There are no Black Sheep here

Most families have someone who is “the black sheep” of the family. That person is a bit different to the rest, either by lifestyle choices or behaviour. But it is comforting to know that in God’s family there are no “black sheep”. The Bible says: all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but we are justified by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23).

Jesus makes us holy through His death and resurrection, and we are all members of His family. In the letter to the Hebrews we read: the One who makes us holy and we who are made holy are of the same family. Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11). While it is an honour  to be in the Lord’s family, there are still a lot of “long-lost relatives” who need to know Him.

Scripture  Readings

Job 1:1, 2: 1-10
Job is tested

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2: 5-12 
God has spoken through Jesus

Mark 10: 2-16 
Jesus speaks to the crowds

Spot the Christian

One day Jesus said: let your light shine so that people will see it and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). People are meant to see a difference in us. Jesus also said: if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out (Mark 9:42-47). If we took Him literally, it would be easy to spot the Christians. They would be the ones without hands, feet, and eyes!

Actually, Jesus was not promoting self-mutilation. He exaggerated to make a point. Often sin can only be conquered by radical “spiritual surgery”, the kind that must be performed by the Holy Spirit. But we need to be willing, obedient “patients” to undergo this kind of surgery. Our faith and our actions must be consistent with God.

 

Scripture Readings

 Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
Moses chooses seventy leaders

James 5:13-20
Prayer offered in faith

Mark 9:38-50
Acting in Jesus’ name

Come Near to God

Would you like to see into the future? Would you really like to know that a bad thing was going to happen if you couldn’t do anything to stop it?

Jesus knew that He would be betrayed, arrested, and killed, so He warned His disciples to prepare them for when it happened. He also told them that He would be raised back to life, but they didn’t understand what He was saying.

Instead of asking about it, they began to argue amongst themselves about who was the greatest. They missed the point. True greatness is not about “blowing your own trumpet”, it is about serving others by being useful to them in God’s name. Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow.

 

Scripture Readings

Jeremiah 11:18-20
A plot against Jeremiah

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Wisdom from heaven

Mark 9:30-37 
Who is the greatest?

Which is Which?

One day Jesus asked His disciples: who do people say I am? When they told Him what they had heard He made the question more personal by asking: What about you. Who do you say I am?  Peter answered, “You are the Christ”.

There are many opinions about Jesus these days, even among so-called Christians. But if we want to  truly know Him we must accept Him as the “Christ”, the Son of God (yet One with the Father), Lord, Saviour, and Friend. Who we are and how we live as Christians is determined by who Jesus is, and what place He has in our hearts.

 

Scripture Readings

 

Isaiah 50:4-9a
The obedient servant of the Lord

James 3:1-12
Taming the tongue

Mark 8:27-38
Who is Jesus?

How does Faith show itself

Some people have a reputation for “telling it like it is”. They speak their mind and you are left in no doubt as to what they think. This can be confronting or it can be quite refreshing. James, the brother of Jesus, seems to be one of those people.

In todays’ reading he says: whoever keeps the whole law, yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10).  That would include every human being! We all need God’s forgiveness, no matter how good we may think we are, so instead of looking at the faults of others, we ought to spend more time thanking and praising God for His grace towards us. Then we will be able to love one another, as He commands.

 

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 35:4-7
God’s promise to save His people

James 2:1-10, 14-17
Faith shown in love

Mark 7:24-37
Jesus shows God’s love through healing the sick

Clean or Unclean?

Jesus was under attack from the religious leaders (Pharisees) because His disciples didn’t wash their hands correctly before eating. Sounds ridiculous but it’s true. The Jews gave their hands a ceremonial washing before eating, whenever they came into contact with Gentiles. This was to prevent them from becoming “unclean”, as they considered Gentiles to be unclean.

It was a tradition which had become law but Jesus wasn’t having any of it. Rather than be bound by man-made traditions He called them to obey God’s law. We too have an obligation to be obedient to God; not so that we earn His favour but because we already have it. Our response ought to reflect His grace and mercy.

 

Scripture Readings

 Deuteronomy 4: 1-2, 6-9
M
oses urges the people to keep God’s command

James 1:17-27
Listening and doing

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Clean and unclean

Be Strong in the Lord

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 (Ephesians 6: 10-11). This is good advice from St Paul and we would all do well to take notice. The devil is always scheming against the church, trying to disrupt and harm us in our walk with God and each other. Has the devil been at you lately?

Our strength to overcome is not our own. We are to stand in God’s mighty power as we put on His armour. That means we let God rule in our hearts and minds. We put aside our own human will and let the Holy Spirit shape and mold us to be more like Christ. We don’t have to give in to the devil’s schemes, we can be strong in the Lord.

Scripture Readings

1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43
Solomon’s prayer of dedication

Ephesians 6:10-20
Put on God’s armour

John 6:56-69
Jesus has the words of eternal life

He Chose You

King David celebrated with gusto when the “ark of the covenant” (not to be confused with Noah’s ark) was brought into Jerusalem. The “ark” was extremely important because it was the earthly throne of God, indicating that God was living among His people. But as David celebrated others looked on with disgust.

God always draws a reaction from us; either we love and worship Him or despise and reject Him. Jesus said whoever is not for Me is against Me, so there is no middle ground. David celebrated because he knew the Lord, and we too can celebrate because the Lord has made Himself known to us.

 

Scripture Readings

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12-19
David rejoices before the Lord

Ephesians 1: 3-14 
Spiritual blessings in Christ

Mark 6: 14-29 
The death of John the Baptist

Love Comes to Life

Jesus was warning the disciples that the time of His crucifixion was near and He would be returning to His Father in heaven and would no longer be with them.

Jesus had taught His disciples so much during the time He was with them, but He had one last commandment for them, and us. Love one another, as Jesus loves you. If you love each other everyone will know that you are Jesus Disciples.

Every one claiming to be a Christian will be seen by others as a person who loves and cares.

Like the stained glass windows come alive with light shining through them, so do we with the love of Jesus in our hearts – for all to see.

 

Scripture Readings

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
David becomes king over Israel

2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Paul’s vision and his thorn

Mark 6:1-13
Jesus sends out the Twelve

Jesus Heals and Restores

Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd. People flocked to hear Him and receive ministry from Him. Among them was a man whose daughter was dying, and a woman who had been ill for many years. The man was able to speak to Jesus directly and ask for help but the woman could only reach out to touch His cloak. Both received healing and generous love from the Lord and their lives were changed for the better.

Generous love is God’s gift to each of us. St Paul calls it “grace” and he reminds us that this is what caused Jesus to become poor for our sakes, so that we, through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).  What sort of response do we give for such generosity?

 

Scripture Readings

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
David mourns for Saul and Jonathan

2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Paul encourages generous giving

Mark 5:21-43
Jesus heals and restores

Come for a Chat & Cuppa

In the hall after each worship.
EVERYONE WELCOME

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