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Teaching Series - February 2012

   

Graciously Giving for God

Stewardship February 2012  

 

 

Week 1    Everything we have comes from God, Seek him first.  

Week 2    Give careful thought to your ways

Week 3    Do not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  

Week 4      Use your gifts to serve others and glorify God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 1    Everything we have comes from God, Seek him first.

  

Linked to the sermon on Sunday 29th January 2012

 

Group Study Notes

 

Background

The book of Psalms is Hebrew poetry which became the hymn/prayer book of the Jews.  As we see it now, it is the final stage in a process of collecting and selecting that spanned centuries, and probably took this form in the third century BC.

The whole book of Psalms is divided into five books (Psalm 1 - 41, 42 - 72, 73 - 89, 90 - 106, 107 - 150) which may be shown in your own Bible. The Psalms cover many aspects of human experience as well as praise of God and petitions for him to act. It is often said that, however we feel, there will be a psalm that expresses the same emotion and so encourages us to come to God ourselves with complete honesty.

  The gospel of Matthew is an account of the life of Jesus written by the apostle Matthew. He stresses the way in which Jesus fulfils the Old Testament and the importance of consistent discipleship based on obedience to Jesus commands for those who wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven .

 

In your group

Please read Psalm 24 and Matthew 6 v 19-34

 

Questions to discuss:

1.  What does it mean in Psalm 24 verses 3-6 to have “clean hands and a pure heart?”  How should this affect how we live today?

 

2. What do you understand by “heaven?” How can we experience heaven now as well as in the future?

(see Matthew 6 v 19-21)

 

3. In Matthew 6 v 22, why does Jesus say “The eye is the lamp of the body?” In what ways can our eyes become darkened?

 

4.  Matthew 6 v 25-34 can be summarised as “don’t worry, but seek God first and everything you need will be given to you.” What does Jesus mean when he tells us not to worry?

 

What is the difference between the kind of worry that Jesus warns against and prudent planning for the future?

 

Over the next 7 days think about one area in which  you want to deepen your relationship with God and consider what you need to do to make it happen?

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Week 2 Give careful thought to your ways


Linked to the sermon on Sunday 5th February 2012

Group Study Notes


Background


Haggai was a prophet who, with Zechariah, encouraged the people who had returned from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. This task had begun when the exiles first returned and foundations were built then, but work stopped for about 16 years until Haggai, speaking in 5208C, challenged and encouraged them to begin again. Work continued and the temple was completed and dedicated in 516BC as recorded in Ezra 6 v 15-18. The book of Haggai is short but includes important teaching on the consequences of disobedience and obedience and giving priority to God. The words, 'give careful thought' occur in 1:5, 7; 2:15, 18 and 'l am with you' in 1:13 and 2:4, emphasising God's challenge to the people and his commitment to them.

The gospel of Luke is an account of the life of Jesus written by Luke, a doctor who accompanied Paul on some of his journeys. Luke was probably a Gentile, who wrote for both Jews and Gentile and the range of encounters with Jesus that are recorded emphasise that salvation is for Gentiles as well as Jews.

In your group

Please read Haggai 1 v 1-15 and Luke 14 v 28-30 and note the immediate context of the verses, especially those from Luke 14.

 

Questions to discuss:

1. What connection can you identify between the readings from Haggai and Luke? What challenges and/or encouragements do you see?

 

2. What is the value of 'giving careful thought' in ordinary daily life? When is it most important and why? What is the importance of the phrase in the book of Haggai? (See Haggai 1:5,7;2:15,18)

 

3. What does Haggai 1:9 say about the place God has in the lives of the people? What priorities in our own lives might distract us from God's priorities? How can we keep ourselves focussed on God's priorities?

 

4. The new temple was to honour God (1:8). What do you think this means? It was also a sign of the obedience of the people (1.12). ln what identifiable ways can our obedience honour God?

 

Over the next 7 days give careful thought to the priorities in your life and consider what you need to do to align them with what you understand as God's priorities.

You might like to read the whole book of Haggai on your own and see how our passage fits in to the rest of his message.

 

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Week 3   Do not conform to this world

 

Linked to the sermon on 12 February 2012

 

Group Study Notes

 Background

1 Timothy is one of the Pastoral Letters (1 +2 Timothy and Titus) which were special because they were written to individuals not churches. The letters date from about the time of the events recorded in Acts chapter 28, around AD 63. Timothy played a significant role in Paul’s missionary work and is mentioned often and with affection in a number of Paul’s letters.  It is thought that Paul may well have been instrumental in Timothy’s conversion to Christianity.  

Romans This letter from Paul to the church in Rome was written in the early spring of AD 57 during his third missionary journey while he was in Corinth . The letter provides the Christians in Rome with all the basic elements of Christian teaching, including not only theological principles but also practical advice.  

 

In your group

Please read 1 Timothy 6 v 17-21 and Romans 12 v 1-8

 

Questions to discuss:

1 “God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment”  it says in 1 Timothy 6 v 17, is that true in your life? How might you help others catch hold of this truth for themselves?

 

2. In verse 20, Paul exhorts Timothy to “turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge”.   What does this mean?  Share what helps you to manage this type of discussion and stand firm for biblical truths.

 

3. Looking at Romans 12, what is the “pattern of this world” to which we should not conform?  What makes it difficult to be a “living sacrifice”?

 

4. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us”.  (Romans 12 v 6) What gifts (spiritual and otherwise) are represented in your group?  Are they being used in the service of God in St Barnabas?  Does the Church Leadership Group know about them?

 

Over the next 7 days, identify one area of life that with God you might begin to transform.  

 

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Week 4 Use your gifts to serve others and glorify God.

 

Linked to the sermon on Sunday 19 February 2012

 

Group Study Notes

Background

 

1 Peter with James, 2 Peter and 1, 2, 3 John form a group of letters in the New Testament which are known as the general or universal epistles. They were written to be read by a wide range of people hence universal. 1 Peter is addressed to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor who were facing the threat of persecution, probably during the reign of Nero. (AD 54-68)

 

Revelation. The final book of the New Testament was almost certainly written by the Apostle John and probably during the later part of the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96) Like 1 Peter, the book is written to encourage Christians facing persecution and it does this by giving a vivid account of what history will be like until the final victory of God's kingdom. To express its message it makes extensive use of symbolic and metaphorical language based on the old testament prophets and in particular on the second half of the book of Daniel.

 

ln your group

Please read 1 Peter 4 v 7 -11 and Revelation 21 v 22-27

 

Questions to discuss:

  1.  ln 1 Peter 4 verse 7 we read "be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray" How can we keep alert and watchful for the return of Christ, which could be at anytime, in a way that enables us to play a fruitful part in the life of the church and the wider community

2. "We love because God first loved us". 1 John 4 verse 19
One definition of this kind of love is "seeking the highest good of the other person". How can we do that as individuals within God's family and as a church to our community?

3. Peter writes about the variety of gifts given for service and discovered in service. Please list the gifts you see being exerclsed in our church and those exercised through each one of us in the communities in which we live and work.

4. What is the purpose of our stewardship? See 1 Peter 4 v 11 Name one gift you exercise which brings God glory. Name one new way you intend to glorify God in his strength through this coming year.

 

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