The sermon this week can be found here: Watch out…. FOR HIM!
- The ‘Olivet Discourse’ has been a challenging passage for the preachers – how has it been for you; i.e. have you learnt anything new, disagreed with anything you have heard? been confused or surprised by anything? Talk these things through as a group.
- Read Mark 13:21-37.
- Watching out for deception has been mentioned a lot, in which ways might we or others be deceived.
- The sermon ended with three points of application. Discuss what they were and how as a group and as a church we might help each other with these?
- In which other ways should we apply this passage?
A study on Isaiah 60:1-6 based on the sermon Rise and Shine
- When you think of Advent, what do you think…? Discuss this as a group.
- Compare Isaiah 5:20 with Isaiah 60:2. How does that help us understand what kind of darkness is meant here?
- [This is a question that will take some time] The New Testament is scattered with talk of light and dark, turn some up (Hint: Matthew, John, Ephesians, 1 John, Revelation) and see how they relate to our reading, and talk through how they should impact the Christian life.
- How can Christ’s light shine through us, to enable others to see the truth, and what, in our lives, might be a hindrance to that?
This study is based on the sermon: God’s priority for praying together
- Read Act 6: 1-5
- What does the bible, generally have to say on corporate prayer (prayer meetings)?
- Why do church prayer meetings in the west lack attendance? Are prayer meetings important…? Discuss. If so who should get along to prayer meetings?
- What should prayer meetings be like, is there a general rule of what to do?
- Discuss the difference between prayer and church growth in Europe, North America, Australasia and Asia, The Middle East, and Africa.
- Do you feel challenged by this study?
Pray for the fellowship of Ebenezer Lumley and the family of Rev.Angel Ama-Lamin who died recently. Peter had the privilege to pray for him whilst in Sierra Leone.
Pray for the new clinic which has been established at The Theological College at Jui. This clinic will serve the local community. Pray especially for the little girl with third degree burns to her leg.
Pray for the patients and staff at the hospital at Koidu. Peter and Janet were given the opportunity to visit and pray for individuals, including Muslims. They also met Victoria a three year old who had accidentally been pushed backwards into boiling water. Her chance of survival is minimal but with prayer and God’s intervention a miracle is possible.
Sierra Leone is heading for elections early next year and the process has started with voter registration. Pray against any form of violence approach that electoral process and for God to lead the people of this country to vote for the right person.
Pray for wisdom for Bishop Theophilus as he makes important decisions. Pray also for Magnus, Daniel and Alex as they advise and support the Bishop.
Thank God for the wonderful work that is happening at Bethesda. Pray for Allusine, Musa and Issa as they have been reunited to their family but desire to be back at Bethesda. Thank God for Aminata and Sallie and pray that He will heal Sallie from her discomfort.
Thank God for the stoic teachers in our schools; against all odds they continue to give their best. Also pray for our pastors; for safety in travel, protection against illness and a fresh vitality in their ministry.
Some questions from Russell, based on his sermon: Peace and Persecution
Read Matthew 5:1-12
- What is a Peacemaker? Why are we called to be Peacemakers?
- Discuss the difference between Peace the world offers and what Peace God gives?
Choose an example and discuss why you chose it.
- Read Luke 6:27-28 – What ways can we as Christians show peace to those who are indifferent?
- What is persecution? Have you ever experienced it in any form? And how did that make you feel?
- Looking at v11 – What is our response to this? And why is there such great joy and blessing from such suffering?
- Take a moment or two and pray for our brothers & sisters caught up in persecution.
A study on Micah Chapter 2
Here is the sermon if you missed it: God wouldn’t do that… Would He?
- To gather a bit of context, before taking a look through Micah 2, read through Leviticus 25: 8-34 and Exodus 20:1-17. As a group chat through those passages and clear up any queries group members might have;
- Read the first 11 verses if Micah and in the light of the Leviticus and Exodus passages, discuss:
- verses 1-2 who was Micah addressing – how could it apply to Ely in 2016?
- verses 3-5 God lays out what will happen, how come all the people are affected, even the few who have been faithful? What do group members feel about God’s response?
- verses 6-11 What was going on here? Why were the people responding that way? (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3);
- Read the last verses (12 – 13) These verses seem to be at odds with the other verses, but the do fit in both technically and theologically, can the group work out how? (don’t give too much time on this :)). Read through John chapter 10and consider what this prophecy is pointing to, both in the near future (to Micah’s time), and further on.
A study on James 5:13-20
Here is the sermon if you missed it: Closing In Prayer
Here are some headings with a few start off questions for discussion. You won’t usefully get through them all in time, but do try to cover each heading and leave enough time for prayer together at the end:
1. Struggling and suffering
What is the typical response to struggling and suffering? If we are suffering, what should we pray for? Will God always take away the trial from us? What is the use of praying if God isn’t going to take away the trial? What does a prayerful attitude show about our heart?
2. On top of the world
What is the typical response of someone who isn’t a Christian to good news? Why should a Christian respond differently? What does this show about our heart?
3. Not well
What is the typical response of someone who isn’t a Christian when they seriously unwell? Who do they rely on? What does turning to mature believers for prayer show about our hearts? Why specifically call the elders? What is the anointing all about? Does verse 15 guarantee that the sick person will be healed? What is a condition? Does this mean if you pray for the sick and they aren’t healed it is because you don’t have enough faith?
Why confess our sins to one another? Isn’t God the one forgives? Isn’t it enough to confess directly to God? In the sermon a set of principles were laid out – what were they? Does this passage support the idea of a Catholic priest hearing ‘confessions’?
5. Prayer – why bother
We often have the idea that God has His plan and prayer doesn’t do anything. Then how do we understand verse 16? Does God do anything? Do our prayers change things? What is the danger to our prayer life if we believe our prayers don’t actually accomplish anything. What does it mean that Elijah had a “nature like ours”? What can we learn from the example of Elijah?
6. Putting someone right
Who is verse 19 talking about? A believer or unbeliever? What is our responsibility towards people in church? How can we “bring a sinner back from wandering”? Explain the phrase ” bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
A study on James 5: 1-12, based on the sermon: Are You Ready To Meet Your Maker?
- Take a few minutes as a group to recap on the issues James has been addressing in his letter up to the end of chapter 4, are any of those issues more or less relevant today? Discuss.
- Read verses 1-6. Why are the rich people being told to weep and groan; is it their money, if not what?
- How much do we have to have before we’re rich? Read 1 Chronicles 29: 10-20 for context.
- If these verses are predominantly aimed at rich people who aren’t Christians, where is the lesson/application for us today?
- Read verses 7-12. As you read through notice and discuss each one of the commands or instructions James gives, how do they apply to us today in 21st century Ely?
- How do these two halves of the reading (1-6 &7-12) fit together to give a clear message about justice?
- take some time as a group to pray for each other and the whole church as we seek to apply this passage to our lives – Also please focus some prayer time on ‘the brick’ (God building His Church).
Some study questions based on James 1:1-11.
Here’s the sermon if you missed it… Life has it’s troubles
- What do we know about the author of the book James and who he was writing to; what was his purpose in writing?
- Verse 2 – How can trouble be an opportunity for great joy?
- Discuss the process James lays out in verses 3&4 – how does that match your experience?
- What is the wisdom described by James in verse 5, and why do we need it?
- Verses 6 to 8 describe two approaches to prayer; describe and discuss them.
- What is the gist of verses 9 to 11?
- Where are the key applications, for us, from this passage?
A study on Hosea 11 and 12, based on the sermon: Come Back!
- How much can you see of future fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled prophecy? why is it important for the modern church to have a right understanding of prophecy?
- Talk through chapter 11 verse 2; how could that happen? does it happen today?
- Discus how God’s relationship with His people is similar and dissimilar to a human parent-child relationship;
- How does God’s anger differ from human anger? Is human anger ever right? discuss;
- Discus chapter 12 verse 4; how had Bethel changed from Jacob’s time to Hosea’s