Archive for September, 2020

Bible Study – Tuesday 29th September 2020

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Bible Study- Nehemiah Dealing with Opposition
I can remember talking with an activist who said that rights were not granted but hard won. Building-up something new, restoring something valuable, fighting for justice or developing your inner spiritual life can be a hard slog. The Bible makes it clear that when we work with God to build the kingdom, something good, there will be opposition. In fact, ‘Satan’ in Hebrew means ‘Adversary’.
1-Have you been part of a long campaign to build something good? What were the successes and
setbacks? Does it help to know that opposition is part of the course?
Nehemiah has permission from the King of Persia to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
He rallies the people in chapter 3 and everyone gets involved (even the priests do the building). However,
in chapter 4 there are setbacks and opposition. Nehemiah is not a straight path to success.

Read Nehemiah 4: 1-9
Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs (remember this is pre-Islam!), the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod are all local peoples who do not want to see Jerusalem rebuilt and the Jews strong in the region again. They unite in opposition to retain what control they have.
2- What forms does their opposition take? (e.g. anger, fear, intimidation etc.)
3- Have you ever faced opposition like that when you were trying to do something good? Does it help to know what fears are fuelling people’s opposition?
4- What do you think of Nehemiah’s prayer?
Read Nehemiah 4: 10-23
5- How does the attitude of the workers change? Why? (notice that just as opposition from outside scales up so does opposition from within)
6- How does Nehemiah respond? He prays to God and…….Do we ‘pray to God and….’
Read Luke 4: 16-30
7- What similarities can you see between Jesus and Nehemiah?

Wednesday worship – 23 April

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Wednesday worship – 16th September 2020

Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

As well as her normal outstanding sermon Suzanne also included information about the Mayflower Pilgrims on the 400th Anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to the Americas.

Bible Study 15th September

Sunday, September 13th, 2020

Bible Study- Elisha and the Axe-head

There is a pattern in the miracle stories of Elisha, the prophet does a small, contradictory thing in faith and restoration or healing occurs. For example, he puts a bowl into a Spring and the water becomes drinkable again. He adds some flour to a stew which counteracts ‘the death in the pot’ (2 Kings 4:38-41). No jokes about my cooking! He feeds a hundred people with just twenty barley loaves and there is bread leftover (2 Kings 4:42-44). If that story sounds familiar- it should. Even the healing of Naaman only involved dipping in a river much to his annoyance. God is the power at work not dramatic actions or spells.

  1. When have you been underwhelmed? Have you been underwhelmed by God?

Read 2 Kings 6:1-4a

The company of prophets is a bit like a proto-Church. I like the fact that they have identified that something is too small and therefore inadequate and decide to do something about it. Notice the ‘us’ and that each of them aims to get a pole from the Jordan region.

  1. What is inadequate/not enough in our life together? What do we need to do about it collectively?
  2. Does the response of the prophets reflect our Congregationalism in some way?
  3. What does leadership look like in this short passage?

Read 2 Kings 6:4a-5

I wonder how long it was before the prophet realised that the axe-head was missing? Was he standing there with a big stick beating a tree wondering why it wasn’t cutting? I often get frustrated with equipment before I realise it is not plugged in! We need to keep things sharp and not allow our spiritual senses and practices to become blunt.

  1. Where can we become blunt and less of a useful tool for the purposes of God?
  2. What keeps us sharp? See Proverbs 27:17, Ecclesiastes 7:3, Ecclesiastes 10:10, Hebrew 4: 12-13
  3. If you were a tool or utensil in God’s hand what would you be?

Read 2 Kings 6:6-7

I find three things interesting here. First, Elisha wants to know the location. Where did you lose your sharpness? Sometimes it is good to recover your steps and understand where things when wrong. Second, the iron floats! Iron usually sinks but God can make heavy things light. Third, the prophet has to reach out and be part of the miracle. I am not sure I would want to reach out and pick a sharp axe-head. I might lose fingers.

  1. Where have you had to meet God halfway to participate in a miracle?

Prayer

Lord God,

Sharpen us up so that we can be useful for You.

Forgive us when we have been careless or forgetful and our spiritual senses have become blunt.

Show us where things went wrong so that we can recover our zeal.

Thank you for the people, life-events and Bible passages that keep us sharp.

We want our churches to be alive for You.

Help us be willing to expand and change when You call us to.

Don’t let us go through the motions when those motions no longer work.

Grant us Your wisdom.

Amen.

Wednesday worship – 6.30pm 9th September

Sunday, September 13th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

https://youtu.be/Osg1wOYOulE.

Wednesday Worship – 6:30pm 2nd September

Sunday, September 13th, 2020

Service led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Story of Naaman