Living into the promise.

On Sunday we explored some of Abram and Sarai’s story (they’ll get renamed as Abraham and Sarah).   Abram and Sarai have been given a promise of a future (in gen 12:3). Turns out it’s not always easy to lean into that. What they experience is that Sarai continues to be barren. We explored where Abram chooses a path of deception (Gen 12:10-20) and where he and Sarai try an ‘alternative arrangement’ (gen Ch 16).   In each of these cases they choose to live against the promise that had been made to them. In both cases they struggled to believe that God could do what he promised and let things unfold.    We noticed a theologian who said that…

Behold I am doing a new thing.

These discussion notes are designed to  be used alonside John Tucker’s Sermon ‘God is Doing a New Thing.” Summary For many of us. the last two ears have felt at times like a wilderness. Extended lockdowns, vaccine mandates, financial pressure, regular pivoting, constant uncertainty, have all taken their toll. Perhaps, like the people of Israel in exile, you’ve felt a little displaced, disoriented, disillusioned. In this message John Tucker, Carey’s principal, shares from Isaiah 43 on the promises of God to people in need of hope. What God said to the Israelite exiles, he says to us: “I am passionately committed to you, my people. And I am present with all my power to bring new life, both to you, and to the neighbourhoods…

Good Neighbours ?

Starter Question: What factors did you consider before choosing your current residence?  26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:26–27 (NIV) What do you like about this passage? Do you have any questions about these verses? Reflection/Discussion Questions How much of your block map were you able to fill in? Did you have any epiphanies as you did this exercise? Luke 10:29 says this about the teacher of…

4 Trusts and the People who work for them.

This week we interviewed David Baines from Kingdom Resources Trust, Mike Stanley from Delta community support trust, Gary Taylor from Vision College and Ian France from Person to person support trust. All of these trusts are active in christchurch seeking to support the materially poor.  In your small group, share together how you have attempted to help people who don’t have, or have been helped. What organisations do you know that are very helpful.  Can you remember what Delta, Kingdom resources, The Person to person trust and Vision college do ?  Jesus had a fair bit to say about the poor, what can you recall to mind ? Paul had less to say – but was consistently reminding people about…

Two Journeys and the Person of Peace

We looked at Pauls journeys in Acts 16.  Lydia and possibly the jailer get referred to as ‘people of peace’. The reference is to the phrasing in Luke 10:5-6 where Jesus sends his disciples out. The writer reckons “The Person of Peace is someone God has prepared for that specific time. It is no good trying to force open doors that God has not opened, and we must not be distracted so that we miss the doors he has opened.” How would we spot someone like that ? What would be some clues ? Can you think of anyone like this in your life? What space do you have for them ?

The patient ferment of the early church

Notes prompted from the book “The patient ferment of the early church” by Alan Kreider. I think there are three main areas of discussion : 1) The early church saw patience as being crucial. Do we ? How patient are we ? Why ?    They saw it as being part of being faithful to God who was in control. Do we still think that? Why  or why not? 2) Visible difference. When someone became a christian they were often visibly different to others around them. This was both a result of their faith habits, and of the fact that mostly they lived in settings where you could see the difference (no tall fences).  How is that different to our…

Matariki

This weeks message is an exploration of how we could respond to the new holiday Matariki. How do you feel about it ? We’ve explored 1 Cor 8-10 and Pauls response to the issue of meat being sacrificed to idols. What did you think of Pauls response ? Do you find yourself approaching the new with fear ? Is Paul right to say that other god’s aren’t really gods at all ? The following is an extract from a Christian Mission’s booklet talking of Matariki. read it out – do you agree ? Would you agree with it ? Let’s celebrate Matariki through a heart for Christ. For Mäori, Matariki was a time to harvest the crops and to celebrate the providence…

Gospel Renewal – Empathy

Can you remember encountering someone from a different culture where that led to misunderstandings ? What do you think was the different values that were highlighted ? Read Luke 13:10-17 What are the different values of the pharisees and Jesus ? What are the rules they are following ? Read Luke 13:18-19. The mustard seed is not a jewish metaphor. They would expect a Sedah tree. Mustard is common. Read Luke 13:20-21 Yeast too is a surprise. A woman who bakes. These are odd patterns to a Jew. Malcolm and Wendy suggest that the point is that this supposed to be surprising.  “Empathy means we surrender the idea that our way of presenting the gospel should make sense because because…

Respectful Relationships

   We love the idea of respectful relationships, but it’s easy for that to go wrong. In the world of aid and development they talk about three modes. 1 ) Relief (stopping the bleeding, I’ll do stuff for you), 2 ) Rehabilitation (We’ll help you get back to normal, I’ll do stuff with you), 3) Development (we walk together). Have you experienced any of these three modes in either giver or receiver mode (remember the earthquake). How did those relationships go ? When were relationships respectful, and when not ? Why ? In John 4 Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman we see him asking questions humbly and treating her with gentleness and respect.  How do we model with with…

Whakarongo – Discussion questions

Icebreaker : Have you ever had a GPS lead you astray ? What happened ? NZBMS suggest that we need to return to listening. They asked us to read Isaiah 43. Remember they are an exiled people. For them everything has gone wrong.  Together read from Isaiah 42:18-20 (What can we be blind to ?) Read Isaiah 43 : 1- 13. There are promises to the hearer about    1 ) who they are and    2 ) what God does.  Which bits strike you ?    Notice v8.   What would it be like to be blind but asked to bring out blind and deaf people ? Why might God ask people who don’t see clearly to help others…