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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Church Membership 2013


Church Membership 2013
Welcome
Thank you so much for attending this very concise course on church membership. There are three goals that I hope will be achieved over the next few weeks:
Firstly, that you, as a member of the church of Jesus Christ will have a fresh understanding of what it means to be a member of His church on earth in the year 2013, and that you will have a better understanding of what it means to a be a part of that part of our Lord’s church which calls itself Methodist.
Secondly, that you will have a fresh understanding of what it means to be baptized, in other words, the implications of your baptism (whenever it occurred) in your life now.
Thirdly, that as a baptized member of the church of Jesus Christ, you will have a Biblically informed and Holy Spirit guided response to some of the social issues facing us as we live in Alberton, Gauteng and in South Africa in the year 2013.
Throughout the course and in your preparation, please remember that we serve a God who speaks to us, and so be sensitive to what He might be speaking into your life at this time and pray for the will to go where He leads or calls you to.
I hope you enjoy this course. Visit the following Web pages for more information:
1.      Alberton Methodist Church homepage – www.amc.org.za
2.      Methodist Church of Southern Africa homepage – http://www.methodist.org.za/

Subjects looked at over this 3 week course include:
A Short History of the Christian Faith
The spread of the early church
Persecution
The Emperor Constantine becomes a Christian in 313AD
East-west split
The rise of Islam
The Reformation, The Counter-Reformation, The English Reformation
The Evangelical Revival
The spread of Methodism
The rise of Pentecostalism
Duties and Privileges of Church Membership
What Methodists Believe
What does my Baptism mean?

A Short History of the Christian Faith

·        The spread of the early church. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the church in Jerusalem began to organize itself to take care of the new converts (Acts 2:42-47). They used the Temple for worship and met for fellowship and prayer in private homes. Jewish persecution broke out and Christians were forced to flee to other cities (Acts 9:1-2). They wasted no time in starting new congregations in these places, and so the Church began to spread. A loose form of church organization developed which we can trace quite clearly in the New Testament.
Then in obedience to Jesus the apostles and others also began to travel to new centre’s to preach the gospel (Mt 28:18-20), and soon new churches were started in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Greece, Italy, and as far as Spain. It also spread to Ethiopia (Acts 8:27), to Egypt, and across the whole of North Africa. Obviously only a small part of this work is recorded for us in Acts. Many others, whose names we do not know, also went out to spread the Good News. The Roman Empire had an excellent system of roads and shipping so that travel was relatively easy. There was also a commonly understood language and these factors greatly assisted the expansion of the Church.
·        Persecution. In about 90AD the Emperor Domitian declared himself to be “divine” and ordered all subjects of the Roman Empire to worship him as a god. Christians of course refused to do this and were persecuted most cruelly. Many thousands were imprisoned, killed in the arena, burnt or tortured. It became dangerous to be a Christian. They had to meet secretly. Yes the Church grew strong because people had to make very definite and courageous decisions about their faith. There were no half-hearted Christians. It called for total commitment.
·        The Emperor Constantine became a Christian in 313AD. He made Christianity an official religion in the Roman Empire and it came out into the open at last. However this actually had a negative effect on the Church. As it became more fashionable to be a Christian, people sometimes did so for the wrong reasons. The Church grew larger but it was no longer lean and strong. Constantine also moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople (Istanbul), the centre of the Eastern portion of the Empire. Tension developed between these two centres and eventually the Roman Empire in the West collapsed. The barbarian invaders from the north later accepted the Christian faith and the Pope, the bishop of Rome, later became the ruler of the Empire. The Holy Roman Empire in the West was for a time therefore governed by the Church.
·        East-west split. In the first few centuries there were several schisms and divisions in the Church, mainly over doctrinal disputes. Arguments arose over such things as, exactly what nature Jesus had, whether He was human or divine, whether He was equal with the Father or less than the Father, etc.
Between the 6th and 9th centuries there was a growing division between the Eastern Churches, governed by Constantinople, and the Western Churches, governed by Rome. This led to the first major split in 1054AD, when the Eastern Orthodox Church, finally broke its ties with Rome.
·        The rise of Islam. Another major event which affected the Church was the birth of Mohammed (570-623AD) in Mecca, in present day Saudi Arabia. He founded the Islamic religion, and it began to sweep through the Arab world. Armed with the doctrine of “holy war” their advancing armies wiped out the Christian Church in Palestine, the Middle East and Egypt. They swept across North Africa (approx 650AD) and Spain (approx 711AD). In the North they conquered Turkey (Asia Minor), Constantinople (717AD) and advanced into Europe as far as Hungary. These wars destroyed seven centuries of Christian work in a vast area, and what was left of the Church was concentrated mainly in Europe, Italy and Greece. In the 12th century some of the nations in Christian Europe sent armies of “Crusaders” to try and drive the Mohammedans out of Palestine. They never totally succeeded.
·        The Reformation. By the early 16th century the Roman Catholic Church and the Sate were heavily intertwined. Money raised in the Church was being used to support kings and fight wars. A system of ‘indulgences’ was introduced whereby people could pay to have their sins forgiven, and have prayers said for the dead. Corruption and ignorance was rife. In Germany Martin Luther (148-1546) and many other religious leaders rebelled against the malpractices of the Catholic Church. They called for a return to the basic truths of the Christian faith. They taught that salvation is by faith alone, and that the Bible is the supreme guide in all matters related to the Church and theology. They also stressed the ‘priesthood of all believers’ and wanted the Bible to be made available to the common people in their own language. At that time it was written only in Latin and could only be read by a priest.
The Protestant Reformation led to the formation of at least three major Church groups, each with slightly different emphases in their teaching: a) The Lutherans under Martin Luther b) The Calvinists under John Calvin in Geneva who stressed the doctrine of election (predestination) c) The Anabaptists, who refused to allow their children to be baptized and revived the practice of adult, or Believers Baptism.
·        The Counter-Reformation. Later in the 16th century the Catholic Church made a sincere attempt to reform itself. Under the leadership of primarily the Jesuits they set about renewing the clergy in order to renew the Church. Many important changes were made.
·        The English Reformation was slightly different in character. In 1534 Henry V111 broke all ties with Rome and declared itself to be head of the Church of England. This was partly because the Catholic Church had refused to allow him to divorce Catherine of Aragon. The Reformation of England accepted most of the theology of the European reformers but retained many of the outward forms of worship and organization of the Catholic Church. It therefore took a middle road between Luther and Rome.
·        The Evangelical Revival, in which the Methodist Church was born, took place in the 1700’s. England was at the time going through the ‘Industrial Revolution’. Many country and small-town people were flocking to the cities and had to live in very inadequate slum conditions. The vast majority were poor and social problems were rife. The Church of England was by and large fast asleep, and had lost touch with the common people. In the midst of this ‘dead’ Church some began to rediscover the Reformation teaching of salvation by faith alone, and experienced the power of the risen Christ in their lives. John Wesley (1703-1791), an Anglican priest, had a deep conversion experience in 1738 and began to preach ‘salvation by faith.’ Many responded and found real life-changing faith.
The Anglican Church however rejected this movement, and preachers of the ‘new doctrine’ were soon banned from preaching in most Anglican churches. Wesley and his workers therefore turned to preaching in the open-air, to miners and to the common people.
Many thousands came to know Jesus Christ as Saviour. These new Christians were organized in ‘Societies’ and class-meetings to build them up in their faith. Wesley himself, however, always saw Methodism as a renewal movement within the Anglican Church and tried to avoid a split. But after he died the inevitable happened and Methodism became a separate Church.
·        The spread of Methodism. It soon spread to the new colonies in America where it grew dramatically under the leadership of Rev. Francis Asbury. It became the Church of the frontier, with Methodist preachers moving in the interior alongside the pioneers. As a result the numbers grew phenomenally; to 43 00 in 1791, 9 million in 1927, and over 14 million today, the largest denomination in America. It also spread to other lands. Sometimes missionaries were deliberately sent out, but more often than not it took root with the Protestant denomination in the world with over 50 million Methodists in more than 90 countries.
·        The rise of Pentecostalism. Early this century a number of Christians and Christian groups began to stress the importance of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and to experience in their personal lives the power and the gifts of the Spirit. This led to a great deal of ferment in the main-line denominations in the Church, and eventually to the establishment of several break-away Pentecostal Churches. At first there was much antagonism, but today there is a growing understanding of the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit throughout the Christian Church. This new emphasis on the Spirit has been the source of great renewal in all the Churches.













Duties and Privileges of Church Membership

Aim of the lesson:
To look at what is involved in being full and responsible members of the Church.
Study passages:
2 Corinthians 9:6-12, Colossians 3:5-17, Hebrews 10:19-25, 13:1-7, 1 Peter 4:7-11

Notes:
·        Conditions of membership. Any club or organization has conditions of membership and duties which it lays down for its members. The Methodist Church is no different. It lays down three simple requirements for membership:
Faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour
A sincere desire to be saved from sin
Involvement in the fellowship of the Church
·        These three conditions are stated in our ‘Laws and Disciplines’ as follows:
‘Membership is based upon a personal experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, brought about by His Spirit… and upon a sharing of such personal gifts of grace with others seeking or enjoying a similar experience.
All persons are welcomed into membership who sincerely desire to be saved from their sins through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and show the same in life and conduct, and who seek to have fellowship with Christ himself and His people by taking up the duties and privileges of the Methodist Church.
As membership in the Church involves fellowship it is the duty of all members in the Church to seek to cultivate this in every possible way.’
·        Duties of Church membership. The following eight things should be regarded as minimum goals for members of the Church:
1.      To follow the example of Christ in home and daily life.
2.      To bear personal witness to Jesus Christ.
3.      To be regular in private prayer each day.
4.      To read the Bible each day and seek to be obedient to God’s Word.
5.      To attend worship every Sunday.
6.      To receive Holy Communion regularly.
7.      To give meaningful financial support to the work of the Church, locally and for the wider mission field.
8.      To be involved in serving others in the Church and community.

As we grow in our faith and walk with the Lord we will understand these duties at a deeper and clearer level. We may add others to the list, but these will always remain a basic minimum for us.


Questions for discussion

1.      Read through all the study passages carefully. What do they teach us about the conditions of membership in the early Church? Make a list.
2.      What do you think of the three basic conditions of membership in the Methodist Church? Are they reasonable? Should there be others?
3.      Go through the eight suggested duties one by one. What does each one mean? Are they too strict, not strict enough, or about right?
4.      What should the Church do about people who want to be members, but don’t want to accept any of the responsibilities of membership?
5.      As a group, make a list of some ways in which you could become more involved in the activities of your local church.


What Methodists Believe
Aim of the lesson:
To understand the essential teaching of the Methodist Church
Study passages:
Ephesians 2:1-10; Matthew 5:43-48
Notes:
·        The Methodist Church does not have a special creed which is different from other major Christian Churches. Like them we accept the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed as a basic expression of faith. We do however lay special stress on four important aspects of Christian teaching.
·        Salvation is by faith alone. We are not saved by our ‘good works’ but by the free, underserved grace of God. We cannot earn it, we can only receive it by accepting Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Once we have truly experienced the gift of salvation, ‘good works’ will be seen in our lives as evidence of the new life we have received.
·        Everyone needs it and no one is excluded. In contrast to some Churches which teach that only some people, those who have been pre-destined, will be saved (eg. Calvanism), Methodism has steadfastly taught that all may turn to God and find full salvation. All have sinned, and all need to be reconciled with God through Christ (Romans 3:22-23). It is not just ‘bad’ people, but even those who seem to live good lives need the ‘rebirth’ experience of a living faith in Jesus and an acknowledgement of their sinfulness and separation from God.
·        Assurance. Christians can know they are saved. God does not leave us in a state of doubt or fear regarding the reality of our salvation. The deep inner witness of the Holy Spirit, who has interior access to our lives ‘bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God’ (Romans 8:16). We can say with assurance, ‘I know I am saved’ (2 Tim 1:12).
·        Christian Perfection. God wants us to be perfect in our spiritual life and our moral life and to rid ourselves of all sinfulness (Mt 5:48). John Wesley once described Christian Perfection as ‘perfect love’ toward God and our fellow person. This must be the aim of every disciple of Christ. This teaching, more than any other, distinguishes the Methodist Church and gives it a special message and mission among the other Christian denominations. Not only forgiveness but goodness, good moral behavior, if the gift and goal of God through Jesus Christ.
·        The four all’s. Our teaching is often summarized in the ‘four all’s’:
1.      All people need to be saved – because we all have sinned.
2.      All people can be saved – no one is excluded.
3.      All people can know that they are saved - the doctrine of assurance.
4.      All people can be saved to the uttermost – our goal is perfection.
·        Balance. In true Methodist tradition, theory and practice have always gone together. ‘There is no holiness but social holiness’ declared Wesley. Holiness exists not in a vacuum but in right relationships. Methodism has always upheld the need for a balance between deep spirituality on one hand and involvement in the real issues of society and the needs of people on the other. One without the other is a denial of the truth.

Questions for discussion:
1.      Can a person be saved by their own good works? (Eph 2:8-9)
2.      What is the meaning of Ephesians 2:10?
3.      Is it arrogant to claim that we know we are saved? On what can we base that claim?
4.      What does Christian Perfection mean for us in practical terms in our own personal lives and in our relationships with others?
For personal reflection:
1.      What is the state of my faith right now?
2.      Do I have assurance of my salvation?
3.      What needs to change in my life right now on my journey towards Christian Perfection?

Write down some prayer thoughts that flow from your reflections.



What does my Baptism mean?

Aim of the lesson:
To understand the meaning of the Sacrament of Baptism

Study Passages:
Romans 6:1-14; Acts 19:1-6

Notes:
·        The Sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion are ‘outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace’. God’s grace of course not limited to the moment of administration of the sacrament. It is at work throughout our lives, before we come to faith (pre-venient grace), in our conversation (justifying grace) and as we go on to live out the Christian life (sanctifying grace).
·        Baptism marks our point of entry into the Christian community. It is administered in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by immersing the person fully or partially in water, or by sprinkling. It signifies at least four things for us:
1.      Forgiveness and washing away of our sin (1 Pet 3:21; 1 Cor 6:11)
2.      The death of our old self and our commitment to our new way of life in Christ (Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27)
3.      Our incorporation into the Church, the Body of Christ, the Covenant of community of God (1 Cor 12:13)
4.      That the Holy Spirit has been given and has begun His work of renewal and sanctification in us (Acts 19:5-6; Rom 8:2,9-11)
·        Infant Baptism. The Methodist Church baptizes the children of Christian parents because we believe it is in harmony with scripture that children should have a place in the Christian community (Acts 2:39; 16:33; Mk 10:14; 1 Cor 7:14). This practice goes back to the earliest days of the Church. Here the sign of God’s grace is given before the person has come to personal faith, and the parents make a solemn undertaking to do everything in their power to see that their child will one day come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord. When this happens, the individual concerned confirms what was done those years ago and accepts responsibility for his/her own ongoing Christian life. This is signified in the Confirmation service.
·        Believer’s Baptism is for those who have found faith and have not been baptized before. They enter at once into the fellowship and responsibilities of membership of the Church.
·        Believer’s versus Infant Baptism? There should be no conflict here. Our Church practices both. In the main we have a strong infant baptism tradition, but we also freely baptize adults who have come to faith and have not been baptized before. We do not allow re-baptism because we believe baptism is an unrepeatable act (Eph 4:5). To re-baptize would also imply that the first baptism was invalid. We can be baptized only once. We do not get re-baptized every time we sin or backslide and return to faith. In both Believer’s and Infant Baptism the stress is on what God has done for the believer rather than on our response and our faith.

Questions for discussion:
1.      What do our study passages teach us about the meaning of Baptism, either directly or indirectly? Examine them carefully. Share your thoughts as a group.
2.      In the Acts passage, why do you think the Baptism of John the Baptist was not enough? What more does Christian Baptism offer?
3.      Some parents want their children baptized for the wrong reasons. What are some of these wrong reasons? What are the right reasons?
4.     What responsibilities and obligations do Christian parents undertake when they have children baptized? 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back home from America


Sun 29 Jan 1738: We saw English land once more, which about noon appeared to be the Lizard Point. We ran by it with a fair wind, and at noon the next day made the west end of the Isle of Wight.
Here the wind turned against us, and in the evening blew fresh, so that we expected (the tide being likewise strong against us) to be driven some leagues backward in the night; but in the morning, to our great surprise, we saw Beachy Head just before us, and found we had gone forwards near forty miles.
Toward evening was a calm; but in the night a strong north wind brought us safe into the Downs. The day before Mr. Whitefield had sailed out, neither of us then knowing anything of the other.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nearly Home


Sat 28 Jan 1738: Was another cloudy day; but about ten in the morning (the wind continuing southerly) the clouds began to fly just contrary to the wind, and to the surprise of us all sunk down under the sun, so that at noon we had an exact observation; and by this we found we were as well as we could desire, about eleven leagues south of Scilly.

Friday, January 25, 2013

First Words at Home

First Words at Home


We have been looking at some firsts in Jesus' life over the last few weeks. Last week… Jesus’ first miracle.
This week… Jesus’ first words as a preacher in His home town.

Our focus today is on the Word of God, the Bible, and the influence, the authority, we give to it in our lives.
Our reading from Nehemiah sets the tone. It is set at a time when the people are returning from 70 years of captivity/exile in Babylon. They have returned to a ruined Jerusalem and a ruined Temple.

 All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.

I love this… they told the priest what to do. “Bring out the Book of the Law” and because it was in line with the will of God… he did it. He probably heard the people had done a survey among themselves, much as we have recently done a survey among our people, the Reveal Survey by the Willow Creek Association.….listen to the survey results here

The result of the survey in the time of Nehemiah was: We want you to read us the Law.
The result of our survey was: We want AMC to be a place that:

Has Church leaders who model how to grow; 
                                                      Provides compelling worship; 
                                                        Challenges us to grow;
                                       Helps us develop a personal relationship with Christ;
                                                 Inspires a sense of church ownership

These are your priorities, given to me, Ryan and Vernon, to the Society Stewards and to the Leaders of AMC. I wonder what we will do with your ‘commands’ to us as a leadership. What did Ezra do with the command he received from his congregation?

 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand.

Ezra listened.

He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.

From daybreak till noon; men, women and children… listening attentively to the Book of the Law.
They were hungry for… the Bible (the Book of the Law, the first 5 books of our Bible, the Torah, was the only compilation at that stage).

  Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

The reading of the Bible brings about… worship.

Friends, I encourage you to read your Bible… for many reasons, but not least, this one… reading the Bible, whenever, wherever, leads to worship of the God who inspired its words.

    Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

Now we jump forward about 500 years, and Jesus, after His baptism (2 weeks ago), His first miracle (last week), is now ministering and teaching in the power of the Spirit in Galilee for the first time.

    He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

On the Sabbath, He went to the Synagogue as was His custom. What a wonderful custom.
As a travelling preacher and miracle worker, the head of the synagogue gave Jesus the privilege of reading from the scroll.
This was, and still is, a huge privilege in the synagogue.
I

Even to this day in every synagogue, there are the scrolls, which aren't like a book with pages, but are rather a parchment on a roll. And by the time of Jesus, there were three sets of scrolls. The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. And Jesus was given the privilege of reading from the Prophets on that day.
There were set readings for each Sabbath – it’s called a lectionary. On the first Sabbath of the new year the reading was from the beginning of each scroll. It was set for each Sabbath and it still is.
We know what was read in every synagogue around the world on the first Sabbath after Jan van Riebeek landed at the Cape (for my US readers that is the same as saying we know what was read in every synagogue around the world on the first Sabbath after Christopher Columbus landed in the New World) 
We know what Scriptures were read in all Christian Churches as well, because the Church has kept, over 2000 years, to a lectionary as well – it has been revised over the years so that we now have the Revised Common Lectionary which works through the whole Bible in 3 years – 156 Sundays.

  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Imagine the audacity of that claim.
Jesus says: “Today, right now, in your ears, in front of your eyes, this word has become flesh.” Not in some abstract way, but in a concrete, specific, fleshly way. I am the One, I am the Good News that you have been waiting for."

Three things for us to concentrate on, reflect on and perhaps commit to:

First: Regular Bible Reading
When we read the bible regularly (and there are many different programs to follow) we become amazed at how God speaks to us. Imagine the affirmation that Jesus felt when as He opened the scroll He found that reading before Him. Many of you have testimonies to share like this. This is one of the main ways that God guides us. And as we see how the Bible speaks to us as we read it regularly, we begin to realize that this book actually has authority in our lives. This book speaks about… marriage, about sex, about money, about gambling, about work ethic, about speeding on the roads, about drunk driving, about how to deal with fights in families and churches etc etc.


But of course we will only listen to the Bible if we believe it has authority in our lives.

Our Reveal Survey reveals that 61% of people at AMC do not believe in the authority of  the Bible............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Let us become a people who believe in and submit to the authority of the Word of God.

Secondly: Develop a personal Mission Statement, define your reason for being.
Here is Jesus' Mission Statement:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


“We need a mission statement” – say hospitals, corporations, schools, churches… and they can spend hours crafting cogent and concise sentences that express their purposes. Often we emerge with fine statements, but we don’t always manage to live out the mission that we so eloquently express.

Jesus doesn't bother to craft a new mission statement for Himself. He let’s God determine His mission statement.


Can I encourage you to let God determine your mission.
And in the next few days/week, in the set readings that you might be following, be sensitive to God defining your mission, your reason for being, at this particular season of your life.

Thirdly: Choose your words carefully.

Jesus said: I tell you that you will have to give account on the day of Judgement for every careless word you have spoken (Mt. 12:36). I came across this little poem by Emily Dichinson in my reading this week:

A word is dead

When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.


This little poem expresses the Biblical understanding of the Word. The Word is a lively, active reality that enters the world and accomplishes its work. Words take on a life of their own; they shape our relationships and our reality. The amount of work that counselors have purely because of words that have been spoken… is huge......You’re a stupid child… you’ll never amount to anything.”

Let us watch our words.

So we've looked at Jesus' ‘first words’ in His hometown as a preacher and hopefully we have been challenged to:

Read the word of God regularly.
Give the word of God authority in our lives to determine our reason for being.
Watch our own words.

AMEN



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Questions based on First Words at Home


Questions based on First Words at Home
Read the Sermon here

In our reading from Nehemiah:

·       Why do you think the people were so desperate to hear the word of God?
·       Who listened?
·       How long did they listen for?
·       What was the end result of hearing the word of God?

From Luke:

·       What were the synagogue scrolls, how many sets were there and how were they made up (L_ _, P_ _ _ _ _ _ _   and W_ _ _ _ _ _ _)?
·       What is a lectionary?
·       Do you think there is value in personal, regular, Bible reading? Perhaps share your experiences.

For reflection:

·       What does it mean if we say: “The Bible is authoritative in my life?
·       Is the Bible authoritative in your life?
·       What do you think of the statistic that 39% of folk at AMC believe that the Bible has authority in their lives?
·       As you read Scripture this week, record what God might be saying about your particular personal mission statement in your season of life.
·       What will it mean to ‘watch your words’ this week?