John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-7;9:6-11
Beginning with the example that God Himself sets of giving motivated by love that is generous and sacrificial, we explore the example of the Macedonian Christians so commended by Paul. We all have Time, Talents and Treasure, but why should we give and how much should we give?
Nehemiah 9:22-38; 10:30,31,39b
The Israelites recognise from their history a pattern of rejection and rebellion against Yahweh that leads to disaster, followed by His rescue and redemption; and so seek to put in place disciplines that will prevent a future repeat - they pledge themselves to not compromise with the values of those around them, to honour the Sabbath and to fulfil their obligations to worship.
Nehemiah 9:1-21. The rediscovery of the Book of Law of the Lord leads the people of God to repentance and worship so that they, once again, can become those who change the world rather than be conformed to it.
John 17:20-23. This weekend we hosted the Connexion Youth Conference reunion and our guest preacher was Ben Quant, the pastor from Wormley Free Church. He spoke from John's Gospel on the importance and privilege of the unity we share in Christ.
Nehemiah 6. As completion of the wall draws near, opposition to the building changes from a general attack on the whole project, to specific targeting of Nehemiah himself. The enemy employs three unsuccessful strategies - isolation and attack, destroy his reputation, and make him look like a coward. Nehemiah overcomes them all and sets an example for us to do the same in our own lives.
Nehemiah 5. Having dealt with repeated external opposition to the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah now finds himself having to tackle a more domestic problem which had the potential to derail the whole project from within.
Nehemiah 4. As opposition to the rebuilding of the city walls continues to mount, Nehemiah remains consistent in his response - appeal to God for help and then take practical action to address the problem. As a consequence his enemies withdraw and the building continues.
Nehemiah 3. The work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem begins - everyone (well almost everyone!) gets involved and works together in a common task. As we seek to build the Kingdom of God through the local church, the devil tries to knock us off course by suggesting that the task is too big, we have nothing to offer, and we could do it if we had the gift that see someone else has! Nehemiah 3 answers all of these objections.
APOLOGIES FOR THE POOR QUALITY OF THIS RECORDING
Nehemiah 2. Arriving in Jerusalem Nehemiah surveys the damage to the city walls and then calls the residents to help. Opposition to the work springs up immediately but Nehemiah counters with confidence that his God is with him and his enemies have no right or authority over the city. In the Christian life our ability to serve God and build His Kingdom here on earth depends on our understanding the authority and position that we have in Christ.
Nehemiah 1:1-11. Nehemiah demonstrates for us how to respond to a crisis situation so that we fall not into despair, but rather find a hopeful and Godly way forward. He takes time to wait before God and worship; he reminds himself of God's unfailing covenant of love; he takes responsibility for his part in what has happened; and then he takes action.
As we begin a new term what can we learn from the experience of Gideon in Judges 6:7-16? From a place of defeat and discouragement Gideon is reminded who God is, and who he is, and then receives a fresh calling and anointing for the future.
Hebrews 9:15-28. Continuing where we left off last week we explore the contrast between the Old and New Covenants, Jesus' role as the one who offers himself as a ransom on our behalf, and our need for a Saviour to free us from the slavery of sin.