Pop-Up Discovery Groups…

Pop-up food venues have become popular. Food trucks and stalls are popping up, and down, all year round. Food vendors congregate, set up tables and chairs, and in no time people arrive to whet their appetite and enjoy conversation with like-minded others. Sharing food is so often conducive to meaningful conversations. Food addresses our physical hunger and eating with others can satisfy our social needs.

Important as these experiences are to our wellbeing Discovery Bible Study groups go beyond that to address our deeper spiritual needs.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’  ”

Matthew 4:4 NIV

People, who are searching and spiritually hungry, come together to feed on the Word of God in a Discovery group. They encourage one another and seek answers to the question, “Having read this passage how then shall I live?” They are open to the Spirit of God and are prepared to step out in obedience when the the answers come.

The possible venues for pop-up Discovery Groups are limited only by our imagination, homes, cafes, shopping centres, workplaces, retirement villages, prisons, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals.

There are lots of easy-to-read resources available on the internet for discovery bible study and the obedience-based methodology.

Take a look, get started and before you know it you will have a thriving pop-up Discovery group.

Oh, and don’t forget drop me a line. I would love to encourage you.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 NIV

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Discovering God’s Compassion for a Lost World

“You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Jonah 4:2

Following the Chosen series of studies our discovery group has moved onto the theme of Discovering God’s Compassion for a Lost World based on the four chapters of the book of Jonah in the Old Testament.

We have continued to use the three step Discovery Bible Study method, Look Back, Look Up and Look Forward. This method allows the Spirit of God elbow room and I have observed His influence upon each of our weekly sessions.
Across the course of the last eighteen months the discovery group has been a wonderful tool for encouraging discipleship – following Jesus. There has been a growing appreciation of the Scriptures, and a growing appreciation of the importance of being obedient to the Spirit of God revealed through the Scriptures. As such I have observed the willingness to share leadership and invite others to join the group, and a deepening desire to extend the opportunity, in the form of additional Discovery groups, for other God-prepared people, whether they are already followers of Jesus or simply seeking to know more about God.

Thus this growing appreciation has recently seen two other groups initiated in our community, one in a busy local shopping centre and the other in a popular bakery, holding true to our principle of taking the Scriptures into the marketplace.

Continue to pray for us…and continue watching this space…

 

Chosen: Because God has a Plan for Your Life

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.”

1 Thessalonians 1:3-4

Thus began our second series of Discovery  Bible Studies where we were inspired by the Apostle Paul’s two letters, First and Second Thessalonians.

We learned the pattern of Discovery during the previous series, More to Life, Prepare, Connect, Feedback, Bible Reading, Discovery Questions and Prayer.

While the pattern was the same I sensed that God through his Spirit was taking us on a journey of discovery as we wrestled with each of the chapters in Paul’s two letters.

Since finishing the Chosen series the journey of Discovery has continued to unfold.

More to come!

Prayer : The Calm that Follows the Storm

Reblog of a recent post by my friend Paul at granosalispaullocandro.wordpress.com

 It has been said that even as an exercise in itself prayer has psychological benefits. It can be a means of releasing the tension that result from worry and fear.

Yet we are assured from Scripture that prayer is not merely a subjective exercise like reciting a Buddhist mantra rather it is the placing of our situation, needs and fears in the hands of God.

Looking at the story of Hannah in the early chapters of the book of Samuel, we see an example of the change fervent prayer brings to situations.

For a woman to remain childless in those days was treated as a reproach and an inferred some sin in the life and God’s displeasure. Hannah although she had the devotion of her husband still had to contend with Peninah’s ridicule and reproach. The stigma of her society at that time was difficult to cope with.

Her visit to the tabernacle and fervent prayer to the Lord was such the Eli the priest accused her of drunkenness. She promised any child that God gave her would be returned to the Lord as his servant. Eli when he heard her story blessed her and wished her well.

17Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 1 Samuel 1:17

The immediate result of this prayer made in faith was relief from the grief and sadness she had experienced. This in itself is a real blessing. These emotions accomplish nothing and if indulged to long can be damaging.

The great result was the birth of the prophet Samuel who was on many occasions the saviour of the people and a great instrument in God’s hands.

Hannah Presents Samuel untuk Eli

The real blessing of prayer lies in its being mixed with faith in a God who engages with us and seeks our good. It is He who gives us peace in the midst of adverse circumstances and dire need.

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The Christian message is a revelation of a limitless ability to deliver. It is never a try; it is always a triumph.

A Bunch of Everlastings, F.W. Boreham

Image result for quotes from fw borehamGood Works

The natural result of the gospel of Christ is to manifest itself in good works and charitable works at home and abroad. The tendency however,  has been that the good work continues while the proclamation of the Gospel message goes by the board.

The other side of the coin is that the proclamation of the Gospel is made but it is not matched by a social concern for those in need.

In all things we must fight against a lack of balance and making our own ends the rule by which we act. We must take our lead from the New Testament church which boldly proclaimed the Gospel while at the same time ministered to those in need.

Wanna Buy a Duck?

Joe Penner was a comedian very popular in the 1930’s although little remembered today. Although highly talented he was gradually sidelined by the repetition of the same sort of material and catch phrases e.g. “Wanna buy a Duck”?

While it is true that the Gospel remains the same basic message, it never jades us by repetition.

Like Rome it has many roads that lead to it. As we would a flower or a mountain, we can see the gospel from different points of view and in different lights. Should the Gospel become dull and uninteresting to us let us look at it from another of its many perspectives.

More to Life – Choice

Our Pastor, Mark, concluded the More to Life preaching series by explained clearly our choice to either commit to receive Jesus for the first time, to renew our commitment to follow Jesus, or deepen our commitment to follow Jesus.

It was a moving experience to see the large number of people who chose to demonstrate their commitment by walking to the front of the worship centre and hanging their commitment cards on one of the tree branches arranged at the front.

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The following Tuesday our Discovery Bible Study group also concluded the series with Choice as the theme for the final study. Glenn, Wade and Bob joined me, and Bob at the end of the session expressed his heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to the preparation of the study material.

I have been privileged to observe the changes in people. Throughout people have been deliberate in extending invitations to others to join in. They have been prepared to share leadership responsibilities, they have prayed enthusiastically and willingly extended support and encouragement to each other beyond the group gatherings.

Over and above the usual groups in our church seventeen new groups pursued the More to Life series.

God is always seeking to move in the lives of people, and when a church is serious about following Jesus, clearly declaring the Good News about God’s plan of salvation, and extending the hand of love,  mercy and grace to the people in the community then opportunity is given for God’s gracious blessings.

I’m looking forward to the next series of studies, CHOSEN by God, based on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, which starts in April.

More to Life…continued

The More to Life series mentioned in my post, https://brucestaley.com/2016/01/19/more-to-life/, has begun!

Last week by way of introduction it was Discovery Bible Study Reloaded and we examined Matthew 7: 24-29, the parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders.

Lots of laughter when someone  recalled a children’s song of long ago and got the group to join in.

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This week was the first study, Life, in the series.

John 10:10
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

No singing this time but lots of excitement. Names were quickly entered on our Pray4five cards. And more excitement for me when my young friend, Praveen, from India, agreed to lead the group next week.

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Podcasts of the weekly sermons are available at http://www.churchone2one.org

Not only reloaded but reinvented into a Discovery Discipleship Movement. We shall what see what God has in store.

A Work in Progress..

In the Epilogue to his excellent book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Rob Bell draws our attention to the Apostle Paul’s thoughts in Philippians 1:6,

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”,

and highlights the powerful progression in the words ‘began’, ‘good work’ (a work in progress) and ‘completion’.

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All of this is God’s initiative, bringing to completion that which he has begun.

When we look at creation, there was God in the beginning. He is bringing it to completion.

When we look at God’s salvation plan, there was God, in Christ, working it out, working it through to completion at the Cross, and God placed his seal of approval on the finished work by raising Christ from the dead.

IMAGINE, the same power that God used to raise Christ from dead is at work in you NOW, bringing to completion that which he begun in you when received Christ.

Ephesians 1:19-20 puts it this way,

“…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Imagine…a work in progress… being brought to completion.

He will do it!

Jude 1:24-25
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”