Knowing God and knowing about God

We should distinguish between knowing about God and really knowing God.  Knowing about God just deals with facts.  Really knowing God includes relationship.

From Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day by Daryl Aaron

Theology

A Prayer for Mothering Sunday

A Prayer for Mothering Sunday, taken from the Bath and Wells Children and Families Adviser

Loving God, we give You thanks for all who care for us,
who have encouraged us and helped us grow,
who have forgiven us,
and cared for us when we are unwell,
who have supported us when times were hard,
who have challenged us,
who have told us about You.
Thank you, Lord.

Amen

Loving God, we pray for those for whom Mothering Sunday is a time of heartache rather than celebration.
We pray for those who have never known their mother or whose mothers have died, for those who long to be mothers but as yet have not had their own children, for those who struggle with the way their children have chosen to live their lives and for those who have a difficult relationship with their mother.
May they have the comfort of knowing that Your love for them is constant, Your understanding is perfect, Your compassion is never-ending.

Amen

Not a church for ourselves, but for people who don’t like church.

Here is something that has made me think:

Redeemer [the name of the writer’s Church in New York] was founded on the principle that “we are not a church for ourselves, but for people who don’t like church.” From the very first days… that commitment has been the foundation beneath all of Redeemer’s priorities. We have never sought to gather those who already believe, or take people away from other churches, but to address the secular, skeptical ‘New Yorker’ who would ordinarily not attend church.

Because of this foundational commitment, God has given Redeemer the rare gift of being able to communicate the gospel plausibly and persuasively to people in the most difficult to reach demographic in the country. But this comes with a price. It means that we must always remind ourselves that we inside the Church are not to put our own likes, dislikes, priorities and personal agendas ahead of the needs of those outside the church. This is difficult to the point of being nearly impossible, as the needs and desires of members (for series and budget and training and attention from leaders) will always be more visible and voluble than the needs of people who aren’t even there and mostly are unable to articulate their spiritual needs.

Wendy Keller.  Taken from the Redeemer Church website, and quoted in a book I have just finished reading, Ready Steady Grow by Ray Evans.
ready steady grow

How can I know God?

We can know God for one reason only:  God has made Himself known.  If God had not chosen to do this, we could not have known Him.  That is, God is not accessible through our senses, our reason, our experience, or any other means apart from His willingness to be accessible. Our knowledge of God is absolutely dependent upon divine revelation;  and not only is He willing to be known, He desires to be known.

From Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day by Daryl Aaron.

The Queen of Sciences

Up until the last couple of centuries, studying God was known as the ‘queen of the sciences.’  The assumption was that since everything comes from God, nothing can be sufficiently studied apart from God. Therefore, you were not considered to be educated in any field of study unless you had also studied theology.

From Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day by Daryl Aaron.

Theology

convinced of and committed to certain basic ideas

The Bible is what it claims to be—the very Word of God, without error, completely true and trustworthy; Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be—fully and eternally God as well as fully human; Jesus Christ really did die historically and physically, really was resurrected historically and physically, and he really is coming back to earth physically and visibly; and finally, faith in Jesus Christ is the only way for us sinners to be accepted by God and enjoy his presence forever.

From Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day by Daryl Aaron.

Theology

Staying healthy

Over the Christmas period, we’ve been unwell as a family, one or two at a time bedridden, colds, coughs, temperatures, weak, even hallucinations.  When we’d gone through the whole family, it felt like the cycle started again!  Talking to you, many of you have suffered the same or similar.

sickness

Jesus came as ‘Saviour’ and talked about ‘salvation’ as including healthy minds, bodies and healing from sicknesses.

How have you tackled it when you, or one of your family, have appeared to be going down with illness?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!

It strikes me that what we do in Explore is worth sharing with a larger group of people.  The word’s going to spread!  Who do you know that you could bring along with you on a Sunday?  They could be any age.  If they might be nervous coming on a Sunday, would they enjoy interacting with some of the discussions here on this blog?

Explore business card Page 1 300dpi

We have an Explore ‘business card’.  Who could you give one to with a warm invitation?  Where could you leave one or pin one to a board?  Sometimes when someone sees something several times it encourages them to act!

Explore business card Page 2 300dpi

This coming Sunday we are beginning our new series Exploring Jesus, it’s an ideal time for some new friends to join in! 

Marginal incremental gains

I read about a Church that worked on improving some small things by just 1%, a little bit.  The idea is that lots of ‘little bits’ add up to make a big difference.  They challenged themselves to do 1% more praying on a Saturday night to commit Sunday to God, 1% of 24 hours was just under 15 minutes, so they tried to pray for 15 minutes.  They tried to make 1% more smiles – it’s amazing what a smiling face does to someone’s sense of being welcomed!  They encouraged one another to eat 1% more food, provided it was with someone else during the week somewhere.  Meals eaten with others make a difference.

What little difference could we each make as a Church family that would individually feel like a small sacrifice, but together would make a big difference?

Critical non-essentials

One writer talks about the importance of critical non-essentials.  For example, if the Church building is too cold, the sound system is poor, the pews are uncomfortable, there’s no welcome for visitors or no refreshments, it is hard to concentrate and engage.  These things aren’t essential to what we do but they can be a source of putting people off.

What do you think might be barriers in the way for people who come to our meetings?