Our next week covers the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, which is the record of a vision that John had nearly sixty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the vision it’s as if Jesus Himself has been a newcomer in seven first-century churches, and He describes the unique dynamics within each one. Imagine what Jesus would say if He visited us at Explore this Sunday!
In today’s Explore service, I said I feel God’s wanting to reveal Himself more to us throughout 2015, and nurture our relationship with Him.
What ways can you already note that God has been deepening your own relationship with Him, or our relationship with Him as a congregation?
Are there any ways that God is revealing Himself to you at the moment so that you can know Him better, or us as a group to know Him better?
What are your hopes for 2015 that God will draw you closer, or us closer to Him?
In our next five readings we will cover all the major passages in the Bible about the resurrection.
First we’ll look at the four Gospel accounts and you’ll find it fascinating to go through them back to back. In our fifth reading, we’ll look at what the early church leader Paul taught about the resurrection many years after it happened. By then, the first-century Christians were beginning to have doubts about whether the resurrection of Jesus even happened or not, or whether it was all that important after all. So Paul wrote to reassure the doubters and to firmly re-establish the importance of the resurrection.
The cross of Jesus Christ has become the most recognised and copied symbol in the world.
In our next five readings, we’ll go back and examine what the Bible says about the crucifixion of Jesus.
It’s not a pretty picture.
Here are 10 reasons why Christians should vote, taken from Dr Krish Kandiah in Christian Today magazine.
- Voting publicly recognises that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God. (Romans 13:1-7)
- Voting recognises the equality of all people and their right to speak and be heard. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)
- It is one way that we can obey God’s command to seek the good of those around us and our nation as a whole. (Jeremiah 29:5-6)
- It shows that we care deeply about who our leaders are as we are urged to offer prayer and intercession on their behalf. (1 Timothy 2:1,2)
- It is a simple yet significant way we can do something about politics in our nation. ‘All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing’, Edmund Burke. (Psalms 34:14)
- It makes a difference the way a grain of salt makes a difference, and that is how we are to influence our society for good. (Matthew 5:13)
- It is a privilege not to be taken for granted. Those of us who reap the benefits of living in a democracy should play a part in upholding democracy.
- Not voting is a form of voting, as it will influence the outcome. We need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as our lack of actions. (Luke 10:25-37)
- Voting has biblical precedence for example Acts 14:23 describes that the early Christians elected elders by voting.
- Voting is part of our stewardship to use all the resources we have been given in ways that honor God; to waste a vote is to squander a gift.
At one point in His ministry, people were so turned off by Jesus’ teaching that they said, ‘This is a hard saying; Who can accept it?’ (John 6:60) and they deserted Him in droves.
Sometimes Jesus said things that were obscure; they were difficult to understand. Other times He said things that were challenging and difficult to obey. We’ll be covering some from both categories:
- ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.’
- ‘Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.’
- ‘You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.’
- ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you
forgive your brother from your heart.’
- ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’
Prayer is one of those things that almost everyone has tried, but almost no one fully understands. That’s why our next five readings will be so helpful; they give us a picture of the greatest ‘pray-er’ the world has ever known.
What religion or ideology has as its symbol a notorious means of execution? The very idea sounds ludicrous. Yet Christianity’s universally recognised symbol is exactly that. In this case, though, the Cross, along with the empty grave, is not symbolic of death and defeat but of life and victory!
The central idea of Christ’s death is that it accomplishes redemption, reconciliation and propitiation for the sinner who turns to Him in faith. It works!
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
The five readings this week highlight Jesus’ power to heal the sick. We’ll read how Jesus enabled a blind man to see, caused a paralysed man to walk, restored a demon possessed man, cured a woman with an incurable bleeding problem and brought two dead people back to life.
The Bible tells us that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). So if Jesus had the ability and want to do these things then, He will also reveal His glory and help people put faith in Him today.