Category Archives: Talks

God loves me even when…. I Fail – talk notes


God loves me even when….

I Fail

 

27th Aug 2017  Talk Notes

Recorded version on Ascension Web Site for a couple of months HERE

 God recognises that we will fail, both in our walk with him our faith and in other things.

God still cared for His people even though they failed often

We can be comforted that God knows we are not perfect and forgives

Christ pray’s for us not to fail in our faith however failure will happen in all ways.

 

  • Failing, who hasn’t?

 This is a good subject for me as I have failed a lot over the years.

School, work, dealing with emotions, dealing with life.

I hated failing but did it often and still do

Then I felt bad for not managing to do what I set out to do or because I let others down

 

We all fail in many things

Work, Family, health,

as well as our life of faith.

With our prayer life,

Our following Jesus’ path

in Spending time with God

In how we act as followers of Jesus

 

We all fall short and fail in many ways.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT

Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. [Fails]
It often leaves us feeling a failure and of no use.

 

  • However since becoming a follower of Christ

 I know that failing is not the end of the world, in fact Jesus knows we will fail and get things wrong.

 

He knew Peter would fail to live up to his boast.

Luke 22

33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”

34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

 

It is encouraging to know that God knows us so well that He even knows when we will mess up and provide for that.

 

He works with our failures to make things right,

 

Isn’t that great?

 

  • Failing is part of our walk of faith

Peter and all of us sin, we all fall short and fail.

That is a fact of life no follower of Christ is perfect

 

Peter did not deny his faith in Christ just knowing Him.

 

We can fail to do things for Christ or stand up for Him but still have faith.

The devil will try to convince you otherwise.

 

He also followed him to the trial the others didn’t.

So they failed as well.

In his failure he was there so Jesus could look at him.

 

Satan will try to use our failures to pull us away from Jesus and then show us how much we have failed and are not really believers.

 

Like Job, who was also attacked by satan, Peter and each of us had his faith attacked.

Satan wants to bring condemnation onto us.

 

  • No Condemnation form our father when we get it wrong.

 

Romans 8

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] from the power of sin that leads to death.

 

We can have forgiveness and move forward, knowing that God can sort it out.

1 John 1 8-10 2: 1-2

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

 

Often we see that people do not like to admit they got it wrong, failed in some way.

 

However our Father wants us to know that it is aright to get it wrong, because Jesus died to make it right.

 

He showed that forgiveness and understanding to Peter.

Peter had failed spectaticuly even though he said he would not.

 

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

But Jesus wasn’t condemning Peter just telling him it would be so.

He knew Peter so well that he knew that he would fail at this point.

He also knew it would eventually make him stronger for when things got worse.

 

  • Forgiveness and new purpose.

However Jesus like the father in the prodigal son, who also got it wrong big time, showed that Peter would still be of importance.

 

John 21 15-17

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[e]

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

  

Just because you fail to do it right, do not give up.

Ask for forgiveness from Jesus,

Ask for new direction and try to follow the new path.

 

Psalms 103:9-12 NLT

He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
However you and I will still get it wrong and fall short.

Satan will always be trying to pull us off course, trying to pull us away from the Father.

Just as he did with Job, Peter and the other disciples.

 

So just ask for forgiveness again, and again.

1 John 2 But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

 

Proverbs 24 16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

  

  • Israel failed often in their walk with God.

MY small group has just been looking at Saul and David and how often they got it wrong

How God would forgive when they admitted their sin and ask for forgiveness.

 

When Saul didn’t and later Israel and Judea didn’t then things just got worse.

Until at some point someone realised  that they needed to turn back to God

 

All the people God used in the bible had failings and fell short of perfection.

 

Each of us will fail in many ways in our lives, we will fail God as well as others and ourselves.

 

However God still loves each of us, no matter what.

Like the father of the prodigal son, He will wait and wait till you come back to Him and then show His love by welcoming you.

 

Isn’t that wonderful, God welcoming you and forgiving your mistakes.

No condemnation

No saying I told you so,

No telling you that you’re a failure

No reminding you of the times your get it wrong

 

What grace, what Love what a Wonderful God

who makes right what we fail at.

Who allows us to be part of what He is doing and uses those errors of ours as He does so.

 

True Failure is to abandon God when we fail rather than turning back to Him

Asking for forgiveness and walking the path with Him again.

 

Other failures help build up our trust in God rather than our own ability

 

  • Lets pray


  • Readings

 

Luke 22  31- 34   54 – 62

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”

34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. 56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.

59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

61 At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

 

John 21 15-17

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[e]

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

 

 

Psalm 77 1-15

R – I cry out to God; yes, I shout.

Oh, that God would listen to me.

 

 

Extras

 

Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT

Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
Romans 8

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] from the power of sin that leads to death.

 

1 John 1 8-10 2: 1-2

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

 

Advertisements

God Loves Me even when ….. I Am Strong – Notes for talk from 23rd July 2017


God Loves Me even when ….. I Am Strong

 

Theme,

We are strong when we base our lives on Gods rock

We can feel strong in our own abilities but they can fail us.

Strong doesn’t mean heartless.

Strength needs to be covered in love

There is nothing wrong with being strong, just what we are strong in.

Readings  1 Peter 5 1-11   Titus 1 6-9   Luke 6   46-49

 

  • God Loves Me even when ….. I Am Strong

Last week Robert spoke about how God loves me even when I am lost and weak

Talking about how leaders have thought of themselves rather than those in need.

 

This week we turn it around and look at God loving us even when we are strong.

 

What does being strong look like?

 

What makes a person Strong?

 

  • Many put their faith in their own strength, confident that they can do all they need to by themselves.

 

I did for many years

These people are at the opposite end to those we saw last week who were lost

or are they?

Our Luke reading says that being strong requires a strong foundation.

The only true strong foundation is Jesus the cornerstone.

We require a strong foundation to be strong ourselves.

 

  • Being strong is important we can not live our lives in weakness

However it is being strong in our faith in God which is important not being strong in our own worth or abilities.

 

Samson was very strong, but where did his strength come from?

 

Goliath was strong and put the fear of his strength into his enemies

1 Sam 17

41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him,42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.

45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. 

 

Where did David get his strength to oppose Goliath?

 

Many of the people in the bible where strong in faith but weak in other ways. However they still stood up to face down stronger enemies.

 

Just think of one or two.

Moses; David; Solomon; Peter etc….

 

Our own abilities and strength can fail us, Gods strength will never fail you.

Being strong in our faith in Jesus is what will always mean we have someone to lean on when our own strength fails us.

 

David used discretion and Gods care for all his people rather than his strength when he came upon Saul at various times

 

  • The New Testament often speaks of our need to be Strong in Our Faith

 

Our strength needs to come from God,

 

Luke 1  80 John grew up and became strong in spirit.

 

Luke 2 39-40

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

 

  • Luke 6

47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

 

When we build on the rock of Christ then we will be able to stand strong against the storms of life,

 

Being Strong is important, but having that strength in the right things/person is very important.

 

Our Peter reading talks about being to stand up to the devil [the storms of life] by the strength of our faith

although that is not always easy.

 

My faith isn’t very churchy, it’s a pretty personal, intimate thing and has been a huge source of strength in moments of life and death. Bear Grylls

 

  • But we have already seen that God loves us even when we are weak and lost.

 

1 Peter 5

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

 

Yes God loves us even when we are suffering but He will restore and lift us up again, make us strong again.

 

I have experienced that so many times

I see this in how He supplies me with the stuff I need for my talks.

For the people he brings to support me in my need.

I know my strength comes from my faith in Jesus. and Bear Grylls says this

My faith is an important part of my life and over the years I’ve learnt that it takes a proud man to say he doesn’t need anything. It has been a quiet strength and a backbone through a lot of difficult times.

 

  • Being Strong is not about being….

7 ..Arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker,[d] violent, or dishonest with money.

 

Being strong is not about doing what you want living any way you want

 

Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

Titus 1

  

  • It is about following the Message of Jesus about living a live of truth, love and faith

 

1 Cor 16  13-14

13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.[c] Be strong.14 And do everything with love.

  

Psalm 31

24 So be strong and courageous,     all you who put your hope in the Lord!

 

Daniel 11 32   But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.  [resist the attacker]

 

Hosea 7  15 I trained them and made them strong,   [God trains us and that training makes us stronger]

  

1 John 2

14 I have written to you who are God’s children
because you know the Father.
I have written to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I have written to you who are young in the faith
    because you are strong.
God’s word lives in your hearts,
and you have won your battle with the evil one.

  

  • So we each need to be strong in faith.

Faith that Jesus died for you.

Faith in His love for you

Faith in the power of being reborn in the Spirit

Faith that grows stronger as we share our stories together.

We need to use that strength we get from our faith in love to aid others.

 

  • Let us pray


 

1 Peter 5 1-11

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for

“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[a]

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[b] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.11 All power to him forever! Amen.

 

Titus 1 6-9

An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife,[b] and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. A church leader[c] is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker,[d] violent, or dishonest with money.

Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

 

 

Luke 6   46-49

46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

 

Ephesians 1 15-18

15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[e] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

 

1 Cor 16  13-14

13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.[c] Be strong.14 And do everything with love.

 

Luke 1  80 John grew up and became strong in spirit.

 

Luke 2 39-40

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

 

1 John 2 12-14

12 I am writing to you who are God’s children
because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.[c]
13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith[d]
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I am writing to you who are young in the faith
because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14 I have written to you who are God’s children
because you know the Father.
I have written to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I have written to you who are young in the faith
    because you are strong.
God’s word lives in your hearts,
and you have won your battle with the evil one.

 

Psalm 31

R So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord!

 

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.

Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.  R

 

I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.  R

12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.

14 But I am trusting you, O Lord,
saying, “You are my God!”
15 My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.  R

16 Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.
17 Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord,
for I call out to you for help.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
let them lie silent in the grave.[a]
18 Silence their lying lips—
those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly.  R

 

19 How great is the goodness
you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
blessing them before the watching world.
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
far from accusing tongues.

21 Praise the Lord,
for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
22 In panic I cried out,
“I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
and answered my call for help.

23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord!   R

 

 

 

 

Notes for my talk today God loves me even when I follow.


Link to recorded version on church website here  for the next 8 weeks.

 

God loves me even when – I Follow 

Theme

Some think that even though they follow God and believe, that God does not love them

They are not quite good enough to count as holy to receive from Him.

However God loves all who follow His Son even when they are not getting it all right.

 

No Matter what God loves those who follow Him.

We can not be separated from His love

He will answer with good things when we ask, especially His Holy Spirit

We might doubt and wonder about how much He can love us but it is total. He knows us and still loves us.

 

Readings

Luke 15:11-32 & Luke 11 9-13

Romans 8 31-39

Psalm 139

 

  • Over the last weeks we have looked at ‘God loves me even when …..’ I am Small and Broken,  Weak and Afraid,  I forgot and get of course.

This week we will be looking at  ‘I Follow’, in many way’s these all tie together, we can be a follower of Jesus and still feel that I am to small, broken, Weak, afraid and lost for God to really love me. However the bible shows the lie in that train of thought.

 

  • Over the years I have found many committed followers of Jesus who do not really believe He loves them.

 

Some think that even though they follow God and believe in Him, that God does not love them

 

I am not good enough

I am not important enough

others are in more need

I am to small

He has more important things to worry about

and many other thoughts

 

However God loves all who follow His Son even when they are not getting it all right.

 

Today we look at why I believe that and I do believe that.

 

 

  • We can be a follower of Jesus and still feel that I am to small, broken, Weak, afraid and lost for God to really love me. However the bible shows the lie in that train of thought. Jesus loves you even if as a follower you fall short of what you think He expects. Nothing can separate us from His love.

 

Our reading from Romans says

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus.’

 

Paul could not think of anything that could remove us from Gods love

Can you.

What do you think you can do which will mean God no longer loves you?

 

 

Many over the years have held on to these words of Paul.

He may have suffered but he knew God loved Him.

 

  • When Paul arrived, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around and made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove. Paul denied the charges. “I am not guilty of any crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government,” he said. Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?”
    Acts of the Apostles 25:7-9 NLT

Faith means trusting God. ‘Faith’, as C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.’

 

It is hard to trust God when everything seems to be going wrong.

Our emotions and our heart can draw us back into old ways of doing things.

WE forget what our rational decision to follow God when we are disappointed, angry ect.

 

 

Paul did during his life and many others in the bible and since have trusted in Gods love for them during their struggles.

They like me knew deep in themselves that God really did love them.

 

  • Life is a set of challenges, problems and hassles. We sometimes imagine that if we could just deal with the immediate challenge that we are facing, all our problems would be over. But life is not like that. If we resolve one problem, others are just around the corner.

    The temptation is to see these challenges as preventing us from carrying out the ministry God has given us. In actual fact, dealing with the problems is the ministry. As one former Bishop of Kensington put it: ‘These are not the problems associated with the ministry, they are the ministry.’

Nicky Gumball

 

Romans 8

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

 

What difficulties are you struggling with which God might be wanting to use to further your ministry for Him?

 

I spoke before about how God has got me to see how although I am weak and broken He has a use for my small light.

 

 

  • “God’s timing is not always our timing. He sometimes does things little by little. When we become Christians and break down the idols in our lives, we might expect all our weaknesses and vices to be driven out at once, but character transformation is a long process. Little by little, he transforms us into the likeness of Christ as we listen and obey, working out our salvation with fear and trembling” Read in World Live

 

Just because we are struggling as a follower does not mean He does not love us, in fact the opposite is true it shows His love as He stays with us as he brings change in us.

 

Romans 8

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

 

If God suffered to show His love how can we doubt He does.

 

 

  • Luke 15

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ 31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.

 

Do you feel like the older son?

Never given anything by God, working all the time for Him but not loved?

 

Then remember the last few words of this passage.

“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.

 

Everything God has is promised to you,

Yes their is great celebration for each new person who turns to God, however that does not mean He loves those who have followed for a long time any less.

For everything is already theirs.

 

  • Luke 11:9-13

9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

 

As a follower of Jesus you are a child of God, you have access to all He has.

Each of us just has to ask.

 

Often that is the problem, we do not believe we are worthy enough to ask.

 

Like the other son, we just put our head down and work day after day at following.

 

However what is the point of following like that and never accessing the Love the Father has for you?

 

When I came to faith it was with a great revelation of just how much I was loved by God.

I know I can ask my mum for any help I need and she will give it, I know I can ask any of you for help and you will give it.

I know even deeper that I can ask for help from my Lord and He will give it.

He will give just what I need.

 

I know I can because I have experienced His deep love for me

 

God wants to support His followers those who trust and have faith in His love.

 

  • Psalm 139

1 O Lord, you have searched me out and known me;

you know my sitting down and my rising up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

2 You mark out my journeys and my resting place

and are acquainted with all my ways.

3 For there is not a word on my tongue,

but you, O Lord, know it altogether.

4 You encompass me behind and before

and lay your hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

so high that I cannot attain it.

6 Where can I go then from your spirit?

Or where can I flee from your presence?

 

God knows all you are going through all your thoughts.

He just wants you to bring them to Him and ask for His help.

He can not help if you do not ask.

When you ask He will answer.

 

Can any of you tell us how you have struggled to ask for Gods help and what happen when you did eventually ask?

[Letti]

 

 

  • Know this you are loved even if you do not think yourself worthy.

 

The bible is full of signs of how much God loves his children.

You and I are His children.

 

 

WE ARE LOVED, so much that He gave His LIFE for YOU.

  • Let Us Pray

 

 

I want each of you to feel that you can bring to God your current needs.

So we will have a period of quite for you to do that.

 

Father God we come to you with our needs, our fears, our hopes and to know your love.

 

Send your Spirit to show us Jesus and therefore your love for us.

 

Send your Spirit to show us that you care about our problems know matter how small they might seem.

 

You are after all the God who knows how many hairs we each have.

 

Give us faith enough to trust that we can ask and will recive.

 

All this we ask in the Name of Jesus God who died for us.

Amen

 

 

If you would like prayer for anything and would like to be prayed with, please come to Clare, myself, Robert or one of the other prayer ministry team and we will pray for you to know the deep love Jesus has for you and bring together your needs to Him.

 

God wants us to pray for each other and through that He will show his love as we ask of His blessings.

 

 

 

 

 


Notice sheet piece

Does God love me even when I follow Him?

Over the last weeks we have looked at ‘God loves me even when  …..’ I am Small and Broken,  Weak and Afraid,  I forgot and get of course.  Some of these talks are still available on the website to listen to.

This week we will be looking at  ‘I Follow’, in many way’s these all tie together, we can be a follower of Jesus and still feel that I am to small, broken, Weak, afraid and lost for God to really love me. However the bible shows the lie in that train of thought. Jesus loves you even if as a follower you fall short of what you think He expects.  Nothing can separate us from His love.

‘And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus.’ [1]

You may have suffered from those who said they loved you but you will not from the Father. The story of the prodigal son [2] shows God’s love for those who wander away and the ones who do not. The elder son did not believe he was loved as much as the wandering son, but he was, he had just not asked for anything. [3]  Know this you are loved even if you do not think yourself worthy.

[1] Romans  8:38-39

[2] Luke 15:11-32

[3] Luke 11 9-13

Notes for Talk on God loves me even when – I am small or broken


A recorded talk is here http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/  for the next 8 weeks.

Readings                    Isaiah 42 1-4               Matthew 12 9-21; 33-37         Psalm 31

Theme – God loves me even when -I am small or broken

  • v Many of us feel as though we are unimportant, we are broken, weak, our impact for god is small, we feel unloved due to our failings.

Jesus talked about being lights to the world but we hardly feel we are a tea light glowing dimly for a short time.

We feel that we are not the perfect person God wanted and made.

However when you make something and invest it with a lot of your love how do you feel about it when it gets damaged?

 

  • v Which is better.

Large candle or tea light  [have both and light them]

This pot or this one [my superman pot or the one I made]

a big powerful important person of faith or a small shy person of faith?

God doesn’t see it this way, even a flickering light is important, in our readings God says he will not put out a flickering candle.

 

  • v Talk about how god spoke to me about my worth through a tea light.

 

  • v Spend some time thinking about the things you do for God no matter  how small.

 

 

  • v Are they important, do you think God is pleased that you did it?

Do you think he would rather have snuffed it out?

 

Our Psalm 31 talked about people avoiding us about how broken I am

 

To my enemies I’m a monster;
I’m ridiculed by the neighbours.
My friends are horrified;
they cross the street to avoid me.
They want to blot me from memory,
    forget me like a corpse in a grave,
    discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
But you Lord see even the broken and weak as important, you delight in what they do.

From Romans 9

21Doesn’t a potter have the right to make a fancy bowl and a plain bowl out of the same lump of clay?”

This is because you made us and invested us with your image, your love, and time.

Like when we make something it holds a special place for us even when it gets a little cracked and broken we are held in a special place by God who made us.

Genesis 1 26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[b] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[c] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings[d] in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

Think about that for a while.

You may ask, ‘Why did you make me like this?’. However God made us, it is to serve a purpose in his great plan. Move from resistance to gratitude.   Steve Silvester

 

  • v How does it make you feel that God loves you even as a small light or a cracked pot.

He loves you the way you are because life has crafted what he made into this.

He understands all you have experienced over the years, the things that have influenced you.

You might feel broken weak or unimportant but you are not.

Even a dim light in the darkness can save a life, even a broken pot can bring living water to a person who is thirsty.

 

Jesus loved the man with the deformed hand enough to bring healing to him even when the law said he should not.  Doing good is not limited by law, ability or size, it is what God does and wants.

 

  • v It is by the fruit you bring forth that you are known, not by how much or how big but by some good coming from your life.

A tea light might not seem much but at the right time it can make a big difference.

 

A broken cup might not seem much but can make a difference if that is all that is available.

 

Accept what you are and give of what you are, as a tree ages if gives less fruit but it does still bear fruit even if only one small apple.

 

God loves you because you are His made in His image and made for a purpose which no one else can fill.

Accept that love and flourish as you are.

Small and Broken is just what might be needed.

 

He loves you so much that he died just for you.

 

Time of open prayer and reflection

 

 

Notice Sheet

This week we are starting a summer series called God loves me even when……

Many of us wonder if God loves us in all situations, we will cover many of these over the summer weeks. From this weeks ‘I am Small and Broken’ through ‘I am Weak and Afraid’, ‘I follow’, ‘I am Lost and Sick’, ‘I am Strong’, ‘I lead’ and many others. Each week we will look at the subject and see what the bible says about how God sees it and us.

Many of us feel as though we are unimportant, we are broken, weak, that our impact for god is small, we feel unloved due to our failings. Jesus talked about being lights to the world but we hardly feel we are more than a tea light glowing dimly for a short time rather than the bright light God wants. We feel that we are not the perfect person God wanted and made.

Many of us compare ourselves to others and just see a broken person or a small flickering light compared to the big people and bright lights around us. We then wonder if God can love us at all. The good news is that we are made in His image and He loves us flaws and all. In fact its our weaknesses and strengths that make us the people God made us to be. Our individuality is what makes us valuable to God and his plans.

We hope over the summer to help show that Gods love is massive, much bigger than we often think.

 

 

 

Matthew 12

Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, 10 where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)

11 And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! 14 Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.

Jesus, God’s Chosen Servant

15 But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, 16 but he warned them not to reveal who he was. 17 This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:

18 “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
20 He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
21 And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”

 

33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

 

 

 

Isaiah 42 

“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart
until justice prevails throughout the earth.
Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction


Psalm 31

R Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.

Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.  R
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.

I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within. R
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.  R
13 
I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.

14 But I am trusting you, O Lord,
saying, “You are my God!”
15 My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
16 Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.  R
17 Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord,
for I call out to you for help.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
let them lie silent in the grave.[a]
18 Silence their lying lips—
those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly.

19 How great is the goodness
you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
blessing them before the watching world.   R
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
far from accusing tongues.

21 Praise the Lord,
for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
22 In panic I cried out,
“I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
and answered my call for help.

23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord!  R

 

 

THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE


The Way, the Truth & the Life

No. 2 in our short series

‘Preparing for the Coming of the
Spirit’ –

You will find the recorded version of this talk here on Ascension’s web site for the next 2 months

I want us to be listening to how the Spirit is speaking to us about how we should be living in the Spirit today. Particularly as we come to pray over Ascension – Pentecost that people may come to know Jesus (as called by the Archbishop)

Readings, John 14.1-14.                       1 Peter 2.2-10

  • I Am the Way the Truth and the Life.

 

Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

 

I spoke about Thomas a few weeks back.

He asked questions when he didn’t understand.

 

To many that is not only a bold statement but one which ignores all other options. Jesus goes on to say that He and God are one, another very bold statement. Both are at the centre of Christian belief, One God Father, Son and Spirit.

Not three gods or multiple gods of which Jesus is one, but only one God which Jesus is. Jesus is God come down as man to show us God, how He thinks, how He acts and what His nature is.

” Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!”. If this is true then we have to respond to it in some way.

 

How do you respond to this statement from Jesus?

 

Jesus also said

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

 

But Thomas like many didn’t understand

He had no idea what Jesus mean by trust in God.

Or what the Fathers home was.

What needed to be ready, where was this place?

 

Can you answer these questions?

 

  • Trust in God and Jesus [no other Gods but me]

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

 

I AM was the name God used to Moses in Exodus.

The one and only God, there are no others but Me I Am God.

 

So here Jesus is saying that He is the same God as scripture shows. The same God as met Moses.

Therefore Jesus is saying He is God and if you have trusted God you can trust me.

If you trust me you can trust God.

 

God brought His people out of slavery to a new home,

I Am is doing the same for you but this time the new Kingdom is not of this world.

 

His Spirit, the Spirit of God, will be there to show us the way to this kingdom and how to live as if we are already there.

 

  • Seeing God the Father through Jesus [Jesus shows us the Father, the Father is like Jesus]

 

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

 

Philip wants to see God the Father, seeing God will satisfy him.

I doubt he is alone in this, many want to see God.

 

 

9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

 

Jesus also said in John 10 30 ‘The Father and I are one’

 

Jesus is sure that seeing Him is the same as seeing the Father.

Looking at what Jesus did and how He acted shows us how the Father acts and what He wants doing.

 

We can know God though Jesus, they are the same.

 

  • We are the living priests of God, through Jesus, God’s people [we are to reflect God as Jesus did]

 

If we are following Jesus, living the way and the truth, we will reflect Him in our Life into the world around us, just as a priest would.

 

Priests back then where thought of as an extension of God, showing and telling the people what God wanted. Performing sacrifices.

 

1 Peter 2

4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.[a] Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

 

 

John 14

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

 

As the new temple, which is made of those who follow Jesus, build on Jesus the cornerstone.

We are all to act like priests, offering sacrifices to God the Father.

 

Not animal sacrifices but sacrifices of our own body. Giving ourselves to Follow Jesus and His ways.

Doing the things Jesus did.

 

Healing the sick.

Blessing the poor and outcasts.

Looking after the orphan and widow.

Loving others as much as we love ourselves.

 

Priests are supposed to act like the god they follow, they show god to the world and people around them in their life.

Doing the same things as Jesus, God on earth, did.

 

1 Peter 2 9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[g] a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

 

This we can only do when filled and powered by His Spirit.

 

 

  • We who trust will never be disgraced, abandoned

[Jesus was not abandoned neither will we be]

 

1 Peter 2

. 6 As the Scriptures say,

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,[b]
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”[c]

 

Isaiah 28

16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,[d]
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.

 

Both Isaiah and Peter tell us that those who trust in the Cornerstone, that is Jesus will not be shaken or disgraced.

Jesus followers will not be abandoned just as Jesus was not abandoned by the Father during His time on earth.

 

Deuteronomy 7

6 For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

 

God chose His people,

First Adam and Eve.

Then Abram, then Jacob and Joseph.

Then the 12 tribes through Moses.

Now He choices each of us through Jesus.

 

 

We are chosen adopted as His Holy people.

Or as Clare put it last week we are His sheep and He is our Shepherd.

He knows each of us by name and will look after us.

 

We will be filled with His Spirit and guided by His Spirit.

 

1 Peter 2 10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”

 

As far as God is concerned only those who follow His path are a People all others are a non People.

 

Deuteronomy 32

21 They have roused my jealousy by worshiping things that are not God;
they have provoked my anger with their useless idols.
Now I will rouse their jealousy through people who are not even a people;
I will provoke their anger through the foolish Gentiles.

 

 

  • We stumble because we do not obey [we ignore or disobey God and the right way of living]

 

However those who do not trust in Jesus who do not follow the true way to eternal life, will stumble.

 

This is because we do not

1 Peter 2

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

 

That fate is judgment.

 

The only answer to judgment is Jesus the rock the cornerstone because He is ‘ the Way the Truth and the Life’.

 

 

  • Lets put this together

 

To reach God many think they need to build up on their own endeavors just like those who built the tower of Babel.

However If Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life He is the cornerstone of our lives.

The cornerstone of the temple.

We are the temple of God, His priests.

So we need to fit our lives onto the corner stone.

The temple is built upon Christ.

We the building blocks of the temple, Gods priests, we come in many different sizes and shapes but we all fit together around the corner stone.

 

Building Gods temple, His people on and around the cornerstone of Christ, Gods word.

 

Many stumble because they are trying to build their lives on their own foundation rather than the cornerstone the foundation God supplied.

They want to reach God their way, under their own way of living, under their own rules.

 

Jesus has not left this open to us.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

 

Only by building our lives on the cornerstone can we know the way

Only by accepting the truth that a building has strength when build around the cornerstone can we have Live.

A building fails unless built on a cornerstone.

So instead of God being up high and us trying to reach Him, He is at the bottom holding us all together.

He is the Rock which binds us together.

 

Lets Pray.

 

 

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

 

 

 

 

 

Notice Sheet piece 

 “I am the way, the truth, and the life”

 

‘The New Testament does not say, “You shall know the rules, and by them you shall be bound”, but “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.’ [1]

Truth is under threat today. Post-modern culture is suspicious of claims to absolute truth. Just look at some recent elections and how Fake News is rife. Truth is what feels right to me – truth is what I make it! Subjective approaches to truth are not new, however. In Jesus’ day, religious leaders read Scripture diligently for truth yet rejected Jesus outright. To their minds a blasphemous Sabbath-breaker could not possibly be the Son of God. Truth was what they made it. Ironically, they were more likely to accept self-styled messiahs who fitted in with their thinking.

This week we are looking at Jesus Claim “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. ” [2] To many that is not only a bold statement but one which ignores all other options. Jesus goes on to say that He and God are one, another very bold statement. Both are at the centre of Christian belief, One God Father, Son and Spirit. Not three gods or multiple gods of which Jesus is one, but only one God which Jesus is. Jesus is God come down as man to show us God, how He thinks, how He acts and what His nature is. ” Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” [3]. If this is true then we have to respond to it in some way. How do you respond to this statement from Jesus?

 

[1] John Baillie, in Living Quotations for Christians, Hodder, 1974

[2] John 14:6

[3] John 14:9b

 

 

 

 

John 14.1-14

Jesus, the Way to the Father

14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

 

 

1 Peter 2:2-10

2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Living Stones for God’s House

4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.[a] Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say,

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,[b]
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”[c]

7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him.[d] But for those who reject him,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”[e]

8 And,

“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”[f]

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[g] a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”

 

People of the Story Thomas and Faith – notes for Talk on Sunday 23rd April 2017


People of the Story

Thomas and Faith

Readings – John 20 19-29(page 828) & 1 Peter 1 3-9

Audio of talk here for a while

  • You have to like the story of Thomas.

John 11  (page 820)

14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”

16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin,[c] said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too-and die with Jesus.”

 

He didn’t really fully grasp what Jesus was saying about Lazarus however he was eager.

How often can that be said of many of us?

 

John 14(page 823)

14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

 

A bit of honest questioning and honesty about not understanding at all.

Which Jesus answers. the glorious reply ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:5,6)

 

So Thomas queries Jesus answers.

 

Now, in our reading today, he is wondering if what his friends say is true.

Have they really seen Jesus?

How you you respond to someone telling you they had seen Jesus?

 

  • Often when I hear about the things people are experiencing with God I doubt it.

 

Why I ask later do I not believe?

 

But than the same question can also be asked about why others do not believe my story of my journey with Jesus.

 

It is part of us to doubt what we did not see or we do not understand.

Was Thomas acting any differently to any of us?

Would we say that we doubted or just that we had questions?

 

Thomas like many of us who follow Jesus had a chequered relationship with Jesus.

First he was full of enthusiasm and wanted to go and die with Jesus.

Then he just did not understand what Jesus was saying or doing at all.

Now he can not connect what has happened to what Jesus had said would so doesn’t believe the others. It is not that he has given up after all he is there with them he just can’t believe that Jesus would only show himself to some.

 

  • So just like us Thomas wanted a little more proof.

He wanted to follow Jesus but often got it wrong.

So very much like me and maybe you. We want to understand we want to go the way of Jesus but often find it confusing and we do not understand.

 

  • But great news.

What happened after Thomas said he needed more proof?

 

Yes Jesus came back again and gave him what he needed.

When I came to faith it was because Jesus showed me what I needed to see.

 

I believe that is one of the points of this story, Jesus will help us to believe if we ask Him.

With no condemnation about asking either.

 

  • Peter says that faith needs to be tested, Thomas’s was here and mine is often, as I expect yours is.

 

1 Peter 1  7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

 

It wasn’t that Thomas didn’t still believe in Christ he just needed a little more revealed, after all the others had had it.

 

However he did pass this test

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

 

  • Faith struggles

David Bracewell, said in my bible study this week
You and I are amongst those who Jesus called ‘blessed’ because we have believed without seeing. But sometimes it feels a bit of a struggle, and we long for a sign, some certainty. If that is how you are feeling now, bring your doubts into the open without shame or excuse.

You may long for certainty but ‘dead certainty’ brings brittle belief that tends to crumble at the first serious challenge. By contrast, honest doubt explored with integrity will lead us into a deeper faith that will stand the test of time. Can you say: ‘My Lord and my God’? That is more than enough!

  • Trusting in Jesus brings Salvation

Thomas trusted Jesus even if he needed some more information, this trust brought him Salvation.

 

Each of those encounters with Jesus brought transformation to Thomas.

Just as encountering Jesus changed me and many others.

You to can have that transformation by engaging with Jesus.

This transformation is known as being Born Again.

 

Being Born Again requires Being filled with the Spirit, receiving our inheritance, and therefore Eternal Life.

 

  • So if you want these things and are not sure you fully understand Jesus, or have meet with Him take this opportunity to ask Jesus what you need to believe.

Ask the Father the question you are struggling with.

Spend time listening to the Spirit of God as He answers you.

Remember it was a week later that Thomas got his answer it might be even longer for you or not.

Just be open to receiving the answer.

 

 

  • Let us pray

 

 

 

John 20:19-29New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 That Sunday evening[a] the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin),[b] was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

 

 

 

1 Peter 1:3-9New Living Translation (NLT)

The Hope of Eternal Life

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance-an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6 So be truly glad.[a] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

 

 

The Woman at the Well – Talk notes for Sunday 19/03/17


People of the Story

The Woman at the Well

Readings –  John 4 5-42; Acts 16:12-14; Psalm 40 1-10

You will find a audio of the talk here for the next 8 weeks

  • This is a favorite reading, showing and telling us abut how Jesus/God meets with people and what happens when He does. And also shows us how we should do it as well.

 

  • Water and wells turn up often in the story of the people of the bible.

Look at, Abram, Moses, Jacob, and on to Jesus.

Its where people met, to water their animals and themselves.

Where do people meet these days?

Pubs?               Cafes?              On line?                        Sports?                        Work?              Baptism?

This is important because God meets us where we are, he meets us through the people we meet the places we go

Paul was much the same, going to where people met and engaging with them.

 

  • Today we are all at a baptism, where we bring a person to allow them to show they want to follow Jesus, be in a relationship with God. By being washed in water, a symbol of the living water of the Spirit.

Yes Mason can not do that himself as yet so his parents Dave & Verica along with others make that choice for him and themselves instead.

 

So today is a good time to encounter God.

If like these ladies you know a little about God but want to know more and be in a relationship with Him

Today is the day.

Will you listen to what God wants to say to you today?

Will you ask questions and explore Whether Jesus is who He said He was?

‘The Messiah’

‘God come to save us’

 

  • Jesus took people as he found them.

Never any condemnation of them just accepting them as they were.

9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.[b] She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

 

He only had harsh words for religious leaders who did not live what they preached.

 

Neither Jesus and Paul looked down on people and neither does God, even if we often are lead to believe or think He does.

 

  • Jesus broke all the cultural taboos.

He talked to a woman who did not have a male relative with her. Not the done thing

He talked to a foreigner and one the Jews hated more than the Romans.

He talked to a women who was not married to the man she was living with, having gone through a few men already.

Paul talked to women where they met, again ignoring normal Greek and Roman morals

What would be the equivalent today?

Who would society expect you to ignore?

How would God react?

Do you think you are not someone God would be interested in?

The bible shows that God is interested in everyone, not matter how weak or strong, rich or poor, cleaver or not, man or women, child or adult, Christian or not, married or single, promiscuous or celibate.

 

  • Jesus spoke to prostitutes, the sick, the foreigner, the old and young, even to religious leaders.

He will speak to you if you ask and listen there is nothing about you God does not already know and He still loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.

 

  • Both Paul and Jesus used the persons current activity to explain the good news of how to have a relationship with God rather than forcing some strange theology onto them.

They kept it simple but deep and allowed the person to ask questions and went from there.

 

This is how I came to faith 18 years ago, God met me where I was, then slowly I was led to people who took me as I was and allowed me to ask question. I was allowed time for conversation and time to think.

The end result was like both these women a changed life.

You can ask me about that after if you want

 

  • Jesus talked about the Living water of new life, a picture of the Holy Spirit within believers.

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

 

  • The Spirit of God still speaks to people where they are and in the context of their life.

And when it does and is accepted it brings transformation.

You can not meet God and not be effected, even if it is only to choice not to follow.

Jesus could tell the women about her life and He could see how it effected her.

 

  • God gives a choice, follow Him in Jesus or not.

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming-the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”[d]

 

  • How would you respond to that statement?

 

  • What happened then?

28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

Acts  . As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying.

 

Transformation

Psalm 40

Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”

 

They both believed and went and told others who also believed. There lives where changed.

 

There was forgiveness and change

They both heard enough to get them interested and committed to God and finding out more.

 

 

  • Believe seek forgiveness and be transformed

I and many here have decided that Jesus is God and by following allowed Him to change us, transform us slowly into His likeness. This is done as God does it for us by forgiveness

 

If you also want to, do please do not miss the opportunity, talk to Robert, Clare, Sarah, Myself  or someone else who has had this encounter with God.

 

If God is good, and we believe that He is, how can it harm you to encounter Him.

 

Did it hurt either women in our readings?

Did anyone in the bible regret meeting God?

 

So if encountering God will not hurt you, what do you have to lose,?

What is stopping you from meeting with Him?

 

Let us pray

 

 

Readings from  Bible gateway  https://www.biblegateway.com/

John 4

Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.[b] She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband- 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming-the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”[d]

27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”

33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe[e] for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Many Samaritans Believe

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

 

 

 

Acts 16:12-14

12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14 One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying.

 

 

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.

You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”

I have told all your people about your justice.
I have not been afraid to speak out,
as you, O Lord, well know.
10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.