Category Archives: Sermon Series

Seven Questions 21 – 27 August 2017

 

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

 (Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 21st – 27th August 2017)

 

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: Matthew 16:13-20 and Romans 12:1-8

 

ICE BREAKER: Think about what has been the most affirming thing anyone has said to you. What response/emotions did this evoke in you. Share this with your group.

 

  1. READ: Matthew 16:13-20. Looking at verses 13-14, cne can imagine Jesus asking this question and the disciples, perhaps jovially, giving the common view of the people. If we were to ask people today – “Who do you say Jesus is?” I wonder who they would answer this question? Discuss together.

 

  1. In verse 15 Jesus becomes direct – he asks them what they personally think. How would you answer this question for yourself? Share with your group.

 

  1. I love Peter – he calls a spade a spade. He recognised in Jesus, as revealed to him by God’s Spirit, the divine nature of Jesus. What is your understanding of the Messiahship of Jesus and how have you experienced this in your faith journey?

 

  1. Jesus in turn affirms Peter and identifies Peter’s future role (v18). When Jesus says this how does this tie in with Jesus on work of salvation on the cross and Peter becoming the first great leader of the Church in Jerusalem post, the cross?

 

  1. Jesus also states in v.18 that as he builds the church no powers of hell will conquer it (v.18b). What does this say about the power of Jesus, motivated by love, over all forces?

 

  1. Peter also reminds us in 1 Peter 2:4-6, that we are the church, built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone. How has the faith and witness of others helped to strengthen your faith, and in so doing continued to build Christ’s church?

 

  1. READ: Romans 12:1-8. Identify the transforming work of Christ in this portion of Scripture. How are you experiencing this transformative work in your life? Are you seeing it in the church and community? Do you have any ideas on how you could impact the life of others who are searching for answers so that they also experience this transformative power in their lives?

 

PRAYER TOPICS:

 

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

 

“I have just been to the bluff and back and the journey was quite depressing.

 

Please pray about the garbage lined streets – that people will gain insight into proper litter Control and realize that we are all custodians of the land for future generations. If you teach perhaps make it a theme during a term. Have a conversation with those in your employment.

 

Please pray for the “stop street” beggars that their lives will be turned around and that they will be able to find employment or a piece of land to grow produce on.

 

Pray for those who are trying to run a business but the shop/business is bare and struggling.

 

Pray for someone to start a Facebook challenge to clean up and pick up around their industrial work place and home.

 

Please pray for the safety of pupils at schools and the headline today that says that: “condoms in schools are imperative”  – the issue is wider than this.

 

Please pray for taxi accidents and the safety of those in them. Taxis are an essential part of public transport in this country and more should be done to ensure it is safe for everyone.

 

Thank God for our blessings and for the rain and snow. Research the name of a government official for eg The Minister of transport – and bless him/her by name. Don’t get angry when you see an injustice – PRAY. Amen

(Thank you to Merle Vollebregt for this week’s prayers)

 

Seven Questions 24 – 30 July 2017

 

SERMON SERIES: HALF TRUTHS

WEEK 3: GOD WON’T GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE

 (Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 24-30th July 2017)

ICE BREAKER: “I know you’re going through a tough time right now. You feel like you’re sinking. The burden is too heavy. You don’t know how much more you can bear. But it’s going to be all right. You’re going to make it through. Remember, God never gives us more than we can handle.”  Well-meaning words meant to encourage and strengthen us/someone going through a tough time – or are they?

 

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: 1 Cor. 10:1-13; Psalm 23:4; Matthew 9:1-8

 

  1. READ: 1 Cor. 10:1-13. The context of the day is that Corinth, a port town in Greece, was inhabited with people and influences from all over the world. Pagan influences were everywhere. A phrase “to live like a Corinthian” became popular. What do you think this could have meant?

 

  1. Verse 13 is the focus verse. The Greek word Paul used leads some to interpret ‘temptation’ as being ‘tested’. What do you think is the difference? Share examples of what form temptation comes to you in?

 

  1. This passage is more about God helping you when you are tempted. Temptation tests our resolve, character and faith, and is not about adversity and difficult situations we face daily. Adam Hamilton says, “Temptation comes our way… it isn’t God who tempts us, nor does God fail to provide a way out – it’s that when that way appears, we usually don’t pursue it.” Have you experienced a ‘way out’ in the face of temptation – did you pursue it?

 

  1. The first 4 words “God won’t give you…” imply that the source of the trying circumstances is God alone (sounds like week 1). Scripture doesn’t promise we won’t go through hard times, but that at all times God wants to be our help and our strength. When someone is facing a difficult time what could be a more helpful response to support them?

 

  1. READ: Matthew 9:1-8. Who have been ‘stretcher bearers’ in times of stress, trauma and sorrow?

 

  1. READ: Psalm 23:4. What if we revised this half-truth to give us a better promise: “God will help you handle all that you’ve been given.”? How does this verse by the Psalmist give us a new perspective of the truth of this better promise?

 

  1. READ: Zechariah 9:12 and Romans 8:35-39. How would you define what Zechariah calls ‘prisoners of hope”? In what ways can you give thanks to God for his affirming presence and help in times of trial that have enabled you to cope and journey towards healing?

 

PRAYER TOPICS:

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

 

Please pray for our Nation and Community:

  • Pray for tangible signs of the Gospel in our places of influence – where we spend our days.
  • Pray for the homeless and organisations that work to provide shelter for these people.
  • Pray for those who are struggling with illness or uncertainty – think especially of those on our pew leaflet.
  • Pray for those experiencing brokenness, ourselves and others, asking for healing of body, mind and soul for all. And where we can aid that process let us not be a hindrance but assist so that faith is strengthened and hope is encouraged.
  • Pray for the Church, Church Leaders and Members, that we will all consider our response to the many challenges faced by the Church.

 

Pray aloud together this poem “What God Hath Promised” by Annie Johnson Flint:

“God hath not promised skies always blue,

Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

 

But God hath promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labour, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing sympathy, undying love.”

AMEN!

 

Seven Questions : 17 – 23 July 2017

THEME: PURPOSE

GOD GIVES JOSEPH A DREAM

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 17-23rd July 2017)

ICE BREAKER: What does it mean to you when something useful breaks?

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Genesis: Chapters 37-50 (specific verses will be noted below)

OVERVIEW: Our Duke Student, Johnny Bravo will be sharing on Purpose based on Joseph’s story that begins with a dream in Chapter 37. He will track through Joseph’s story in Genesis. God plants a dream (purpose) in our hearts – will we embrace it and run with it in order to fulfill that purpose?

1. READ: Genesis 37:1-11. This is the story of Joseph’s dreams. What dream has the Lord given you? Have you prayed about it, shared it with others and asked God for wisdom in living out that dream? Share with your group.

2. READ: GENESIS 39:19-23 Joseph is sold by his brothers, and find himself in prison due to the false accusations of Potiphar’s wife. What happens to your dream when you face challenges in life? Do you think God has forgotten you or do you cleave closer to God?

3. What was the quality that Joseph possessed that was a powerful testimony in the face of trials? How do you deal with temptation?

4. READ: GENESIS 41:1-56. Joseph managed his success well. He always depended on the Lord, acknowledging God as the provider of all his needs and the source of the blessings he received. Can you find any parallels in your life that follow this part of Joseph’s story?

5. READ: GENESIS 45:1-15. Joseph displays humility throughout his story. In this passage he forgives deeply. Have there been times when pride and unforgiveness have been a stumbling block for you? How does this passage encourage you to embrace humility and forgiveness?

6. When we hear the word prosperity most often we think of material wealth. However, it is so much more than this. How does your relationship with Christ demonstrate spiritual and relational prosperity?

7. READ: GENESIS 48. In this case, Jacob (Israel) experienced the blessing of being able to bless his grandchildren Ephraim & Manasseh because relationships were restored. What, if any, has been your experience of restored relationships? How has that been a blessing to you and which glorifies our Lord?

THEME: PURPOSE
GOD GIVES JOSEPH A DREAM
PRAYER TOPICS:
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
Please pray for our Nation and Community:
 Protection of Journalists so that they are able to report with integrity and honesty.
 Pray for our Leaders in National, Provincial and Local government.
 Pray for the EThekwini Municipality that they govern with integrity to provide services for all of the community – especially in respect of the Gleblands Hostel situation, and the management of protest situations, which in itself highlights deep crisis in our communities.
 Pray for the Church, Church Leaders and Members, that we will all consider our response to the many challenges faced by the Church.
Pray aloud together:
Go forth in peace, for you have followed the voice of the Good Shepherd on the good road.
Go forth without fear, for God who created you, has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a Parent.
As we leave to go into the world, we go with confidence, trusting that Christ is walking with us.
Amen

Seven Questions 10 – 16 July 2017

 SERMON SERIES: HALF TRUTHS

WEEK 2: GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES

(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 10-16th July 2017)

ICE BREAKER: At mealtimes one usually pronounces a blessing over the meal. Consider the roles that many play so that this food ends up on your plate?

 

FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Ps 10:14b, 17-18a; 2 Thess. 3:10-12; Lev. 23:15-22; Ps 121:1-2

 

OVERVIEW: Adam Hamilton recounts the scenario of people on the street being asked to name of the Ten Commandments, who reply with this exact statement! Of course it is not one of the Ten Commandments but originated in Greek mythology in the 5th Century BC, and has echoed down the millennia forming part of many people’s thinking today. It’s not found anywhere in Scripture, although Scripture may hint at this, so what is the spiritual truth we are to embrace?

 

  1. Whether its food, applying for a job, or selling a possession, God has blessed us with brains, strength and wisdom, and others to assist us – it’s up to us how we use these gifts. Adam Hamilton says, “So we pray – and we work.” Discuss this statement.

 

  1. READ: 2 Thess. 3:10-12. Sometimes, simply praying for God’s help will not suffice. The Benedictine Monks use the Latin phrase ora et labora – “Pray and Work”. How does this Scripture and statement shape your understanding of how God provides for you?

 

  1. Scripture reveals over and over that God works through people. How does our time of prayer empower and guide us into action to help ourselves or others?

 

  1. Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (Lev. 19:18, Mark 12:31). Sometimes they are in such a deep hole they’re unable to climb out without help. Read: Lev. 23:15-22. What do you think is God’s intention?

 

  1. Showing compassion and mercy is God’s character and typically meets the needs of the poor, the struggling and hurting. How can we demonstrate this without creating situations of dependency?

 

  1. God’s help for the helpless = Grace. When we are in a place of despair, perhaps because of circumstances, sin, temptation or lack of a sense of belonging/trust, God extends grace towards us. Share an experience of receiving grace from God.

 

  1. TRUTH NUGGET: READ Ps. 121:1-2. God says, “I am here”. The essence of grace is that God helps those who cannot help themselves. Sometimes we can help ourselves, at other times we can’t. God prompts us and others to help each other – we become God’s answer to someone else’s prayer. What do you think?

 

PRAYER TOPICS:

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

 

Please pray for our Nation and Community:

  • Protection of Journalists so that they are able to report with integrity and honesty.
  • Pray against the upsurge of fake news and news sites.
  • Pray for the on-going disaster management in Knysna as a result of fires – many are still without homes, clothing and food. Many churches and organisations are still involved in this disaster management.
  • Pray for the EThekwini Municipality that they govern with integrity to provide services for all of the community – especially in respect of the Gleblands Hostel situation, and the management of protest situations, which in itself highlights deep crisis in our communities.

Pray for the Church, Church Leaders and Members, that we will all consider our response to the many challenges faced by the Church.

 

Pray aloud together:

“God, thank you for grace. Thank you for the many times you have helped me when I did not deserve it. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for the meaning you bring to my life. Thank you for rescuing me. Please use me, Lord, as your instrument to help others who are in need. I offer myself to you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Adam Hamilton.

 

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.

Sermon Series – 29 May – 4 June 2017

Joy Series
Week #5: Pillars of Joy – Part 2
(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 29th May to 4th June 2017)
FOCUS PASSAGE/S: Various texts included in questions below.
Part 2 of the Pillars of Joy focusses on 4 qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity.
1. Read Matthew 6:9-15. The sentiment “forgive and forget” can be unhelpful to those who have experienced deep pain. Discuss: “Instead, forgiveness is a choice, for without it we remain tethered to the person who harmed us… they hold the keys to our happiness. When we forgive we take back control of our emotions and live healthier daily lives.”
2. Read 1 Thess. 5:12-18. Discuss: “Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the life we have and the moment that we are experiencing. Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and may be the only way to savour it.”
3. How is every moment a gift and an opportunity for us to express gratitude?
4. Read Mark 5:35-42. Compassion…’suffering with’… How do you respond to the statement, “I have enough problems of my own. Why should I worry about being more compassionate and think about others who are suffering?” Why do you think compassion is in our self-interest?
5. How is cultivating compassion an alchemy that transforms your own struggles, pain and suffering in order to joyfully focus on others?
6. Read 2 Cor. 8:1-15. In regards generosity Tutu says, “It is in giving that we receive… When we grow in a self-forgetfulness – in a remarkable way I mean we discover that we are filled with joy… in the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.” How does/has compassion lead to generosity in your life/faith so that it expresses our interdependence and personal long-term well-being?
7. Generosity is deeply rooted in us. How have you experienced generosity, especially by someone who materially has very little? What was your attitude and how was joy a part of that experience?
PRAYER TOPICS:
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
 We continue to pray for the Nation – for truth to be revealed especially in regards to corruption, and mismanagement of state resources that affects all but especially the poorest of the poor.
 Continue to pray for the situations in regards to crime, rape, femicide and all forms of gender-based violence. Pray for voices that will speak out in our own community and throughout the land that give a clear message that any form of sexual violation and exploitation is ‘simply not okay!’ Pray for those who work in safe houses and for security personnel who are investigating and fighting against these acts.
 Pray for the ministry and mission projects of HMC so that the love of God is spread to all and that compassion and generosity will be at the forefront of this witness.
 Pray for each other as you’ve shared together and identified needs within in your group – we pray that joy will be cultivated within our hearts and minds.
Amen.

Seven Questions : 22 – 28 May 2017

Joy Series

Week #4: Pillars of Joy – Part 1

 (Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 22nd – 28th May 2017)

 

FOCUS PASSAGE/S: Isaiah 51:1-11 and 1 Peter 1:8-9 – read and discuss you initial response.

Part 1 of the Pillars of Joy focusses on 4 qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humour and acceptance. Next week we’ll look at the Pillars to focus on the heart.

  1. A healthy perspective is the foundation of joy because the way we see the world is the way we experience the world. Stepping back – taking a look at an experience from different angles gives a new perspective. How can stepping back reveal the truth, deepen our faith and help us to find the good things in that experience?

 

  1. In Peter’s letter he says we believe and love and rejoice with joy even though we’ve not seen God. How has a refining experience (past of present) produced joy in you through that experience?

 

  1. Both men insist that “humility is essential to any possibility of joy.” A wider perspective gives rise to our understanding of our place in this world – our interdependence and mutual support. How do you think humility opens up the door for joy to be cultivated within, as we express the God-given gifts for God’s glory?

 

  1. What do you think about this statement: “When we have humility, we can laugh at ourselves… and especially the ability to laugh at our foibles, as essential to the cultivation of joy”?

 

  1. Read Isaiah 51:11. Think back to a time when you laughed with great abandon… a really good belly laugh. Without sounding flippant, could humour be the ‘secret weapon’ to dispelling a tense situation either in your life or in our community? How can humour unite instead of breakdown community?

 

  1. “Acceptance… is the opposite of resignation and defeat… The Archbishop did not accept the inevitability of apartheid, but he did accept its reality.” How can we use acceptance to engage with life so that we move into the fullness of God’s joy?

 

  1. Our reaction to people, places, things and circumstances causes suffering, rather than acceptance. We react and it’s impossible to experience joy when we are stuck in this way. What role does acceptance play in helping us to see clearly and respond differently so that our needs and that of our community are met?

 

 

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

We continue to pray for the Nation.

We think especially of the matters in the news around misogyny, rape and violence, especially towards women and children. Pray for voices that will speak out in our own community and throughout the land that give a clear message that any form of sexual violation and exploitation is ‘simply not okay!’

Pray for those who are in need of healing, love and comfort.

Pray for each other as you’ve shared together and identified needs within in your group – we pray that joy will be cultivated within our hearts and minds.

Amen.