsellor –* Mighty God –* Everlasting Father –* Prince of Peace], what do they mean for Israel,  for us today and in their future fulfilment?
  5. If you haven’t covered it in your discussions, pick up on the application for us today, this advent.

Micah 5 Study

Note to leaders: As with all studies, please don’t feel you must cover all questions, fine if you can, but rather take a few of the questions and do them justice that rush through 🙂

If you missed the sermon, you can pick it up here: The King from eternity

  1. Verse 1 seems at complete odds with the rest of the chapter, what is Micah pointing to (cf. 2 Kings 25?);
  2. Bethlehem was a tiny hamlet, what else do we know about Bethlehem from the bible? Also, why would God chose Bethlehem and not Jerusalem?
  3. At the end of verse 2, consider what it means: ‘whose origins are in the distant past’. How should this impact a) our understanding of who Jesus is, b) our view of creation, c) our reading of the Old Testament?
  4. Discuss verses 3-9, what are these verses pointing to?
  5. Verses 10 to 14 at first glance look like more judgement, but are they?  – if not what are they about – if so how does it fit with the rest of the passage?
  6. Who is the last verse addressing and at which time?

A Committed Christian?

So often in our Christian lives we spend inordinate amounts of time talking about prayer, wanting to seek the Lord and do His will; which I believe are great sentiments, but as we approach the end of the year I’m drawn back to some words we used at the start of our year in our covenant service, words which were borrowed from a great puritan called Richard Alleine:

I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly give all things to you. Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. This my covenant with you my God, made here on earth, let it be confirmed in heaven. Amen

Why not take that prayer again, study it, meditate on it, discuss it and consider: as individuals, and as Christ’s Church, have we yet made this prayer our own? How can we encourage one another, and what is the Lord asking of us as individuals walking in covenant with Him? If studying in a group: spend a good time in prayer seeking the Lord for each other and the wider Church. When studying alone: also, of course, pray through the issues that arise in your heart.

Humble yourself!

Some study questions For James 4:1-10.

Here’s the sermon if you missed it… Rock Solid

  1. Take a few minutes as a group to remind each other about who James was, why he was writing etc.
  2. Verse 1: If we have any disagreements with people in our church family, how should we deal with them? – see also Matthew 18: 15-20.
  3. Why might we find prayer difficult?
  4. Why doesn’t God give some people what they ask for? (James 4:3, Isaiah 55:89, 2 Peter 3:8, Philippians 4:6-7, John 15:7).
  5. Verses 7-10. In the sermon we looked at three rock solid promises, what are they? Talk through each one as a group and look at how, if we take them to heart, they can empower us.
  6. How is the reverse logic in verses 9 and 10 true?
  7. What are the key applications in this passage that group members are going to take away and put into practice?

A study on Hosea 4-6

You’ll be helped in this study by taking time to pick up on the accompanying sermon Learn what this means!

  1. We took an overview of three chapters this week and reading the whole of the text before divining in to study might be a challenge. Instead after seeking the Lord in prayer, take the approach we took in the service and read through a section then ponder on and discuss:
    1. what was going on;
    2. what was the Lord saying to the original hearers and why;
    3. where is the application for us today.
  2. Read Matthew 9: 9-13 discuss verse 13 – why is it important for us to do what Jesus commands there?

Sierra Leone Mission Prayer Points for JUNE / JULY 2016

CofH Crsst‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we

ask anything according to His will, He hears us.’

1 John 5 v 14

Sunday: Pray for the advance of the gospel in Sierra Leone. Pray that the members of the C. of H. Churches might be light and salt in their communities. May their witness be evident to those who are as yet unsaved.

Monday: Pray for the newly appointed leaders. Pray that God will give them wisdom and discernment in their new roles. Pray especially for Rev. Theophilus Nicol and Rev. Alex Dixon.

Tuesday: Pray that the C. of H. churches in the U.K. will realise the responsibility that we have to pray and give to our brothers and sisters in S.L.

Wednesday :  Pray for Ebenezer church at Manallo Village. Pray for the pastor Magnus Bendu and the lay pastor and headmaster of the school, Daniel Ndomawah. Praise God that the church is growing and pray for the teachers and children who attend the school.

Thursday: Many children who have lived at Bethesda have been reunited with family members. These children have turned to Christ during their time at Bethesda. Pray they will stand firm in their faith.

Friday: Pray for the street children who are moving into Bethesda. Pray for wisdom in their selection and a settled initial period.

Saturday: Pray for Rev. Daniel Koroma our agent in S.L.  Continue to pray for him and his daughter in their loss last summer of wife and mum.


The Minor Prophets: An Introduction

So as a church we’re looking at the Minor Prophets? Great, butbookcase bible

what are the Minor Prophets?

The easy answer to that is that they’re

books in the Bible

which no one reads much at the back of the Old Testament! But seriously…

The Old Testament books can be roughly

listed like this:

17 Historical books – Genesis to Esther.

5 Poetical books – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.

17 Prophetic books:

  • 5 Major prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezekiel.
  • 12 Minor prophets which dropped in together in a ‘bit of a jumble’ at the end of our English Old Testament.

The easiest one to find will probably be Malachi as it’s the last book of the OT and we occasionally see it when we are flipping through on our way to find Matthew, the first book of the New Testament.

They were first given the label “Minor Prophets” about 400 AD, and the reason was simply that they were a lot shorter than the prophets in front of them in the bible, which were imaginatively called Major Prophets. The Hebrew Bible refers to them as “the twelve.”

That’s what they are, but who were they, who are the Minor Prophets?

They were a group of men from all walks of life. We know very little about some of these men, in fact, in some cases, all we have is the book which bears their name.

Obadiah’s a good example there; we’ve no more information on Obadiah, other than he shares his name with quite a lot of other Obadiahs in the Bible.

Habakkuk and Joel were probably priests.

Amos was a shepherd.

Hosea was an educated man and we know his father was called Beeri and they lived in the northern kingdom of Israel.

Jonah’s story is well known, but apart from the fact he was from the tribe of Zebulun and came from a town called Gath Hepher not much else is known about him.

Micah seems to have just been a man from a village called Moresheth, which is generally thought to be in the south of modern Israel in the ancient kingdom of Judah.

Zephaniah was the great grandson of King Hezekiah (one of the few good kings of Judah).

Of Nahum we’re told only that he came from Elkosh, and that helps very little as there are a number of contenders for the old town of Elkosh.

Haggai is another without a ‘who’s who entry’.

Zechariah though had a grandad mentioned in the book of Nehemiah (Iddo), and he was from a priestly family.

Malachi is even more mysterious, we don’t know a thing about him, but his name means messenger.

Does minor mean second rate?

Definitely not, they’re no less inspired: all prophecy is inspired God, whether long or short; and neither are they at all “minor” when you look at the impact of some of their prophecies. This makes sense when you consider that inspiration is what makes the writings of the Bible significant, long or short, if God’s speaking we need to sit up and take notice. Peter explains it like this: Above all, you must realise that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20& 21).

So what are some of the important passages in these less well known pages of the Old Testament?

  • Luke 11:29-30 – Jesus spoke of the “Sign of Jonah:As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God. So here Jesus is endorsing the book of Jonah and comparing His ministry to that of Jonah who warned Ninevah.


  • Habakkuk 2:4 – “The just shall live by his faith.”  A man called Martin Luther was struck by this passage and it set off a major shakeup of the church, known as the reformation (if you want to know more, just ask).


  • Micah 5:2 When the magi came to Herod asking about the location of the king of the Jews, it was the book of the minor prophet Micah which gave the answer. Matthew 2:4-6 picks up the story: Herod called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.


  • The minor prophet Hosea, when writing about the birth of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt, also anticipated the flight and return of the young Jesus from Herod’s persecution-as explained by Matthew: “out of Egypt I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1. for clarification check out Matthew 2:15).


  • It was the minor prophet Zechariah who predicted the value of a slave, 30 pieces of silver, for which Judas would betray Jesus (Zechariah 11:12).


  • It was Zechariah, too who foretold Palm Sunday, as we now know it: Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.
  • Again it was Zechariah also foresaw the crucifixion of Messiah of Israel (Jesus) and the eventual repentance and grief of Israel concerning this huge blunder (Zechariah. 12:10).
  • Malachi, prophesied the ministry of John the Baptist (Mal. 3:1).
  • Some of the most striking and sobering events connected with the return of Christ are spoken of by another minor prophet, Joel. Here is a flavour from Joel 3:14-16: Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.


OK, so there’s some interesting stuff here in this snapshot, but Why Study the Minor Prophets, can’t we just pick up what the New Testament Picks up?


The reasons for looking at these 12 books are the same ones we find for studying the Old Testament overall:

  1. We can’t make sense of the Bible or properly understand a lot of what Jesus said and did without a good handle on the Old Testament. Actually, I would go even further and say that the amount to which Christians misunderstand and misrepresent Christ and Christianity is likely to be linked to how much they understand the Old Testament;
  2. The Minor Prophets have a lot to say, so ignoring them means ignoring part of God’s Inspired Word;
  3. To gain a solid understanding which helps us to see when the Bible is being twisted or ignored;
  4. Because the Minor Prophets are less familiar…. Yes it sounds an odd reason, but if you think it through, if we’re coming to these books fresh we’re more likely to learn something new to us, or find the ‘penny drops’ on things we’ve struggled with before;
  5. The Minor Prophets have some uncanny, unsettling, even hair-raising parallels between the situations they dealt with and the words of the prophets, and our own situation today. Although Britain isn’t Israel, many of the same principles apply and we can only blame ourselves when we find ourselves in the same situation as cultures and countries who went before and also deserted God. How God has acted in the past is a great measure of how He’s likely to behave in the future.

So there are some good reasons to look at these books, but before we start it’s worth asking ourselves, where do these Minor Prophets slot into history?

First, we must remember that when we read the writings of any prophet we’ll often find:

  1. In some cases the passage will just be talking about the situation in the prophet’s day;
  2. In other cases the passage will be looking ahead to a future time;
  3. Most passages have a mix of both the past (present for the prophet, past for us) and the future.

So it makes a lot of sense for us to know as much as we can about the historical settings the prophets were living and operating in.


This might sound a bit technical, but It’s easier to get a grip of than the kings and queens of England!

The Minor Prophets cover about 400 years all the way from the 9th century to the 5th century B.C.

  1. Assyrian Period – that’s from shortly after the division of the kingdom following Solomon up to and shortly following the fall of the Northern Kingdom to Assyria in 722 B.C.
  • Obadiah 845 BC (some uncertainty about this date, but it doesn’t affect the message)
  • Joel 835 BC
  • Jonah 782 BC
  • Hosea 760 BC
  • Amos 760 BC
  • Micah 735 BC
  1. Neo-Babylonian Period – that’s from after the fall of the Northern Kingdom up to shortly following the fall of the Southern Kingdom to Babylonia in 586 B.C.
  • Nahum 650 BC
  • Zephaniah 640 BC
  • Habakkuk 609 BC
  1. Persian Period  (up to 538 BC and the return from exile).
  • Haggai 520 BC
  • Zechariah 520 BC
  • Malachi 433 BC.

This chart helps to see how it all fits together


Who were they talking to?

  • Eight of the prophets were speaking to Judah (the Southern Kingdom); that’s Joel, Micah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
  • Hosea and Amos spoke to Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
  • Jonah and Nahum focussed on Nineveh
  • Obadiah addressed Edom

So they’re in the wrong order then?

Yes the Bible order isn’t chronological, but as we study these books we’ll take them in time order, starting with Obadiah.


If you found this helpful, try this article: The Lie We Tell Ourselves: I want to change but…

Prayer – take it or leave it…

You’ll be helped in this study by taking time to pick up on the accompanying sermon Not an optional extra

Acts 1:12-14

  1. What does it mean they all met together and were constantly united in prayer? How does this compare to the prayer life of New Connexions (please spend some time in honest discussion on this)?

Acts 4:23-31

  1. What does it mean that God is sovereign – how should this affect our prayer life?
  2. What Psalm did they quote and what were the main points in their prayer?
  3. How can we use the Bible in our prayer life? Can you give any examples of how you have used the bible to aid your prayer life?
  4. Describe the likely outcome of a life led by a Christian who doesn’t prioritise prayer – how does this contrast with a life led in obedience to God?
  5. What lessons have you learnt from this study that could aid your prayer?


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