• Matt Beaney

#461 (18/10/21) THEY TOOK NOTE




INTRODUCTION

Over the last three weeks, our devotionals have been based on our vision at CCP. If you are not a part of our church, I trust that you are still finding these reflections helpful.


Our vision is to be a church community that is,

“Bringing people to Jesus - myself, one another and my community”




This week we are focussing on what it means to bring ‘Our Community’ to Jesus.




‘When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’ (Acts 4:13)

This text in Acts 4 has been a theme running through this vision series. As we come to Jesus personally (‘Myself’) and together (‘One another’) our community will 'take note that we have been with Jesus'. True devotion to Jesus’ presence will lead to evangelistic impact.

Our church gatherings are to be like a fire. Each of us brings the ‘fuel’ of spiritual gifts, prayer, advice, love… so that when we come together we enflame one another to live for Jesus with greater courage and focus. Paul speaks of the transformation that comes from being with Jesus,

‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

Here, Paul is referencing a time in Israel’s history when Moses’ face became luminous after coming out of God’s presence. Likewise, we are to expect our lives to shine for God’s glory as we spend time in worship - people will be ‘astonished and take note that we have been with Jesus!’


PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

In keeping with this aim of developing a personal relationship with God through prayer and worship out of the Bible, we’ll be developing our skill in meditation and prayer using the structure that we are taught in The Lord’s Prayer.


If you look at The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), you’ll see that it can be broken into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9), Petitions (6:10-11), Peace-making (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13).


Using the Lord’s prayer structure (below) to help you to pray through 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?


COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?



3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

Running up to our carol service on the 5th December we would like you to spend more time on the SIV (Serving, Invest and Invite) aspect of our time together. Therefore, there will only be fewer questions each week on the Sunday message so as to give plenty of time for praying and sharing about our mission.


On Sunday, we completed the third part of our vision series. Our vision of ‘Bringing people to Jesus - Myself, One-Anther and My Community. This comes out of what we read in John 7:37-38.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”’ (John 7:37-38)

During this brief series, we’ve been weaving in the words that are spoken of Peter and John,

‘When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’ (Acts 4:13)

Our message on Sunday was principally focused on how we can help to bring our community to Jesus - reach the people and places that God has given to us.


Firstly, it's as we spend time with Jesus personally and together that the mercy of God and the message of the gospel will flow out of us to our community. People will 'take note' and be 'astonished' if we will seek Jesus in prayer personally and together.


Secondly, we must take faith action. We also talked about our strategy of 'SIV' - Serve, Invest and Invite. We are to prayerfully seek to take practical action to help to bring people to Jesus. Prayer needs to be followed up with loving action in the places and relationships that God has put us into.


Discussion questions

1. Of the three aspects of our vision - Myself, One Another and My Community - which do you find hardest and why?

2. Why does effective evangelism begin with personal and corporate prayer?

3. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message or this vision series as a whole?

4. SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard?

5. SIV - Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

6. Prayer - Let's spend some time in prayer regarding this week's message and anything else that you would like to pray about.






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