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!
Discuss the different people who were present at the crucifixion – what were they doing there, what motives might they have had, how did they respond on the day?
Discuss your reaction to the crucifixion (look at all the gospel accounts and Psalm 22).
In the sermon it was suggested that the crucifixion requires a response? Does it? If so, what is your response?
We were challenged earlier in the service to encourage eachother with scriptures which have been helpful to us this year. Spend some time as a group doing this and consider learning a new scripture, together, each week.
What was different about the Passover meal at the ‘last supper’?
As they finished the meal they sang from Psalms 115-118. Take a look at those psalms and pick out anything particularly that might have been poignant for Jesus (knowing He was going to the cross within hours)
We spent a good amount of time looking at Peter’s argument with Jesus about the fact he would deny Jesus. discuss why Peter became so forceful in his argument.
How might we argue with God, bargain with Him, or claim to know better than Him.
Why, when and how might we ever refuse to accept what the Lord is teaching us?
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?
Pray like this: Our Father in heaven,may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
To pray these verses is a big ask. Why do I suggest that…? Simply because when we pray “May your Kingdom come”we must be ready to add, ‘and start with me – do whatever it takes Lord to have me submit completely to your will for my life, that I might be living the life You will have me live, as an obedient subject in Your kingdom, ready to willingly take my place where You put me to work for Your kingdom’.
Jesus says to us – pray like this! Are we able, will we trust Him and accept His answer? You see when we pray this prayer with sincerity we are saying, Lord I know You have called me; I know that calls is to ‘carry my cross’, I know that call is to offer You back my life knowing that it will (one way or another) be lost for the sake of living and sharing the gospel, and so I know that in praying this prayer I must be ready to accept Your call to self denial.
Have we properly grasped the demands of this prayer, have we understood it? If we are serious about our faith, we will pray this prayer with a seriousness, willingness and expectancy that the Lord will use us for His glory in His way…
I wonder how you pray? Do you have your eyes shut? Have you tried jumping or sitting or laying or running or standing on one leg?
You can pray at anytime in any position – see how many different ways you can pray today!
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Isn’t this a great question? I wonder which disciple it was who asked…
Yes a great question followed by a famous answer. An answer which provides Jesus’ framework to help us with prayer. But there is something in this request and answer that we can easily sidestep, or overlook – both the question and the answer make an assumption that we will pray. You see The disciples are eager to pray (“Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”) and Jesus is eager to help them, as we find out if we read on (Luke 11:2-11).
A regular question in churches today is “how can I get better a praying?” It’s a great question and rightly Pastors across the world will turn up many passages of scripture to encourage us, to lead us, to remind us and be examples to us. God has provided all of this, but, as with all of the Bible, to profit from what we read we need at have hearts that are eager to understand, and get busy with what we learn – in short, the way to learn about prayer is to pray – do just what this disciple did, ask Jesus and be willing to respond to the answer.
Here are a few more pointers about prayer:
Remember that ike everything we do well in our lives, we need to practice prayer.
Use the framework set by Jesus for a start, or find one of the psalms that fits the need and pray it relating it to your circumstances.
Make prayer a habit every day.
Find a time and a space where you can focus.
Expect to find prayer rewarding.
Expect to find prayer hard work at times.
Expect to God to respond, and watch out for those answers.
Expect to be challenged by God.
Expect to be Encouraged by God.
Direct communication with the Living God! Why wouldn’t we want to pray?
Adoring God – When you’re saying your prayers to day think of as many things as possible you really love and thank God for them, and remember too to tell God how much you love Him 🙂
“…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.”
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…
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!