Christmas Carol Service
Carly Spear (Sun, 17 Dec 2017)
Carly spoke at our Christmas Carol Service, looking at how God met Joseph exactly when Joseph needed it most. God meets with us too.
During the service, the following video was played.
Helena's story of Hope and Perfect Peace was shown during the service:
To read more about Helena's story and how she's finding hope in her struggles to conceive, visit her blog https://treasuresinthedarkness.net/.
Happy Christmas everyone.
Prayer: Authority and Intimacy
Chris Spear Carly Spear (Sun, 18 Jun 2017)
Chris and Carly continued our series on prayer, looking at Ephesians 2: 1-7.
Chris shared his story of how God has been revealing to him the position he has as a child of God through a series of pictures. His story follows the line of the verses from Ephesians, describing the journey of us all when we were dead in our sin then made alive in Christ. The ‘But God…’ verse.
If you weren't there Sunday morning, hopefully the main points of his testimony can be remembered and shared between you!
The development of understanding has been in the areas of our authority from and with God, and how this comes out of a place of intimacy with the Father.
1. Why do some people feel like they are not worthy to live on the ‘41st floor’? (Do you?)
2. What does it look like to pray with authority?
3. How do we develop intimacy with the Father, both individually and corporately?
Carly Spear (Sun, 15 Jan 2017)
Carly continued our Spiritual Gifts series looking at Encouragement.
To view Carly's slides (in PDF format), click here.
The amazing, gentle and powerful gift of Encouragement
To encourage someone is to give support, confidence and hope. Looking at it from a Biblical perspective the use of the gift is to point or draw someone into a more intimate relationship with Father God, to turn to God and to seek Him.
In the Old Testament the refrain ‘Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’ is found repeatedly in Deuteronomy, Joshua and both books of Chronicles.
The Prophets were encouragers constantly urging the people to turn to the Lord, turn from their idolatries, to seek the Lord and repent.
Samuel encouraged the people to not ‘turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart’
Look at 2 Kings 17:13
There is purpose in the encouragement, turn and seek the Lord.
In the New Testament we see letters full of encouragement.
They are letters full of teaching, instruction, admonition amongst other things but the essence is always the forward, eternal perspective of ‘turn to God, seek Jesus’
Look at James and Paul in 1 Thess 5:14-24
We look to the Lord for our example of how to encourage. The Holy Spirit is the greatest encourager of all, his voice is easy to hear throughout Scripture. He always points and draws us to Jesus.
We need encouragement to follow the Lord, remember who we are in Him and to stick to what we are called to.
We need someone to run alongside us when it feels all uphill, reminding us to keep seeking and trusting Jesus when we feel discouraged.
The gifts God gives are for us, for each other and for everyone as we use them to demonstrate the heart of God. However and whenever we encourage people we are demonstrating the love, passion and joy of God. He is for us! To encourage someone is to reveal the nature of God. It is powerful!
The gift of encouragement is all about nurturing people towards a place of seeking and trusting the Lord.
ENCOURAGE ON PURPOSE FOR PURPOSE
Suggestions for application:
If you feel discouraged, do you know why? Ask someone to run up that hill with you in prayer.
Pray truth over each other, prophecy over each other to hear how the Holy Spirit wants to help you seek and trust Jesus.
How have you or could you use the gift of encouragement? It might help to remember a time when someone encouraged you and it made a real difference to your life?
Carly Spear (Sun, 10 Jul 2016)
Carly spoke about Zacchaeus. Luke 19:1-10
Zaccheus, a little man meets a big God!
Zaccheus had a curiosity to see Jesus and made the most of the opportunity by climbing a tree to catch even a glimpse of this Jesus that he had heard something about.
As Jesus walks past he calls Zaccheus by name and insists that he comes to his house. Very publically Jesus offers acceptance, welcome and grace to a lonely and lost man so used to rejection. His open heart and curiosity made him exactly the sort of person Jesus came to seek.
Zaccheus is a transformed man and one can only imagine the positive shock waves that went through the community. The rich man got through the eye of the needle and became a member of the family of God through his faith. There are lots of curious people up sycamore trees looking for Jesus amongst our friends and in our community. They might not realise they are looking for Jesus but they are searching for love, peace, acceptance, security, rescue, healing, help and purpose.
We can be deceived into thinking that the gospel is weak and that people are doing just fine as they are. The gospel is powerful and totally relevant. We need to tell them the good news! The Holy Spirit makes us bold, brave and courageous.
How can we be ordinary people looking for curious people up sycamore trees?
PRACTICAL conversation pointers can be helpful in starting to tell people the gospel taken from Chris’ video message:
Did you know that God loves you & Do you know he has an amazing plan for your life?
If you were to die today would you be absolutely certain that you would be with God in heaven?
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
- The wages of that sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus
- Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
1: Read Isaiah 61 to see that what Jesus was doing in Jericho the day
Zaccheus was saved is perfectly in line with what he said he was going to do
in Luke 4:18. This is now our mandate too. How does that make you feel
particularly when considering going out into the streets of Matlock on
Sunday 17th July?
Practice Chris’ conversation starters – Remember, 3-2-1 or rather 2-1-3
2: Is your heart a bit harder than you would like it to be when considering the lost & lonely? How do you know when your heart is hard? Even a tiny measure of the compassion God feels for the lost can soften your heart in a moment. Just ask Him.
3: Do you feel unashamed and brave? Bravo! If not, then why do you think
Paul could say ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes’
If you want courage and boldness to look up those sycamore trees for the lonely and lost then ask. He is the one that makes us brave!
My Family - The Fellowship Of Believers
Carly Spear (Sun, 07 Feb 2016)
Carly continued our series looking at the book of Acts, focusing on our life together as a family of believers.
We looked at the blueprint for church life in Acts 2 and considered how it relates to us and how we could respond to the example we are given.
Who gathered? All sorts! Believers from every walk of life, sharing a commonality through their salvation in Jesus.
When did they get together? All the time, in large groups and in homes.
Why? A worship response to the new relationship they have with God and a sense of belonging to His family.
They devoted themselves to learning, loving and liturgy. The study of Scripture and the Apostles teaching was their first priority. They were a loving community, really sharing their lives. They were a group of worshipful believers, regularly sharing in the breaking of bread. Out of the overspill of this family community many saw the love of God and came to know Him for themselves.
1. Did anything shared through the testimonies or in the talk aid your understanding of church as family?
2. Could you relate to any of the challenges that make living in community difficult for you?
3. What practical steps could you take to demonstrate your devotion to the fellowship of believers?
From Control To Freedom
Carly Spear (Sun, 22 Feb 2015)
Carly continued our series on "Sustainable Power", looking at the joy released when we move from control to freedom.
This week as part of our teaching series on 'Sustainable Power' we looked at how we can move from control to freedom. I wasn't the only one in the room who confessed to being a control freak!
I suggested that rather than allowing God to sit in the passenger seat of our lives we should let him drive and see where it takes us, trusting him even when the ride gets scary, the road gets bumpy and you start to feel travel sick.
Control is the counterfeit to self control, listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians. Good healthy boundaries bring freedom, control produces rebellion or servitude.
Looked at Mark 8:11-21 to see how Jesus challenged control, some of the symptoms and then some of the remedies:
1: Control is like yeast.
The Pharisees response to Jesus miraculous provision of food to thousands was unbelief and cynicism. Show us something more impressive! A little bit of yeast goes a long way. Beware the yeast of the Pharisees. How we respond to the wonderful things God does amongst us reveals something in our hearts. We need to celebrate!
2: Control never produces freedom.
It produces an attitude of servitude and slavery or rebellion. Adam and Eve created with incredible freedom to make really good and really bad decisions! Love cannot grow in the absence of choices. We are created for sonship not servitude and are changed through partnership and friendship with God. It is a mystery that the most powerful being in the whole universe is the least forceful.
1.The Pharisees were attempting to control Jesus and men by imposing external rules and regulations that was beyond what was required or even possible. Control says 'behave like this, say this, wear this then you are in the club' and makes you feel like this 'unless I tow the line I will be rejected and not accepted; unless I do what they say and do what I want I will be rejected'
It is not the way Jesus feels about you!
'Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God' We need to accept creativity and diversity to fully reflect the character of God and more effectively expand the Kingdom of God.
2.The Pharisees limited their study of God to intellectual thought and study alone. Knowing about God was never meant to be separated from encounter with God. God can never be fully understood, but he can be known and enjoyed forever. Alongside your study and enjoyment of the Bible, an open heart and simple prayer of "Holy Spirit, what are you doing today and can I partner with you?" keeps the door for the encounter open.
3.Self righteous behaviour...ouch! The Pharisees thought that external things mattered more than what was going on in the heart. Self righteousness treats others with contempt who don't have the same standard of holiness as themselves. We can do that so easily. God's response to this attitude is in Titus 3:5 'He saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Gifts are given to each one of us that we can make other people great! Use them to build up, encourage and spur each other on.
4.Religious control characterised by a lack of accountability.
We have been placed in a family called the church so that people who really love you can tell you how things really are. A true test of freedom would be our ability to submit our lives to others. You might need to eat some humble pie, but this is how radical covenant relationships are made.
We are pursuing freedom in God so that we can be ourselves, dance with freedom even if it looks ridiculous, pick each other up when we fall and win others to following our God. Our God who loves and accepts us AND those around us completely as we are and is waiting for us to hand over the reins.
We also watched a few bits from the movie Hitch!
 The Dance Lesson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bH0OXsmsbQ
 The Wedding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inPnVL41N_c
1. Do you recognise in yourself cynicism, unbelief and the desire to be in control? Do you celebrate amazing things that happen amongst us?
2. How would being in a controlling environment affect your ability to be yourself? (Think about the difference between the first and second dance clips from the film.)
3. How would you look?/our church look?/our community look if we choose to hand over the reins and move away from control towards a position of freedom?