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Sunday Message – 26th February

Sermon Series:  The Way of Jesus

Theme:  Questioning

Scripture:  John 20: 24 – 31

Andrew spoke about the vital place of questioning in our following God in the way of Jesus.  When we stop questioning, we have stopped growing.  It is a dangerous place to be if we have an environment where questions are not being asked because they are perceived as a sign of weakness.  In a world where many experience doubts and unanswered questions and where many are seeking for something certain, we need to be a community where questions can be openly explored.

In the passage we looked at, we can often find it easy to condemn Thomas for his doubts and its easy to see Jesus command to ‘Stop doubting and believe’ as a sharp rebuke.  Maybe we read this in because that is how we have often been.  However, we must notice that Jesus doesn’t coerce Thomas into believing at all…instead, he invites him to explore his wounds and thus giving space for Thomas to explore his doubt.  We’ve no evidence that Thomas put his hands anywhere near Jesus, but yet the simple invitation to explore doubt led to the exclamation from Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God!’

Let us be sure to create space to explore our doubts, assured that Jesus welcomes them, and move on in our understanding and relationship with him.

For further study:  Read John 18 and explore the doubts that Peter expressed.  Do you identify with Peter in these passages?  Then look at John 21:15 onwards and explore Peter’s restoration.  Perhaps you need to seek a time of restoration for yourself?

Sunday Message – 18th February

Sermon Series:  The Way of Jesus

Theme:  Feasting

Scripture:  Luke 14: 16 – 24;  Isaiah 25: 6 – 8

Alan Dunstone reminded us of the feast that we have enjoyed in recent years:  a feast of biblical preaching, prayer, ecumenism, healing, pastoral care, serving, worship and more.  To participate in the life of the church is akin to taking part in a great feast not only for the here and now, but as a foretaste of all that is yet to come.

In opening up that parable from Luke, Alan reminded us that there may be some who although they are enjoying the feast of church, are still to accept the invitation of the Master to come and partake of the feast of salvation that Jesus offers to us.  As in the parable, there are many who offer all sorts of excuses.  Yet, God relentlessly offers us the invitation, although some may reject it now.  But, there will come a day when the quest list will be closed and it will be too late.

Alan challenges us to continue to enjoy the feasts that God sets before us, even against any suggestion that feasting might be over…some say it is impossible for us to enjoy feasting in God’s presence, but with God nothing is impossible.  As we follow in the way of Jesus, we are reminded that we take part in a Kingdom feast where all are invited and where all are welcomed.

For further study:  Take an look through the New Testament and note the amount of times Jesus spends eating with others.  What does his feasting communicate to them?  He earned the title of ‘one who eats with tax collectors and sinners.’  If we are to follow in the way of Jesus, could that accusation stick to you?

Sunday Message – 5th February

Sermon Series:  The Way of Jesus

Theme:  Journeying

Scripture:  John 1: 35 – 51


Andrew Clark spoke about the simplicity of Jesus’ call to follow him and how so often we complicate our response.  Jesus invites us on an adventure, a daring path of following which moves us out of our own safety zones to follow the wild messiah.  We’re reminded that this path, however, is never an easy one. Jesus calls it a narrow and difficult path.

The question then is why we’d want to follow on this difficult path?  Is it worth it?  Is the teaching of Jesus too difficult?  In John 6, Jesus delivers some difficult teaching and the crowd walk away.  He is left with the 12 disciples and Jesus says to them ‘do you want to go too?’  In a moment of poignant brilliance, Peter says ‘Lord, where else can we go?  You have the words of eternal life.’

The challenge to us is two-fold:  firstly, we need to respond to the challenge to follow and not be those who say ‘Lord Lord’ and then not do what he asks.  Secondly, we need to count the cost and recognise that although the road is difficult, the great and powerful reward is full life here and now and eternal life with him.

For further study:

Look at Matthew 8: 18 – 22.  Is there anything that you put in place of following Jesus?  What might the implications be of following a Jesus who had no place to lay his head?