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Sun, Sep 11, 2016
Duration: 42 mins 32 secs
Isaiah 11:1-10; 11 Sep PM
Sun, Sep 11, 2016
Duration: 26 mins 44 secs
2 cor 12:1-10; 11 Sep AM
Sun, Sep 04, 2016
Duration: 25 mins 13 secs
Ephesians 3: 7 - 21;04-Sep PM
Sun, Sep 04, 2016
Passage: Acts 8:26-40
Duration: 15 mins 30 secs
Acts 8: 26 - 40; 04-Sep AM
Sun, Aug 28, 2016
Passage: Acts 17:16-34
Duration: 26 mins 36 secs
There’s real attraction in the new and shiny. After all, it promises to replace the tired and worn with something far better and usually more accessible and immediate. The word “spirituality” is not used in English writings much before the 1950’s. It’s now found world wide application to describe the search for a framework within which ideas about our faith and our understanding of the world, may be expressed. It might be a new word but the search for knowledge is not just a modern exercise. In the ancient world, cities like Athens were centres of knowledge, attracting much philosophical discussion. In the cauldron of debate, the Christian faith could have seemed to many like just another set of new ideas to be heard, processed and assimilated into a vast range of “take your pick” beliefs – meaning that the gospel lost all of its power. Paul approaches his task of sharing the gospel in a very specific way in each city or place he visits. It is an important example for us to note as we seek to be a missional church at GHBC.
Sun, Aug 28, 2016
Duration: 23 mins 2 secs
What does it mean for us to take the Gospel seriously? Getting caught up with pointless arguments about unimportant things saps our energy: compromising our beliefs sends us off in the wrong direction. In both cases a misdirected focus leads to a loss of distinctiveness – we can’t pretend to speak to our world if we share the same practices, values and goals. Paul’s life is nearly over. He’s writing to Timothy with a view to helping this young man remain faithful to the gospel. Timothy is based in Ephesus, where he is an Elder charged with the responsibility of maintaining the witness of the church and the discipleship of the believers. It is not an easy task – either for him or, for us. A secular culture with material goals is incompatible with the gospel: add to this a young church working out what it believes and how that faith is expressed, and you have an explosive mix. God’s Kingdom will, thouh, grow whenever and wherever a faithful and distinctive witness is found.
Sun, Aug 21, 2016
Duration: 24 mins 41 secs
Moving on to the future without letting go of the past is like tying your arm to a post while catching a train. It’s a peculiar picture but nonetheless true for all that. Being in the grip of anything that roots us in the past brings significant restrictions to our ability to move on, even if we really want to change. Paul encountered this kind of barrier to discipleship from time to time and recognised the effect that it could have on the church as well as an individual. A significant number of believers in the early church struggled to move way from cultural behaviour (like circumcision). In itself, these activities were not wrong but could easily hold people back as they quickly develop a rule driven framework for faith on the back of specific behaviours which are seen to be “right”. Those things aren’t needed for those who are new in Christ. We don’t have to do things to be saved (vv. 2) nor do we have to be someone (vv. 4 – 6): new life in Christ means that your confidence (trust) is placed in the right person (vv. 3) who you are able to know through a new kind of relationship.
Sun, Aug 21, 2016
Duration: 27 mins 35 secs
How do we remain committed to the task of sharing good News? What does Christ’s sacrifice mean to us and for us? Philippians 2 verses 5 to 11 describe Jesus’ character (humility, servanthood) as well as telling us what he did (died on a cross). The verses which follow (verses 12 to 18), list 4 practical suggestions for an authentic (Christ like) attitude should resemble. It is everyone’s responsibility to work out their salvation, to be a living statement about their faith (shine), to witness to the truth (hold out the word of life) and to do so in an attitude of sacrifice (poured out). The focus must be ot us but, it is also personal – own the message, take up the vision and build His Kingdom. It will only happen with unity, through community and with Christ at the centre.
Sun, Aug 14, 2016
Passage: Luke 18:9-30
Duration: 27 mins 16 secs
In the TV Series “Who do you think you are?” researchers investigate the family tree for someone well known in public life. There are usually a few surprises on the way. Living as Christians in a secular world will bring surprises too. Things may be tougher than we anticipate but they can also be easier and the opportunities wider, than we might expect. How do we put our faith & attitudes into perspective? In what ways does our faith inform the way we approach others and make it easy for them to understand what we are on about? In Luke 18, there are 3 examples of the kind of barriers we put up which make our task harder. At the same time, there are also pointers to illustrate what attitudes characterise the servant heart - a realistic view of who we are (vv. 13), a willingness to accept everyone (vv. 16) alongside using our resources wisely as we follow Christ (vv. 22 – 23).
Sun, Aug 07, 2016
Matthew’s gospel tells us a lot about the Kingdom of God. At times, this is presented in such a way that it invites us to reflect on the dangers of a sterile religious system driven by laws and rules, as opposed to a faith driven by justice, mercy and love. How will we discover and travel along – the right way? It’s not simply a question of what we are or what we do. It’s also recognising the boundaries over which it is dangerous to cross, as well as avoiding attitudes which reinforce misunderstandings and stereotypes rather than building connections. We can only walk God’s way if we understand where we are now, as well as discovering where God wants us to be. That understanding isn’t always easy to come by – our perspective can be skewed by external pressures (culture) or by internal strains (conforming to rules which are more about us than God). We need God’s perspective to see the world for what it is and to recognise the path we are to follow.
Sun, Aug 07, 2016
Passage: Acts 15:1-21
Duration: 26 mins 46 secs
What is good disagreement? How do we agree when we can’t agree – and who cares anyway? To answer the last question first, even if no one else cares then we should! With the advent of global media, any disagreement in a church or denomination quickly generates a feeding frenzy, especially if the issue at hand is a tasty one. Reporting may not be wholly impartial with everyone having an axe to grind or a view on the issues. If the church handles it wrongly, or focuses on the detail whilst missing the real point, it will have an adverse effect on our ability to offer a credible witness. Acts 15 helps us to understand how were might approach those small concerns which threaten to grow into major divisions, if not addressed correctly. Recognising tradition and culture is important but it is always essential to see how God may have dealt with the issue before even it is in a wider context. The key is Grace: understanding the things that might present a false picture but also exercising grace to ensure that rules don’t add a burden but bring release into new life.
Sun, Jul 31, 2016
Passage: Isaiah 61
Duration: 31 mins 21 secs
If isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. It’s a phrase that’s often used when we are tempted (or have begun the process) of change for change’s sake. The implication is that things are working quite well as they are, thank you, so make sure you don’t mess around and, in the process mess it up. That’s all well and good when things are going well but what should we do, what approach might we take, when we encounter brokenness at first hand? Whether it is personal, national or a combination of both, in order to bring healing (wholeness), it’s helpful to understand where we can be involved and what we can do. The nation of Israel was broken and God’s response was to send someone who would reunite the people and heal their wounds. In Isaiah’s time this had a political dimension as well: part of the brokenness came as a result of economic and social instability. The main issue, though, is a personal one – God, through Christ, has provided the means for our brokenness to be healed not just with some short term spiritual sticking plaster but with an eternal hope. In changing us, He changes our communities as our renewed hope affects and impacts those around us. We’re no longer weighed down by the despair of mourning he loss of an old life – we are now caught up in the wedding feast of a new one.
Sun, Jul 31, 2016
Passage: Joel 2:12-32
Duration: 24 mins 9 secs
The inexorable march of a powerful army. Crops stripped bare. Famine and drought laying waste the land. A combination of natural disasters, national instability and poor decision making are exactly the right conditions to precipitate a perfect storm of spiritual decay. Hope is extinguished as fast as the locusts consume the crops in the field: can the tide be turned? As we continue our series of messages on what it means to live as a Christian in a secularist culture, it’s becoming evident from the encounters that others have had with God, that superficial change is never enough. It won’t halt the decay and it can’t turn the tide. Expecting others to solve the problems won’t work either – we are all responsible for ensuring that the church is in or at the place God wants it to be. Joel’s prophecy makes it clear that everyone is involved in sorting out the problems – and it demands a change of heart from them all. It’s hard, but not impossible, with the result being not only a powerful witness and a renewed church, it’s also a changed people. Just as all are responsible, so all will be part of a dynamic church as God’s spirit is poured out on everyone.
Sun, Jul 24, 2016
Duration: 26 mins 53 secs
The perfect church simply doesn’t exist. However faithful the people, however vibrant the worship, however meaningful and powerful the teaching – there will always be areas where any church (defined as a community of believers), still has work to do. That was clearly the case for the church in the Greek city of Corinth. It was a very cosmopolitan place, a centre of trade and learning and a byword for all things cultic and religious. What was one more faith amongst many? Well, it certainly made a big difference despite the cultural and social challenges. The uniqueness of Christ led to many in Corinth professing their faith. They had come from a whole range of backgrounds – slaves and free alike – many leaving their dissolute and sinful lives behind (see verses 9 to11). The difficulty the church faced (and it’s an issue Paul returns to time and again in his letter), is that not everyone demonstrated that a new outlook resulted in new behaviour. It was business as usual for a good proportion of them. The church faced the burning question of whether they were driven by their culture or whether they were bound to Christ. You can’t do both and, depending on where your heart is, there you find both your treasure and your reward.
Sun, Jul 24, 2016
Passage: Daniel 1
Duration: 10 mins 41 secs
It isn’t always easy to make the right choice: what you really want to do may not be the most beneficial route for you to pursue. On the other hand, some choices are much easier or rather, at first glance, they appear to offer the best results - especially if some of the options are far more attractive than the alternatives! Daniel and his friends had been put on the leadership fast track for the Babylonian Civil Service. They had the brains and the ability to cope with the intensive 3 year MBA style course, a program of study guaranteed to give them the essential skills for their powerful and important roles. The problem was that the training course was an “all inclusive” affair. Daniel and his friends were expected to embrace the lifestyle of a Babylonian Grandee and that included the food. No problem you might think – until you realise that it was the kind of food that Jews considered that God had decreed as unclean. Faced by what seems to be an impossible dilemma – what choice do you make and how do you make it?
Sun, Jul 17, 2016
Duration: 49 mins 34 secs
A teenager in school uniform, a very very old gentleman in suit and tie, a clash of cultures? Its just possible that one introduces the other the Lord and just possible that we can all do the same...
Sun, May 22, 2016
Duration: 25 mins 1 sec
Eph 6:10-20; 22nd May pm
Sun, May 22, 2016
Passage: Acts 2:42-47
Duration: 35 mins 57 secs
Acts 2: 42 - 47; 22nd May am
Sun, May 15, 2016
Duration: 23 mins 50 secs
In the 40 days that followed the resurrection, Jesus laid the foundations of the church by instructing His disciples, giving particular emphasis to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1: 3). At the end of this period Jesus was taken up to heaven, leaving His disciples alone once again, with the promise that He would return in the same way as He had left the earth. The disciples now waited for God’s gift of power. For the disciples, perhaps like us as we are keen to see God at work, the wait must have felt as if would never end. But end it did with a unique outpouring of God’s power which opened the door to the formation of the community that we today call the church. We’re beginning a new series of Sunday messages and Home Group Studies. Sometimes referred to as the “Gospel of the Holy Spirit,” Acts is a powerful and power filled account of the growth, challenges and break out of the church. Following Christ would no longer be seen as some obscure Jewish Sect – it was a community which would change the world.