7 March - We are followers of Jesus

7 March, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

READ 

Luke 5:1-11

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

Chapter 5

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

DISCUSS

- How has your week been?

- How have you seen God at work in your life this week?

- Read the passage again.

- Are you in the story? Where are you?

- For the fisherman Jesus met them in their work-place. Where do you encounter Jesus?

- What does this passage tell us about Jesus?

- What does it tell us about our relationship with Him?

- How does this passage challenge me in my relationship with God?

- Is there anything else the passage is saying to me?

- What am I going to do about it?

- Who am I going to share it with?

- Be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY Let us pray

This world I live in, this suburb I live in,

this street I live in, this house I live in,

may each be the focus of my prayer.

Those I live with, those I rub shoulders with,

those I work with, those I don't get on with,

may each be the focus of my prayer.

Those who laugh, those who cry,

those who hurt, those who hide,

may each be the focus of my prayer.

Prayers centred less on self and more on others,

less on my circumstances, more on the needs of others.

May my life be likewise centred less on self and more on You,

and through You to the world, in which I live and move.

Continue to grow in me a faith disciple-maker and fisherman.

Amen.

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28 February - We are known by God

28 February, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

Psalm 139 is one of my favourite Psalms that speaks of God’s character in a way that is both cosmic and intimate. A psalm that speaks of God knowing, surrounding and forming us.

READ

Psalm 139

The Inescapable God

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”

even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day,

for darkness is as light to you. For it was you who formed my inward parts;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written

all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.

O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—

those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil!

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been?

2. How have you seen God at work in your life this week?

3. Read the passage again.

4. How do you feel about God knowing everything about you?

5. Is this comforting or confronting

6. What does this passage tell us about God?

7. What does it tell us about our relationship with Him?

8. How does this passage challenge me in my relationship with God?

9. Is there anything else the passage is saying to me?

10. What am I going to do about it.

11. Who am I going to share it with

12. Be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY

Let us pray

Prayer

All-knowing God,

We gather together with praise and thanksgiving

for who You are,

and for all that You have done for us.

You know us better than we know ourselves—

all our thoughts and actions—

and yet You love us.

No matter where we go or what we do,

Your love encircles us—ahead and behind—

gently leading and guiding and blessing.

We praise You for Your love

and Your faithful presence in our lives.

May Your Spirit move in our hearts and minds as we worship together:

examine our attitudes and actions,

lay bare the things we need to confess,

challenge us with Your Word,

and guide us on to paths that lead to life.

For we are Your people, called by Your name.

Amen.

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21st February - The Prodigal Son

21 February, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

Read Luke 15:11-32

DISCUSS

- Who has done the most travelling in your family/group? How has travelled changed you/them?

- What is the one thing you would love to inherit from your parents?

- How do you try to make celebrations special now?

- What stages did the younger son go through on his pilgrimage?

- From your understanding of the father what do you think he was doing while his son was away? Why do you think that?

- What was Jesus's point in this parable? What does this story teach us about sin, repentance and God's love?

- With whom do you most identify with in this story and why?

- What is Jesus telling you in this story and what are you going to do about that?

PRAY

Let us pray

Loving God we are so blessed to be a part of your kingdom. We are ever aware of our need for your constant love and care. As we journey through this week Lord hep us to be aware of the challenges before us and the spiritual battles that we engage in. Do not let us be overwhelmed but rather as we see and respond in faith to hear the support of that great cloud of witnesses that sit in our corner cheering on our behalf. Give us the strength and perseverance for our daily battles and help us to support others in similar need. In Jesus name we pray

AMEN.

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14 February - We are Forgiven

14 February, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

Psalm 51 is one of the Psalms that deals with our need for penitence and forgiveness. The introduction links the Psalm to David’s sin with Bathsheba and what ensues, and as such grounds it in a real life situation. It reminds us that sin runs deep, it is more than a list of things that we do but rather runs deep within our spirit. Damaging our very being and our various relationships, with God, with others and with the creation. The Psalm reminds us that it is against God that we sin and that we cannot remedy the situation upon our own. It is only when we rely upon God and trust in him that salvation can come.

READ

Psalm 51

A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.

Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,

O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,

then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work in your life?

2. Read the passages again.

3. What does this passage tell us about God?

4. What does it tell us about our relationship with Him?

4. How does this passage challenge me in my relationship with God?

5. Is there anything else the passage is saying to me?

6. What am I going to do about it.

7. who am I going to share it with

8. Be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY

Let us pray

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.

Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Psalm 51: 1-12

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7 February - We are Protected

7 February, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

We have come a long way since last week where we shared the story of Paul’s dramatic conversion. Paul stayed in Damascus for 3 years, and then went to Jerusalem to become acquainted with the leading apostles there. After this meeting he began his famous missions to the west, preaching first in his native Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:17–24). During the next 20 years or so (c. mid-30s to mid-50s), he established several churches in Asia Minor and at least three in Europe, including the church at Corinth. During the course of his missions, Paul realized that his preaching to Gentiles was creating difficulties for the Christians in Jerusalem, who thought that Gentiles must become Jewish in order to join the Christian movement. He returned to Jerusalem to settle the issue, and it was agreed that Peter would be the principal apostle to Jews and Paul the principal apostle to Gentiles. In the late 50s Paul returned to Jerusalem with the money he had raised and a few of his Gentile converts. There he was arrested for taking a Gentile too far into the Temple precincts, and, after a series of trials, he was sent to Rome. We pick up the story as he is returning to Rome.

READ

Acts 27 :21-26, 39-44

Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island.”

In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work in your life?

2. Read the passages again.

3. What does this passage tell us about God?

4. Paul is confident that God keeps his promises. Have you such experiences in your own life?

4. How does this passage challenge me in my relationship with God?

5. Is there anything else the passage is saying to me?

6. What am I going to do about it.

7. who am I going to share it with

8. Be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY

Let us pray

Lord Jesus we thank you for the life of Paul, and his commitment to you and to share the gospel. Thank you for his witness that we have in the words of Scripture. Help us to be like Paul trusting your wisdom and protection. May we confident as we go into this week that we do not go alone but that you go before us and beside us protecting us from all sides and guiding us in the way ahead. Amen

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31 January - We are Free from Sin

28 January, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

Today we celebrate kickstart and reflect upon new beginnings.

READ

Acts 9:1-20 2 Cor 5:17

The Conversion of Saul

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

2 Cor 5:17

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work in your life?

2. Read the passages again.

3. What does this passage tell us about God?

4. Is your faith journey more like Paul or Ananias?

4. How does this passage challenge me in my relationship with God?

5. Is there anything or anyone I am being called to share with this week? Share that with your group and pray for that situation.

6. Is there anything else the passage is saying to me?

7. What am I going to do about it.

8. be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY

Let us pray

Loving God thank you that you have called us into a loving relationship with you. We thank you for our brothers and sisters who have similarly come to faith and we give thanks for the various ways that people have come to know you. Give me the courage to respond and step out when you call. Lord thank you that I am part of a church that wants to encourage people to step out and share their faith with others. Whether we are like Paul or Ananias may we be re-assured that our journey and relationship with you is the key and help us to deepen our faith and continue to grow in that relationship. In Jesus name I pray

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24 January - Engage

24 January, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

Emmanuel’s purpose is to grow disciples who exalt, explore, embody and engage. Through January we are going re-visit Emmanuel’s purpose

ENGAGE

Another aspect of being a disciple is our desire for other people to become disciples to. As a church we want to grow disciples who will grow disciples. This is a responsibility of all followers of Jesus. To facilitate that we will have at least one intentional relationship where we will share our faith, in the hope God will lead them to faith in Jesus Christ..

READ

Romans 10:9-15

because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work in your life?

2. Read the passage again.

3. What does this passage tell us about God?

4. What does this passage tell me about my relationship with others?

5. What responsibility does it place upon me?

6. What am I going to do about it.

7. What is there in this passage that I want to apply to my own life?

PRAY

Dear Lord thank you for your gift of grace for me and setting me free. Help me to live a life that more fully reflects living as a follower and disciple of yours. Each day may I find ways to exalt you and may my life reflect my love. May I earnestly read and explore your word and apply it to my life. Help me to live a life that embodies what I believe. That what I say and what I do resonate and ring true. Lord help me to be committed to your mission, to make disciples and to earnestly pray and commit to sharing your love and grace with those I love who do not know you. I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who is my Saviour and Lord.

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17 January - Embody

17 January, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

Emmanuel’s purpose is to grow disciples who exalt, explore, embody and engage. Through January we are going re-visit Emmanuel’s purpose

EMBODY

As disciples we are called to live out (embody) our faith where we are. At home, at work or school at church and in our community. Embody is about using our spiritual gifts to serve the communities in which we live seeking to grow the Kingdom of God.

READ

1 Peter 4:8-11

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work in your life?

2. Read the passage again. What are the key words and phrases?

3. What does this passage tell us about God?

4. What does this passage tell me about my relationship with others?

5. What is there in this passage that I want to apply to my own life?

Be prepared to share this with someone and report back on how it has gone.

PRAY

Dear Lord thank you for your gift of grace for me and setting me free. Help me to live a life that more fully reflects living as a follower and disciple of yours. Each day may I find ways to exalt you and may my life reflect my love. May I earnestly read and explore your word and apply it to my life. Help me to live a life that embodies what I believe. That what I say and what I do resonate and ring true. Lord help me to be committed to your mission, to make disciples and to earnestly pray and commit to sharing your love and grace with those I love who do not know you. I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who is my Saviour and Lord.

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10 January - Explore

10 January, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

[Link to the youtube playlist](https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkvRvo473R5gDu9Oy_H2QEXDqxcb_7Vde)

Emmanuel’s purpose is to grow disciples who exalt, explore, embody and engage. Through January we are going re-visit Emmanuel’s purpose

EXPLORE

As disciples of Jesus, we want to explore God’s word and apply his truths to our lives. We will do this individually, in small groups and in corporate worship.

READ

Acts 2:41-42

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work in your life?

2. How did you go with trying to exalt God in some way every day?

3. What were the blockages?

4. What does the passage tell us the early disciples did?

5. How do you apply these things to your own life and your church family?

6. What does this tell you about God?

PRAY

Dear Lord thank you for your gift of grace for me and setting me free. Help me to live a life that more fully reflects living as a follower and disciple of yours. Each day may I find ways to exalt you and may my life reflect my love. May I earnestly read and explore your word and apply it to my life. Help me to live a life that embodies what I believe. That what I say and what I do resonate and ring true. Lord help me to be committed to your mission, to make disciples and to earnestly pray and commit to sharing your love and grace with those I love who do not know you. I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who is my Saviour and Lord.

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