After careful, prayerful discussion and consultation, listening to what God is call us as a church to do, we have recently launched our new Vision Document. There are many challenges here but with the power of God through the Holy Spirit, a willingness on our part to serve and give sacrificially we can and will see God in his grace and mercy do amazing things through the life of St Martin’s. Three clear priorities have emerged out of the comprehensive consultation and discernment process that we followed between May and July 2013. They are: Welcome Pastoral Care Discipleship (Learning to be a follower of Jesus) For further details of what we mean by these terms and how we will work on them over the next three years are laid out in the document that you can download by visiting Our Vision Page. Please do read through this document prayerfully and carefully asking God to show you how you can help to see this vision become a reality in your life, the life of St Martin’s and the life of th
When I read Rohan’s blog post this morning it bought me to tears! Its an incredible and honest story. It gives insight into biopolar disorder and into faith: into the difficulties of living with mental ill-health and into the amazing impact that God can have on people’s lives. The bible is really brought to life when you see how God was speaking directly into Rohan’s life when the bible was first written all those years ago! Rohan’s story will continue as he looks to God for continued guidence, but many of us know sadly that some people’s stories end too soon and too tradgically. Let this story help you to understand the lives of those who live with mental ill-health (which may be you or those close to you), and let it help you to search for God’s heart. Be encourged by the word of God and let Him speak into your own life, your own actions, and your own health. Please feel free to use the (moderated) comments section at the bottom of this story. Che
Week Beginning: Sunday 10th March 2013. Question 9: Does God heal today? Bible readings: James 5:13-16, Luke 2:33-35. Discussion Questions: 1. Healing and miracles never stand alone. They are signs of what? 2. What do you understand by the ‘now and not yet’ kingdom of God? 3. How would you answer someone who claimed that Jesus’ command to his disciples that they should heal the sick no longer applies to us today ? 4. What woud you say to someone who thought that healing had not taken place because the person concerned did not have enough faith? 5. Do you pray for healing? If so why? If not why? Further resources for those exploring… Books by: John Wimber, Peter Lawrence, Francis MacNutt, Bill Johnson, Randy Clark, David Watson and Hyde Baker. (This is not a complete list) Websites: www.alpha.org.
Week Beginning: Sunday 3rd March 2013. Question 8: How does God guide us? Bible readings: James 1:19-25, Matthew 7:7-12. Discussion Questions: 1. Can you think of a time when you felt God might be speaking to you? 2. What do you believe God might be guiding you towards? 3. How do you think God’s guidance changes who you are and how you view the world? 4. What are the key themes you can identify from this morning’s session: “How does God guide us?” Further resources for those exploring… Websites: www.alpha.org.
Week Beginning: Sunday 24th February 2013. Question 7: Why and how should I tell others? Bible readings: Acts 1:1-8, Luke 10:1-23. Discussion Questions: 1. When was the last time you heard something that was ‘good news’? Did you tell anyone about it? How? Why? 2. The word ‘Gospel’ means ‘Good News’…in what ways is the Christian message good news to you? How might knowing about Jesus be good news to others? 3. Are there times when you have shared the Good News of Jesus with others? When? How did you do it? What happened? 4. Read these 3 statements: 1. Just sharing the Gospel through saying words can be hollow. 2. Just sharing the Gospel through who you are being is passive. 3. Just sharing the Gospel through what you are doing is ambiguous. Do you agree? Which ways of sharing the Good News of Jesus do you find easy/uncomfortable? Which ways do you find difficult/uncomfortable? Are there things that you could do differently? 5. Don’t forget, this isn’t something that we do on our o
Week Beginning: Sunday 17th February 2013. Question 6: What does the Holy Spirit do? Bible readings: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 14:25-27. Discussion Questions: 1. Does every Christian have the Holy Spirit? (see John 3:5; Romans 8:9-10) 2. Do you think it’s selfish to pray to have ‘more of the Holy Spirit’? 3. Is the work of the Holy Spirit for our own ‘private’ enjoyment or does it have some other purpose? (see 1 Corinthians 12) 4. Will the Holy Spirit lead us astray? (see John 14:25-27) Activity: Either on your own or in a group, Sit down and invite the Holy Spirit to do His work in you by praying “Come Holy Spirit”. Then spend the next few minutes in silience, perhaps with your hands open in a gesture of recieving. Finally finish by saying this prayer: Thank you Father that you have sent the Holy Spirit to be a seal of our inheritance until the day we meet Jesus Christ face-to-face. Holy Spirit I give you permission to continue your refining
Week Beginning: Sunday 10th February 2013. Question 5: Who is the Holy Spirit? Bible readings: 1 Corinthians 2:12-16, John 14:15-21. Discussion Questions: 1. Choose one of the 3 images we’ve mentioned this morning: ‘fire’, ‘wind’ & ‘water’. How has it helped you to understand more clearly who the Holy Spirit is & what the Holy Spirit does? 2. Romans 8:27 refers to the Holy Spirit helping us in our weakness and relates it to weakness in prayer. Have you ever experienced this before and how do you think it might be possible in the future? 3. In what areas of your life do you want the Holy Spirit to turn your timidity or fear into boldness and courage? 4. Can you identify one way in which this session: “who is the Holy Spirit?” has helped you to a clearer understanding? Further resources for those exploring… Websites: www.alpha.org Books: “I believe in the Holy Spirit” – Michael Green & “On in the Spirit” – David Watson.
Week Beginning: Sunday 3rd February 2013. Question 4: How and why should I read the Bible? Bible readings: 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Matthew 5:17-20. Discussion Questions: 1. What are your experiences of reading the Bible? (Regularly? Only hear it when read in church? Difficult? Challengin? Enjoyable? Baffling?) 2. Have you read anything in the Bible that has challenged an aspect of your beliefs and behaviour? 3. Do you believe the Bible is God’s word and can speak to us today? Can you give an example of how this has happened? Meditation on the Bible (Lectio Divinia) Chose a passage from the Bible (one of Jesus’ parables is a good starting point). Read the passage through slowly 3 times, as you do notice and words or phrases that you particularly notice, any questions you might have. Spend time reflecting on these and pray for God’s insight. Then be still and open to receive from God. Further resources for those exploring… Websites: www.alpha.org / www.wordlive.org/Lectio Books: R
Week Beginning: Sunday 27th January 2013. Question 3: Why and how do I pray? Bible readings: Psalm 30, Matthew 6:1-5. Discussion Questions: 1. As you read the Lord’s Prayer which phrases do you find are most encouraging and which are more challenging? 2. Why is praying in private different from praying in public with others? 3. What do you think “your kingdom come” might look like when this prayer is being answered? 4. In your life today are there ways you can make the Lord’s Prayer personal? For example a particular need for help in an area of temptation or an area of provision. Further resources for those exploring… Websites: http://www.alpha.org / www.rejesus.co.uk Books: “Questions of Life” by Nicky Gumbel, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel & “Prayer: Does it make any Difference?” by Phillip Yancey.