Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Sermon for Sunday 25th November 2012 - How any Why should I tell others?

Sermon for Sunday 25th November 2012 – 1 Peter 3: 8-16 and Matthew 28:16-20 – The Great Commission - How and Why should I tell others? – Christ the King

Which of us haven’t at some time wished we could have a time over again; that we could undo some thoughtless and angry word, some rash commitment or unwise judgement, or some careless mistake? Does that sound familiar? Like most things, when you’ve heard them once, you’ve heard them enough! The great wonder of the story of Easter, by contract, is that we can hear its message again and again, yet it goes on being as true and relevant today as it was yesterday, and as it will continue to be tomorrow and the next, ad infinitum.

How different that is from most modern-day news headlines, as I was reminded a while ago when lifting carpets in the course of redecorating. Beneath these were newspapers dating back three years or so, yet the events on the front pages seemed trivial, filled with the names and faces of yesteryear. Not that you have to go back years for that to be true; in our high-tech media age, even yesterday’s news is old hat. The good news of the resurrection is different. WHY? Because it continues to change lives in the present, each day offering hope and new beginnings to believers across the world. Easter Day may be over, but we cannot consign the message it proclaims to the past. It is still good news, today and every day!

And before Jesus departed to His heavenly throne to take His position as Lord and Christ, He spent a final time with His eleven disciples. The last command that He gave them was this: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

If these are the last words that Jesus gave His disciples, we must consider that they are of the utmost importance not just to Him, but to ourselves as well. Jesus commands us to tell others about Him. You may ask, "Why me? Aren't there others more equipped to do that? I am not a preacher or evangelist. I don’t know what to say."

The first and foremost reason that we should tell others about Him is that this is His command. The disciple Luke, recorded in Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Christ commanded us to tell others about Him and promised to give us power to do it. In the same way that a person is called to be a witness in a legal proceeding, we are asked to be His witnesses. In a legal proceeding, the witness testifies to the things that they have personally seen and heard; they will give an account based on what they have observed or experienced insofar as it has relevant to the proceedings. As Christians, we have the opportunity and responsibility to tell others what we have "seen" and "heard" and what we have experienced in our walk with the Lord.

Think about what we have received. To know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord is the greatest thing in all of life's experiences, indeed in the entire universe. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46).

Second, we are the only ones who can tell our story. No one can adequately describe the wonderful things that have changed in your life since you have surrendered yourself to Christ. It is your story; no one else can tell it. If Christ has done great things for us, we have the privilege of sharing that good news with others. "'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him" (Luke 8:39).

The greatest part of telling others about the Lord is that we now have the opportunity to affect the lives of others for good; now they will have the chance to come to know Christ as their Saviour. The great blessing that is in our lives can be shared with someone else to bring him or her hope. If the desolate and downtrodden woman at the well could be a witness, certainly you and I can do the same. "Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?'" (John 4:28-29).

Jesus commands us to tell others of His great salvation. He wants everyone to know about Him. He suffered a horrible death so that all of mankind could be reconciled to the Father. The only way for that truth to be known is for someone to tell it. We are that "someone." Why should we tell others? We should tell others because they need to know that Jesus loves them and longs to give them life. He desires to rescue each one from the pit and consequences of sin.

At the beginning of this sermon I spoke about newspapers and how stories which are today’s news will become yesterday’s news tomorrow. But the good news of Christ has been in the public eye for over two thousand years, and still there are millions of people who don’t yet have a personal relationship with God. They still do not know that they are loved and cherished by him. They need a personal encounter with Him through you and me. “What if I get it wrong?” I hear you say. Don’t worry all of us make mistakes but God is the forgiver and will make all things new. We need to remember that God has given us the instructions, the tools and a helper, the Holy Spirit. So we have our stories, praying that blind eyes will be opened and that we might have boldness to speak and above all God’s authority and POWER.

For "The Lord . . . is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). We need never fear that we will be left alone to speak for Him without support; He will always give us what to say and power to be effective. "And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28
:20). AMEN.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sunday 18 November 2012 Mark 7:31-37 Does God Heal Today? Bruce

With a sigh, Jesus looked up to heaven and said to the man “Be opened”.
The man was deaf, and could hardly speak.  So he was described as deaf and mute, but the main problem seems to have been his hearing.
Hearing is a major theme in Mark’s telling of the story of Jesus.  Jesus told the parable of the soils earlier (in chapter four).  One of his main points was that there were those who would keep hearing but never understand.  When he returned to his home town (at the beginning of chapter six), it seemed that the majority were determined not to “hear” what he had to say, or to believe that God was with him and in him.  Later in chapter eight he warns his disciples against the “yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod”:  “Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?”
So Jesus says to the man: “Be opened”.  Is he just talking to the physical ears, or to the whole person?  We pray a prayer that we will be Open – for all that God has for us, open for all that he would teach us, open for all (those others) who seek after him, and open to follow him wherever he leads us.
Our question this week is “Does God Heal Today?”  Healing involves the whole person.  Jesus spent his life bringing healing, sometimes physical, sometimes of the inner person and of relationships with God.  He taught his disciples to do the same, first modelling healing for them, and then sending them out to do it for themselves.  Finally he sent them (and us) out into the world to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching all that he had himself done, including healing.
The ears of the man in the gospel were opened, and he was enabled to speak.  We are never meant to forget that God cares for our physical wellbeing and we pray for those who are sick.  We ask for them to be blessed and comforted.  We give thanks for the skill and dedication of everyone in the medical professions and pray that their work will be effective.  We are also open to receive the gift of faith that someone can be physically healed and their disease taken away.
Every one of us is unique.  We are each discovering our own path to God through Jesus by the work of his Spirit.  We get a clue to this from the actions of Jesus.  We do not read anywhere else that he placed his fingers in someone’s ears, or that he spat and touched anyone else’s tongue.  This seems to have been special, just what was needed for this man.
When we pray for anyone, we are always open for what God might be saying or suggesting.  It is good to take time, to pray and to wait, remembering all that we have said before about guidance.
Be opened.

Friday, 9 November 2012

11 NOVEMBER 2012. REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY. ALPHA RENEWED THEME: ‘HOW CAN I RESIST EVIL?’ Ephesian 6 : 10 – 20 Luke 11 : 14 – 22

I have come up with three headings for you as we consider (under the general Alpha Renewed umbrella) how we resist evil in the world on this Remembrance Sunday :  Recognise    Resist         Rejoice

Recognise : If we are to resist evil in the name and in the power of Christ, then the first essential is to recognise it when it shows its face in our lives and in our world. But isn’t it obvious – the difference between good and evil? When we see a film or a play – perhaps you have just seen the latest James Bond film – isn’t it crystal clear who are the ‘goodies’ and who are the ‘baddies’? Well, in a highly simplified drama, perhaps it is. But in real life, evil usually wears a very attractive, often respectable, and indeed often deceitfully glamorous cloak. Evil also puts a clever question mark against our powers of judgment.

If we go right back to that ancient story that tells a story of timeless truth – Adam and Eve – we find the serpent in wonderfully deceptive guise. As Eve looks hungrily at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and her mouth waters, the serpent whispers in her ear: “Did God say that you mustn’t eat this fruit?” And she begins to doubt her memory and her judgment. Questions pose themselves: ‘Why would God not want me to know the difference between good and evil?’ ‘This fruit looks so good to eat, what possible harm can be done if I eat some just once?’ ‘I’ll just try one and see what it tastes like, God won’t notice’. And by the time she has shared all this with Adam and he has thought about it too, confusion is reigning, and the seeds of all kinds of doubts and questions have been raised. There’s a wonderful painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526) of that moment which depicts Adam scratching his head and looking thoroughly puzzled. They have lost the ability to recognise right from wrong, good from evil.

The writer of this story in Genesis has depicted an iconic representation of the human condition. ‘I know stealing is generally wrong. But I need money so badly at the moment, and it won’t be noticed, so just this once surely it will be all right.’ ‘I know adultery is wrong, but my love is so strong, and it won’t do any harm, will it?’ We are deceived because we fail to recognise the enemy, and fall straight into his trap.

We are deceived also because we are taken in by the glamour of what appears to be on offer. This was Faust’s problem. Who could resist a pact with the devil when it offers eternal youthfulness and vigour? But unfortunately the promise turns out to be false. The devil does not deliver on his promises. We look at celebrities and wish we could win the lottery, so that we too could have a mansion in London, and one in the country, and a private jet, and all the beautiful things that surround that lifestyle. And no-one seems to have warned us of the terrible isolation and loneliness, the superficiality of endless parties and empty hearts.

We ought to read more often from the Book of Proverbs. For example twice (at 14:12 & 16:25) we read there: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” There are so many warnings to us to recognise the enemy. Ponder Proverbs 9:17,18 : “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious! But little do they know that the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of the grave.”

How the forces of sin and death masquerade as desirable and glamorous! When the First World War was declared, how all those young men rushed forward to win their spurs, urged on by their eager women-folk! They thought war was glamorous, and that they would give the enemy a good thumping and be home by Christmas. Whether that war was right or wrong in principle is another matter. But it was wrapped up in glamorous, patriotic fervour that left ten million military dead and seven million civilians, plus an uncountable number crippled for life physically or mentally. And it ended with a so-called peace treaty that, however well intentioned, led inevitably to the rise of the greater evil of Nazism and the 2nd World War. It left a deep depression on the western mind and society which scarred the whole of the 20th century. When Hitler rose to power, millions believed he represented salvation for his country – good not evil. There were just a few who detected the truth that lay underneath the surface.

This is not for a moment to doubt the good intentions, the courage and the bravery of those whom we rightly remember today. And there is a very strong case which personally I believe in for a just war, and the need to defend freedom and civilisation. But it is, I think, not too much to say that, in the process, the devil had a field day and the result was incalculable tragedy.

Evil masquerades as good, and darkness masquerades as light. The first essential in resisting evil is to recognise the enemy.  Peter writes in his first letter (1 Peter 5: 8,9): “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith...” Look behind the glamour and the temptation and the attraction and see the deadly results, the broken hearts and the empty promises.

Resist : As that verse tells us, recognition is such a big step towards resisting and standing firm in the faith. And for instructions as to how we do this, we turn to our first reading today, Ephesians 6: 10 – 20. “Be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes......”

Paul was writing from prison, most probably in Rome, and it looks as if he was actually looking at a Roman soldier guarding him. This enables him to paint an extraordinarily vivid picture of how we can arm ourselves for the fight. Some Christians prayerfully and mentally put on this armour every morning. ‘Put on the belt of truth buckled round your waist’. Lord, today I will be truthful in all my words and actions.  ‘Put on the breastplate of righteousness’. Lord I will seek with all my heart today to do what is right in your sight. ‘Have your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace’. Lord, today I will seek to be a peacemaker, and someone who brings the good news of Jesus to those I encounter. ‘Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one’. Lord, today I will be strong in the true faith, and in that faith I will have the strength to ward off every attack. ‘Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God’. Lord, today I will wear the crown of my salvation, and with your biblical word in my mind and in my heart, I will know how to distinguish right from wrong. ‘And pray in the Spirit (that’s the Holy Spirit of God) and be alert’. Lord, today I will maintain a prayerful attitude in whatever I say, think or do, and I will watch out so that I am guided rightly down the highway of righteousness, and don’t unwittingly wander down all the slip roads that end up in ditches and muddy fields.

As James puts it so powerfully in his letter (4:7): “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”      And that knowledge of victory in Christ leads us to our third heading:

Victory : In our Gospel reading from Luke 11, we read how Jesus has decisively overcome all the forces of evil – everything that is represented in Paul’s words in Ephesians 6 (verse 12): Our struggle is “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

The ministry of Jesus here on earth reveals him at every point defeating the powers of evil and darkness – healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead. And that victory comes to a decisive conclusion on the cross and in the resurrection, when just as the powers of evil think they have won a total victory, they realise that they have been totally and eternally defeated.

At the end of the day it is not our strength and faith that defeats the powers of evil and darkness, it is the power of Christ and his cross and resurrection. If you have put your trust for salvation in Christ and him alone, then your victory has already been won, and the kingdom of God has come upon you. The man who is stronger than all the powers of evil and darkness has taken control of your house.

So recognise, resist and fight the good fight with all the strength that God supplies. But when – as we do – we fail and fall and come back sadly in confession – it is in the knowledge that Jesus our victorious Saviour has conquered all the powers of sin and death, and we join in saying for ourselves – and today on behalf of all those who gave their lives on our behalf and whom we remember with gratitude – in Paul’s great words at the end of his magnificent passage on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 : 54 – 57:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

All Saints Sunday 4 November 2012 Proverbs 3:1-7, Hebrews 13:1-7, How does God Guide us? Bruce

As part of our Alpha Renewed programme, we look at how God guides us.  We would all like to do the right thing – the problem is that we do not always know what that right thing is.  We might like to imagine a heavenly GPS system where a voice that we have chosen guides us unerringly through life.  Reality is not like that.  We have all heard stories of people who have ended up miles from their intended destination, or who have been directed to drive through an impassable obstacle.
GPS (Global Positioning System) is actually useful and accurate.  It relies upon 24 satellites in orbit around the earth, positions so that four are always in line of sight.  The mini computer in your possession can talk to each of these satellites and calculate its position with great accuracy.  As you are moving, and as trees, buildings or weather can obscure the satellites, you will see that it is actually a complex set of relationships at work.
Our two readings this morning look at the complex set of relationships that form our Christian walk, approaching it from different directions.
The voice of Proverbs calls us to listen, to take heed of the teachings in the Law, which will lead us into a relationship of trust with our Lord.  It talks of the heart, love and faithfulness, trust, submission.  These are inward virtues that speak of a growing relationship.  The bible is not a rule book that we learn by heart, but it is more a guide book that gives us clues about how others have interacted with God and how we can learn to do the same.
We find the same emphasis in the last chapter of the letter to the Hebrews.  The writer has comprehensively demonstrated that Jesus has fulfilled the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures, that he is the heir to King David, that he is heir to the High Priests, that he is now our man in heaven where he prays for us, and that he is the author and the finisher of the faith in which we now live.
How are we to live out that faith?  The answer is in relationships.  We are taught here about how to respond to three different sorts of people.  They are given to us in sequence, but we are to do them all at the same time.
First, we are to keep loving one another as brothers and sisters.  We are not members of a club who sometimes just get together.  Jesus has bound us together with him with the ties of family, of blood.  All Saints is the season when we remember that we are joined together with all whom God has brought into the family.  We are joined with all who love Jesus or who have ever loved him, people who worship Jesus in a variety of languages and cultures, on all the continents of the world, and those who worship him on a distant shore.
We are exhorted here to live this love out, worshipping and working together among those whom God has placed us.  Why are we told to keep loving each other?  I think because we do not find it easy to do.  This is a narrow path, with a wide ditch on each side.  One the one hand, there are churches where people can appear quite hard or uncaring.  I heard of one new vicar whose only sermon for the first year was that we should be kind to each other.  After all, that is what it says on the tin, and what we look for from followers of Jesus.  On the other hand, we can place politeness and kindness at such a premium that we fail to really connect with each other.  I always tell my engaged couples that people in love can be the most dishonest; we shy away from telling the truth, or find ourselves saying things like “Let’s not go there”.  If we do not know each other’s little idiosyncrasies, if we are comfortable with a shell of politeness that keeps us from really knowing each other, then perhaps we need to know each other better.  Jesus had hundreds of followers, but found it necessary to spend time with a smaller group of twelve, so that they could really get to know him.
I have found that the surest way that I have received guidance has been when I have prayed and reflected on scripture, in the company of trusted brothers and sisters who have become friends, and we have become guides for each other.  This has linked with the tradition of Christians from the past who have faced similar trials or decisions.  This series of links is like the multiple messages from satellites that help us get a ‘fix’ on our true position – with God. 
Second we are to reach out, to be hospitable to ‘outsiders’.  For all that relationships within the church can be challenging and growth inducing, there is a comfort spending time with our Christian brothers and sisters.  The whole message of scripture, however, is that God is reaching out   and we are called to do the same.  Having a faith and sharing it are essentials.  Doing this through acts of kindness and compassion are mandatory.  God so loved the world that he gave ….  Go into all the world and make disciples ….  This is why Camberley Connections will be such an opportunity for us to join for a week with other churches in the town to share God’s love with our families and neighbours, our colleagues and our friends.  More detail of this exciting ecumenical mission will be given in the coming months, but keep the week from Mothering Sunday to St Patrick’s Day free!
Third, we are to remember those who are suffering, specifically those in prison.  Today is also being kept as Persecuted Church Sunday, and so we remember all our fellow saints, brothers and sisters who face hard times because of their Christian faith.  We remember and pray for those who are threatened or attacked because they are judged guilty of apostasy to another faith, or because their expression of the Christian faith is outlawed.  We pray that churches can be rebuilt in Egypt, and that Christians will be kept safe in Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and so many other places.  We pray for those who set the legal and moral agendas here in our own country, for teachers and medical staff who must walk a fine line in issues of faith and practice.
The passage from Hebrews continues with advice to seek a pure life – free from sexual sin, a simple life free from the love of money, an ordered life – working together in mutual submission and respect for authority, and in a life centred on Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
How does God guide us?
Your GPS can be relied upon if you programme in the correct destination.  Every day we programme in our heart’s desire, for his name to be hallowed, his kingdom to come, his will to be done, here on earth, in our lives, as it is in heaven.  This is to ‘in all our ways submit to him, and he will make our paths straight.’

Sermon for Sunday 28 October 2012 How and why should I read the Bible –Bible Sunday – Psalm 19:7-14 and Mark 12: 18-27

I am so glad that I did not start reading my Bible at the Gospel passage we have today.  I think I would have been put off reading it as, in applying the scripture to, I have no brother-in-laws and then I would have read that the men speaking out did not know what they were talking about. I would have had some doubts and some questions so I can understand that when people read the bible; it can be difficult to comprehend and unless you have someone around to explain it to you or you are blessed with a commentary. It can be daunting and off putting to the extent that we give up.  This was not God’s plan and wasn’t intended to be read through from beginning to end like a story book. As we know the bible is a collection of books, put together at various points in the history of the people whose story it tells, and edited several times in the process. So discovering the context of what we are reading should be one of first things we do. It is helpful, too, to think about the nature of the story and how does fit with my life.
The Psalmist in our first reading hints at why we should read it. We should read it because it is life giving, it tells of a love so precious and also that it is worth more than gold. That as we read it and begin to understand its meaning, and engage with the writers and the people referred in the Bible, we will over time begin to enjoy reading the Bible.
Think about what you enjoy doing.  It that worth rejoicing, celebrating (cross-stitch). The psalmist begins by celebrating the wonder of creation and there is every reason for us to enjoy all the kind of things we’ve just thought about because they are ways of celebrating. But it is more than that; it is actually joining God in his celebration of the wonderful world He had provided for us. The psalmist speaks of God speaking to us and sharing His heart through His words to us. For the psalmist tells us that God’s words are more than to be desired, they are gold, no they are worth more than gold. No doubt over your life time you will have received a gift of gold, like an engagement ring with its promise of love and fidelity, which is treasured and valued – gold will last a life time. The psalmist tells us the God’s word is like gold and as such is a privilege of knowing something of God’s mind. It is sweeter that pure honey.
So do we read the bible because it is made of Gold and tastes like honey? No.  We ought to read it because it is of great value and tells us of the love that God has for us. A love that speaks of a relationship that God wants with us, it is full of promises, power, guidance, forgiveness of peace and joy. God’s word speaks of Revival (verse7). A bit like, ‘I need a cup of coffee’! God’s word revives the soul. That does not mean just the Spiritual part of us but the whole of us. It gives new strength. In Isaiah 55: 1-3 invites those you are thirsty for the word to delight ourselves in rich food so that we may live. In John’s gospel we are told that we can have ‘living water’ – water that is life sustaining but also spring up within us. God given; joyful vitality that overflows from us that we can’t help but give it to others. Reading the bible on its own it not enough. If we are serious about reading the bible we will want to put it into action. God wants us to be a local blessing to others.
God word enlightens the eyes. We can get into a lot of trouble if we can’t see clearly. That’s why we have opticians but even with the best glasses, most people don’t actually see clearly. They may marvel at creation but often don’t see what is really good and worth celebrating and worth holding onto to the things are meaningful and fulfilling.
There is much to confuse around us. What values should we live by? What will really give us a fulfilled and flourished life? Is fulfilment to be found in all that the TV adverts tells us? Is the best answer necessarily the most appealing one? What scripture does is nourish us with a Godly and real world view. This helps us see the deceptions in all those people and things that seek us the ‘this’ and ‘that’ as answers to our problems. Even more vitality, scripture helps us recognise that our worth is not in possessions but in being loved by God. When the cataracts are removed there is sheer joy at being able to see things, people surroundings more clearly. This is what God’s word does, helps us to see more clearly in the world, and situations we live in.
God’s word leads to forgiveness. ‘Clear me from my hidden faults’. Being forgiven is liberating and restorative.  It is a bit like feeling unwell, it’s sapping your energy and you don’t know why. So you go to the doctors and discover what is wrong. Medication prescribed and after a short while you feel better, you have much more energy and enjoying life more. This is also true about Gods forgiving heart. It is a wonderful relief to know that all we despise about ourselves and all that damages us, and all that blocks off our relationship with God can be dealt with. What joyful freedom being forgiven brings.
The psalmist knew all this about God for he was able to know God as his personal refuge (rock) and redeemer. He had a relationship with God and had first-hand experience of God’s workings in his life. For only those who obey God are happy!
The psalmist engaged his imagination and that helped him to explore God and also things about his own personality. This is what we ought to do too as all the stories in the Bible are written out of experience; all alike give us a framework, a vocabulary for dealing with the ideas that are perhaps too painful, too difficult, misunderstood to deal with directly. Stories don’t necessarily illustrate, make things easy. They involve us, provoke us into response.  They all contribute to one big story, the story of God’s love affair with His people. ‘You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you’. (Isaiah 43:4). The bible is not a book of instructions, but an invitation to listen to God’s story, which is our story too. God invites us to discover who we are as we follow the events describe in the Old Testament and respond to the challenge of his prophets who, like Nathan (David and Bathsheba), brought people face to face with the consequences of their choices. And in the New Testament, we meet the word of God in a fresh way in Jesus, and think about how we might have responded if we had been there with him. What does it mean to be precious in God’s eyes? It means we are loved but we won’t be spoilt. Jesus knew himself to be loved, but he was not spared the cross or the feeling of being alone. However, he also knew that God is faithful, and that nothing in the end will be able to separate us from God’s love.
The wonderful thing of the story of God is that His love continues as our personal story unfolds. The challenge for us is to discover where God is in the particular circumstances of our lives, or in the world around us. The Bible can help us not so much by giving us the right answers to our questions, but by helping us to ask the right questions, and nudging us into making appropriate responses. When we read the bible we need to ask ‘How is this, the word of God for us today?’ Amen.
1.       What does it mean to you to be precious in God’s eyes?
2.       What do you find difficult about the Bible? Is there anything we can do to help you?
3.       Have you read anything in the Bible which has corrected an aspect of your beliefs or behaviour?
4.       ‘What the Scriptures said, God said.’ Do you share that view>