For many people 2020 has been a year to forget: a painful year lived in exile from friends and family, a frustrating year where our freedom has been restricted. So the hope of a return to normality in 2021 is exciting. The return from exile will soon begin. The rebuilding work can begin. Life will reset. But with God there are no wasted years. So what are the lessons he has taught us in 2020 that we need to remember in 2021? As we prepare to return, rebuild and reset what should our new ‘spiritual normal’ look like?
Sermons preached on Church Day.
Jesus’ parables are stories designed to separate. They’re designed to separate those who are ready to listen from those who are not. They’re designed to separate those who are genuinely seeking the truth from those who can’t be bothered. They’re designed to separate those who know they need to be ready to meet God from those who are just living for the here and now. Which group do you belong to?
Through the positive example of Paul’s costly and selfless service, and the negative example of the self-appointed ‘super apostles’ in the second half of the book, we learn about the true nature of authentic gospel ministry. The gospel is not advanced by guarantees of wealth and health, or through the flashiness or brashness of leaders, but through Christ’s power displayed in the weakness and suffering of his people. In a message which is as counter-cultural in our day as when Paul wrote this letter almost 2000 years ago, when God’s people boast, they are to boast in their weakness and God’s power.
We live in a world marked by injustice, oppression and pain. We long for justice, goodness and mercy. But is it possible to experience these things in our daily lives? And, if so, how do we pursue them? Micah speaks into these questions. He inspires us to know the God who is full of mercy, compassion and perfect justice. He calls us to follow him, and to let his Spirit transform us so that we will live justly and love mercy as we walk with him.
1 Peter is a letter written to Christians scattered far and wide who are experiencing grief in all kinds of trials. Peter says that his aim in writing the letter is to help these separated Christians to stand firm in the grace of God.