Growing

GROWING

why growth matters, what it looks like and how it happens

“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing…”
[Colossians 1.6]

Where there’s life there’ll be growth: at least, there will be where the life is healthy.

The message of the Bible is about life. It’s a message about God, about the living God who breathed the dust of the earth into life and who brought the dead on the earth back to life: it’s a message about who God is and how He works and what it is He promises to those who trust in Jesus. And always the theme is life.

To have Jesus is to have life – because He is Himself the way, the truth, and the life (John 14.6); or, as He’d put it earlier, because He is Himself the resurrection and the life (John 11.25).

To have Jesus, therefore, also means you’ll grow: and it’s as much to that end as any other that the Scriptures are given – that we might “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet.3.18).

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This series of studies addresses this whole theme of growth, considering why we can expect growth and what that growth will look like, why such growth is important, how such growth will happen and what that entails for the basic patterns of church life.

Hopefully this series will provide an opportunity for us all to pause and reflect on the growth in our own lives as followers of Jesus; and at the same time it will help deepen our understanding of the God-ordained ‘structures’ within the life of the church which are geared towards cultivating such growth.

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“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.”   [Colossians 1.6]

Growing 1  PowerPoint Slides

Growing 2

Growing 3 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 4 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 5 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 6 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 7 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 8

Growing 9 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 10 PowerPoint Slides

Growing 11

Saving Sophie

“SAVING SOPHIE”

a bird’s-eye tour of

Paul’s letter to the church at Rome

“the gospel .. is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.. ” [Romans 1.16]

Paul’s Letter to the Romans was from the start a foundational document: and down the centuries it has proved to be hugely influential in the experience of countless individuals.

It’s a long letter – running to 16 substantial chapters: and, because of the very thoroughness with which Paul sets out the message of the gospel through this letter, it can also seem quite daunting!

Because it’s so foundational, however, and because as we get to grips with the teaching it contains it invariably proves so transforming in the living of our lives, we’ll be running a 9-part course in the autumn, entitled ‘Romans for rookies’. The plan is to run this course at two different times, one through the day and one in an evening, in order to make it as available as possible to as many as possible.

This present series of Sunday morning studies through the summer months will hopefully provide something of a ‘taster’ for the course!

Although the Community Groups will be taking a break through the summer, study material with questions in the usual form will nonetheless be available week by week through the summer – in the hope that individuals may still find it a helpful means of reflecting further on the ground covered on a Sunday morning.

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Paul hadn’t visited Rome at this point in his ministry, but he saw the strategic importance of the church at Rome and planned to be with the believers there in the near future.

This letter is effectively, therefore, his way of introducing himself and his message to them. May the Lord use these studies help acquaint, or re-acquaint, us all with the great truths of the gospel!

Saving Sophie 1  PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 2

Saving Sophie 3 PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 4 PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 5 PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 6 PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 7   PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 8  PowerPoint Slides

Saving Sophie 9 PowerPoint Slides

Immeasurably More

“IMMEASURABLY MORE..”

learning from the letter to the Ephesians

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! [Eph.3.20f]

The letter to the Ephesians was almost certainly written towards the end of Paul’s ministry while he was a prisoner in Rome. It represents the mature reflection of a man who had lived and breathed the gospel for long decades: and as such the letter provides a concise and distilled summary of the substance of his message.

It’s a message which had clearly been tested, and proved its mettle, in the face of real hostility, and in the furnace of great cultural diversity: and it’s a message, too, whose fruit in the lives of believers had already been amply demonstrated by the time this letter was written. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to find that for succeeding generations of believers it has been both a hugely encouraging, and at the same time a powerfully formative book of the Bible.

As we study this letter together, accordingly, both on a Sunday morning and in the Community Groups, may the Lord Himself use it to shape each of our lives at the individual level into the likeness of Christ Himself: and may He also use it to fashion in us, as a local congregation, a fellowship of believers pulsing with the grace of the Spirit of God and portraying in our communal life the glory of the gospel.

The very structure of the letter underlines the essence of that gospel. What God has done for us in Christ (chapters 1-3) is followed by how we then are to live for Him (chapters 4-6): as those who have been freed from the slavery of sin (that’s what the Lord has done for us in Jesus), we now learn to live as free men and women (that’s what we seek to do through the enabling power of God’s Spirit).

Enjoy this study and expect to be changed!

w/b 8 January 2017 Immeasurably More 1   PowerPoint slides 1

w/b 15 January 2017 Immeasurably More 2  PowerPoint slides 2

w/b 22 January 2017 Immeasurably More 3  PowerPoint slides 3

w/b 29 January 2017 Immeasurably More 4  PowerPoint slides 4

w/b 5 February 2017 Immeasurably More 5  PowerPoint slides 5

w/b 12 February 2017 Immeasurably More 6 PowerPoint slides 6

w/b 19 February 2017 Immeasurably More 7 PowerPoint Slides 7

w/b 26 February 2017 Immeasurably More 8 PowerPoint slides 8

w/b 5 March 2017 Immeasurably More 9 PowerPoint slides 9

w/b 12 March 2017 Immeasurably More 10 PowerPoint slides 10

w/b 19 March 2017 Immeasurably More 11 PowerPoint slides 11

w/b 26 March 2017  Immeasurably More 12 Powerpoint slides 12

 

w/b 23 April 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 1  PowerPoint slides 1

w/b 30 April 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 2 PowerPoint Slides 2

w/b 7 May 2017  Immeasurably More Part 2 week 3 PowerPoint slides 3  (Due to a technical error, this sermon was not recorded and is not available on our sermons page)

w/b 14 May 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 4 PowerPoint slides 4

w/b 21 May 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 5

w/b 28 May 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 6 PowerPoint slides 6

w/b 4 June 2017  Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 7 PowerPoint slides 7

w/b 11 June 2017  Immeasurably More Part 2 week 8  PowerPoint slides 8

w/b 18 June 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 9 PowerPoint Slides 9

w/b 25 June 2017 Immeasurably More Part 2 Week 10 PowerPoint Slides 10

With One Heart And Voice

WITH ONE HEART & VOICE

a people who pray together

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  [Romans 15.5-6]

Should we pray together as a congregation, and if so, why? And how does that differ from the praying together which forms part of our Sunday worship?

Is there Scriptural warrant for a congregational ‘prayer meeting’, and if so what is it?

Where, for instance, would you take a person if they asked for the biblical rationale for a fellowship of God’s people gathering on a regular basis specifically to pray together?

There are a whole load of good and important questions around this theme of corporate prayer! Our hope is that it will prove both important and helpful for us to look at these questions together, through the Sunday morning series of studies and then in the context of our Community Groups.

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The hardest thing – but perhaps the most important thing – may be for us deliberately to start in our thinking from a ‘blank canvas’: our past experience and our previous approaches are bound to inform our thinking, understandably so, but it will be important for us to ensure that they don’t prejudice our thinking.

We’ll aim to get to grips then, first, with the principles involved, and then try to discern together how these principles will be best worked out and expressed in practice here at this time.

Hopefully, our being able prayerfully to address these issues together in this way will help us come to a clear and common mind under God on this crucial matter as to His way forward for us here at this time.

 

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then …”

 

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Week beginning Sunday 23 October 2016: With One Heart And Voice 1

Week beginning Sunday 30 October 2016: With One Heart And Voice 2

Week beginning Sunday 6 November 2016: With One Heart And Voice 3

Week beginning Sunday 13 November 2016: With One Heart And Voice 4

Week beginning Sunday 20 November 2016: With One Heart And Voice 5

Week beginning Sunday 27 November 2016: With One Heart And Voice 6

Week beginning Sunday 4 December 2016: With One Heart And Voice 7

Week beginning Sunday 11 December 2016: With One Heart And Voice 8

Opening The Floodgates

The book of Acts records the story of the early church and the remarkable spread of the gospel, through the testimony of a small group of very ordinary people.

“[Jesus] said to them ..’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.’” [Acts 1.8]

The story is one of the floodgates of heaven being opened, and a great river of grace flowing across a dry and thirsty humanity – fulfilling in a wonderful way the Lord’s words through Isaiah –

“I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” [Is.44.3f]

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The aim of our studies over these weeks is to learn together how those floodgates may be opened again in our own context; for our land today is similarly parched, and as thirsty as ever for the Lord Himself. We’ll hope to get, and then share, feedback from the different Community Groups, so that together we can hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a fellowship through His Word.

Perhaps the prayer which should be on all our hearts through these studies, therefore, is best expressed in the words of the following song, first penned some 30 years ago –

Lord, we long for You to move in power
There’s a hunger deep within our hearts
To see healing in our nation: send Your Spirit to revive us

Heal our nation, Heal our nation, Heal our nation
Pour out Your Spirit on this land

Lord we hear Your Spirit, coming closer
A mighty wave to break upon our land
Bringing justice, and forgiveness: God we cry to You, ‘Revive us’

Heal our nation, Heal our nation, Heal our nation
Pour out Your Spirit on this land.

Each week we will update the links below with the materials for the coming week.

w/b 15 August   Opening The Floodgates 1

w/b 22 August  Opening The Floodgates 2

w/b 29 August Opening The Floodgates 3

w/b 5 September Opening The Floodgates 4

w/b 12 September Opening The Floodgates 5

w/b 19 September  Opening The Floodgates 6

w/b 26 September  Opening The Floodgates 7

w/b 3 October Opening The Floodgates 8