October 22, 2018
In a story which includes someone being raised from the dead, you'd imagine that would be the focal point- the highlight of the story. In this passage of Acts though, this act of raising a young man from the dead is not prioritised, and instead, the act of Paul preaching the Word of God is highlighted, along with sharing of the Lord's Supper.
There is power in prioritising the Word of God, in gathering and sharing the Lord's Supper (also called Communion), and as we gather we can expect the power of God to be at work amongst us.
October 15, 2018
This passage in Acts is real history, with real people, and real events in time - a good reminder that the bible is about real people, and it is a historical account. But what do we do with this story? How do we learn from it and what can we take away about God from this riot in Ephesus?
Tim examines the cause of the riot (Acts 19:23-28), its escalation (Acts 19:28-34) and its resolution (Acts 19:35-41).
October 8, 2018
During Paul's journey through Asia Minor (Turkey) and Greece, he spent a long time in specific places - two years in Ephesus alone. While he was there, he would have worked his trade, making tents. The people of Ephesus, believing so strongly in the good news he was preaching about Jesus, people began using Paul's sweaty rags to heal people. Exciting, but also weird.
As well as the extraordinary miracles Paul and others performed in the name of Jesus, in this passage we see the most extraordinary miracle: Crowds of people repenting from their sorcery, burning their spell books, worth over 100 years wages.
October 1, 2018
This episode launches our new series, The Church on Mission, following Paul as he travels around Greece and Asia Minor in the first century, commonly referred to as his 3rd Missionary Journey. Kirk gives us an introduction to reading Acts, unpacking how to read this historical account, and how we can learn from history.
This section of Acts speaks about some supernatural occurrences, including speaking in 'tongues', and 'prophesying', which Kirk explains and shows how these things are to be expected as Christians, but not a guaranteed experience, and that these things aren't the defining elements of being a Christian.
September 24, 2018
We've finished working through the first letter Peter wrote to early Christians in the first century, and this week, Julie brings us a "P.S.", reminding us all that God loves us. Psalm 23 describes God as our Shepherd, and Julie looks at four things we can learn about God from this song.
Following Julie's talk, we hear from three people from our community and how they respond to God's love.
September 17, 2018
Finishing off this first-century letter to early Christians, Peter addresses the'elders' of the communities he is writing to; that is, the senior leaders of the church. He gives them three tips for good leadership within the Church, which can be easily translated to any leadership positions. Peter then addresses people in positions of 'followers', under someone else's leadership.
Essentially, Peter says to lead and be led with humility. Kirk explores humility for leaders, and humility for followers in the final talk in our Strangers: Far From Home series.
September 10, 2018
As Megan delivers her final talk at St John's after filling in during Tim's leave, she shows off her Latin vocabulary and looks at the phrase sub specie aeternitatis, meaning "from the perspective of eternity". Peter uses this section of his letter to first-century Christians to lift our eyes to the reality of eternity - the present reality of suffering can make our lives difficult, but we must live in the light of eternity and things to come.
Peter writes about ways people in the first century lived in the day-to-day, debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, detestable wild living - and while they might not be a part of our day-to-day focus, there are still signs of living for today. If time is short, maximising the amount of pleasure in your life might be making sure you have the best clothes, that your money is secure, that your own personal success is guaranteed. Having the perspective of God, from an eternal point of view, can help us persevere the storm, knowing that there is a connection to eternity.
September 3, 2018
Continuing our look through Peter's letter to first-century Christians, scattered throughout the Roman Empire, Peter addresses a people who are beginning to be persecuted for their faith. Within a few years of this letter being written, Christianity is outlawed throughout the Roman world, and Christians are arrested for their faith.
Sam explores what happens when Christians suffer for doing good, and sees how Peter shows that they are blessed for their suffering, that suffering exercises their hope, and that Christians participate in suffering with Jesus- just as he suffered for us.
August 27, 2018
Grappling with harder and weightier topics in the Bible together as we strengthen our community and our faith in God. Megan tackles Peter's instructions to first-century Christian Slaves, Wives and Husbands to submit to authority. These early Christians were freed in their relationship with God, and welcomed into this new family - no Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male or Female. The identity of these people broke through previous barriers of their culture. How does Peter's instruction to submit follow through to us in the 21st century? Megan looks at the trajectory which Jesus himself set the culture on, and where it is leading us today.
August 20, 2018
How do you know how to take the right path in life? Sam explores these two verses from Peter's letter to first century Christians, and how they show us which path we should take in our lives.
Should we walk the path of isolation, of assimilation, or of proclamation?