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The advantage of teaching systematically, from a book within the Bible, is that you have to teach the easy things and the things that are a bit more tricky.
This is one of the tricky passages - from Peter's letter.
Peter refers to slaves, pagans, husbands and wives.
Many people today would not agree with much of what Peter says.
But before you discount his teaching as being old fashioned, it is worth noting that even he quotes people who lived about 2,000 years before him.
As you read this passage and listen to this message, it is worth asking:
How do these ancient principles relate to me today?
What do you consider to be the most important verbs for the people of God?
What "doing and being words" are important to us?
There are plenty of examples in our passage from 1 Peter.
In this message, we will look at just six.
Here they are:
Curious? We invite you to take a listen
Do you ever have problems?
Do you ever face difficulties?
Do you ever feel that you are being tested - because of your faith?
Do you feel that you are going through trials?
We need to see our trials in context.
In our reading today, Peter, the writer, puts everything in perspective.
Dan Head is Program Leader at Yeldall Manor, a Christian Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre situated not far from Reading.
Yeldall Manor is an organisation that we support as a Church.
During Dan's visit, he introduced us to a number of his friends from the centre.
As you listen, you will hear personal stories, a reading from the Bible, and the reminder that we all need Jesus.
This recording is longer than normal, so we advise that you make yourself a hot drink, relax, and listen.
Great Hollands Free Church is passionate about God setting people free.
Yeldall Manor have the same vision, and are working on it 24/7
Why send a greeting?
We all send greetings: on birthdays, when people are ill, before and driving test and at exam time.
But why send a greeting?
And why did the apostle Peter include greetings at the start and end of his letter?
Who was Peter?
What had his life been like?
What can we learn from his greeting?
Does faith make any difference?
Is it only for today?
Is it only for eternity?
Or does faith transform today - forever?
In this message we look at Bible characters who had faith.
It was not easy for them, but faith transformed them.
And what about Thomas?
He said that he would not believe ... unless!
Do we sometimes think like Thomas?
When are we going to believe?
How much did you pay?
How much did it cost?
Are these two questions the same?
In this message, we look at sacrifice in the Bible: starting with leather jackets in the Garden of Eden, and ending at the Cross.
The world thinks of sacrifice as: me giving up something now – so that I can have something better later.
But that is not true sacrifice.
True sacrifice is when an innocent one is slaughtered – for the benefit of the sinful.
The apostle Paul is convinced about his unbreakable bond with God.
We live in an age of doubt.
Truth is still truth - even when it is unfashionable.
Satan hates truth - but God knows what is best for our lives.
God's love is greater than our inadequacies - he will empower us.
We need to be real with God. His love compels us to be real in our faith.
Sin separates us from God, but Christ's death and resurrection reconciles us to God.
Do we welcome God’s provision?
What if God provides a challenge?
What if God provides us with a learning curve?
What if God provides us with a learning hole in the road?
What if God provides us with a learning mountain to climb?
What if God provides us with events and situations that touch us where we are most vulnerable?
God provided teaching materials for Jonah: a fish, a plant, a worm, and a wind.
What was God teaching Jonah?
What does God want us to learn?
Beware of turning the truth upside down
Beware of doing the doing, but not being the being
There is a phrase found many times in the Bible, that describes God as being slow to anger and abounding in love.
How do we view that phrase?
Is it good news when God loves us?
Is it good news when God loves other people?
Are we proclaiming the Word of God?
Are we embracing the heart of God?
The New Testament uses the imagery of running a race to describe the Christian journey.
We need to nurture, strengthen and encourage our Church family, to avoid burnout and to develop perseverance.
In a united Church, everyone plays a vital part.
We must teach the truth about discipleship.
We run our race, out of gratitude and love to God.
God has work prepared for us, on our journey.
Forget the failures of the past - we have been forgiven through the cross.
Press on to receive the prize of eternal life - given freely to believers.
Let us develop our faith, so that we can successfully run the race and claim the prize.
Would you like to meet one of the world’s greatest evangelists?
Believe it or not, despite his track record so far: his name is Jonah.
What can we learn from Jonah?
Sometimes the most effective witness is when the people of God say a few faltering words: words that they have received from God.
An evangelist does not need to use lots of words.
A servant of the Lord does not need to be a smooth talker?
We do not need the “gift of the gab” to be used by God?
We just need to proclaim the message that God gives us.
What idols do we have in our lives?
What things do we hold onto?
What things come between us and the Lord?
Are our idols worth it?
Are they really worth the attention that we pay to them?
Are there any benefits, to worshipping idols?
What are the negatives?
When will we repent?
When will we worship?
Do you ever try to run from situations?
Do you ever try to hide?
What are you trying to hide from right now?
What are you trying to run from?
Do you ever try and run from God?
Are you worshipping God or are you trying to run from him?
What is the difference between feeling guilty, and truly repenting?
You don’t have - I don’t have.
What don’t you have?
Is it holding you back?
Is it a reason?
Or is it an excuse?
What does Jesus have to offer?
(Includes prayer for Yemen - in view of the current cholera epidemic.)
I want to be free! I want to be me!
It sounds great - free to be me!
But could you do even better?
What about becoming the person that God intended you to be?
Satan can cripple us with addictions and lies. He tells us lies about ourselves and about God; that we are unlovable, unsuccessful and irredeemable; but God is on our side and can set us free from Satan's bondage. We need to cooperate with God in his war against Satan and not be distracted by minor issues. The appropriate response to being set free: be delighted!
What is the Christian response to terrorism?
Do we have a unique perspective on world events?
Who is the real enemy in our struggle?
What weapons do we have at our disposal as Christians?
If God is for us - who can be against us?
This is the the day the Lord has made: how can we make this a reality?
Why are we joyful and thankful - even though life can be difficult?
What is the ultimate reason for being grateful to God?
Is this life all there is?
So what is unique about Christianity?
Where does our eternal security lie?
God loves us and he forgives us.
He calls us to serve him.
He calls us to become leaders: in our families, in our Church, in our community and in our world.
But what if we make a mistake?
How can we sort out our mistakes and move on?
God is not looking for clever kids - who think they know it all:
He is looking for obedient children - who are willing to learn.
How can we walk faithfully with God?
What can we learn from Enoch?
What can we learn from the writer of the Psalms?
Where does our help really come from?
What about all the coming and going we seem to do these days?
Are all our journeys and activities necessary?
We start by asking: What does it mean to lead?
We discover that a true leader, is one who follows God, in front of the people.
We finish by looking at 5 principles of leadership:
1. Be humble
2. Know what you are building
3. We don't need a job title to lead
4. The way we stand down from leadership, says as much about our character, as the way we step up to leadership
5. Leadership is as much about being - as it is about doing
In an age when the family is under intense pressure, the Church family is of vital importance. God intends us to be loving, safe, secure and nurturing.
Unity in the Church is difficult to maintain, but if we allow disunity, people will be hurt.
We are all vital components within the body of Christ, contributing to the health of the whole body.
We all need to work together, supporting each other and supporting our leaders too. We must guard against criticising and condemning each other.
Jesus tells us that he did not come to be served, but to serve.
He came to give up his life.
And he calls us to follow his example in service.
What was his secret?
How did he stay on track?
He knew that he was on a journey.
He knew where he was going to.
We explore how this can set us free to serve too.
Why do we find it so hard to communicate and relate?
True communication is not about having the latest gadgets or apps - it is about learning to be honest and transparent.
Human nature often dictates that we prefer to hide away - rather than to truly communicate.
We look at the problem of pride and end by looking at eight secrets from the Bible - which can help us to truly relate with each other.
The world runs on the system of buying and selling.
But God's Kingdom is characterised by giving and receiving.
Which system do we prefer?
Why do we find it so hard to give and to receive?
What are some of God's principles regarding giving and receiving?
If we want to understand celebration - we need to understand grace.
If we want to understand Grace - we need to understand sin.
Sin leads to loss.
Loss leads to suffering.
We cannot celebrate - until we receive grace.
We cannot receive grace - until we repent.
But when we do: the celebration begins.
If you had to choose a new king, what kind of king would you choose ?
If you want Jesus to be your King, what kind of a king would you be choosing ?
Why do we struggle so much with forgiveness?
If someone has done us wrong - why should we forgive them?
Forgiveness is not easy, so does it really matter?
What happens when we do not forgive others?
What is the link between being forgiven, and forgiving others?
How can we love as God intends?
What if we feel that we were not loved as a child?
Where does love come from?
Can Jesus really set us free to love?
Is it possible to love the unlovely?
Many of us struggle with feelings of guilt and condemnation.
In this message, we discover that whilst blaming others often seems to be the easy way out, it never really sets us free.
We find instead that freedom comes, when we confess our sins to God.
God wants to set us free from condemnation.
We end by thanking God as we prepare to celebrate the Lord's Supper.
God wants to set us free from fear and anxiety.
What does this mean? Is there a difference between anxiety and concern?
How can thanking God help in our battle with anxiety?
God has always wanted us to be Free!
In this message we look at his intentions for us in the past, today and forever. We look at free in the garden, freedom at the cross and free in the city.