Elvis may have left the building but are you ready to leave too?
For too long the church has cultivated a siege mentality when what we really need to recognise is that we are in a battle where the fight needs to be taken to the enemy.
It is not a question of overcoming opposition by constructing the strongest defences, it is a call to arms to take the fight out of the building and onto the front line.
If we find ourselves happier inside a building following comfortable rituals and rarely bringing our faith in direct engagement with our community and culture, we will be relatively safe but spiritually ineffective, living within our protected bunkers.
This is not God’s plan for the church – whether it’s GHBC or the universal church. Committing to make Christ known is more than having a preaching station on a busy street – it is a daily engagement with every fibre of our being, wherever we may find ourselves, bringing Christ into conversations, minds, lives and homes.
The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3 verse 17)
Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us - a crucified God - must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world. (John Piper)
To think about
- In what ways do Zephaniah’s words encourage us?
- What does it mean for us to recognise the glory of the cross?
- How can we express this in our personal growth (discipleship) and outreach (missional activity)?
- Where do we need to stand firm?
There’s little value in sharing our faith until we understand – and receive at first hand – the message of God’s love for His creation. This is the very practical first step in discipleship but it is far from the end of the story.
We’ve begun by being known by God, then we grow by knowing God. Authentic (“real”) discipleship and effective mission comes when we move beyond knowing and start growing. It’s then that we find a greater depth and maturity to our faith and we begin to bear fruit, to do something with passion and with impact
Please read Colossians 3: 12 – 17
Living examples (Colossians 3: 12 – 17)
- Why is it so important that the church (that is, us), provides a credible witness?
- What aspects of Christian character are emphasised in verse 12?
- How, according to verse 14, is the church held together? What should that look like at GHBC?
- In verses 15 and 16 Paul refers to the peace of Christ and the word of Christ. Where should we see these at work in the church and in our work beyond the church?
- Discipleship will enable us to follow God only if we are exclusively committed to Christ. How have you dealt with potential “no go” areas which might otherwise impact your spiritual effectiveness?
Please read 2 Timothy 1
Paul’s life is nearing its end. He’s no longer in house arrest but languishing in an imperial prison. He may have lost contact with some of his friends but he has not lost sight of God.
He‘s writing to Timothy to encourage this young man to maintain a faithful witness. The focus of the church must remain the gospel as the church continues to embrace Jesus’ command to “go” (the Great Commission)
Sharing from experience (2 Timothy 1)
- How important is the example and story of other Christians to our discipleship?
- Why might some people have been ashamed of Paul?
- In what ways are people uneasy or concerned about the church today and, how might we overcome these concerns?
- How does this chapter illustrate the support that believers can (or may not!) give to each other?
- Our walk with God develops through learning (verse 5), growing (verses 6 - 7) and gifting (verse 11). Where have you seen these happen in your own life?
- How can we guard and keep what God has entrusted to us and be active in sharing that Good News with others?