Author Archives: Church Office

SEVEN QUESTIONS

 

SERMON SERIES: HALF TRUTHS

WEEK 1: EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 26 June to 2 July 2017)

ICE BREAKER: Think back to a time these words were said to you. What emotions did they evoke in you? In your heart of hearts was it a helpful encounter given the circumstances?

 

Focus Scripture Passages: Deuteronomy 30:19-20a; Mark 12:1-12

 

OVERVIEW: We live in a world in which we experience cause and effect. “Everything happens for a reason” is a true saying if speaking in the context that actions come with consequences. However, we use it often in a response to suffering. In this case it can be very hurtful and in turn raises so many other questions. Let’s discover some helpful truths together…

 

  1. If “Everything Happens for a Reason”, Adam Hamilton raises some questions of responsibility:
  2. a) Personal – we can eliminate our personal responsibility for our actions because it was always part of God’s will?
  3. b) God’s – God is responsible for everyone’s actions, including every terrible thing that happens?
  4. c) Fatalism & Indifference – If it’s all part of God’s plan it was meant to be, we are powerless to change it?

What implications are suggested by each critique and do they make sense to you?

 

  1. A 4th critique is the shared belief in God’s Providence & Sovereignty – however we interpret these concepts in different ways. Some view God as a micromanager, intimately involved in every detail of the world. While others view God as having a hands off approach, like an absent landlord who created and stepped back. What is your view? Discuss with your group.

 

  1. John Calvin (1509 – 1564) taught predestination – God has predetermined everything that happens, even before we are born. John Wesley taught that God wills all humanity to be saved. Through Prevenient Grace (in which God goes before) God works in human beings to make it possible to respond to God’s love and mercy. We can choose to accept or reject this. Discuss your thoughts on these two theological standpoints.

 

  1. Adam Hamilton writes that “God remains sovereign but has given us the responsibility to rule over this planet on his behalf.” We are free to make the choices we do. In the parable of the tenants we see that humans are the tenants farming God’s earth. We are free to make choices understanding that we are responsible for those choices. How does this help you to understand the impact of choosing a path of choice?

 

  1. “I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but sometimes there is a reason that things happen when we are attentive to God’s mission. I think God uses us and works through us as we exercise dominion in the world. When we engage ourselves in God’s rule, as we are meant to, we find joy…. God is neither the micromanager… nor the absent landlord. These ideas are both half truths. The deeper truth, I believe, lies somewhere in between.” What do you think is the ‘in-between’ place?

 

  1. Romans 8:28 reads, “We know that God works all things together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Is Paul saying that everything happens for a reason, or that it’s all part of God’s will or plan? Why or why not?

 

  1. TRUTH NUGGET: Terrible things happen from time to time. But even in the midst of these things God has a way of forcing good to come from tragedy or suffering when we trust him with it. As you look back on your life how have you seen painful experiences bring about something good and beautiful as you’ve trusted God? How have these experiences made you the person you are today?

 

PRAYER TOPICS:

Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.

Matthew 12:36 says: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement.”

May our words this week build up not destroy, may we stay in a prayerful mode and mood; blessing as we go. Billy Graham once said “ Each of us has a tongue and a voice. These instruments of speech can be used destructively or employed constructively. “

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 says : We proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

The above was written by Paul and reflects words of a “man”. Do we expect a man’s man to speak words of gentleness and use images of nursing mothers and children? Let’s put aside violence and fighting spirits and portray a kindred spirit – more like Paul and less like the hate of the world.

Please pray for :

  • Aids pandemic
  • The education system and the possible reduction of pass rate levels
  • The Tanzanian quake – for the families affected by this tragedy
  • Corruption in the police force
  • The Hout bay protests
  • Safety on our roads

Psalm 46:1. Proverbs 16:32

 

SEVEN QUESTIONS 26 JUNE – 2 JULY 2017

Faith & Grace Prevail

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 26 June to 2nd July 2017)

This week we move to the unthinkable as God asks Abraham to take the long-awaited and promised child, Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice. Yet in the end Abraham’s faith and God’s grace prevails.

 

  1. READ: Genesis 22:1-14. This encounter must have started as what can be described as a very difficult conversation in which God called and Abraham responded. Can you recall any hard situation/s that God has called you to? What difficult conversations followed?

 

  1. In this text we see in the end Abraham’s faith and God’s grace prevailing. In view of your experience in question 1 how did you experience God’s grace prevailing?

 

  1. READ Psalm 13. The psalmist laments and questions God, “How long must I…” He pleads for God’s attention through his questioning hearts cry. Our own questioning can at times call into question our most treasured beliefs. How can these moments in our faith journey bring new perspective – a bit like what Saint John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul?”

 

  1. READ Romans 6:12-23. All the do’s and don’ts of scripture can seem rigid and appear to be far from the gospel of grace. “God doesn’t always expect us to make the right choices, but we have the power to choose.” Look at verse 14. Discuss this statement.

 

  1. Verses 15-23 deal with us choosing freedom or slavery. How do you think the Gospel of Christ allows us to overcome the pervasive power of sin so that we truly experience the reality of the freedom we find in Christ?

 

  1. How does obedience from the heart help you to re-orient your life?

 

  1. READ Matthew 10:40-42. What do you think it means to offer another a cup of cold water? How is God’s grace active in this act?

 

Resource Note: Disciplines, A book of Daily Devotions 2017, The Upper Room

 

PRAYER TOPICS:

Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.

The following is from “ you’ll get through this ..” by Max Lucado.

 

In the chaos called “Joseph’s life”, I count one broken promise, at least two betrayals, several bursts of hatred, two abductions, more than one attempted suicide, ten jealous brothers, and one case of poor parenting. Abuse. Unjust imprisonment. Mix it all together and let it sit for thirteen years, and what do you get? The grandest bounce back in the bible! Jacob’s forgotten boy became the second most powerful man in the world’s most powerful country. The path to the palace wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t painless, but wouldn’t you say that God took this mess and made it into something good?

 

  • Let’s be patient but faithful
  • Let’s rebuke fear and trust instead
  • Let’s not be bitter but better. Better at being role models of Jesus.
  • Let’s stand on all evil becoming eventual good

 

Pray Micah 6:9, Habakkuk 2:2-3 and Psalm 121. Believing – mind blowing, relentless, unashamed, inspirational, continual faith WILL result in unfolding miracles.

WE CAN MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO THIS WORLD IN HIS NAME.

 

SEVEN QUESTIONS 19 – 25 JUNE

Discipleship & Grace

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 19th – 25th June 2017)

1. READ: Genesis 21:8-21. This is a story of consequences, burden and rejection as an outcast. Share a time in your life when this was the experience of either yourself or someone known to you.

2. What was your (or their) experience of God hearing you where you were?

3. READ Psalm 86:1-10. The first line says “Bend down (incline your ear) O Lord, and hear my prayer.” It’s a plea to God… Prayer and a sense of being heard always involves relationship and attention. The Psalmist’s confident of the right to seek God’s help with the beliefs that God will respond. What do you think about this statement?

4. God is a big picture God and we can certainly see God’s grace at work in the small stories and every day details of our lives. How could we be part of God’s community who hears the voice of those crying in the ‘desert’ and who keeps the promise to protect and nurture those who bear the brunt of an unjust world?

5. READ Matthew 10:24-39. Without the gift of grace and the empowerment of the Spirit, none of us could live up to Jesus’ invitation to discipleship. Does this statement bring you comfort for the mission head? Why or why not?

6. How have you shown God’s love, grace and mercy to others in this past week?

7. READ: Romans 6:1-11. In what ways do you have to die to self in order to experience freedom that is born out of faith in Christ?

PRAYER TOPICS:
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
The work place – not a church building- is where people spend most of their time. God reveals Himself where people are – during their everyday lives. Abraham and Isaac prospered in the work place. (Genesis 24 and 26) Joseph served God as an administrator. Amos was a sheep breeder and tended trees and Daniel served God as a government official. Turning our world upside down for God is possible. How can you impact the people around you this week?
Please pray for:
· The strengthening of the rand
· The rights of cancer patients at public hospitals
· Bee keepers in Knysna and all over the world
· Gender issues- especially in third world nations

Psalm 40:8 : I desire to do Your will O my God- Your law is within my heart. Psalm 47 is a wonderful tribute of thanks.

KNYSNA FIRE

As a result of the recent fires in Knysna we are sending donations to The Methodist Church in Knysna to help the victims of the fires.

You can either send your contributions to the :
Hillcrest Methodist Church
First National Bank
Branch code : 223726
Account No. : 62076173112
Reference : KNYSNA FIRE

or direct to:

The Methodist Church of SA, Knysna Society
First National Bank
Branch code : 210214
Account No. : 62000506529
Reference : KNYSNA FIRE

Thank you.