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KEEP GOING… JESUS SHOWS A DIFFERENT WAY – 26 AUGUST 2018

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 20th to 26th August 2018)

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: Luke 5:1-11; Matthew 6:25-34; Hebrews 11:1-3 and
2 Corinthians 4:7-18

A wonderful collection of verses that will lead us into some interesting discussions about Keeping on and staying the course of faith because even though circumstances may remain the same we can embrace a different response and outcome because of Jesus.

1. READ: Luke 5:1-11. Jesus takes everyday familiar things and uses them to teach us about God and about ourselves. The fishermen are washing their nets after a fruitless night of fishing. Jesus tells them to go out again to the deep waters and to let out their nets again. We know this well in our own lives, we keep walking a familiar path and receive similar results. What are these familiar paths for you right now?

2. What can you do to hear Jesus voice directing you in this similar path, but which will require a different response from you? What do you hope the result will be?

3. READ: Matthew 6:25-34. Worry… we’ve all done it. Jesus says that worry will not add anything positive to our lives. What kinds of emotions and responses does worry evoke in you?

4. We will have concerns in our lives – this the nature of living the in the world that we do. In verses 33-34 Jesus offers us an alternative to worrying. Read it again and look at Hebrews 11:1-3. Remember we looking at our lives with the same circumstance but desiring a different response & result, so what can you do differently when you’re faced with a challenge or a concern?

5. READ: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. A beautiful passage on persevering through faith. Paul writes that we are like clay jars with treasure within. What do you think that treasure is?

6. In verse 13 Paul refers to the “same spirit of faith”. How does knowing that the Spirit of God that is in Jesus, that is now within you, help you to persevere and to keep at your walk of faith so that God is glorified through your life and witness into the world?

7. Life is often about managing the curved balls thrown at us – these are often the circumstances that shape and mould us the most. They evoke a response in us. Look at verses 16-17 again. What comfort can you take from these verses? Share a time, if you haven’t already done so, that your faith was refined and strengthened through a time of trial. In the context of HMC, with all the changes that have taken place this year, what will persevering in faith mean for this community and how can we stay the course so that God is glorified through it all?

PRAYER FOR SOUTH AFRICA AND OUR WORLD: 20 – 26 AUGUST 2018

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

2 Corinthians 4:17: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” We are going to experience troubles in our world and in our country. If we limit ourselves to seeing just those things in the world then these troubles will affect us deeply. Let’s instead invest in the promises of the Word and in the mercy of the Lord. These troubles then become momentary and manageable, merely a “light affliction”.

Dear Lord,
We thank and praise you for your daily miracles and answered prayer –
For the rain in the Cape, where the dams are now at higher levels than they have been for 2 years.
We continue to pray for more miracles, where you will receive all the Glory, as you make the impossible, possible….

• For the State Capture enquiry– We pray for the commission to work fast, be transparent and set plans in place to avoid corruption like this in the future
• We pray for our Economy – to turn quickly and grow rapidly
• We Pray for a miracle in the land issue, where farmers of all races can work together to create a stable environment for farming
• Pray for all our people to unite, and work together to make our nation great to glorify God

Amen

“Truth sees God, and wisdom beholds God, and from these two comes the third, and that is a marvellous delight in God, which is love. Where truth and wisdom are, truly there is love, coming from both of them. All are of God’s making.” Julian of Norwich, Encounter with God’s Love.

THE GOD WE CAN KNOW #7 – I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE – 19 AUGUST 2018

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 13th – 19th August 2018)

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 11:1-27

Some Context: Mary and Martha lived in Bethany. Previously Mary had anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. Now their brother Lazarus ill and they send for Jesus. Then he dies, and Jesus raises him from the dead. The story is not so much about Lazarus but about those who have to live with death, in this case Mary and Martha. This time in anyone’s life can leave us with the “Lord, if you had been there…” questions in our lives. Resurrection didn’t start with Jesus – it goes back as far as the book of Daniel (12:2) – it was a belief, and idea, held by the Pharisee’s of the day but not a reality. The Greek word for believe is ‘pisteuo’, which also means ‘trust.’ Resurrection has now become a reality – belief becomes a matter of trust.

1. Why do you think the raising of Lazarus caused so much alarm for the Jewish religious leaders, so much so that not only was Jesus a wanted man but so was Lazarus (see 12:9-11)?

2. Facing death, particularly for the first time, can raise many questions and fears. Share how such a time in your life impacted your understanding of God?

3. As with all the I AM sayings Jesus is in conversation with someone. Knowing what led him to Bethany and the conversation with Mary, what do you think Jesus wanted Mary to feel and know?

4. Read verses 25-26 again and this time replace the word ‘believe’ with ‘trust’. Does this give you a new insight? If so, what? – share your thoughts.

5. Karl Barth likens his relationship with God to a person who rings the bell in the village. If you lose your balance and fall into the abyss catching the rope will result in a loud gong shattering the silence of the still night – in times of desperation we can still reach out and discover the sureness of God’s presence. Have you ever put your trust in God in a way that feels like clinging to a rope?

6. Think about the difference between Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus was brought back to this life. Jesus was raised to a resurrected life. What is the difference between resuscitation and resurrection to you?

7. In your faith journey have you experienced letting go or ‘death’ in order for God to give you new life? Share with our group.

PRAYER FOR SOUTH AFRICA AND OUR WORLD: 13 – 19 AUGUST 2018

Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
At one point in time the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness. They always carried the ARK with them. Before they moved it- they always prayed: “Rise up Oh Lord! Let Your enemies be scattered. Let those who hate you flee before You.” There were always dangers when they travelled and they needed God’s mercy. We still live in a hostile world and so we need God to go before us. What’s more important than physical safety is the guidance of God making our path straight for us.

• Pray that God goes before us in South Africa, that He will claim South Africa back, and remove evil and crime so that this Nation may be an example to the world of His miraculous power.
• Pray for all corruption to be rooted out, for a great light to shine on all the dark deeds so that they may no longer be hidden.
• Pray for an end to racism, pray that we will only see each other as God’s Children.
• Pray that Christians all over South Africa, will feel God’s spirit upon them and hear His voice of guidance as to how we can each play a roll, big or small, to build a Godly nation.
• Pray that our Church leaders will band together to speak out against injustice and work as one, across the divides of denomination, to be a Godly power for miraculous change in our Country.

Amen.

THE GOD WE CAN KNOW #6 – I AM THE WAY – 12 AUGUST 2018

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 6th – 12th August 2018)

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 14:1-14

Some Context: This verse has probably been the source of much controversy for centuries. On a first read it can imply intolerance and be used to invalidate other faith beliefs. We will journey together some more on this through the questions below. Let’s understand that Jesus was talking to his disciples – and not a great crowd that included people of other faiths or religions. They’d shared the last supper together and Jesus had just delivered some very hard news. Jesus is offering a picture of heaven in this passage.

1. This scripture is often used at a funeral or memorial service to offer comfort to the grieving family. “Rooms, dwelling places or mansions” – the word is the noun form of “abide” – think about last week’s message. Knowing the conversation that preceded Jesus saying these words, “I AM the way, the truth and the life” how does it shape your understanding of this I AM statement?

2. Some more context: Johns’ Gospel was written at a time of great tension between the Jews and the Christians. Christians has also become a target for persecution in Rome. Do you think John’s intention could be been used to help Christ-followers be certain and assured of their faith and connection to Christ? Why or why not?

3. The next part of verse 6 – “no one comes to the Father except through me” still appears to be an exclusive statement. Debates about what “makes Christianity Distinctive?” tend to rage on. CS Lewis offers an answer – “It’s grace” If we think of this in the light of our salvation does it change the way you think of this verse? How or why not?

4. The name Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) means “God is salvation.” What do you think of this statement: “Jesus is Jesus because he is the embodiment of a grand truth – God is Salvation. Jesus came to live out that truth and provide a way for us to experience it. That way is a way of grace and truth.”?

5. What do these words from John’s Gospel, that provide us with a pattern for living, mean for us today if we are to be embracing and accepting followers of Christ? If Jesus is our pattern for living, then how can we do this? What are ‘ways of being’ as a Christian that can be life-giving for us and others?

6. What is the difference between a church that focuses on helping people know Jesus versus a church that focuses on making people members? Which church is HMC and what part do you play?

7. The disciples made Jesus a way of life. How do you make Jesus a way of life in your ordinary living. What does it look like for you?