(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 30th July – 5th August 2018)
ICE BREAKER: What has been your most special and unique relationship? Why was this so?
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 15:1-8
Some Context: This forms part of Jesus “Farewell Discourse in chapters 14-17. Jesus is preparing the disciples for his departure. He knows he will soon be crucified and he wants them to be ready for what his death will mean. After all, they’ve been together for 3 years and now they will be cut off from him. As we know this was a crucial time for their faith. Jesus had said previously that they will do greater things than him – now that he will be gone it may have been tempting to give up because they didn’t believe they had the power to continue. Jesus offers them, and us, an image of connectivity and sustaining power in the midst of our own frailty.
1. Have you experienced a time you felt near to God but far away from God’s Presence? We can so often be attending church, or be involved in some kind of ministry/activity but we seem to be lacking or missing something, our faith seems weak. Share your experience with your group.
2. READ: Isaiah 5:7; Jer. 2:21 and Ps. 80:8. What do you think is the meaning of a grapevine as a symbol for the nation of Israel? What do you think Jesus means when he says, “I AM the True Vine?”
3. God is the vine-grower or vine-dresser. Grapevines need pruning to stay healthy. So then, what does it mean for us to be pruned? Share a time when you felt pruned.
4. Think about your life and the things that take up your energy. Are there less important things (even though they may be good things) that are robbing you of productive energy? If so, what are they?
5. What are the important relationships that you need to nurture? If they’ve been neglected of late what are you going to do to rectify this?
6. Can you relate to holding onto dead things that have no chance to produce? Perhaps things like, jealousy, resentment, disappointment, or shame? Reflect and share with your group.
7. Think of yourself as the branches and Jesus as the vine. The vine provides a life source to the vine. The branches bear the fruit. Sometimes we’re so busy looking to the fruit instead of the vine. If we are to change our perspective what do you think it means to “cling to the vine”? Have you ever placed more focus on being fruitful than being faithful?
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
2 Samuel 22:29: ‘For you are my lamp , O Lord. The Lord shall enlighten my darkness. (NKJV)
As we walk the road of life we often find ourselves in dark places. The paths seem unclear and unsettled. Let us indeed trust that Jesus came into the world as a light so that no-one who believes in Him should stay in the darkness. May Jesus shine this light onto any unsettling situations in our country.
Please Pray for:
• Continued revelations in corruption investigations, as well as follow through and prosecution. Pray that corruption will become something of the past in South Africa.
• Pray for all our farmers, for their safety and any uncertainty with which they are living.
• Pray for Naledi Pandor and NSFAS as she demands order in the chaos before registrations open for next year. Pray for students that are concerned about the studies for next year.
• Pray for economic growth in South Africa.
• Pray for all our children, for their safety and an end to all human trafficking.
(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 23RD – 29TH July 2018)
ICE BREAKER: Are you a creature of habit? What are some of your routines?
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 10:1-18 & John 17: 9-19
Some Context: Most of us have well-worn paths leading to familiarity and security (the sheep pen) – we’re comfortable with predictability. We also search for places of excitement and enjoyment (the pastures) – new experiences that offer a break from the routine. Like sheep, we regularly come and go – a good analogy for the pattern of life. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, provides security and comfort to those who seek to live under his care. Jesus’ life is the doorway to God’s care.
1. In these texts Jesus says I AM the Good Shepherd and I AM the Gate. Why do you think the Jesus (and the Bible in other places) uses the image of a shepherd to describe the relationship between God and God’s people?
2. Do you find the thought, “God watches over my coming and going” comforting? Why or why not?
3. Looking back to question 1 – what do you think is the importance of Jesus referring to himself as “the Good Shepherd” and not simply “I AM the shepherd?”
4. When we look at Jesus referring to himself as “I AM the Gate” this is in reference to shepherds who had to rent space for the protection of their flock, but this now gives us a different perspective. How does this demonstrate that Jesus is “invested” in you?
5. Who is the most influential person in your life? Does this person inform your thinking about who you are as a person? In what ways does it impact your life to make Jesus the most influential person in your life – think back to the first week when we said that “we’re not only made by God but out of God.”
6. The “door” image shows us how Jesus steps into the gap against some potential threat. Sometimes we know that crisis can still be our experience. In which case how is Jesus still the “door” for you or someone known to you in the midst of that experience?
7. READ Psalm 23. In verse 4 the psalmist writes, “Though I walk through the shadow of death…” Two words differentiated by the letter “R.” In Sign language the symbol for R is crossed fingers. Now we may say that we use this symbol of ‘fingers crossed’ for good luck. But what if it’s seen as a sign of the cross, the Good Shepherd always present with us, which gives us peace in the midst of trials?
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
How comforting that we all belong to God, who has created all people. This week let us pray for:
• All people in our beautiful land to feel that they have a place to call home, a family to belong to, a circle of friends to associate with – everyone needs compassion and everyone belongs.
• The children of our land as a new academic term/semester starts. That they will value their education and do their best in every circumstance. That our Government will provide the necessary resources so that all can learn and discover the wealth of knowledge.
• An end to corruption and nepotism in government, business and families. Help each Christian to stand up against such things and to expose this for the divisiveness that it is.
• A vision that allows all to belong, especially in regards the land issue. Some much empty land and so many without a home or shelter, or a place to grow produce to provide food for themselves and their communities – may an amicable and workable solution be found.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”
Please join us this Saturday for a MANDELA CENTENARY CELEBRATION FUN DAY!
There will be fun and games for young and old, pancakes and coffee available for only R10!
The entry fee to the event is one item of non-perishable food for our Pastoral Pantry.
Funds raised on the day will go towards a new home for Gladys.
ALL WELCOME at this family fun day!
(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 16TH – 22ND July 2018)
ICE BREAKER: How good are you at navigating; how good are you at allowing someone else to read the map/directions to direct your journey?
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 7:1-2,14; 8:12-14; Exodus 13:17-22
Some Context: It was time for the Feast of Tabernacles also known as the Feast of Booths. A time to remember their journey through the wilderness after leaving Egypt. This feast reminded them that life is a pilgrimage – we’ve never fully arrived. Jesus initially doesn’t intend going, but then changes his mind and goes to teach in the Temple. The Sanhedrin, that didn’t usually meet during the Sabbath and Festival Days, is meeting to discuss Jesus. Nicodemus, who previously met Jesus under the cover of darkness speaks up on behalf of Jesus. It’s during this meeting that Jesus – outside – says, “I AM the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
1. In the desert the Israelites were guided by the pillar of cloud (day) and the pillar of fire (night). They moved when the pillars moved. Thinking about life as a journey/pilgrimage I’m sure you’ll agree that sometimes you find yourself in unwanted places – a ‘stopping place’ instead of a ‘staying place’? Has there been a time in your life when you were grateful that a ‘stopping place’ wasn’t a ‘staying place’?
2. The Israelites journey was following God. When Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world.” What do you think he meant? What does it mean to trust Christ as the source of light in our world? Have you experienced a deepening faith through Christ’s guidance in your life?
3. How has Christ’s direction helped you to take a step of reconciliation in a relationship, or to take a step of honesty and speak truth, or step towards a dream or goal?
4. When Jesus uttered this ‘I AM’ statement the religious leaders were plotting against him. Think about this – how did darkness work there? Nicodemus, who’d had a new revelation in his time with Christ, spoke out – a rather courageous thing to do. In Jesus is truth. When we let him be our light, he exposes what needs to change or be brought to a newer understanding. Have you come to a new understanding on matters, especially in spiritual matters? Share with our group.
5. Rob Fuquay, shares a story about his grandmother’s windows that needed cleaning. The afternoon sun showed up his lack of zeal in cleaning them for her – they were all streaky. He says, “no matter how challenging, Jesus’ light always brings me to a better place.” What within you needs cleaning?
6. Sometimes darkness is not always of our own making, sometimes it is as a result of our own actions. Either way our path loses it’s illumination. What do you think needs to happen to light our path brightly? What does it mean for us to be a light for the world?