15 November- We Are Strong With God

15 November, 2020 Barry Jardine

READ: Judges 6-7

Here’s what happens…

Gideon is hiding from his enemies when an angel appears, calls Gideon a mighty hero, and instructs him to go into battle. Although Gideon is weak in his own strength, he takes a large army into battle. But God whittles the army down to a very small one to show it’s God’s power that wins the battle.

Memory Verse

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

DISCUSS

- What stands out for you in this bible passage?

- When was a time that you were afraid but you were able to accomplish the task with God’s help?

- When was the last time you sat in silence with God?

- Has there been a time in your life where you have witnessed God giving someone the strength they need in a certain circumstance?

- What’s something you’ve done that took all your strength? Maybe taking a super long hike, lifting something heavy, or doing something nobody thought you could do. Tell your partner about it.

- What would you be willing to do if you knew it would make you stronger?

- What do you think God is saying to you? What can you do about it?

PRAY

Dear God, Thank you. Thank you that we can learn about you, share what we learn freely with others and ask questions openly about you without real fear of persecution. We thank you for the world that you have created for us and that we can see Joy in tough times, love in the smile of a stranger and Hope in the dawning of a new day. God, thank you for making us strong! When we feel weak or afraid, help us remember that we are strong with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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8 November- We Are God's Masterpiece

8 November, 2020 Rev Brian Hoole

READ

Genesis 2:4-7, 18-23; Psalm 8

Here’s what happens.

God creates human beings in his image. He takes dust and breathes his very breath into humankind. Making him as the crown of his creation, and then created Eve to share with Adam. Man is given stewardship of the earth and for that we should be thankful

Memory Verse

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

DISCUSS

1. Share how you responded to God’s plan for your life over the past week.

2. How do you understand creation is it literal, or a fairy-tale or somewhere in between? Explain

3. What parts of creation do you find the most beautiful?

4. What does it mean to say that human beings are the crown of creation?

5. Humankind are called to be stewards of the earth. What does that mean?

6. How do you demonstrate your stewardship

a) over creation

b) your possessions.

c) your talents and gifts

7. What is there that you can do this week to demonstrate being a good steward of what God has given you. Share this and be prepared to share next week how it went.

PRAY

Creator God, you formed us from the dust of the earth, and reveal your fingerprints in all flesh. Teach us your deep wisdom in the order and beauty of all that you have made. When our care for your creation is found wanting, reprove and reform us, so that our footprints may be more gentle on the earth, tending and keeping it as your own handiwork, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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1 November- We have a purpose

1 November, 2020 Rev Brian Hoole

READ

Esther 4:5-17, 9:18-22

Here’s what happens.

Esther, a Jewish woman, is chosen to become queen, but King Xerxes doesn’t know she’s Jewish. Meanwhile, King Xerxes’ right-hand man, Haman, is trying to kill all the Jews! Esther’s cousin Mordecai tells Esther that she has a purpose: to save the Jews. Esther uses her position as queen to denounce Haman and thwart a plot and so saves her people. As a result the Jews institute the feast of Purim to remember how God used Esther to save his people.

DISCUSS

1. Share what you did last week to respond to recognising Jesus as both fully human and fully divine.

2.Have you ever felt like Esther having little control over events that happen in your life?

3. Do you believe that God has placed you where you are now for a purpose? Think in terms of work, family and church.

4. Why do you think God has placed you where you are now, and what are you going to do about it?

5. Esther is called to take a risk to fulfil God’s plan? Are you being asked to take any risks and what are they?

6. Esther relied upon advice from Hegai, the king’s eunuch and Mordecai. Who are your trusted advisors? Who do you look to for advice

7. Though it’s not mentioned, the story of Esther is a part of God’s plan for the world. How are you and your life a part of that plan?

8. What is there that you can do this week to respond to God’s plan or your part in God’s plan? Share this and be prepared to share next week how it went.

PRAY

The following prayer are the words of Esther as recorded in the Apocrapha that adds several chapters to the book of Esther. I include this prayer in its entirety acknowledging these are Esther’s words but they have relevance for you and I today. May Esther’s prayer be our prayer.

Let us pray

“My Lord, you alone are our king. Help me! I have no one to help me but you, 15 and I am in great danger now. 16 From my birth, Lord, I have heard how you chose Israel from among the rest of the nations, and our fathers from their ancestors, to be an everlasting inheritance. I have heard how you did for them all that you had promised. 17 But now we have sinned before you, and you have delivered us into the power of our enemies 18 because we worshipped their gods. You are just, Lord. 19 Yet the enemies weren’t satisfied with our bitter slavery, so they shook hands with their idols in partnership. 20 They plan to set aside the promises you made, to rob you of your inheritance, to silence those who praise you, and to stamp out the honour of your temple and your altar. 21 They want to open the mouths of the nations to praise the wonderful deeds of useless idols[d] so that a human king might be honored forever.

22 “Don’t surrender your sceptre, Lord, to things that don’t exist. Don’t let them mock our downfall. Instead, turn their scheme against them and make an example of the one who started this against us. 23 Remember us, Lord, and reveal yourself in the time of our distress. Give me courage, king of the gods and ruler of every authority. 24 When I speak, let my words be persuasive before the lion, and turn the king’s heart to hatred toward the one who is fighting against us, to bring his life to an end along with those who agree with him. 25 Deliver us by your actions, and help me, I who am alone and have no one except you, Lord.

“You know all things. 26 You know that I hate the honour of those who don’t follow your Law. I detest sharing the bed of this uncircumcised king or indeed of any foreigner. 27 You know my trouble: I hate the crown[e] that is on my head when I appear in public. I despise it as I would a menstrual rag, and I don’t wear it when I am in private. 28 I, your servant, didn’t dine at Haman’s table. Nor did I honour the king’s banquet or drink wine that had been offered to the gods. 29 From the day of my crowning until now, your servant hasn’t had any joy except in you, Lord, God of Abraham. 30 All-powerful God, listen to the voice of those who despair, and deliver us from the hands of those who do wrong, and deliver me from my fear!”

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25th October - Forming Foundations of Faith - God is Forever

25 October, 2020 Rev Brian Hoole

Forming Foundations of Faith - God is Forever

READ

John 1:1-6

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

Here’s what happens.

John’s gospel speaks of the eternal word of God who becomes a human being and walked on earth. In Revelation, that same human being, Jesus is acknowledged as the Alpha and the Omega, of the Lord of all time.

Memory Verse ““God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him” (1 John 4:9).

DISCUSS 

1. Share what you did last week to respond to Jesus’ call.

2. Do you think of Jesus more as a human being or as God.

3. What does it mean for you that Jesus is fully divine?

4. What does it mean for you that Jesus is fully human?

5. The book of Revelation is very much about imagery. What do you think the following images mean?

a. Alpha and Omega

b. Spirit and bride

c. water of life

d. wash their robes

e. bright morning star

6. Re-read both passages slowly twice. Reflecting on what stands out to you as the key words.

7. What do these passages mean to you?

8. What are you going to do about it?

7. Be prepared to share some of these questions next week about what God has done.

PRAY 

Let us pray

Lord Jesus, we long for when you will come again, to restore the world to the way you made it to be. As the Spirit and bride say ‘Come’ Lord help us to respond, to crave the living water that brings life and hope and eternal life. Come Lord Jesus, come into our hearts and into our lives,. And may the grace of the Lord Jesus be with us all.

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18 October- Forming Foundations of Faith - God is forgiving

18 October, 2020 Rev Brian Hoole

Forming Foundations of Faith - God is Forgiving

READ

Luke 22:54 – 62

John 21:15-19 

Here’s what happens… 

Following Jesus arrest he is taken to the high priest’s house. The disciples flee except for Peter who follows and waits in the courtyard. Three times a servant girl aske Peter if he is one of Jesus followers. Three times Peter says no, and finally says I don’t even know him. Weeks later, following his resurrection Peter and others are out fishing catching nothing and Jesus tells them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, and behold another miraculous catch. They come to the beach and Jesus questions Peter three times asking ‘Do you love me?’ Mirroring Peter’s 3 denials and challenges him each time to feed his sheep or lambs. Restoring Peter to his place as a disciple and follower of Jesus. He finishes by saying follow me.

Memory Verse ““God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him” (1 John 4:9).

DISCUSS 

1. Share something of who you prayed for or spoke to last week about Jesus.

2. Can you name an opportunity where you feel you have let Jesus down. Pray for each other that you can experience God’s forgiveness.

3. Can you think of people or places where you are afraid to speak about Jesus. What would help in those situations.

4. Like Peter Jesus knows there are times you have let him down and he forgives you and says come and follow me. Are you committed to respond.

5. What will you do this week to intentionally respond to Jesus call?

6. Who would you most like to see come to know Jesus? Share and pray for them now.

7. Be prepared to share some of these questions next week about what God has done.

PRAY 

Let us pray

Merciful God, Like Peter I am aware of the times that I have failed you and even denied you. I am truly sorry. I repent for ever having offended You, I acknowledge my many failures and give thanks that I can claim your forgiveness and blessing. I re-commit myself to following you. Help us to believe and trust in You even more, for Your grace and power is greater than our comprehension! In Jesus' name,

Amen.

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11 October - Forming Foundations of Faith - God is all knowing

11 October, 2020 Rev Brian Hoole

Forming Foundations of Faith - God is all Knowing

READ

Jonah 1:1-2 and 3:1-10

Here’s what happens. The story of Jonah

The story of Jonah is a story that speaks of the character of God, the grace of God and that God’s mission is for the whole world. God speaks to Jonah, a prophet that he is to go and preach to the people of Ninevah of God’s impending destruction of the city. Jonah doesn’t want to do it so he runs the other way, and ends up spending 3 days in a whale’s belly before he agrees to go to Ninevah. He goes into the city and preaches and the people repent. God relents and accepts Ninevah’s repentance. Jonah is angry at God because God will not punish Ninevah and runs away to die. God provides a tree o shade Jonah, and then kills it to challenge Jonah about forgiveness and grace.

Memory Verse “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 our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

DISCUSS 

1 Share something of who you prayed for and/or supported last week.

2. Has God ever asked you to do something you really didn’t want to do? Share this and what happened.

3.How do you deal with things you don’t want to do?

3. The Ninevites did bad things but they repented and God forgave them. What is there that you need to repent and be forgiven for.

4. Jonah was asked to go and speak to people who did not know God. Is there someone this week that you can share God with. Share that within the group and pray for it.

5. What do you need prayer and support for in the coming week?

6. Who do you need to pray and support this week?

7. Be prepared to share some of these questions next week about what God has done.

PRAY 

Let us pray

Let us pray: Holy and all merciful triune God, help us to grow more loving, more forgiving, more faithful and more transparent, day by day. Continue to work with us and in us to further your work of salvation, so that we may become more single-minded in our commitment to you, and our lives may become a living sign of your kingdom. Amen.

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4 October - Forming Foundations of Faith - God is our Friend

4 October, 2020 Rev Brian Hoole

READ

Psalm 25

Romans 8:31-39

Here’s what happens…  David writes a song praising God and seeking God’s intervention and blessing.. In it, he talks about characteristics of God that sound a lot like a friend! God is trustworthy, gives good advice, loves you, forgives you, helps you make right choices, and helps when you’re in trouble. What an amazing friend!

Memory Verse “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 our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

DISCUSS 

1 Reflecting back from last week how have you seen God at work in your life this week.

2. What are the thing that David asks God for.?

3n David speaks of both an external threat and internal threat. What do you see as the current threats or challenges facing you.?

3. How do you confront or deal with those threats or challenges.

4. If discipleship is moving from unbelief to belief in every area of our lives then where are the battles or areas at the moment.

5. What do you need prayer and support for in the coming week?

6. Who do you need to pray and support this week?

7. be prepared to share some of these questions next week about what God has done.

PRAY 

Let us pray

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust;

do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.

Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;

let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all day long. AMEN.

Psalm 25:1-5 NRSV

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