Building – Week of Prayer Day 6; 2018

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

Psalm 127:1

In the midst of your busyness, do you ever find yourself skipping the odd prayer meeting or housegroup? Do you find your quiet times get shorter or stop completely, might your bible be less well read?

As the busyness and stresses and strains increase, does communication with God come only in short sighs of desperation? Ever considered that there is a very clear link?

There is a sense of peace that comes when we lean on God in our busyness and in our stress. Are you working hard? Is it for God? That’s great! But here’s the question, is it really for Him? Are you letting Him be in control, or are you calling the shots and making His plans for Him?

If He’s not the one in control, if He’s not the one building the house, then your work is pointless, you’re wasting your time, just as Solomon reminds us in his psalm. When this happens instead of experiencing all that God has for you, you are unnecessarily exhausting yourself, like a builders labourer who ignores the plans, digs hard all day but at the end of it has achieved nothing but a big whole…

We have a God who is the best architect, able to build the most amazing creations out of nothing, He laid His life down to give us  a perfect foundation and when He builds, the gates of hell will not prevail against it Matthew 16:18. So step back… take a breath… ask Him again to slow you down, refocus you on His perfect plan and work alongside Him in it.

As a Church, it  serves us well too, to remember that in our seeking for land and a building we must never step out of His plan, never drag behind Him and Never rush ahead – It is a scriptural truth that be it physically or spiritually “unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.”

So today as you take time with the Lord, seek Him on this aspect of our life as a church, ask Him to build us up and thank Him that in all things He will provide and protect His people.

 

Children’s Prayer Activity

Day 6

Look in the mirror today and thank God for all the  things He helps you with and give Him a smile 🙂 in the mirror as you thank Him for making you such a special person.

What next? Remember to talk and listen to God every day, as He loves to get to know you better. You could learn this short bible verse about prayer

Never stop praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

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Doing everything to spread the Good News – Week of Prayer Day 5; 2018

I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:23

Well, so said Paul and without a hint of ego, it was just a statement of fact.

So often today we might read something like this in scripture and think – wow, that was an amazing character, he must have had a special blessing from God to live like that, but of course, if we stop and think it through even for a second, this is exactly what Jesus calls each of us to do in our Christian lives – to be blessed as we live lives that do everything to spread the Good News. But here’s the “exam question:” Do we do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessing?

Imagine you knew that one of your friends were about to make a dreadful mistake, and from the outside you have the perspective needed to see what is at stake but they have no clue?

Say your friend told you he had started an affair, or your daughter or granddaughter had started to regularly turn up drunk, or your son was spotted hanging around with known drug dealers? What would you do in those circumstances? To what lengths would you go to in order to make these people you care for, see the awful errors of judgement, and the likely outcomes?

I’m guessing most of us would do everything possible, but What if those people were on (to use Chris Rea’s phrase) the road to hell?

For most of us it will be easy to go all out to save someone from their worldly bad choices. For most of us it is not quite as easy to go all out to save someone from choosing the clearly dangerous road to hell.

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to share Jesus, borrow some enthusiasm from Paul. It couldn’t be more important for people to find out about forgiveness. Without Jesus’ forgiveness a very real, very hot, eternity is on the horizon.

Paul would do everything possible to get people to listen to the story he had to share, the story of God’s love for his fallen creation. For Paul, sharing the gospel was the most important thing, and it should be for us too. This is why we are here. God wants to use us, of all people, to show his love to the world.

It all starts and ends with Jesus. Like Paul we were once lost. Like Paul we were joined to God’s heavenly family by the love of Jesus. Like Paul we are compelled by Jesus to do everything possible to share Jesus until he calls us home or comes to collect us.

So today, let us give thanks that we have been saved, and ask the Lord to fill us with His undeserved love so that our lives will overflow with His love to the world around us, and let us by every possible means share His gospel every day.

Children’s Prayer Activity

Day 2

Print and colour in this picture to make it look like you, and as you’re colouring think and pray about your friends who don’t know Jesus!

 

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Watch Out! – Week of Prayer Day 4; 2018

“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

The importance of sharing the truth of God with the next generation was made clear to Israel. Were we inspired to write these words today, we would have no doubt written them in CAPITALS, underlined and bold. Look at the urgency in this verse – watch out!

As that need was urgent in Old Testament days, it is urgent now. Israel was (and is!) surrounded by hostile and ungodly nations, and hostile and ungodly influences were bombarding them from the world around them. Today the church is bombarded by the same influences – God is a God of love and justice: He knows very well the temptations that will come to water down His word to be ‘more palatable’ to those around who want to continue living rebellious lives, He knows of the lies the enemy will weave to lure future generations to step away from the truth of His word, a little here and a little there… He knows that without good examples, without lives lived showing His Grace and Mercy in action, without firm discipline and full love, children will be left to wander away from Him.

Today, let us give thanks to The Lord for our church family, and lift the children entrusted to us to Him in prayer, and let us, as a church family, recommit ourselves to Him, asking Him to help us to be sure to share His word, show His love, and teach of His righteousness and justice. We must too give thanks for our human families, pray for marriages and relationships within our church, and ask Him to enrich us by His Spirit as we seek to live obediently by His grace, showing Him in our lives to this generation and the next.

 

Children’s Prayer Activity

Day 4

Thank God for the family you are part of and for your church family. Why not draw a

picture/take a photo of your family and use it as you pray to God today.

 

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On A Mission! Week of Prayer Day 1; 2018

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

                                                         Acts 1:8

Christian people ARE filled by The Holy Spirit of God; we are filled for many different purposes, and to fulfil many different needs.

Some of those needs will be personal, in that we have our needs met and our lives changed, bit by bit, as He works in our lives to sanctify us (that is to make us more and more like Christ). But here we also see that as He comes to live in our hearts we will, as a matter of course, become His witnesses; we will become people who have His grace, compassion, wisdom, and power to share that Gospel truth. Yes, to share that truth where we are and wherever He will lead us, even to “the ends of the earth”!

Today then, let us welcome afresh the truth of these words and the impact of them on our lives, and let us give ourselves over to His filling, and as we do so recommit ourselves where we are, and also recommit ourselves in prayer for others where they are, be it in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or to the ends of the earth…

Children’s Prayer Activity

Day 1

Today use a ball inside or outside. Each time you catch or kick it remember that without the air inside it wouldn’t work well, and that unless we have God in our hearts we don’t work well either!

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A Miraculous Study

Some questions based on Mark 6:33-52; if you missed the sermon you can hear it here: I Believe in Miracles

  1. Discuss our reactions to living the Christian life and being called to give of our time and energy when we’re feeling we’d like to rest or at least slow down a bit.
  2. What is the purpose of miracles?
  3. Do miracles still happen?
  4. Talk thorough the two miracles, what were the lessons for the disciples and what might we take away from them and apply to our lives?
  5. Spend some time talking about Jesus’ example to us in prayer and what we can learn from Him.

 

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A Study on Mark 6:14-32

This study is based on the sermon The Death of A Conscience.

  1. Mark 6: 14-16 Discuss who the people were thinking Jesus was; what was the reason for each and why were they wrong?
  2. Mark 6:17-29 Talk through this glimpse of Herod’s life – at each twist and turn discuss the positives and negatives and look at how we might learn from this account.
  3. What is a conscience?
  4. How might our consciences become dull, damaged, and dead?
  5. Which ways can we keep our consciences in ‘tip-top’ condition?
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A study on Mark 6:1-13

A study based on the sermon: Go!

  1. Read Mark 6:1-6 Discuss the reaction of the local people to Jesus what was their first reaction and then what was their response? What can we learn from this?
  2. How do you think Jesus might have felt about being rejected? How did He respond?
  3. Read 6:7-13 Discuss the way Jesus sent the disciples out, what they had authority to do and what they were instructed to do.
  4. What was the result?
  5. Spend a good amount of time discussing what we can learn from this passage and apply to our own lives and walk with The Lord.
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Mark 5:21-43 – A Bible Study

This study is based on Mark 5:21-43 and Misha’s sermon: Reach out and touch

  1. What does Jairus attitude tell us about him, and what can we learn and apply to our lives v 22-23?
  2. Try to put yourselves in the place of the woman with the illness, how would you have felt approaching Jesus?
  3. In what every day situations might we have to put our faith and trust in the Lord?
  4. How does Jesus react when He arrives at the house of Jairus in contrast to the gathering who were there?
  5. We don’t hear of Jairus and this lady again in scripture but how do you think the rest of their lives were impacted by this event?
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A Study of Storms…

This study is based on Mark 4:35-41 and the sermon The Teacher Tests Us

  1. What is the setting of this passage, i.e. what has been going on during the day before we get to the ‘that evening’ in our passage?
  2.  Did Jesus know that there would be a storm? If so, why did He tell His disciples to sail into it?
  3. How do we know whether our circumstances are as a result of, spiritual attack,  our own disobedience or our obedience?
  4. Why does Jesus test us, and what should we expect to learn through that testing?
  5. take a look at our verses of the year and compare them to this passage. How might our following the encouragements of those verses enable us to support one another and be supported in the storms that come our way?
  6. Spend some time lifting up the work and life of God’s Church at New Connexions in prayer.
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A Study on Mark 4:21-34

A Study on Mark 4:21-34 based on the sermon The Kingdom of God

  1. Discuss your understanding of the reasons why Jesus began to speak in parables?
  2. Read vs 21-25        In this parable how do you understand the imagery of the lamp and what does this mean for Christians today?
  3. Why is it important for us to “consider carefully what we hear”? What are the consequences of doing or not doing this?
  4. Read vs 26-29        Once the seed (God’s word) has been sown, is that the end of our responsibility? If not, what else can we do to enable the seed to bear fruit?
  5. Read vs 30-34        Consider the size of the church when these words were spoken and how far it has spread in the following centuries.
  6. Discuss what you consider are the greatest threats to church growth today?
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