Come and join with us to explore our service series over the forthcoming weeks:
Answering God's Call
14th January 2024
1 Samuel 3.1-10, (11-20)
Recognising when and how God calls. The young Samuel hears the Lord call to him, but thinks it is his master, Eli. After this happens three times, Eli tells Samuel to answer the Lord, saying ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’. Samuel does so and receives a vision that God was about to do something new. After sharing his vision with Eli, and receiving more encouragement, Samuel grows up to be a renowned and trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
God calls in many ways, so we need to be alert in order to recognise the call. This week we look at ways in which we might be called by our God, who is caring and understanding.
21st January 2024
Kate and Paul
How we respond to God’s call. After a perilous journey, running away from God, Jonah finally does as God has asked of him and goes to Nineveh to deliver God’s call to repent. Surprisingly (to Jonah), the people do repent and God forgives them.
How do we respond when God calls us to do something hard or outside our comfort zone? Are we reluctant, making excuses, or are we prepared to give it a go or try a bit harder? Today we explore some of these questions.
28th January 2024
Ruth 1:1-18, 4:13-18
Ruth: Loyalty, faith, kindness, and redemption – BEING not just DOING.
Christian calling is not primarily DOING, but BECOMING who God has uniquely created us to be. Ruth did not seem to hear a specific calling from God. Instead, she authentically lived out her identity as Naomi's mother-in-law, following Naomi to a new land after Naomi's husband and sons died, one of whom was Ruth's husband. The story of Ruth’s loyalty, faith, and kindness ultimately leads to her marriage to Boaz and the birth of their son Obed, who would become the grandfather of King David. This makes Ruth an integral part of Jesus’ genealogy and underscores the importance of even the most unlikely people in God’s plan. From our authentic BEING-calling comes our uniquely personal DOING-calling.
4th February 2024
Moses - God encourages and enables us beyond our fears and objections about what He calls us to do
God calls Moses directly, speaking to him from a burning bush… and Moses, understandably is scared. Then his fear turns to reluctance and he pushes back at God. But God is resolute, and shows Moses that He will be with him at all times.
We often fear, or provide excuses to avoid doing what God has called us to do… but what will happen if we accept His call and His path in our lives? How can we hear God’s call and accept it?
11th February 2024
Karen, Danny, Jan and Ray
Esther 4:1-17, 9:1
The book of Esther is the only book of the Bible that does not mention God. But we see God's providence throughout the book. God put Esther in just the right place at just the right time to save the Israelites from destruction by a corrupt and brutal Persian empire.
The most famous verse in the book of Esther is when Ether's cousin Mordecai says, during a crucial time of decision in Esther's life and the life of the entire Israelite nation, "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" Don't give up in your calling. God has put you here for just such a time as this! And He will accomplish His purposes through you!
18th February 2024
Jeremiah 1:3-16, 29:11; Genesis 17:15-17
Too old or too young? Jeremiah and Abraham. God calls people of all ages into His service. When God called Jeremiah to deliver a dark message of doom to the nation of Israel, followed by a wonderful message of hope, Jeremiah objected, "I can't speak for you! I am too young!" So also, Abraham doubted when God told him he would have a son at the age of 100—a son whose descendants would become the nation of Israel and from whom would come the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Even today, we tend to underestimate the potential impact of the people at both ends of the age continuum. But this is unbiblical! God calls us to do important things at every age!
25th February 2024
Lent - Judges 16:4 - 31
Sampson – Struggling with temptation: Why? Why? Why, Delilah?
Sampson’s mother was unable to have children, but an angel appeared to her and gave her an important message – she was to have a very special baby. But there were rules to be followed. Sampson was born and the Lord blessed him, filling him with the spirit, blessing and protecting him into his adult life until he became filled with temptation and turned away from his promises to God. Sampson knew his calling, but chose to turn away because he was tempted. Why does this story sound so familiar…? It is so easy in our society today to be pulled in different directions and to have our focus drawn away from God’s calling on our lives. But God gives us the strength to turn away from sin and temptation, to follow the path He has chosen for us. Today we learn about how we can follow God’s rule and calling to make the right choices in our lives; and that there is always a path back to God’s love.
3rd March 2024
Lent - Genesis 9.8-17
God’s good news of a covenant
After the flood, God tells Noah that a covenant is to be made with all living creatures, that there will never be another event like the flood, in which God destroys everything and begins again. The rainbow is a sign and a reminder of this covenant.
We explore the rainbow, a sign of God’s promise never to stop loving our whole planet and everything in and on it – no matter what. Jesus’ baptism shows Jesus tuned into God’s steadfast love, able to hear God’s voice, respond to God’s Spirit. We are invited to relish God’s love, to start afresh in our appointed role helping God to love and care for the planet.
10th March 2024
Kate and Paul
Follow me: Jesus Calls the Disciples. The promise of the kingdom
The gospels all tell of the ways in which Jesus called His disciples. Each gives a slightly different account, but all point to 3 key points
- In Jesus, the light of the kingdom of heaven has come close to those whose lives are darkened by suffering.
- Jesus calls people to repentance, to turn away from darkness and towards the light.
- The disciples’ response to Jesus’ call is immediate.
When Jesus calls it doesn’t matter what job you do, who you are… His call is for your service and for you to follow Him. So, what does our discipleship look like, and how do we show service in our lives today?
17th March 2024
Lent - John 1:42, Luke 5: 1-11, Matthew 4:18-20, and 14:22-36
Peter’s Story: Not perfect, but chosen.
Simon Peter, also known as Cephas (John 1:42), was one of the first followers of Jesus Christ. He was an outspoken and ardent disciple, one of Jesus’ closest friends, an apostle, and a “pillar” of the church (Galatians 2:9). Peter was enthusiastic, strong-willed, impulsive, and, at times, brash. But for all his strengths, Peter had several failings in his life. Still, the Lord who chose him continued to mould him into exactly who He intended Peter to be.
None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes. But Peter’s story shows us that even though we may falter God will never leave us, will never abandon us. Through Jesus life, death and resurrection we are forgiven and reborn
24th March 2024
Lent – Palm Sunday - 1 Samuel 2: 1-10, Luke 1: 46 – 55, John 19: 25-27, Matthew 27: 55 - 56
Mary’s Story – from Magnificat to Mourning Mother
Mary’s Magnificat is linked to Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel. She sees a new world dawning in the child she is carrying, as does the old man Zechariah when his son is eventually named (Luke 1.68-79). The first light of God’s future calls time on business-as-usual ways of running the world that favour the well thought of, the well endowed and the well fed. Now pride of place belongs with those who are starved of hope, and the humble are lifted up. A new world order is realised in Jesus birth, but Mary also knew the Old Testament prophesies and the cost that she would also have to bear as she witnessed Jesus life and crucifixion. Mary’s faith never faltered from her calling by God – what does her example show us for how to live our lives today?
31st March 2024
Death is beaten: Jesus fulfils God’s promises.
7th April 2024
Luke 8: 1-3, John 20: 1-18
Mary Magdelene’s Story: Why did Jesus appear to Mary?
You might have heard different things about Mary Magdalene, but these are the main two stories in the Bible that we know are about her. The first is a brief mention of her among other followers of Jesus, but hints at her back story; in the second, she has a central role. Mary is portrayed as an important female disciple, despite her troubled past. Contrary to what is sometimes said, there is nothing in the Gospels to suggest that Mary did anything wrong; just that she had suffered and been in need of healing. How does this fit with our idea of the disciples? And our image of leaders more generally?
The story of Jesus’ resurrection is arguably the most important event in Jesus' life. What does it say about the nature of Mary – and the role of women – that it was she who went to the tomb first, and she who witnesses Jesus, rather than one of the men?
14th April 2024
Acts 9: 1-19
Paul’s Conversion: The Road to Damascus
A key witness to the power of the resurrection appears this week, as we meet Saul who becomes Paul the apostle. His first challenge was to convince the Christians that his life had changed and that God had called him. What on earth do you make of someone who was coming to arrest you, possibly to oversee your death (as he had done Stephen’s), who then says he wants to be your friend and fellow-worker. How do we each deal with someone who seems to become so radically different? We never know what is in store in our own life or anyone else’s life: we must always be prepared to be surprised – and to work with the surprising.