Neal Garratt (Sun, 08 May 2016)
Neal continued our series looking at the early church in the book of Acts, looking at the roles and responsibilities of elders and our duties to them.
At the start of his preach, Neal showed the "Class Sketch" from "This Was The Week That Was".
This morning we looked at the early church from Acts and how elders were initiated and their role as outlined by Paul in Acts. We also looked at how the eldership works in our own Church, particularly now that Dave has stepped down and we have three elders leading the Church and lastly we looked at the Church’s responsibility towards the eldership team.
We started by asking what is your view of Elders – are they Christian super Heroes with a hotline to God – with amazing wisdom and super spiritual beings? Actually they are normal guys with normal fears and doubts that have been chosen by God for a specific task – that of leading and protecting the Church.
We looked at Acts 14 vs 23 and Acts 20 vs 28 about the appointment of elders in the early Church and then went on to look at the attributes of an elder from the following scriptures; Tits 1 vs 5-9, 1 Peter 5 Vs 1-3 and 1 Timothy 3 vs 2-7 – They should be above reproach, the husband of one wife, not arrogant or quick tempered, a drunkard or violent, or greedy for gain. But hospitable,a lover of good, self controlled,upright,holy and disciplined- They must hold firm to the work of God and be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and rebuke those contradict it.
1 Peter 5 vs 1-3 – Shepherd the flock, exercise oversight not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples, clothe yourselves with humility.
I told the story of the Church in Aldershot with Derek Brown and how that has always stayed with me.
“The credibility of leadership in Christ rests not on the colour of my skin, nor eloquence, nor gifting or charisma, nor any external matter. Its rests on the internal character of the leader” - Its all about Character.
Clearly Elders are to Pastor or shepherd the church and this view is helpful in our understanding of the role – Four main areas:
1. Leading – Giving direction and leading by example
2. Feeding – With the work of God. Through sound doctrine and teaching and correction if needed.
3. Protecting – From those who would seek to disrupt or destroy the Church – From within or without.
4. Caring – Through encouragement, prayer support and pastoral care if needed.
Elders also bring authority – Not in a heavy handed authoritarian kind of way – but rather one that brings security,peace and real joy in the Holy Spirit. This authority has to be handled with great care and must always be backed by grace.
Galations 6 vs 1- Brotgers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness- keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted
. We looked at Jesus washing his disciples feel as their servant and this servant heart is so important in leadership – we are elders not for the title but by the calling of God. If you only want the title then I venture to suggest it will be in vain.
“ Our pursuit of the qualification for Eldership is primarily that we may conform more and more to the image of Christ, not primarily to attain eldership status. Our sanctification in Christ is the key and that makes us more eligible as leaders!”
Lastly we looked at the Church’s response to our elders.
1 Thessalonians 5 vs 12 – Now we ask you brothers to respect those who work hard among you , who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live at peace with one another.
Hebrews 13 vs 7 – Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you, consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
1 Timothy 5 vs 17-19 – The elders who direct the affairs of the Church well are worthy of double honour especially those whose work is preaching and teaching!
Double honour means chocolate biscuits or rich chocolate cake in my translation!!
Do we always get everything right – Of course not! Please forgive us, pray for us and honour us as try to lead with humility and grace – Leading, Feeding Caring and Protecting. God has promised shepherds after his own heart – May we who seek to lead you be the fulfilment of that promise.
PJ Smythe - “The credibility of leadership in Christ rests not on the colour of my skin, nor eloquence, nor gifting or charisma, nor any external matter. Its rests on the internal character of the leader” - Its all about Character.
What do you think about this quote and do you agree? What builds character?
Did the story of the Church leader in Aldershot help in your understanding of a servant hearted leadership style or did you think they would have been better getting on with the spiritual stuff and let someone else clean the toilets?
Perhaps the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet helps?
3. Perhaps before this morning you didn’t realize that you have a role to play in supporting the leadership? Now you know what can you practically do to help and support?
4. What do you think double honour means from 1 Timothy 5 vs 17-19? Chocolate biscuits and rich chocolate cake are acceptable answers!
One New Man
Peter Williams (Sun, 01 May 2016)
Peter continued our series on the book of Acts, looking at God making us all one new man.
No them and us in the church
All are welcome
All can receive the Holy Spirit
All can be baptised
Peter hadn't got this, despite Pentecost, so God had to show him.
‘The church was not simply a union or club made up of Jews and Gentiles who were willing to ‘bury the hatchet’, it was a new creation!’ John Kpikpi
None of us was created in the image of baboons (Gen. 1:27). John Kpipki
Phil Hardy Whatever you think of yourself and what you perceive others may think of you and you may feel weaker than others but you are indispensable. What you have to contribute is necessary and required for the whole body to function CitP 28/9/14
Joshua Harris The heavenly beings look down at the church, and they are an amazing family. The power of the gospel is not only changing individuals, but is also creating a whole new kind of humanity. In the midst of a strife torn world, a world divided by race gender class and political ideologies, the church is a city on a hill, where people who once hated God and each other become God's children and members of one family. This family expresses itself in practical, yet radical ways. p53 Stop dating the church
Priesthood of all believers
One man in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
We are all Priests
We are all ambassadors
We are all equally loved
We are all spectacularly saved
We need to understand this in our hearts and heads
Questions for groups
1) In church life have you felt less equal than everyone else? Does this teaching change things for you? Does this liberate you?
2) At Catalyst in 2015 Andy McCulloch said “Christianity demands that the strong change, not the weak. Is your church oriented towards the strong, or to the weak?”
3) One of the people responding to the church building planning permission said “Whilst not all people using food banks, clothes banks and drop in cafes are undesirables, some are, and we don't want them hanging about and loitering near our residences. I'm also sure some of these people don't need these facilities of food and clothes, and just use it because it's there and it's free.” How do we feel about that, and how does church need to respond to this situation?
No Audio Recorded
Phil Hardy (Sun, 24 Apr 2016)
In light of the 2 Sunday's we have had where God has stepped in to our meeting, here are some question that hopefully will help in entering in to what God is doing at this time.
To view a prophecy given by Phil is 2004 about God's Spirit being poured out on us (in PDF format), click here.
quote “Hosting God is filled with honour and pleasure, cost and mystery. He is subtle, and even sometimes silent. He can also be extremely obvious, aggressive and overtly purposeful. He is a guest with an agenda – father to son. Heaven to earth. It is still His world – His purpose will be accomplished. This leaves us with a question that has yet to be answered: what generation will host Him until the kingdoms of this world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and Christ?” (Rev 11:15.). – Hosting the presence, Bill Johnson. Questions What happens to a person when Gods presence rests on them? What is their responsibility in protecting that presence? What is the impact on the world around them? In what ways would you like God to presence himself to you and others through you?
Dave Harper (Sun, 17 Apr 2016)
Dave spoke about Apostolic Mission.
Map of area in time of Acts.
Here are Dave's questions drawn from the talk. Use the ones you want to.
Passage Acts 2:5-11
What do you think is the significance of this record of the New Testament church 's birth?
What do you think is the significance that people group could hear God's praises in their own language?
What is God's mission and how does apostolic mission connect to it??
How far had this mission spread by the end of chapter 12 of the book of Acts?
Did the talk impact your worldview of the mission of the church?
How can we be caught up in apostolic mission?
The Presence Of God
Phil Hardy (Sun, 10 Apr 2016)
God moved powerfully amongst us this morning. Phil invites everyone to come forward and receive more of God's presence.
Peter Williams (Sun, 03 Apr 2016)
During our All Age Meeting, Peter spoke about the sea journey and shipwreck that Paul experienced in Acts 27 and 28 with the congregation being the people on the boat.
To view Peter's slides (in PDF format), click here.
Luke spends more words on this than the ascension and Pentecost together. Why?
What can we learn from Paul being shipwrecked?
We still have the same God, who never changes.
Do you feel like you have been shipwrecked?
On beach, gasping, I only just made that.
3m rest for Paul.
God will not allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Are we in danger of being shipwrecked?
Tempted to swim for it?
What does God say?
With Jesus in the boat you can smile at the storm? Not sure you can all the time.
But Jesus will help you as you grimace in the scenario you are in.
The spirit can give you peace as you draw close.
Are we so on dry land that it is not even a remote possibility?
Do you need to step into the boat to go where the Spirit is prompting you to go? Are you even listening?
Paul went where the Spirit prompted him to go. Do we?
To get to Rome was not a comfy trip.
However, if he had not done so, a series of Emporers would not have become Christians, and so world history would have been very different. The UK would not have heard the gospel till many centuries later.
So, are you prepared to be shipwrecked?
Shipwrecks happen in our lives.
Other people's decisions sometimes get us wrecked.
He knows your heart.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
That doesn't mean it will all be plain sailing....
What would you save if your ship was going down?
Shows our heart. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
God always keeps his promises
Are you wrecked, or feel like you are about to be? You need to know God with you. Perhaps you need to forgive God for letting you be in his situation.
Why am I here?
Neal Garratt (Sun, 27 Mar 2016)
Jesus is Risen. Hallelujah.
Neal spoke at our special Easter Service.
Unfortunately, the meeting didn't record properly
Further notes and questions may follow in due course.
Phil Hardy (Sun, 20 Mar 2016)
Phil continued our study of the book of Acts and looked at generosity in the early church.
To view Phil's slides (in PDF format), click here.
• Working through acts could not ignore the generosity and giving
• Generosity and Giving were very evident in the church in Acts
• It is to be a part of the life of the church today and is
• No preaching this because it's an issue, but for our encouragement
• We have always been a generous church
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:42-47 ESV
• In this passage, this blue print for what the church should be like we see that there was not only a willingness to bow generous but acted on it, so those that had sold their goods, land or property to help those in need.
• It was not an act done under duress, or any command from the apostles
• It was not a requirement to be able to be part of the community of believers
• It was a heart response to the Holy Spirit and seeing the need around them
“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
Acts 4:34-35 ESV
3 points I want to make
1. Generosity demonstrates the heart of God and his love for us
• God did not spare his only son - “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:32 ESV
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:11 ESV
• Gods desire that that we should lack no good thing
• Gods heart for us that if we have need we can ask because he is willing to provide all we need
2. Generosity shows our love for one another
• The same love they had received from the father was expressed by their willingness to sell up and to give to those in need
• The early church understood that ultimately God owned everything they had, so they were able to hold onto things in a proper way—with a loose hand.
• Their Encountering of a radically generous God created a radically generous people.
• “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 ESV
3. Generosity expresses love for the lost, poor and needy
• In the acts 2 passage it seems there is a link between generosity and salvation
• This newly radically generous people who gave to those in need had a amazing affect on the community around them.
• In the context of them being fully devoted in every way, God added to their number those who were being saved every day
• There are lots of churches, but not nearly as many that are making a the most of an opportunity to make a difference in their community. Through looking at the early church, we see how their generosity made them to be a world changing church.
• We too are affecting people's lives through our varied projects want to continue to do so.
There's an added dimension to this, it's not rules or regulations,
There is a Grace to Give
“Grace leads us into the exciting adventure of faithful giving, and of proving the goodness of God and his ability to make grace abound to us so that we are always sufficient for every good work”
Terry Virgo Gods Lavish Grace
We can be generous givers not out of any duty or complusion, trying to be a good Christian and do our duty. Grace filled generosity is releasing. It sets us free from possessiveness, it sets us free from materialism, it releases us into us faith filled giving
• Luke 6 v 38 Jesus said
““give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.””
• Gods looking for that grace filled generosity among his people
• It demonstrates Gods love for us
• It demonstrates our love for one another
• It demonstrates his love and our love for the Poor, the needy and those who don't know Jesus yet
• Not that we are not already a generous church because we are, but my encouragement is that by being so we demonstrate the Kingdom of God in our communities to the praise and Glory of his name
I have been asked, will we be having a gift day for the building?
Change of use planning application is in
Lots of signs that God is in this
We want to act in faith following what God is doing
We will be having a gift day
Not looking to you or your bank account but to God
I joked at the prayer meeting “there’s thousands of pounds down the back of your sofa’s you know nothing about
100,000 Gift day
What evidence is there that we are a generous church
How can you demonstrate generosity in your community
Have you allowed Gods grace to set you free from to be generous with all you have, in What ways are you proving Gods grace in this area of your life?
Does the mention of s gift day fill you with faith or fear? If it's fear how can you move form fear to faith?
Here’s a prayer taken from Bethel Church Redding California that you can pray particularly if you are in fear and to move into faith.
Father I choose to trust you for:-
Jobs and better jobs, Raises and bonuses, Benefits
Sales and commissions, Favourable settlements
Estates and inheritances, Interests and income
Rebates and returns, Checks in the mail Gifts and surprises, Finding money Debts paid off,
Expenses decrease Blessing and increase.
Thank You, Lord, for meeting all of my financial needs
that I may have more than enough to give into the Kingdom of God
and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!!!
Terry Charker (Sun, 13 Mar 2016)
As part of our involvement with Christians Against Poverty (CAP), Terry spoke about their work and principles.
For more information on CAP, please visit their website: https://capuk.org/.
Further notes and questions may be available in due course.
Colin Baron (Sun, 06 Mar 2016)
Colin continued our series on the book of Acts, looking at Barnabas and travelling ministries.
To view Colin's slides, click here.
Further notes and questions may be available in due course.