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Bite-Sized Bible Studies 

 

Friday, 29th May 2020 - How God Wants to Be Loved, Part 2


Read the Scripture: Numbers 32:9-13

In our last study, we talked about how God wants to be loved. Jesus taught us that God wants to be loved with “all” our heart, soul, mind and strength. God likes the word “all” and he uses that word a lot in the New Testament. There’s another word that God likes to use when describing how we should love him, and it’s the word “whole.” We see God use the word “whole” to describe how the Israelites in the Old Testament were to love him.

In our passage today, Moses is describing what happened at a very important point in Israel’s history. God told Moses to send 12 spies into the Promised Land so that they could see for themselves how good the land was that God had promised to give them. 10 spies came back fearful because they had seen giants in it, but two men, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a very different report. “We can take the land – despite the giants!”

What was the difference between Joshua and Caleb and the other 10 spies? Our verses today give us a clue: Joshua and Caleb loved the Lord “wholeheartedly”. When we love God wholeheartedly, there is no room for negative things like fear, worry, unrighteous anger or rebellion in our hearts. However, when we love God with only part of our hearts, the other parts are open to be filled with things like fear and other ungodly thoughts and emotions.

All Israel, except for Joshua and Caleb, was not allowed into the Promised Land because they were not wholehearted toward God, and so they were not able to receive his blessing. Give God all your heart today and love him with everything you have, holding nothing back. Like Joshua and Caleb, you won’t then be afraid of the giants that you see, and you will be able to receive all of God’s blessings for your life.

Ask – What should the word “wholehearted” mean to you?
Answer – It means to love God with all of your heart, holding nothing back.

Ask – How can we know if we are loving God with all of our hearts?
Answer – If there are other things in life that we love more than God, or which have a higher priority, then we are not living wholeheartedly toward Him.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Tuesday, 26th May 2020 - How God Wants to Be Loved


Read the Scripture: Mark 12:28-34

Jesus loves questions: he asked and answered many of them during his ministry! Life presents us all with so many questions. Jesus wants us to take our questions to him, and this is exactly what someone did in our bible passage today. He was a teacher of the Old Testament Law, which was the long list of commands, promises and warnings that God had given the Israelites through Moses.

When we talk about the Old Testament Law, most people think about the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. But there are actually about 613 total commandments in that Law! This teacher, or expert in the Law, was undoubtedly thinking, “There are so many commandments to follow, it might be good to know which ones are the most important.”

In his answer, Jesus focused on the commandments having to do with love, because the Bible says that God himself is love. Everything that God does is based upon his love for us, and everything that we do should be based upon our love for God.

Can you see which word is repeated 4 times in verse 30? It’s the word “all.” This word is very important to God, and he uses it a lot in his Word - over 4,000 times, in fact! God wants us to love him with “all” our heart, soul, mind and strength. That is Jesus’ way of saying we need to love God with everything we’ve got - with nothing being held back.

The greatest heroes of the Bible are not the ones who were the bravest, boldest or strongest; they were the people who loved God with everything they had.

For some people in the Bible, that meant giving up their very lives. For others like the poor, destitute widow in Mark 12, that meant giving the few pennies that she had to God.

Loving God with everything we have can look different every day, because every day is a new opportunity to love God in a different way!

Ask – What is the Old Testament Law?
Answer – It is the commands, promises and warnings that God gave to the Israelites, through Moses.

Ask – What are some practical ways to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?
Answer – Through actively seeking his presence, obeying his commands and helping others.


Stay strong, and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Friday 22nd May 2020 - The Pursuit of Peace


Read the Scripture: Psalm 34:14, Romans 14:19

In our last devotion, we talked about the purpose of peace. Peace is the guardian of our hearts and minds who protects us from the attacks of anxiety and fear. Today we will look at pursuing the kind of peace that the Bible talks about.

In our passage from Psalm 34, it says we should seek peace and pursue it. The Hebrew word for peace in the Old Testament is Shalom, which has a rich meaning behind it. It can be translated into English as wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity. During the time when the Psalms were written, the word Shalom was used as a mutual, permanent agreement between people. People would seek out others that they wanted to be friends with and say “Shalom!” to them. This would mean, “I have been looking for you because I want a mutual agreement between us that we will work for one another’s wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity.” The people of those days would seek people to have peace or “Shalom” with because when they did, both people would be mutually blessed and taken care of.

God wants us to live with his peace, his Shalom and enjoy the wholeness, soundness and prosperity that he gives. But he also wants us to pursue others to share his Shalom with. We pursue our Shalom with God through prayer and thankfulness (which is what we talked about last time), then we are to pursue others to share it with as well. Everything that God gives us we are meant to give away to others, so that his love, his Kingdom and his Shalom would spread across the earth far and wide.

Ask – What is the Hebrew word for peace and what does it mean?
Answer – The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom and it is a mutual agreement between two people for each other’s wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity.

Ask – What is a practical way to share our Shalom with someone?
Answer – We can tell them that they are special to us and we want to be a blessing in their life. We can share whatever we have with them, helping them if they are in need. We basically show love and concern for others in the name of Jesus.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

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Tuesday, 19th May - 2020 The Purpose of Peace


Read the Scripture: Philippians 4:6-7

What is your definition of peace? Is it not fighting with your neighbours? Is it about not being at war? Is it a feeling? Biblical peace can include all those things, but it is much more powerful than all of them put together! In our passage today, Paul the Apostle is telling us both how to get peace and what peace actually is.

There are times when all of us get anxious. To be anxious means to be nervous, worried or fearful about something - and sometimes it’s all three! Being anxious or feeling anxiety is like being attacked by someone who wants to harm us. Anxiety wants to damage our hearts and trouble our minds to the point where we feel totally miserable. Paul is saying we need a big personal bodyguard to protect us from such anxiety!

The first thing we should do when we feel anxious about anything is to pray and talk to God about what’s going on. When we pray, we’re opening a big door in our hearts for God to come through. Then we are to thank him for not only hearing us, but for dealing with our problem!

This combination of prayer and thankfulness releases the guard that we need to protect us, and that guard’s name is ‘peace’. In verse 7 it says that the peace of God that transcends all understanding will GUARD our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

That phrase “transcends all understanding” means that even if you don’t yet have an answer to your problem, God’s peace will start guarding you from the attack of anxiety. Even without an answer, God’s peace will stop anxiety in its tracks. That is something that no other person, security force or army could ever do for you. God’s peace protects us.

Ask – Why is anxiety so bad for people?
Answer – Because anxiety wants to attack us and damage our hearts and trouble our minds.

Ask – What is the role of God’s peace of in our lives?
Answer – The role of God’s peace is to guard our hearts and minds from the damage that anxiety wants to cause. God’s peace protects us.

Isaiah 9:6 lists many of the wonderful names of Jesus. One of those names is ‘the Prince of Peace’! Jesus rules with his peace, and he wants his peace to rule in our hearts as well.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Friday, 15th May 2020 -The Inside Versus the Outside


Read the Scripture: Matthew 23:25-28

On the Wednesday before his death, Jesus spent a lot of time talking to people. He actually did one of his favorite things that day – he challenged the Pharisees! The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the Jewish people. Most of them were hypocrites. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to be one thing while they are actually something else. The Pharisees pretended that they were holy and righteous, but they were actually quite selfish and proud.

Jesus used two words to make his point to the Pharisees – “inside” and “outside.” He compared them to a cup that never gets cleaned on the inside, but the outside looks fine. He also compared them to a tomb or a grave. The inside is filled with decaying bodies and rotten smells, but the outside looks white and shiny.

To really get to know someone you have to know who they are on the inside, and Jesus has the ability to see inside of people. Even though the Pharisees looked important because of their fancy religious robes and their long sermons, Jesus knew that who they were on the inside did not really match what they looked like on the outside.

Jesus wants our inside to match our outside. Being able to repent is a great gift. Just like we shower and clean ourselves on the outside, repentance allows us to get clean on the inside. Every time we take our sin, bad attitudes and rebellion to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness, Jesus cleanses our hearts so that what is on the inside matches the outside. Then instead of being hypocrites like the Pharisees, we can be the genuine people of God.

Ask – What is the definition of a hypocrite?
Answer – A hypocrite is a person who pretends to be one thing while they are actually something else.

Ask – How can we have what is on the inside match what is on the outside?
Answer – By bringing our sin, bad attitudes and rebellion to God and asking for his forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 says that Jesus will not only forgive us of our sins, but he’ll also cleanse us of our unrighteousness as well. Jesus wants to forgive and cleanse us, so we’re not like the dirty cup!

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Tuesday, 12th May 2020 - Hearing God’s Voice for Others, Part 2 


Read the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, 1 Corinthians 14:1

In the last ‘Bite Sized Bible Study’ we talked about a powerful, personal form of ministry called prophecy. Prophecy is hearing from the Lord on behalf of others - in order to bless them.

In our first passage today, the Apostle Paul tells us something very important about prophecy: without love, prophecy is nothing! Paul is telling us that love should be the key driving force behind everything we do, and that without love, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit mean nothing.

Love is the reason why God sent his son Jesus to earth; love is the reason why Jesus died for us; love is the reason why God spoke to the people who wrote the Scriptures; and love is the force behind God’s care and ministry to us.

You might say: “But, I don’t feel lots of love for the people I minister to!” We have to remember that in this context love is not a feeling, but a commitment - although we can often feel a deep affection for the people we want to help.

If you want to operate in prophecy (or in any spiritual gift), make a commitment to pray for other people more. The more we are committed to people through prayer, the stronger our ability will be to hear from God on their behalf. Love is important when wanting to be used by God, and the key to love is being committed to others.

Ask – Why do you think prophecy is worth nothing without love?
Answer – Because prophecy should be based out of a desire to help people, and not for any selfish reasons.

Ask – What is the difference between love and affection?
Answer – Love is a commitment to someone. Affection is a feeling that we can have for someone.

Our second passage says we should follow love and out of all the spiritual gifts available to us, we should especially desire the gift of prophecy. This wonderful gift is a way that the Body of Christ can powerfully minister to one another.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Thursday, 7th May 2020 - Hearing God’s Voice for Others, Part 1


Read the Scriptures: Acts 2:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 14:3

For the last two studies, we have looked at Jesus’ teachings about how all of us can hear his voice for ourselves. He is the Good Shepherd who leads us and speaks to us. He uses the Holy Spirit to guide us every day. It is wonderful to receive the Lord’s wisdom and direction for our lives when we need it, but that’s not all he speaks to us about. He also speaks to us so that we can bless others as well, and the Bible calls this type of encouragement “prophecy.”

Our first passage in Acts 2 gives us the promise that God is going to move powerfully in our time, and that the Holy Spirit will enable people of all ages to prophesy and speak the wonderful things that God is saying to people. It specifically says “sons and daughters will prophesy,” which means even kids can hear from God in order to bring encouragement to others!

Our second passage in 1 Corinthians 14 tells us why God has given his people this unique gift of prophecy: to strengthen, to encourage and to bring comfort to people. Did you know that God ministers to people through other people? God wants to use you to help strengthen, encourage and comfort people all around you, whether they are in your family, church, school, college, workplace or neighborhood. As you learn to hear God’s voice for yourself, God will also start to speak to you about others – particularly those you pray for and care about.

You might ask, “If I feel like I have something to say to someone that is from the Lord, how do I know if I’m right?” That’s actually easy. Just ask yourself a few basic questions. Will my words somehow strengthen, encourage or comfort this person? Will my words respect the person, honour the Lord and be true to his Word? If so, you’re good to go! If you’re still not sure, then ask a trusted friend or church leader for help.

Ask – What is prophecy according to the Bible?
Answer – Prophecy is hearing from the Lord on behalf of others in order to minister to them.

Ask – What is the purpose of prophecy?
Answer – To strengthen, to encourage and to comfort people. God uses us to minister to others on his behalf through prophecy and other gifts as well.

Be strong and of good courage, folks!
 
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Tuesday, 5th May 2020 - Hearing God’s Voice for Yourself, Part 2


Read the Scripture: John 16:12-15

In our passage on Saturday, we learned how Jesus cares for us and speaks to us as our great Shepherd. “The sheep knows the Shepherd’s voice,” Jesus said. In today’s verses, Jesus talks about how he speaks to us through the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (the Trinity is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – all three persons are one God). Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the church after he died, resurrected and ascended to heaven.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will “guide us” into all truth. It is easy to think that when Jesus speaks to us through his Spirit he will “tell us” what to do, but that is not what Jesus said. He said the Holy Spirit will “guide us” into all truth, because he is the Spirit of truth. Have you ever been on a trip and took a tour of somewhere interesting? What did the guide do? The guide led you through the tour, and helped you to understand what was important there. The guide wasn’t your boss, and he or she didn’t force you to follow – you had to choose to listen and choose to follow.

The same is true about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into the truth we need. He will not shout at us, make demands of us or force us to do anything, but he will speak clearly and calmly to us. Then we have a choice to make! We can either follow our Guide or not. If we’re about to do something that isn’t right and we feel a bit of a warning, in our hearts, that’s the Holy Spirit guiding us to do what is right, not what is wrong. Sometimes we’re not sure about what to do in a difficult situation, and when we pray and feel prompted to go in a certain direction - that’s the Holy Spirit guiding us as well. Learning to understand the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit takes time, but He is patient and never gives up on us. He is always creating opportunities for us to learn how to hear his guiding voice.

Ask – What is the Trinity?
Answer – The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Trinity are one God together.

Ask – Why is the Holy Spirit the perfect guide for us?
Answer – Because he always lives in us and he is the Spirit of truth who will guide us into all truth.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Saturday, 2nd May 2020 - Hearing God’s Voice for Yourself, Part 1


Read the Scripture: John 10:1-6

Do you believe that God wants to speak directly to you? In our passage today, Jesus is saying very clearly that all who belong to him can hear his voice. Not just pastors, ministers, or people who have been saved for many years - but everyone! Jesus said he is the Shepherd of his sheep; he calls his sheep by their names and he leads them out. He can lead them because they know his voice and they follow his voice.

Sheep have the ability to distinguish human voices from the sounds of other sheep, and also to distinguish the voice of their shepherd from other human voices. It takes a lot of training from the time they are newborn lambs. It’s very important for shepherds to train their sheep to hear their voice, especially because they can have flocks of up to 1000 sheep! The sheep need to listen to their shepherd, because he knows how to keep them safe, and where to lead them to find food and water.

From the time we are first born again, Jesus our Shepherd begins to train us to hear his voice. As we read the Scriptures, pray, and listen to the trusted counselors and advisors whom God has placed in our lives, then God speaks to us. If we have been saved for a while and feel like we’re not hearing his voice, then the problem is we’re likely not aware he is speaking or, we’re not really taking the time to listen!

If you want to grow in hearing the Shepherd’s voice, try this: Go to the Lord in prayer and tell him you really want to hear his voice. Recognize you are one of his sheep and that he is the Great Shepherd. Then, practice listening by taking time every day just to sit quietly with him, not saying anything. You may not hear his voice during those times, but by practicing sitting quietly before him you will become more aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and more sensitive to His promptings in your heart.

Ask – Why is it important for actual sheep to recognize their shepherd’s voice?
Answer – Because the shepherd knows how to keep them safe and where to lead them to find food and water.

Ask – Why is sitting quietly before the Lord an important practice?
Answer – Because it helps us to become more aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and more sensitive to His promptings in our heart.

Stay strong, and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Thursday, 30th April 2020 - The Branch Life, Part 4


Read the Scripture: John 15:6-8

As Jesus teaches us about the branch life, we are learning some very important truths. In our first verse today, Jesus helps us to understand where our worth comes from: it comes from him. When we stay connected to Jesus, we walk in our identity as branches (beloved sons and daughters) and enjoy all the benefits that we have in him. If we neglect our relationship with him, we begin to dry up like branches cut off from the vine.

In Verse 7, Jesus gives us the key to answered prayer. As long as we stay connected to him, he said we can ask for whatever we wish and it will be done for us. Wow! The key to answered prayer is not “trying” to be a better person, or having more faith, or praying prayers that Jesus likes. When we’re connected to him, all that we need will flow from the vine to the branch. A branch doesn’t focus on “trying harder,” but on “being” connected to the source.

In our last verse, Jesus said that it is to our Father’s glory that we bear much fruit. This is proof that we are his disciples. What do you think of when we talk about bearing fruit? As we stay connected to Jesus and bring him all our needs, the answers and blessings that we receive from him are our fruit! Praying and receiving is one way that we can bear fruit, because every answer to prayer is a testimony to how faithful Jesus is as our vine.

Ask – What is the key to answered prayer?
Answer – The key to answered prayer is staying connected to Jesus the vine. All that we need will flow from him to us.

Ask – Why is answered prayer considered spiritual fruit?
Answer – Because as we stay connect to Jesus, he will supply all we need. Every answer and blessing from him is a testimony to how faithful he is as our vine.

Everything comes back to Jesus the vine and our connection with him. So, let’s make staying connected to Jesus - through prayer, worship and reading his Word - our top priority.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Tuesday, 28th April 2020 - The Branch Life, Part 3 


Read the Scripture: John 15:5

As Jesus continues to teach us about living the branch life, he reminds us again that he is the vine and we are his branches. Then he gives us two promises:

1) As long as we stay connected to him, we WILL bear much fruit.
The key to staying fruitful in our lives is simply staying connected to Jesus all the time. We stay connected to him by talking to him, worshipping him and also hearing what he has to say to us through his Word. Staying connected to Jesus really isn’t hard!

And as we stay connected, Jesus promises that we’ll bear much fruit. If we think about a natural vine that someone might have in their garden, the vine provides all that the branches need to grow fruit. The branches never have to worry about having enough nutrients, water or anything else because the vine provides it all. The only thing the branch has to do is to stay connected.

It is the same with our relationship with Jesus. As the vine, he provides everything we need to be fruitful for him. We don’t have to worry about having enough words to say, enough wisdom to give, or enough love to share. As long as we’re connected to Jesus, he’ll provide everything we need for anything in our lives.

Here is the second promise:

2) Apart from him, we can do nothing!
This is something we call a “hard truth.” It makes us think twice and ask, “Is that really true? When he says ‘nothing,’ does he really mean nothing?” He does! There is absolutely nothing we can do as Christians without him and his supply of love and grace. This is why staying connected to him in prayer is vital.

Ask – Why is it important for a branch to stay connected to its vine?
Answer – Because the vine provides all that the branch needs to live and grow fruit. The branch never has to worry about having enough of anything it needs.

Ask – What is the “hard truth” that Jesus shares with us in our verse?
Answer – That without being connected to him, we can do nothing. We can’t love people or help people. We can’t serve Jesus or worship him. We can’t live the life he has called us to live.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Saturday, 25th April 2020- The Branch Life, Part 2 


Read the Scripture: John 15:3-4

On Thursday we began talking about living “the branch life.” Jesus said in this passage that he is the true vine, we are the branches and God is the great gardener. Jesus said that God will cut or “prune” any branches that do not bear fruit. A good question to ask is, “How does God actually cut or prune things from our lives?”

Jesus gives us the answer in verse 3. He said we are cleaned or pruned by the word he has spoken. Although cutting and pruning sounds physically painful and may seem unfair, God actually prunes away the unfruitful parts of our lives by speaking his word to us. Did you know the Word of God is able to cut things from our lives? The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12 that the Scriptures are like a sharp, double-edged sword! The Scriptures are able to remove what is not spiritually fruitful from us so that we can make the Lord our priority and be even more fruitful for him.

It is important that we learn how to not just read the Scriptures, but to respond to the Scriptures as well. We don’t want to just hear the Word, but to speak the Word and most importantly, to do what the Word of God says. As we obey and follow God’s Word, our lives will become more like Jesus.

In Verse 4 of today’s passage, Jesus tells us to make sure that we, as the branches, remain connected to him all the time. Only branches that stay connected to the grape vine can grow grapes, and only Christians that stay connected to the Saviour can grow spiritual fruit. By responding to God’s Word and living a prayerful, Spirit-led life, we stay connected to our Saviour and bear good fruit for him.

Ask – How does God the gardener cut and prune our lives?
Answer – By speaking his Word to us. The Scriptures are sharp enough to cut away the unfruitful parts of our lives if we read and respond to them.

Ask – If a Christian does not remain connected to Jesus, will they lose their salvation?
Answer – Jesus is showing us that the key to bearing spiritual fruit is staying connected to him. If we stop praying or reading God’s Word for a while, it may hinder us from bearing spiritual fruit, but we will not lose our salvation. As soon as we begin to seek the Lord again, our connection with him will once again be strong and fruit will grow.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Thursday, 23rd April 2020: The Branch Life, Part 1


Read the Scripture: John 15:1-2

Jesus was a master teacher, and he would often use the ordinary things in people’s lives to help them understand how life in the Kingdom of God works. In our passage today Jesus is teaching us about our relationship with him, and all the good things that can come from it.

Jesus calls himself the true vine. The grape vine has a single purpose - and it’s not to have pretty flowers or big leaves! Neither is its wood very good for making furniture, or for being burned in fireplaces. No, the only purpose of the grape vine is to make grapes for everyone to enjoy. The vine’s role is to support the branches and the grapes, as it transfers all the nutrients from the ground into the branches so that the grapes can grow.

Jesus also said that God the Father is the gardener, who takes care of the vine. He wants to get a big harvest of grapes, and he knows just what to do to care for the vines and their fruit. Sometimes his work involves cutting and pruning (pruning can also mean cleaning and trimming). If there is a part of a branch that is not healthy, the gardener will cut away the bad portion so that the rest of the branch can be free to grow grapes. This causes the branch to be even more fruitful than before.

In this passage, where Jesus is the true vine and the Father is the gardener, we too are in the picture because we are the branches. Jesus is teaching us about living “the branch life.” Through salvation in Jesus, we are connected to him like a branch is connected to its vine. It is a very precious connection. As we stay connected to Jesus, we’ll bear fruit for him. God’s role is to care for our connection with Jesus so that we can be fruitful in our lives, so there may be times when God might trim away parts of our lives that do not help us to bear his fruit.

Ask – In the picture Jesus is giving, what is Jesus’ role and what is God’s role?
Answer – Jesus is the vine, and the vine supports the branches and grapes. It also transfers nutrients from the ground to the branches. God is the gardener who takes care of the vine.

Ask – We talked about how God the gardener might trim away parts of our lives that do not bear fruit. What is one example of something that God may want to trim away from us?
Answer – Things that cause us to waste our time or things that have no eternal value. For instance, if we spend too much time playing video games or watching entertainment.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
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Tuesday, 21st April 2020 - The Secret of Our Strength


Read the Scripture: Nehemiah 8:8-10

The Israelites had not heard about God’s commands for many years, then one day the Book of the Law of Moses was found by someone. Ezra the priest called the Israelites together so he could read from the book and help them to understand God’s ways. Everyone was excited at first, but then their excitement turned to concern. The more Ezra read from the Book of the Law, their concern turned to sadness and tears. The words in that book were like a mirror, reflecting how sinful they actually were and how far they were from truly obeying God and his commands.

Ezra and the other leaders were in a difficult situation. They wanted the people to make changes and to live differently. They wanted everyone to start obeying the Lord according to his Word, but they were too sad to move forward. Their sadness robbed them of all their strength and determination. Nehemiah the governor had an idea. He told everyone to stop being sad and to throw a party and celebrate instead. He knew that celebration would bring joy, and joy would be a source of strength for the people to start obeying the Lord.

Celebrating who God is will always bring joy into our lives, and joy is a powerful source of strength! Maybe not physical strength (we have to exercise for that), but certainly spiritual strength, which is the most important type of strength. The more we celebrate and have the joy of the Lord, the more strength we’ll find.

Ask – What is the true source of strength for God’s people?
Answer – The true source of strength is joyfully celebrating who God is.

Ask – How do we celebrate who God is?
Answer – By thanking God for his goodness, worshipping him in song and declaring his wonders.

Paul the Apostle encouraged us in the book of Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always. Particularly in times of trouble and uncertainty, celebrating and rejoicing in the Lord will give us the joy and strength we need to get through each day. Let’s not wait for church meetings to celebrate who God is: Let’s celebrate God daily so that we can live by his strength and not our own.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Saturday, 18th April 2020 - The Power of Thankfulness


Read the Scripture: Matthew 14:13-21

Every once in a while, Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a head-scratching situation. On the day of our story, things were going really well. Thousands of people showed up to hear Jesus teach and to be healed by him. The Bible records 5,000 men, but that wasn’t all that was there since many of those men probably brought their families with them. There could have easily been 20,000 people!

When dinnertime came, the disciples wanted to send the people away to find food but Jesus never sends anyone away. A little boy gave him his lunch and Jesus had a creative idea. Did you know creative ideas can come from God? Holding the lunch, Jesus did something we wouldn’t have expected. He simply thanked God for the Lunch. He didn’t pray for an hour, begging God to do a miracle. He took a moment to thank his Father in heaven for the little that he had in his hands. He then started to break off pieces of the bread and fish, and the pieces kept coming and coming until everyone was fed.

Jesus showed us a powerful principle – giving God thanks is a way to open the door for God to move powerfully in our lives. When we feel like we don’t have enough of something (like friends, clothes, food or money), thanking God instead of complaining can enable us to receive a great blessing from God. God is blessed with our thankfulness because it shows we are trusting in him.

Ask – Why did Jesus simply give God thanks for the boy’s lunch?
Answer – Because thankfulness is a way to open the door for God to move powerfully.

Ask – Why do you think God is happy when we are thankful?
Answer – Because thankfulness shows we are trusting in God.

2 Thessalonians 5:18 says we should give thanks in all circumstances, because this is God’s will for us. A thankful heart will enable us to unleash God’s generosity into every situation, no matter how little we might have to start with.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!
 
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Thursday, 16th April 2020 - The Little Things Matter

Read the Scripture: Mark 12:41-44

One thing we learn about Jesus from reading the Gospels is that he liked to watch people. There were times when Jesus sat or stood around crowded areas and didn’t say a word - just so that he could observe what people were doing and saying.

In this story, Jesus sat down near the Temple and watched as people gave their offreings. In Jesus day, the temple leaders would put a large locked box with a hole in the top outside the temple for people to put their money.

Jesus noticed two things as he watched – many rich people would put a lot of money into the box, and they would do it at the most crowded times so everyone could see it. But he also saw a poor widow putting in two very small copper coins that were worth very little. It seems this poor woman didn’t have anyone taking care of her or a way to make much money. Jesus said that the little she gave was worth a lot to him, because it was worth a lot to her!

Jesus watches the little things that we do, because the little things are important. As a matter of fact, God loves to start with little things and grow them into big things! The Bible says that the Kingdom of God starts as small as a mustard seed (which is the smallest of seeds), but grows to be like the biggest tree in the yard.

Our faith also starts as the size of a small seed and can grow to the point where we can believe for miracles and mighty acts for God. Every little thing we do counts for something, and Jesus loves to watch us. Whether we help a neighbour, we are kind to someone who is not kind to us, or we pray on our own with nobody knowing about it, it all counts - and Jesus sees it all.

Ask – Why did Jesus think what the widow gave was so much?
Answer – Because she didn’t have a lot to give, and it was worth so much to her.

Ask – What are some small things that you can do that would be worth a lot to Jesus?
Answer – Be kind to people, grateful for our blessings and appreciative of one another

Jesus said if we are faithful with little, he would reward us with much. That’s why it is important to do the little things well.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

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Thursday, 9th April 2020 - What Does God Want?

Read the Scripture: Jonah 2:1-10

Have you ever heard the story of Jonah and the big fish? God had an important job for Jonah: he had to go to a city called Nineveh and tell them to repent for their sin. Jonah didn’t want to go – his heart was stubborn toward God’s desires. Jonah wanted to go his own way and do his own thing. So, Jonah ran from God by taking a ship to a far-off place in the opposite direction.

But he was not going to escape God’s will that easily! He ended up being thrown in the sea and being swallowed by a great big fish. It’s easy to think that God was punishing Jonah by having him in live in a big fish for three days, but God wasn’t punishing Jonah – he was protecting him!

While he was in the big fish, Jonah had time to think about what was in his heart and how his actions were sinful. Jonah then repented to God for his attitude and actions, and God forgave him and had the big fish throw-up Jonah onto dry land.

Because of the coronavirus crisis, many people around the world are stuck in their houses just like Jonah was stuck in the smelly belly of the big fish. Is God punishing the world right now?

No, God is protecting the world just like he was protecting Jonah. God did not send the virus to attack the world, but being in our homes is one way that God is moving to protect us and help us.

Yet God is speaking to the world just like he spoke to Jonah. God wants all who are against him to repent and humbly come to him while they’re in their homes, just like God wanted Jonah to repent while he was in the belly of the big fish. God loves the world, even those who rebel against him and he’ll use this time to help people to repent and come to him.

Ask – What was Jonah’s biggest problem?
Answer – Jonah wanted to go his own way and do his own thing. The Bible calls this sin.

Ask – What did God want from Jonah while he was in the belly of the big fish and what does God want from the world while everyone is stuck in their homes?
Answer – God wanted Jonah to repent and humbly come to him, and God wants the world (all those who are in rebellion against God) to repent and humbly come to him as well.

Like Jonah, sometimes our actions can cause us to be in situations we don’t want to be in, but God is always there to forgive us and to help us when we call on him. Jonah learned in the smelly belly of the big fish that obeying God is better than trying to go our own way.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

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Tuesday 7th April 2020 - The Power of Trusting in the Lord

Read the Scripture: Psalm 28:7

This Scripture verse was written by King David in the Old Testament. He was a great king that God used to accomplish his will in many ways. But even before David became a king, he had to fight a lion, a bear, and a giant man named Goliath who was about 10 feet tall! After he became king, he was chased by entire armies who wanted to kill him. King David knew something about going through difficult times and learning to put his trust in the Lord.

King David said the Lord was his strength. For him to be able to defeat lions, bears and giants, he needed God’s supernatural strength. He didn’t rely on his own strength when he was in a battle or a difficult situation. He also said the Lord was his shield. What does a shield do? It protects you! David found God to not only be his strength, but his protection as well. How did David receive God’s strength and protection? It says in this verse that his heart trusted in the Lord. Trusting in the Lord opens the door for us to receive his strength, protection and any other promise that he has given to us. In many ways, trusting in the Lord is the key that unlocks many of the good things that the Lord has for us.

Trusting in the Lord is not hard, but it is also not a feeling. Trusting in the Lord is a decision to constantly think, say and pray that the Lord loves us and he will be our strength and shield no matter what happens. The more we think, say and pray it, the more we will experience it!

Ask – Is trusting in the Lord a feeling?
Answer – No, trusting in the Lord is not a feeling, but a decision that we make.

Ask – Why is it important for us to trust in the Lord during this time?
Answer – Because as we trust in the Lord, he will be our strength and our shield (protection) during this time of trouble, or during anything difficult that may come our way.

At the end of this verse, King David said his heart “leaps for joy” and he wants to sing songs of praise to the Lord. When we trust in the Lord, our hearts are filled with joy and gladness!

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

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Saturday, 4th April, 2020 - How We Can Stop Worrying in a Time of Crisis?

Read the Scripture: Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus tells us to not worry about our lives. That word worry means to be “pulled apart” in different directions. Have you ever noticed when you’re worried about something, it’s hard to do the normal things in life? That’s because worrying distracts us and our minds are “pulled apart” in different directions. Jesus mentions three particular things we should never worry about: what we will eat, what we will drink and what we will wear. Those are three basic things, but Jesus promises that because God feeds the birds of the air and dresses the flowers of the field, he will certainly take care of us, so don’t worry!

In verse 33 Jesus then gives us the key to not worrying in a time of crisis: If we seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness first (meaning seek him and his will first), then there won’t be room in our hearts for being worried. Making God our priority through worship and prayer will keep us from being “pulled apart” by worry. Worry and fear tend to go away as we love God and prioritize his will in our lives, because we’ll always remember that he’s the One to care for us.

Ask – Does the coronavirus crisis make you worried, even a little? Does God want us to be worried about this crisis?
Answer – No, God doesn’t want us to be worried about this crisis because He will take care of us.

Ask – How can we stop worrying about the things that are going on?
Answer – We can seek God first. As we seek him first, we will have confidence that he will take care of us.

Jesus said in Vs. 34 that we should not worry about tomorrow. That means we should live life one day at a time. God took care of the Israelites day by day when they were wandering in the Sinai Desert for 40 years. He clothed them and fed them manna every day, just like Jesus said God would cloth us and feed us in this chapter that we read. Let’s spend a minute thanking God for taking care of us.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

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Thursday, 2nd April 2020 - How Can We Have Peace During an Awful Crisis?

Read the Scripture: John 14:27

Jesus was having a talk with his disciples. He was telling them some things that caused them to feel sad. He said he was going to leave them soon and he was going to be betrayed. Those were hard things for them to hear because they loved Jesus, but Jesus wanted them to stay encouraged and not be afraid. He told them he was going to give them a gift. A gift would make anyone happy! He said he would leave them his “peace.” This wasn’t just any kind of peace, but a special peace that could only come from heaven.

There are two kinds of peace. One kind of peace is just a happy feeling we get when our problems get solved or some terrible thing like the coronavirus finally goes away. It’s dependent on something bad not happening anymore. This is the peace from the world.

The other kind of peace comes from Jesus. It’s so strong that even if something really bad happens, we know we’re going to be OK. Our hearts stay at rest and we don’t have to fear because Jesus will take care of us. This is the peace that Jesus promised and it’s the best kind of peace there is. It’s not dependent on what happens around us.

Ask – Does the coronavirus crisis make you feel afraid? If so, does Jesus want us to feel afraid?
Answer – No, Jesus does not want us to feel afraid. He wants us to receive his peace from heaven.

Ask – How can we receive the peace that Jesus promised?
Answer – First, we trust in his words. We believe that it is his will for us to have his peace because he said so. Then we pray to him and talk to him about everything that bothers us. Finally, we choose to not be afraid. When we choose not to fear, then there is room for his peace in our hearts.

Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God will actually guard our hearts and minds from fear and worry. In this time, we need God’s peace to keep guard over our hearts (what we feel) and our minds (what we think). Let’s take a moment and pray for the peace of Jesus to fill us.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

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Tuesday, 31st March 2020 - Why are Bad Things Happening to Good People?

Read the Scripture: John 9:1-7

A man was born without the ability to see – he was blind. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know why he was blind. They thought he must have sinned because in their minds, bad things only happen to bad people. They wanted to know who in his family sinned that would cause God to punish the man by making him blind?

Jesus had an answer – nobody sinned to cause his blindness! Jesus wants us to know that sometimes bad things happen, not because people are bad but because the devil is bad. There is a coronavirus crisis happening right now, not because people are bad but because the devil is bad. God is not punishing the world; God wants to save, bless and heal the world.

Ask - How do we know that God wants to save, bless and heal the world from this story?
Answer – Jesus healed the man who was blind. He gave the man his sight back. If it was God’s intention to
punish the man with blindness, then Jesus would not have healed him.


Ask – Why did Jesus want to heal the man?
Answer – So the works of God might be displayed in him (vs. 3). God will use something bad that happens to display his love and power to people.

Jesus said that he is the light of the world. Jesus shines a bright light on the goodness of God by turning bad situations into something that shows God’s goodness and love.

Stay strong and be of good courage, folks!

Martin Wilde, 09/04/2020
Glenys
Hello and welcome to our church. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm 'Hello'!

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit, so that you know beforehand what to expect on a Sunday morning.

Where & When?

We meet at the University of Cambridge Primary School (details below) for our Sunday Service starting at 10.30am.  When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome lanyard.

We serve tea, coffee and biscuits from 10am, before the service begins. It is a great way to meet people, or simply take time to find your bearings. All refreshments are free.

Plan Your Journey

Open Google Maps

Accessibility

There is wheelchair access and a disabled toilet on the ground floor. There is wheelchair access to the first floor by lift.

Our Sunday Service

The main service begins at 10.30am with a warm welcome from one of our leadership team. Then follows a time of sung worship, led by our band. We typically have three or four songs lasting approximately 20 minutes. Sometimes a person might pray out loud or read a small passage from the Bible. Sometimes people share things that they believe God is saying to the whole church family. This might seem strange the first time that you hear it but it’s all part of our connecting with God. One of our leaders will then give a sermon that is Bible-based and that we can apply to our everyday life. We then finish with a final worship song. There is always an opportunity to receive prayer at the end of the service.


What About My Kids?

We have a great programme lined up for kids of all ages (click on them to find out more about them):

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so we encourage children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service for the welcome, songs and notices. After this, the children will go to their various groups. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our Safeguarding Policy.  

The kids group activities vary depending on the age but usually there is a friendly welcome, Bible stories, testimonies, praying, music, craft, drama, fun games and free play. Please pick your children up as soon as the service finishes.


Children


Getting Connected


Small Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week, some afternoons and some evenings. Check out our Midweek Groups page and see if there’s one that you could join, or we can put you in touch with a small group leader who will be more than happy to invite you along to their group.

Serving & Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. 

Other Ministries

We also run the following ministries (click on them to find out more about them):

Get In Touch With Us To Plan Your Visit

If you would like to come and visit the church beforehand you are more than welcome! Get in touch and we can arrange a time that suits you.

Name:

Telephone:

Email Address:

Comments / Questions or anything you would like to say?


Next, we will contact you by email to say 'hello' and help arrange anything necessary for your visit.

 

Leadership 

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Pastor Ian Rawley

 

Carole Rawley

In 1974 I had an encounter with God that changed my life, causing me a few years later to train as a pastor. As well as leading New Life Church, over the last few decades I have had the immense privilege of helping to equip church leaders in many nations of the world. Welcome to our website & our church!

 

Hello and welcome! I decided to follow Jesus when I was 15 years old and it has been the greatest adventure of my life! At New Life Church, I lead our youth ministry and our women's ministry. I also work alongside Ian and our leadership team in overseeing our pastoral care. We are here to serve you!  

 

We are looking forward to welcoming you to New Life Church and hope you enjoy your time with us.